Sadanand drove aimlessly. The road was long with no trees on either side. Just a barren hot stretch it was with sun blazing in all its summer fury. He was not sure where he was going. He could not sit quiet at home.He could do nothing better when the police with all its resources are yet to get a lead. His five year old daughter had been kidnapped. He had neither an enemy nor was he rich. All relatives and friends were contacted with none offering any clue. There was no ransom call either. Someone took her away when she was playing outside the house and his wife was cooking lunch. The police had nothing to work upon. With no demand in the last four days, they wondered whether it could be a pedophile behind this. The ad in dailies brought no response. It looked they were at a dead end. With his wife constantly crying, he had her parents brought to comfort her while he roamed the roads in his bike hoping for some lead.
He saw a petrol bunk just before the road forked into two directions. The road that curved along the petrol bunk led to another town. He saw some buses taking that route.
“Fill the tank fully” he told the lone attendant.
As the petrol was being filled in, the attendant asked “Where are you bound for in this hot sun?”
“No idea” he replied with a shrug of his shoulders
There was a puzzled look as the attendant’s eyes surveyed him from head to foot..”The curved road takes you to Makkalchatram, a small town” he said
“Any idea where the straight road takes you to?”
I don’t think anywhere. I haven’t seen people taking that road”
“Haven’t you ever gone that side?”
No, why do you want to take that deserted road with no purpose? You seem to have a jaded look.”
“I am thirsty. Do you have water to drink?
“Sure. Come into the bunk. There is an old fan running.”
The water was cool and Sadanand looked refreshed.”Thanks. a lot. How much for the oil?” he asked
Are you sure that road leads to nowhere? I would like to give it a try” he said
“I told you I have never gone that side beyond two or three miles. Except for a deserted small tiled house, there is nothing there beyond”
“A small tiled house, is it?”
“Are you planning to take that road? I think that is strange”
“Why, what is strange about it?”
“Come to think of it, four days back one middle aged man with a child took the same road”
“What? What child? Tell me quickly” Sadanand grabbed his shoulders and shook him.
“A girl of five years who looked not his type. Why have you lost any child or what ?”
Sadanand thrust Rs1000 note in his hands and said to the attendant “Keep the change”
The baffled attendant looked at the speeding car on the lonely road