Intrigue. Mystery. A kidnapping. And yet
That day ended being our pet
Would I call it my platinum day of love?
Yes, certainly, you bet!
The day that would take us all over the murky world of mystery and intrigue actually began with a calm and serene walk in the park. Talkatora garden is where Specky and I reached at 5.30 in the morning.
Early morning walks as one
Are so full of lovey-dovey fun!
Specky suddenly asked, ‘Why is there so much silence? The early morning bhajan walkers too seem to have skipped today.’
‘Yes,’ I answered and noticed that even the street dogs outside the gate of the garden were silent. Or were they just not there? I said, ‘This morning seems rather mysterious!’
‘So you’re taking me out for shopping this evening,’ asked Specky, ‘We really need to buy some platinum jewellery for Pushkin’s wedding.’
The cold fresh zephyrs that blow at 5.30 are enough to stir the poet in any person, and I replied:
‘Evenings with you are refreshing
And over us
A platinum meshing!’
Specky smiled… and then froze in her tracks. The dark ominous looking bushes towards her right rustled harder than a soft wind could ever make them go. She whispered, ‘What could the reason be for this?’
I picked up a lump of hardened mud and threw towards the bushes. A hand emerged from the bushes, caught the lump in mid-air, crushed it into fine sand and the wind let it float some distance towards the exit of the garden before it finally hit the ground. As this happened, a voice said, ‘See the sand and read the message.’
‘You want us to leave the garden?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ announced the voice and continued, ‘but not before your wife removes her jewellery and keeps it on the ground.’
Specky said, ‘This makes me smile. I am wearing cheap imitation ear-studs, rings, and bangles right now. You really want this junk?’
There was some unnerving silence for a while and the voice said, ‘We need precious jewellery and we leave it to you to manage it for us. Do it or you’ll be crushed like the lump of hardened mud that you threw towards us.’
We looked at each other and I’m sure Specky had the same thoughts in her mind as I did that murky morning. ‘Think fast!’ I murmured and Specky just said:
‘When I think and you think
And we think together
We will then create the link
For a love-some weather!’
‘This is hardly the time for such platinum alchemy my chemist, ‘I whispered, ‘let’s think of a strategy that will save us both.’
‘Listen,’ said Specky, ‘why don’t you get kidnapped and I’ll go get help.’
The voice was obvious listening to what we were whispering, but then another, quite unmistakably feminine voice said, ‘Good idea. This man can consider himself kidnapped. Now you go and get your jewellery.’
I had a brilliant idea just then and suggested, ‘Absolutely fine. I’d love being kidnapped… but you must know that between the two of us it is I who drive. So you must now kidnap me and take me in my car driven by me to my own house. Meanwhile my wife can stay here and wait for us to come back with the jewellery. We will come back here where I will formally hand you over the stuff you want and then you leave us to complete our morning walk. Right?’
There was silence for a while. I know I had lied when I said that Specky couldn’t drive, but this strategy was the nearest I could get to buy time for us. I was now banking upon the genetic stupidity of brains that kidnappers and small-time criminal generally have. I was right. The male voice said, ‘I will come with you… and remember that you are kidnapped.’
Specky had not only understood my strategy but had also added her own to make it denser. Like platinum, strategies too are rather malleable and ductile, you see, and are willing to be moulded into beautiful and precious ideas that have creative thought embedded into them! Obviously, I need not repeat that sharing thought actually nourishes relationships! She shared her thoughts in a single cryptic line:
‘Platinum is resistant to tarnish or corrosion and I am your platinum.’
I knew what she was communicating was surrounding corrosive elements like our kidnappers with similar forces at either end. There was resistance too woven in… and then I realised that she had pronounced platinum as flat-I-mum. ‘What could this mean?’ I wondered. I realised fast that it could simply mean that I need to remain in our flat in silence as she resists the corrosive elements here in the garden.
I asked the hidden kidnappers to follow me and began walking towards the exit. Two people emerged from behind the bushes. There was a male and one female. The male, predictably, walked with me to my car as we headed towards my flat.
What happened in the park?
Specky told me later that the female companion of my kidnapper was quite easy to overcome. All she did was to have a small conversation with her.
‘You aren’t wearing any jewellery?’ asked Specky.
‘No. I will wear yours now,’ replied her female kidnapper and as she spoke these words she also let the shining blade of the butcher’s knife hidden in her dupatta warn her not to over step any boundaries.
‘But my jewellery wouldn’t look good on you.’
The kidnapper was silent but, after a few moments, asked, ‘Why?’
‘Because my jewellery looks great on a body that is accustomed to walking at least 10,000 steps every morning.’
The kidnapper must have spent some time calculating that but it was too much of maths mingling with the fantasy of a toned body, and she said, ‘How much is 10,000 steps?’
‘Three rounds of this park,’ said Specky, ‘and I know because I have counted. Come, let me show you how easy it is. Let us walk one round.’
‘As we walked,’ Specky told me later, ‘her body began metaphorically dissolving just as many baser metals do in hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.’
‘Come again?’ I said, ‘I didn’t quite understand this reference to acids.’
‘Platinum is insoluble in these acids and all I meant was that a brisk walk is like these corrosive acids for an un-toned body.’
By the time they completed the first steep in the park, the kidnapper was huffing and puffing and this made her really angry. She was red in the face and was finding everything on her an unnecessary weight. So she just took off her dupatta and flung it on the ground. This was when Specky lunged and took possession of that precious dupatta that had her butcher’s knife hidden inside. She just pointed it towards her tired and exhausted body and said, ‘Walk to the exit… fast.’
Ah yes, Specky also murmured, ‘Toned bodies, like platinum, never oxidise at any temperature!’
The happenings in our flat
The kidnapper followed me to the car and asked, ‘Where do you stay?’
I asked, ‘It doesn’t matter. Do you know this area?’
That was enough for me and I took him on a really crazy ride through the lanes and by-lanes of Paharganj before I finally emerged on the main road leading to my block of flats. No, I did not do anything foolish that would jeopardise the life of Specky who was alone in the park. I was simply trying to gain time.
Once inside the flat, I slowly collected whatever jewellery there was in the house. By the way, all our jewellery is in our bank locker and the only really precious things we had with us were platinum rings, pendants, and chains that Specky really loved.
‘What is all this?’ snapped the kidnapper.
‘Platinum,’ I replied.
‘It is not silver?’ he asked.
‘No,’ I said.
He gave me one long look that was a mix of disgust and desperation. ‘Platina… now what will I do with platina. It isn’t even silver. Useless kidnapping today.’ He didn’t probably realise that he had actually uttered the latin name of platinum and that loosely translated, it means ‘little silver’… he should’ve said yes to little silver, but he didn’t, and asked me to bundle all the other imitation stuff that he thought was 24 carat gold!
All this while I was sighing and waiting for Specky to do her part. And yes, the bell then rang. I sang:
‘She’s home and the colours are back
Life is again on its platinum track!’
The kidnapper growled, ‘Careful. Who can it be?’ So I shouted, ‘Who is it?’
A female voice came floating in, ‘It’s me. Open up.’
Even as I looked confused, the kidnapper leapt in joy and said, ‘It’s my partner. Open the door.’
I opened the door and there stood his partner in handcuffs with two burly policemen staring.
Specky entered last.
So what happened in the evening?
Obviously, the day did not get away from the excitement of the morning. We went out to shop and to splurge… to spend time with fine dining and the day was indeed one that told us that we really understood each other’s thoughts.
I want that, I need this
Ok. Ok. And lets not miss
The things that I too want
Yes, she said, in smiling font!
We finally admitted before the day tunnelled into a romantic dusk, that…
A nod in rhyme
Is all we need
For a platinum time!
Is there still something left unsaid?
Yes. I must admit two things. The first is that after that incident in the park when it was dark, I told Specky that darkness makes me fearful. She smiled and asked me to write away my fears in a poem. This is what I wrote:
Sometimes at night when it is dark
And fear, on me, has made its mark
She simply says: With me around
All fears are bound to feel unsound!
She smiled and I got one of the best hugs I have ever got in my life. Obviously, I followed those lines with the ones below…
We make our way
Puzzle called life
And life gets stronger
As strong as platinum!
As I write this story of one early morning, I am tempted to call it my platinum day of love because love and platinum really gushed that day! So whoever says that love cannot coexist with intrigue, mystery, and kidnappings is wrong… my platina mystery proves that love can be discovered just about anywhere. Almost like that ‘best hug’ that I got from Specky that evening.
12 November 2013
Note: All illustrations drawn by me.