‘I’ll be back, I need to make one last call’ said Ravi and left the hotel Room. Ravi, his wife Shreya and their twins, Gudia and Guddu, had gone for a vacation to Khandala. They had been planning for a trip for quite a bit now but Ravi was never able to find time. They initially had plans to go to Andaman but Ravi could hardly ever leave town for a long time; so on a weekend Shreya dragged him with the kids to Khandala.
Ravi was an IPS officer assigned to the special task force looking into Illegal Drug Trade via Mumbai and its neighboring areas. He was always busy and could seldom find time for family. He would often feel guilty for leaving everything on Shreya. They had been married for ten years now. Shreya was a painter, whose paintings had garnered a lot of acclaim in the city’s artistic circuits. But after the kids and with Ravi getting busy by the day, she had to give up on painting and turn into a full time home maker. She took care of everything from the kids’ school to the house bills. One would think she would eventually get tired and raise her hands; but not her. She knew that to run a family sometimes a mother has to forgo her aim in life.
On that Friday when they had driven up to Khandala it was already past midnight as they reached the resort. Expectedly Ravi was late from office and the whole way up to Khandala was always on call. There was a special operation that he was working on which had to go down that day. Though he had managed to leave Mumbai at Shreya’s insistence; his work it seemed had travelled along with him.
The kids were already asleep by the time they reached their room. Shreya put the two in bed and stood at the window looking at Ravi speaking on the phone with a serious expression on his face. Ravi was always like that; very serious and very particular in his work. It was only infront of Shreya that he relaxed otherwise he seemed to be on the duty 24 X 7.
By the look at Ravi’s face Shreya pondered if she had done the right thing dragging him out of Mumbai because he really seemed to be working on something or someone very important. But then again if not that day then when; Ravi would never be free anyways. She went to the bed and lay down waiting for Ravi. She was looking forward to quality time with him; it had been weeks since they had a heart to heart talk. In the mornings when Ravi was available she would be busy sending the kids to school, by the time she would be free from the kids it would be time for Ravi to leave and there was never any fixed time for Ravi to return, more often than not he would come home late, tired and wanting to sleep.
Shreya lay there changing channels; one moment looking at the watch and the other towards the door waiting for Ravi. In doing that, somewhere down the line Shreya too feel asleep. She was tired too, looking after the kids and all the arrangements can be quite taxing at times.
Shreya felt the sun rays on her face; as she slowly opened her eyes she saw it was morning already. She must have fallen asleep waiting for Ravi as usual she thought. The door was unlocked from inside so typical of Ravi she fumed. The kids lay asleep on their beds; as she turned Ravi wasn’t on the bed. Perhaps he was taking a shower she thought; she got out of the bed and went out to the balcony. The view was breathtaking; with hills and greenery all around.
She must have been standing at the balcony for a few minutes when Guddu called out to her. She went in and found him trying to reach the sink in the bathroom. She turned and looked around for Ravi but he wasn’t there.
‘Guddu did daddy come out of the toilet now?' she asked but negative was the answer. After helping Guddu, she went out of the room but Ravi wasn’t there. By then she was fuming at Ravi for disappearing without even letting her know. This time she would give him a piece of her mind, he left them while they were sleeping and that too with the door open throughout what if something untoward would have happened she thought. How irresponsible of Ravi was her reaction!
She dialed his number as Guddu and Gudia ran about in the room. She called him thrice but Ravi wasn’t answering. Shreya had had it; she decided to go out and find Ravi. He would be somewhere in the resort chalking out some god forsaken raid at some drug dealers haven she thought! For once if he would forget the drug dealers and think about his family! She got dressed and after getting the kids ready, she went to the restaurant in the resort thinking Ravi must surely be there. The kids got right to having breakfast but Shreya looked around for Ravi. She asked the staff if they had seen him but the answer to that too came in the negative. As the kids finished their glasses of milk, Shreya decided to leave them in the play room and then catch a hold of Ravi.
She looked in the swimming pool area, the restaurant again, the table tennis room and all around but Ravi wasn’t to be found anywhere. She kept trying his cell but there was no answer. For a moment she got worried but it wasn’t unlike Ravi to not take calls when in the midst of something important. She decided to let the kids play and herself returned to her room.
When she was opening her room, for some reason she turned and went to the part where Ravi had been standing last night speaking on the phone. For no apparent reasons, she dialed his number again. Suddenly she heard it, the ring tone that Ravi had set for her calls. It was coming from behind the flower pots at the spot, she bent and to her horror found Ravi’s cell lying there. That is why he wasn’t answering her calls! Where was Ravi? Where did he disappear? Why was his phone lying there? Her heart sank, what had happened last night? Was he even alive? Shreya stood with Ravi’s cell staring at the valley infront of her with all these questions. Being a cop’s wife for so long, she knew well enough that something seriously wrong must have happened last night. She had to inform the local police and also Mumbai, but for that instant she stood there with her hands and feet cold with fear, eyes full of terror and heart overwhelmed with concern, if only she would have forced him inside the room last night! She called up Ravi’s friend at the Mumbai office and as she hung up hoped for nothing else but the safe return of the father of her two kids. Would the police find Ravi and would the four again be able to go on a holiday together? Well it all depended on their fates together as Destiny is only made known silently and in time.