Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lost and found...

5 pm. The medical college canteen. Nishant sipped his coffee in solitude, mulling over the day; and it hadn't ended yet. He planned to head back to the hostel for a quick bite, check emails, and then back to the college. He had to collect the one book he'd been gunning for, the past month or so - Atlas of Human Anatomy.

His usual gang - Amit, Tejas, Meera, and Anushka had decided to catch a late night movie, but he wanted to have that book at any cost.

"Carry on, guys," he'd said tersely amidst sniggers and raised eye-brows.

He'd just stepped out,headed to his bike in the parking lot, when he heard a voice behind him.

"Son..."

Nishant turned. The voice belonged to a frail looking man in his fifties. He was very familiar, but Nishant couldn't place a finger on his face. Probably one of those patients he'd to take care of in the afternoon.

Nishant waited for the man to say further.

"Son, I'm Mohan Rao from Vijayawada...and I want to go back home."

That was a strange request. Nishant had a mind to say, "so, go sir, who's stopping you." But he held back.

"I'm sorry, I don't think I understand," He said instead.

The man advanced slowly. Something was wrong with his walk..it was laboured. Nishant cleared his throat. "Sir..do you have a problem? Maybe if you head to the reception..."

"No no. I just want to go home. I'm..I'm Mohan Rao."

"Yeah, I got that," Nishant said, slowly.

"I need your help, son."

Just then Nishant spotted Amit and Tejas walking toward him.

"Hey, Nishant. You sure you don't want to join us?"

Nishant looked at the pale face of Rao, and then his friends.

"Uh, sorry guys. I have to have that book. And moreover, I can't stand that guy, the so called hero of the movie, so..."

They waved him away and turned to the canteen.

"Yeah, so Mr. Rao..." Nishant turned, only to find the man gone. He looked at the gate, craning his neck a bit, but couldn't spot him. Maybe he'd catch him on his way out and offer him a lift or something. Then he chuckled to himself - not all the way to Vijayawada though.

*********

Canteen, the next day. They were talking in hushed tones, when Nishant arrived. He sat down and looked at them. "What's up, guys?"

Tejas shook his head silently, and the others toyed with their respective plates and cups.

"Did I miss anything?" Nishant smiled. "How was the movie?"

"Boring," Meera droned.

"Yeah?"

Tejas was solemn. "There was a cop here today."

"What for?" Nishant asked, placing his books on the empty chair beside him.

"He was talking to the principal, I believe...about some unclaimed body."

"Unclaimed body? Here? What, one of the cadavers?"

"Yeah, the one we'd been working on."

"Oh, shit," Nishant said. "And..?"

"The cop was saying, the body belonged to some guy from Andhra. His relatives were apparently enraged...we don't know how it came to us."

"But I thought, we got bodies only after all the legal.." Nishant began, and stopped. "What did you say? Andhra?"

Meera nodded. "Vijayawada."

Suddenly Nishant's stomach churned.

******

15 comments:

a million different people said...

Somehow, Mr. Mohan Rao rang the Alzheimer's Disease bell in my head.


Hmm.

Priyanka said...

Good one. My stomach churned too when they talked about cadavers.
Just thinking out loud: I went through your archives and you seem to be fascinated with ghosts and the other world. And you use this in your stories in a great way.
Cheers

phatichar said...

thanatos: hmmm, that's an angle.

priyanka: Thanks. :-)

I've always been intrigued by the para normal. X files was a favorite serial.

a million different people said...

Thanatos is Thanatos. A million different people are different. :(


Me = Million Different People.

Thanatos different. :P

phatichar said...

mdp: A million apologies! :(

Priya Iyer said...

that was amazingly chilling! how do you get these ideas??

Trinaa said...

i have goosebumps... awesome.. :))

Galadriel said...

:)
your stories seem to follow a pattern. does that say something about you?

Mampi said...

I was prepared for a far weirder ending.
By the way, am linking you... soon will be blogrolling as soon as i can master the art of doing that.

phatichar said...

priya: hmmm, now if I tell you thaaat... :-) (kidding).

trinaa: hey..welcome! thanx..

galadriel:...that I'm weird myself? ;-) hehe..honestly, am nothing like my stories.

mampi: ma'am..to be frank, I too wanted to end it on a far more eerie note..but somehow that didn't happen. :-)

SEV said...

Interesting..

Pinku said...

hmmm...not as scary as the usual ones. But nice though.

RustyNeurons said...

I somehow liked this more than many..
The longing expressed by the cadaver kind of lends a nice touch...

Akshaya Kamalnath said...

I'm totally new to your blog and its really fresh. I love dthis one because i've heard so many cadaver jokes in medical coll. Besides, how they get the cadavers is an issue too. But making a horror story out of it with such simple expression sounds new to me. Will go through your archives.

phatichar said...

akshaya: Welcome! Hmmm, yeah, I know there are a lot of gray areas to the entire cadaver issue - and funnily, the idea for the story came when I was looking up the net for some information on forensics (for my book) and such..

What intrigued me is the fact that cadaver 'smuggling' or 'procurement' through questionable means is rampant not just in India, but abroad as well. It makes for an entire novel on its own. Am working on it - might be my second, let's see.

Thanks for dropping by...