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Amrita turned the key in the lock and nudged the door three times to double check. A force of habit which served the dual purpose of calming her OCD nerves. She looked at the house one last time before getting into the waiting cab. This second home was her ‘go to place’, when she desired peace, away from the noise and chaos of the city. She wouldn’t be returning in a while, demands in the city not permitting.

The drive from here to the airport would take an hour. In the city, she needed to keep buffer time, what with deviations and traffic jams. Here, it was a smooth drive, she sat back, confident she would be on time.

Amrita had packed her belongings meticulously. She ran through the list in her head, ticking off items. Yet, she knew she had left something behind. She rummaged through her hand bag, looking for a small bag, but did not find it. In a split second, her decision was made. They were half way, when she signalled the driver to turn back, defying his bewildered protests. “Madam, we are hard pressed for time. You could miss your flight. If you insist…it must be important…..”his voice trailed.

Amrita, remembered the time her sister, Maya, returning from her annual holiday, had come visiting. Hugging her, she pressed a little purple bag into Amrita’s hand. “You have to accept this Ammu. Lecture me not on wasting money and dealing with clutter,” she said, as Amrita gave her admonishing looks.

“Open it”, Maya said excitedly. Amrita, tugged at the strings and out slid a tiny porcelain ‘purple turtle’ into the palm of her hand. ” Good luck charms work best, when gifted. I promise this will be my last gift to you. Don’t worry about finding a nook to place it. Keep it in your bag, remember to carry it with you where ever you go”, Maya intonated.

Maya’s prophetic words rang true. She seemed to have peeked into the near future and foreseen her impending death. ‘How could I be so careless about the most precious parting gift?’ thought Amrita.

“Madam, can you be quick, we are here.”, the driver’s command jolted her to the present. Recalling the day’s events, Amrita recollected emptying contents of her bag on the dresser, to find a scrunchy to fix her hair. There it was, the little purple bag, ensconsed in a niche behind the dresser. Amrita, picked it up and rushed back. The driver obliged, his foot on the accelerator, deftly maneuvering, as they sped, racing against time.

All attempts in vain. The gates were closed and the flight had taken off, without Amrita. The next flight was two days away.

Waiting for a cab to drive her home, Amrita heard her mobile ring. It was Prateeksha, her daughter, calling. In the midst of hysterical sobs she said, ” Ma, I never thought I would hear your voice ever again.” Weeping uncontrollably, Prateeksha conveyed, that the flight her mother had missed, was involved in a high impact crash. All on board were feared dead.

Emotionally overwhelmed, all Amrita could do was look skyward. Maya was watching over her from ‘mystical’ realms beyond.

27 thoughts on “Mystical

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