June 23, 2012

Decoding...1







I knew revealing the name meant “DANGER” to me personally. I confess that I did think over it in the beginning. But then she was the only friend I had. She was more than a family member to me and not a mere friend or a roommate. How could I be quiet about the facts then?

“Miranda” is what I had told the FBI agent standing outside Allison’s hospital room.

Unable to follow me she had asked if I cared to repeat.

“Prime suspect is Miranda.” I said louder than before maintaining a direct eye contact.

Giving me a suspicious look, she asked me to follow her to her boss. I am here since then and they have been questioning me on this for the last 28 hours. All I can do is laugh at them because the prime suspect is still out, free and blissfully ignorant of how the world is turning against her.

It was four days ago that I had received a call from a mate informing that Allison has had an accident and is hospitalized. I was completely taken aback. I parked my car on the side for about 10 minutes to regain my senses. Without wasting any more time, I held onto the reverse gear, turned the steering wheel to the right, hit the accelerator and was on my way back to Cleveland, Ohio. I could not leave her alone solely because without her I would have been a loner myself and I know how much that sucks. Just outside the hospital, I brought her favorite white lilies. It had taken me an entire 6 hours to drive back to Cleveland and I had not got any update on her condition.

Entering into her room was not as easy as I thought. There were FBI officials all over the floor. They demanded ID card and details of every visitor. I was no exception. I remember divulging a little too many details about myself than asked for and also sensing a suspicious look from the face of the exact FBI agent I had revealed my statement to. With a little shaky voice, I had told “Hi! I am K- Kr- Katherine Miller”. Finally, when I got into the room the sight before me almost took my breath away. It did not take too much time for me to realize that she is in Coma. A nurse came by and whispered into my ears- “That was quiet a fall I must say. Since you are the first visitor to come in, I think I should tell you that she has hurt her head quiet bad.” I had looked at her with tears in my eyes and then barged out of the room. Thankfully, no one stopped me. I remember sitting in my Car the entire night sipping coffee. A lot of emotions took over me but as always somehow, I couldn’t cry out loud and make myself light.

The call from the FBI forced me to go back to the room, freshen up and meet them at the FBI office. My hostel was functioning as always. Mrs. Lewis was sweeping all the leaves that had fallen the previous day while Mr. Fletcher was completely involved in Gardening and there were some students around. It was when I got out of my Car that I heard someone calling out my name. I knew it had to be Grace since I did not really have friends around except Allison who was hospitalized and Grace.

Not even waiting to take a breath and panting heavily she said- “She fell through that stairs as she was heading outside to meet someone. Anyways, where have you been the whole night? I couldn’t believe they let you see Allison. None of us were let in. Anyways, how is she doing?”

I looked at her feet and replied- “She is in bad shape.”

She then pointed to a corner and said that the black soil was from there and she had accidently stepped into it. I just smiled in return and informed her that I had to leave to the FBI in some time. As she accompanied me to my room and tried discussing what had actually happened to Allison. I had to ask her to stop talking in the corridors and that we would discuss it in the room. It seemed like she was dying to speak her heart out. On reaching, she slammed the door behind her and was about to sit on the chair, when I insisted her to clean her feet. While she was away, I took a clear view of our twin shared room. Nothing seemed out of place.

“There was not a single drop of blood Katherine” Grace yelled as she came out of the restroom. “I can’t believe she is in Coma.”

“Internal Hemorrhage” I said unloading my luggage and ensuring that her feet is clean.

“intern… what?” She continued. “How do you know so many things Kate?”

As soon as I stepped into the restroom I stepped out, turned around and asked Grace- “How did you know about Allison being in Coma?”

“Through Miranda’s roommate” was her instant reply.

Miranda was Allison’s identical twin. Though they both had very different aspirations and circle of friends, they were amicable to each other. I couldn’t help but worry on Miranda’s whereabouts when Grace claimed that she couldn’t get in touch with Miranda. I was rejuvenated after a bath and another cup of Caffeine. Later, I went to check on Miranda’s roommate who had just returned from an entire week holiday and learnt that she has been to Dayton for a cultural fest. The next very second I was on my way to the FBI.

Mr. Joshua greeted me into his office where another 3 officials were already seated. Minutes into the conversation I had realized that they are not only far from identifying the criminal but also where nowhere close to the specifics. Flabbergasted to learn that they had not known about Miranda until I mentioned it, I couldn’t help but mention that it was very disheartening to see them investigating it with such low gusto. I was then asked to leave with an intimation that I can be called in anytime. As I drove to the hospital, I received a call from Miranda. Another shocker came in when I heard that she wasn’t aware anything about Allison. Finally, she dropped the call telling she will come in directly to the hospital.

It was almost one and a half hour that I was sitting in a chair adjacent to Allison. I had gulped 2 cups of Caffeine more, read some pages of bible, on a very low pitch played her favorite Jukebox Hero by Foreigner from my cell phone when there was a knock on the door. A FBI agent came in and handed over to me all of Allison’s belongings ensuring to inform that they have just arrived from the forensic department. I took them and unsealed the cover only to notice that Allison was wearing my Red Gown which was now tattered. On a detailed check I observed that the black stilettos, the pearl bracelet and the silver pendant were all mine. I couldn’t make sense of anything and looked over to Allison with a blank expression. She couldn’t help me out too. As I sat down, I recollected that Allison had mentioned about going to a prom and had checked if she could wear my gown. Sadly, either she hadn’t mentioned when it was or it was me who couldn’t recollect. It was right then that Miranda arrived.

She barged in and went right to Allison and began to cry. I have always screwed up trying to console people and chose to remain quiet noticing the some strange footprints on the floor. Just then, Miranda looked up to thank me and said that she had to directly come from Dayton as she was the only one for Allison since their parents had passed away in a crash 3 years ago. She also mentioned that she had reached half an hour back but FBI wouldn’t let her in until the questioning was done. I was completely bemused considering what I was discovering. Even though she kept mumbling things I chose to walk out of the room.

On finding the FBI agent outside I had told initially with disbelief and later with conviction- “MIRANDA”.

I know the threatening situation will now arise. After all when the investigation proceeds I will have to now reveal to them that I am not Katherine Miller.

To be continued....

HPK!


June 12, 2012

Hitched for Life!!


Our houses were located just 2 kilometers apart. Since childhood, we have mostly attended the same local processions and temples festivals every year, had many common friends and am sure would have even bumped into each other but it would have gone unnoticed. I recollect my close friend often mentioning names of her school friends and this one name was always on the list. Eventually, it turned out that the three of us had enrolled for the same Entrance coaching classes. I still recall being disappointed one of the days when she couldn’t leave with me after the classes since she had plans with her school friends. Just like a picture out of an old album, I remember her waving to him indicating him to wait and had turned to tell me that’s RANJITH!!! :)

 Little did I know then, that this name and this person will have to play such a prominent role in my life! That day, I had just walked away smiling at both of them for courtesy’s sake, hiding my disappointment that I had to go home alone. It was after our 12th boards, during our vacations when my close friend called me up. All excited, thinking it’s about the movie confirmation plan; I lifted the phone and was shocked to hear a guy on the other end. There were loads of noises in the background of laughter, screams and amidst all this chaos he introduced himself as "Ranjith". Without even waiting for a response from my end, he began to ask if I would want to join them since they were all going for the same movie. By then, my friend snatched the phone away from him and repeated the same. With a confused look and a little annoyed again, I made an excuse and turned down the invite.
The plan was probably made by someone superior already that I couldn’t turn down things always. As fate would have it, all of us ended up in the same class for graduation and that was 3 years more to go. The first thing I remember wondering was that why is it that I alone had to put in loads of effort to be friends with this guy as compared to others? But by the second year, we were part of the same gang. Thinking back now, I realize that we both were the opposites, if I chose to remain quiet amidst people, he moved the crowd. If I felt making fun of people is not always a great idea, the credit for the pranks totally went to him. We can spend days talking about the pranks he has played on me. Now, I know as to why was I his favorite target. The only thing common was that we considered and claimed that love is just a waste of time. The last thing that crossed our minds was falling for each other.
By the end of 3 long years, the person who according to me was unfriendly a year ago had somehow become a good friend. Moving on with life, I concentrated on what next and he moved to Bangalore.  It was some time after degree that he did confess about it indirectly, but I turned it down again!! I guess this time that superior someone would have been all the more annoyed that things aren’t working after all his efforts. I did not personally believe in any trial and error method of let us give it a try. To give him a yes, I had to be convinced that I can give it my 100%. Strangely enough, I was glad that we were going are separate ways, since I thought all this craziness will subside with time. Little did we know that soon our paths would meet never to depart again? His indirect proposal had taken it’s much predicted route. It took its toll on our friendship and communication was all time low. It took another year for me to be my normal self with him. I must say that he did not let go of the very next opportunity he got to bring up the same discussion. Finally, after running out of all the reasons as to why it will not work, I gave him a ““You really think so?” and a giggle from my end. And there he was, not even wanting a decent “YES”.
This news was well received by our gang of friends and also hinted that things would remain positive. More than a year later, we got a green signal from our parents too. Life has been a total bliss since then, atleast in this aspect. Today, I am proud to have these friends and such a wonderful family who have been supportive of us all this while. I never chose to believe in destiny or fate, probably I never had a reason to. Surprisingly, looking back on life today, I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that something superior (God or positive force) had planned it all even before we met each other. It was all being planned and winded up so smartly around both of us that we who always claimed love as a waste of time fell for each other. It was a day in June that I gave him “strange” yes and it was in the same month “June 12 2011” years later that we got married. Having said all this, I doubt if it was ever our story, it is that someone above or something superior’s story. We were/are just playing our roles, from friends and Partners in pranks to Best friends and Soul-Mates in Life.
But, Yeah! One year to the wedding, am sure that we are playing it the best way we know!!! :)
Happily Married!
HPK!!!


June 9, 2012

Eyes with a hidden story



That picture has given me sleepless nights! I came across this picture when I was surfing the net and then spent hours and days on knowing about this girl from some remote village in Columbia. Those eyes have a painful story hidden in it.



It was a heart wrenching story that I found out. Omayra Sanchez, a 13 year old lived with her parents, her little brother and an aunt in Aremero, Columbia. On November 13, 1985 there was a volcanic eruption which killed more than 25000 people in Colombia. It is known as the “Armero tragedy”. Out of the thousands who had died, it was only this girl’s agony that shook the world and am sure will continue to do so. Frank Fournier, a professional photographer had landed in the village Bogota on November 15th and travelled to Armero. He claimed to have been directed by a farmer towards Omayra who at the time was almost deserted since it was already three days that she was trapped. What he saw before him was a sight of anguish and pain which he named the photograph “The agony of Omayra Sanchez”.

It was at night that Omayra and her family was awakened by the noises of the mudflow.  They all knew that they had to run to a higher ground to save themselves from the debris flowing after a volcano had erupted. It was during this time that Omayra had stopped to help her little brother and ended up trapped in the debris of her own house. She remained there for the next three days trapped upto her neck under mud, concrete and water. The paramedics team realized that her legs were bound in such a manner that the only solution would be to amputate it. But, even to begin that procedure they had to drain out the water and required pumps. The Red Cross workers had appealed to the Government for a pump, but their pleas went unanswered.  It was after 2 days of struggle to save her that the rescuers finally gave up and spent the remaining time praying for her. Throughout these three days she remained brave. She sang, spoke about returning to her school and also agreed to be interviewed. By the third night, Omayra had begun to hallucinate. More than 60 hours after the exposure she succumbed to Gangrene and Hypothermia. She passed away only 2 hours after the arrival of the pump as requested by the “red cross workers”.

Television coverage of the disaster had introduced Omayra to the world when she was still alive. As the photograph did rounds in the newspapers and channels, it caused controversy because of the photographer’s decision to take the picture and somewhere also displayed the failure of the Columbian Government. The volcano Nevado del Ruiz is still active but has no towns located nearby. The city Armero no longer exists and has been turned into the memorial of the disaster. Omayrah’s father too passed away in the tragedy. Her Mother and Brother still live in Columbia.

I do not want to get into questioning the photographer for this picture. This was not horrifying as the one clicked by the Kevin Carter in 1993 in Sudan. I believe that if people like me, who weren't even born when this tragedy occurred, are aware of this incident, it is solely because of this picture. This is forever going to remain in my memory. It has almost become a culture for us to criticize any picture that has been taken. But, I believe that there are some instances unlike the one in Sudan where the photographer too cannot be of much help. It has helped highlight the irresponsibility of the Government. I agree that "A picture speaks a thousand words." But I guess this one tells a lot more.




May her soul rest in peace.

HPK!!!