After a tiresome experience with the strange creatures, Lara tried to divert her mind out of that. She was scared to death every time the image came to her mind.
On the market street was Lara walking alone only with her physical presence in the market but her mind drifted back to whales. She couldn’t think of something else other than that and she failed in every attempt to do so.
James had just excused himself to buy something from the book store and asked Lara to make her way. He said he would join her soon. It was already half an hour and there was no sign of where James is. No wonder, mobile lacked network which is of no use.
“Aunty… Lara aunty…”
Lara stopped the instant she heard her name. She made a wild guess of who the person is.
“No one here calls me aunty, except Diya,” said Lara to herself.
She turned to see Diya running towards her with Ahana following her child shouting, “Go slow Diya. Wait, I am coming,”
Why Diya is looking serious? Lara thought.
“Slow….slow down. Are you okay? What’s the matter Diya?” Lara asked out of curiosity. Ahana too reached Diya and gave Lara a puzzled look.
Diya’s expression was so serious that she didn’t care to answer for her formal questions rather; Diya’s eyes were fixed on one and only thing, the ring.
Lara followed her gaze and noticed that Diya was looking at her ring.
“What Diya? Why are you looking at this ring?”
“This ring…. is….” Diya staggered before completing what she had started.
“Beautiful? I know Diya. You want a ring like the same one?” Lara asked.
“No!” snapped Diya all of a sudden. Ahana was shocked at the way Diya shouted at Lara. Lara too was equally shocked.
“Diya, why are you behaving like this?” Ahana scolded Diya.
But Lara was confused at Diya’s look. “You want to say something?” Lara asked looking straight at Diya.
“Yes,” Diya nodded.
“So, tell me,” Lara demanded.
Diya closed her eyes and said in one go. “This ring is not yours. Throw this in the sea. This ring is clearly not yours,” Diya’s seriousness grew each minute.
Lara gasped in shock and looked at Ahana. Ahana was not shocked, instead was giving Diya a death glare.
“Don’t you know how to talk?” Ahana snapped at Diya and turned to Lara who was still giving Diya a horrified expression.
“Sorry, Lara. I don’t know what had happened to her. Sorry for wasting your time. Don’t get disturbed by this. She is blabbering something,” Ahana said and took Diya’s hands.
“No! I am not,” shouted Diya.
Ahana suddenly cupped Diya’s mouth, lifted her and made her way out of that place.
Lara, who already had enough to worry about, was now added with one more thing. If it was some other day, she wouldn’t have taken Diya’s words this seriously. But after the tragic event from kayaking, Lara doubted everything.
Lara lowered her gaze. Her eyeballs pierced the ring and stared at the ring for more than a minute. She stood there at the center of the market street forgetting the world.
A hand from behind touched her shoulders that made Lara jolt from her position.
“Lara, what happened? Why are you scared?” James concerned words fell in her ear. He was standing with a magazine explaining the whale attack on the snorkeling guide.
It was a tough day for Lara and she needed some time to come back to senses. After taking a few deep breaths both walked silently away from the market street.
It was James phone that disturbed the silence between them. James looked at his mobile screen and was confused about whether to attend it or not.
Sensing his confusion Lara asked, “Who is it?” This was the first thing Lara had talked after her encounter with Diya.
“No idea! Call from an unknown number,” James said and put his mobile back in his pocket after silencing it. He just wanted to spend his time with Lara who was clearly tensed at that moment.
The phone rang another time, but again it went unattended. After that, the call from that number stopped.
“So, what is it, Lara? Can you tell me what’s bothering you?”
After a deep sigh, Lara asked, “How did you get this ring, James?”
Everyone assembled in the room that afternoon after the shopping. Everyone was throwing accusations at Abi and Adhi for lying to them about going to meet Lara, who was unwell. Everyone gathered to know where Abi and Adhi had gone.
“Where did you go, Adhi?” Adhi’s dad questioned.
“Why did you not tell the truth before going anywhere?” Abi’s mom said worriedly.
“Did you think we won’t allow you?” Ahana asked looking at both of them. Diya was sleeping peacefully without caring about anyone. She started everything, after all.
“I am already worried about Diya and now you two were making me tired,” Ahana sounded disturbed.
Adhi and Abi shared a look and Adhi decided to tell everything. Once after narrating everything, everyone sat bewildered with the hands on their chest.
“I guessed, this would happen exactly,” said Adhi eyeing every one of them in the room.
“We were concerned about you all. So we decided to handle the matter ourselves,” said Abi.
“No! No need to handle anything. Let’s get back to Chennai tomorrow,” said Abi’s mom.
“Ma, how can we do that knowing everything?” Abi asked little irritated.
“No! Your mom is right!” said Adhi’s mom.
“Please don’t be nervous. I hope we can handle it. Once I talk to James everything will be under control,” said Adhi.
“Then talk to him soon,” said Ahana.
“He is currently not answering my calls. I am trying,” he said.
After an hour-long discussion, everyone was convinced to stay in Andaman and had accepted to leave the matter to Adhi and Abi.
How can a psychiatrist fail in brainwashing people?
The full day of enjoyment came to a halt. They cancelled the beach program and had decided to spend the next few days in room itself.
Once everyone was fast asleep skipping the lunch, Adhi again dialed James’ number.
The call was answered after a couple of rings.
“Tell me, James, how did you get this ring?” Lara sounded desperate after seeing the streaks of lines in James’ forehead and his hesitation to answer her question.
James convinced Lara to talk about this after reaching the room. After a while, James and Lara were sitting in their room facing opposite to each other.
“James, I am asking you. You always say that this ring is special. Why do you say that? What is special in this? Where did you get this?” Lara was losing her control.
“It is still special, Lara,” said James.
“Why? What’s the reason?”
“I got this ring from mother earth,” said James.
“Yes! When I was doing my research this ring caught my eye. I found it in the midst of the forest. I took it…”
“What? You took something which was thrown down and gave it to me?” Lara sounded disgusted.
“Wait, Lara, let me complete?” James raised his voice a bit and Lara fell silent. James continued.
“I liked the ring so much. So, I thought of presenting you with such a ring, but not the same ring,” James said and paused.
“What do you mean, James?”
“I went to many jewelry shops and asked for a ring that is the same as this. I did find the ring that resembled this but that looked lifeless when compared to this ring. I understood that even if they carve a new ring that would still not be like this.”
Lara looked at him with hope.
“So, I had no way. I didn’t want to throw this ring. Rather than rotting in the soil, I thought this ring would be good on your fingers,”
James fell silent after confessing to his wife. “Did I do anything wrong?” James asked Lara.
Lara shook her head indicating no, but she still looked unconvinced.
Lara shot up at James and told everything that happened in the market with Diya.
“Clearly, she didn’t know that you took this ring from the forest. Then how did she find out that this ring didn’t belong to me?” Lara was more worried now.
If James had bought this ring from any shops, Lara would have probably satisfied that Diya was blabbering something. But now, James and Lara were very sure that Diya spoke the truth.
Lara spoke after a while. “This ring belongs to someone else, James”
They both understood that there was something about this ring. Just then, James got a call from the same unknown number and thought of answering it.
He attended the call after a couple of rings.