It was a dark night, the heavy rain had stopped but it was still drizzling outside making Ranjana’s gloomy mood murkier.She was alone in her apartment watching the desultory serial in the TV.Her mind was not on it though she had been watching this one regularly.She had neither appetite nor felt snoozy. All on a sudden the wretched electricty department shut down the power due to water logging somewhere. She wanted to light some candles but didn’t know readily where they were kept
In the dim light of a pencil torch that she always carried she saw a figure sitting on the sofa.From behind it looked very much like her dad.He was not there when the light was on but must have entered the room when the light had gone.The broad shoulders, the bald circular head and the way he was reclining on the sofa indicated unmistakably it was her dad.But it cannot be and must be some stranger.He stood up suddenly and walked up to the window to draw the curtains open for some moon light to enter from outside.His gait and the walk was her father’s and there was no doubt about it.She was afraid to go closer to him for this figure can only be a stranger.How can she be so sure that he was a stranger?There was no identical twin of his.
She recollected the big accident on the highway when she and her dad were returning from the mall.His dad was cruising along at 100 miles per hour on the fast lane when another vehicle going in the second lane swerved to the first lane without an indication.Her dad manouvered the car to avoid the other vehicle and hit the divider.She could see before she became unconscious of a gaping wound in the upper region of his body and blood gushing out.She saw him slump and there was no movement thereafter.She was sure he was dead and gone.There was no doubt about it.Who could this man then be ,she wondered.
Quietly she tiptoed to her room to ring for help.She ambled through the darkness as she was not willing to draw the attention of the man by the light from the torch.She could find her way to her room when she heard a loud cry “Ranjana” from the stranger.It was more like a wail in distress than calling her..She waited for a few moments more before ringing up.Repeatedly the stranger was uttering her name in anguish.Ranjana being alone was scared to attract his attention.She could not run out of the apartnent as he was sitting in the drawing hall.
Luckily the power was restored.She heard the stranger coming inside her room.She hid herself behind the curtains.His figure she noticed was bent and he was slouching as if beaten by care and worries.He slowly looked around the room,touched her bed ,ran his fingers on the pillow and slowly moved to the dresser. He saw her big photo in the frame and was continuously staring at it wiping his tears now and then.She saw him take it in his trembling hands and wiping the glass with his shirt.As he took the picture to his mouth to give her a kiss,he groaned aloud crying”Ranjana, why have you left me alone?I could have died in that accident.You were so young full of a promising future while my years were spent.How cruel God has been” He went on sobbing and she could not bear the agony of the stranger in distress.He must be really her dad revisiting her.She went near him, hugged him and comforted him with words”Don’t cry dad.I am very much by your side. I will join you when my days are over”
He did not seem to hear her voice or notice her presence.After a few minutes, she saw him switching off the lights and getting out of the apartment driving away.