First Impressions, Bad Impressions
First Impressions, Bad Impressions.
“Chachi, how much longer are we going to be here for?” I whine, throwing my head back. Chachi lifts up the bags in her left hand, nodding her head towards them.
“These aren’t even half of the needed items.” She replies, her eyes scanning the marketplace.
“But my legs are crying in pain.” My shoulders slump forward, as I struggle to keep up with Chachi, who seems to be on a mission today. The mission being completing all the wedding shopping.
“A little while more, Nandu,” Chachi mumbles, her eyes widening at the sight of Catwalk - our favorite shoe store. She hastens her pace even more, completely forgetting about the poor soul beside her - me.
Although all I wish to do is plop on the pavement, the sight of Catwalk has also caused newfound energy to pump through my veins. I begin window shopping, just as Chachi yells, causing my gaze to fly to her.
A man has grabbed the sling strap of her purse. However, because of the bags in her hand, the sling is not unwinding from around her arm, causing him to drag her behind him.
Chachi’s feet give way, and she stumbles forwards, the heels of her palms suffering most of the blow. The man continues to run ahead, the bag clutched in his right hand.
“Chachi,” I gasp, crouching down beside her.
“Sorry Aunty, it was a dare!” A soft objects thuds against my back. I turn around, frowning, to find the robber getting into the back seat of a black BMW.
The driver of the car is wearing black shades to cover his features. However, the man sitting in the passenger seat beside him is staring right at me, grinning. Winking at me, he raises a bottle of booze to his lips and takes a gulp. The BMW tears down the road, leaving nothing but pluming dust in its wake.
I look behind me to find Chachi’s purse lying near my behind. Which childish, immature game is this? I mean, one can play truth-or-dare, but in a decent manner. In a way that doesn’t harm others.
“Chachi, are you okay?” I ask, placing a hand on her shoulder. She nods, but the second she lifts her wrist, she flinches - giving away her pain.
“Don’t move your hands too much,” I say, gently caressing the back of her right hand with my thumb. “It will just cause you more pain.”
“Nandu, please carry my bags.” Chachi says, pain masking her features. “I’ll get an auto.”
“No need,” I reply hastily. “Let me help you up and then you wait here, okay? I’ll handle everything.”
Stupid fools! How could those guys think this is fun? How could they even wish to do something as reckless as this? I mean, Chachi could’ve hit her face against the pavement.
She could have potentially fractured her hands, or other bones. I shake my head, removing thoughts of the worst from my head. For now, I should simply focus on helping Chachi get back home.
Once she’s up and stationed away from the mainstream pedestrians, I gather the bags and head over towards the curb to catch an auto rickshaw.
Alya is coming in a few days and if she sees her mother in such a state, how will she feel? Rishabh - Chachi’s older son - is also getting married in a few weeks. How will Chachi manage all the hustle bustle of the wedding ceremonies in this condition?
Good God, this means double the work for me and no time to concentrate on applying to colleges overseas. But that’s fine. I can always start a term later.
If I could just lay my hands on those guys once...
“Yeah, Chachi’s asleep.” I tell Navya - my best friend and cousin - over the phone, as I enter my room. “I gave her some Panadol, and Chacha got an ointment for her wounds.”
“I’m glad to hear that the situation is under control,” Navya replies, sounding relieved. She shares an equally close bond with my family as I do. In fact, many a times, Chachi has even called Navya her adopted daughter.
Navya was accepted into this family and Chachi’s heart, just like how she accepted me. My thoughts wander back to today evening, and how brutally Chachi has been injured, all because of some stupid dare. How could someone do such a thing to another human being? That too a woman who must be his mother’s age.
And to top it off, those delinquents have the audacity to laugh about it. The mere thought causes me to clench my free fist. I bade Navya goodnight, and flop myself on the bed, staring up at the glow-in-the-dark star covered ceiling.
The expression of that man sitting in the passenger seat - grinning at me - is an image that I’m unable to wipe away from my mind. I despise violence. However, when someone tries to harm my loved one, I can go to any extent to show them their rightful place. Oh, how I would take pleasure in wiping that grin off his face.
If only I could meet him once, when the circumstances are more favorable towards my side. With these vengeful thoughts, I shut my eyes and drift off to sleep.