My Neighbour Girl Ch. 03

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My Neighbour Girl 3

It was 4:40 in the morning, I was standing in the middle of the road in front of the Bhopal Railway station, holding my phone in my right hand. It had been more than twenty-four hours since I had gotten any sleep. I could hear my heartbeat through the thumpings in my head. But that was not the only thing I could hear at that moment; there was an autorickshaw on the road honking at me for blocking the road, there was a siren from an arriving train, the announcement at the railway station, “Passengers, may I have your attention please…”, the noise of passengers rushing for their train, there was a familiar voice calling my name from behind me, I could not tell who it was, and there was the voice of my sister Jaya, through the phone I was holding at my ear.

But somehow, I was unable to respond to any of that. My brain was rewinding through the series of events which had led me to this point. On one hand, a thug had come to my home with the police, looking for his wife. They had invaded my home, humiliating my parents and my sister in the middle of the night. And on the other, this thug’s wife, an innocent girl, who I probably fell in love with, was running into her husband’s trap.

How did I end up here? Could I have avoided this? Is it all my fault?

My brain was going in loops asking the same questions again and again. Someone grabbed my shoulders from behind. I swung my right elbow in reflex to hit them, but it was blocked in the middle. “Relax man! It’s me.”

It was Toto. Thank God, I almost broke his nose. He pushed me to the side of the road. I was breathing heavily even in relatively cold weather.

“Who are you talking to? That rickshaw has been honking at you for like a minute,” Toto asked with concern.

“I… I…,” it took me half a minute to even comprehend what he had asked. I looked around to check where I was. I looked at the phone and realized the call with Jaya was still on. She was shouting on the other side, “Hello! Mohit!”

“You look terrible man. You need to pull it together.” Toto patted on my back.

Slowly, I was coming back to reality. “Clearly, he doesn’t know the whole situation. How could he? Not even a minute has passed since Neha ran inside the platform, and I called Jaya after looking at her missed calls on my phone. I haven’t told him yet. I probably should. I could use a fresh perspective. But first, I need to deal with Jaya.”

“It’s Jaya on the phone. Let me just talk to her,” I said to Toto with a hand gesture. He nodded. From the look on his face, I could say he knew something was not right.

“Hey! Sorry, I was a bit shocked by the news,” I said to Jaya.

“Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Dad called the lawyer Uncle, and it turns out I haven’t done anything against the law. I’m sorry I bothered you since you have a big interview in a few hours,” she tried to assuage me, her voice was still heavy from crying.

“What about your friend Neha?” I asked.

“I am really scared for her. They checked my phone and they have all the details about the train ticket. I heard them talking that the train has been delayed and it hasn’t even reached Bhopal yet. If she boards that train now, they are going to catch her. There is no way to warn her. God knows what will happen to her.”

I was about to say something but then it hit my brain, “Ok Jaya, I’m really tired and I want to get as much sleep as I can get before the interview, so…I’m gonna hang up now.” She seemed a bit alerted by my abrupt goodbye but then she responded with a “Bye!” and hung up. I was already struggling with another thought, “What if the police bugged Jaya’s phone. We didn’t talk about anything suspicious but if they tracked my location then I am fucked, worse, my whole family will be under suspicion. Maybe it’s a ridiculous thought. I have been watching a lot of Hollywood movies lately.” I turned to Toto.

I wanted to tell him everything. I needed a friend’s opinion but before I could do that I heard the announcement from the station, “Dear passengers, blah, blah, blah… Kerala express has just arrived at platform number one.”

“That’s Neha’s train. There is no time for the second opinion.”

“Wait right here,” I shouted at Toto and ran towards the entrance gate of the railway station.

“Stop it, man!” Toto shouted back, I stopped running. “You need to walk away from all of it, right now. She has made her decision. Let her go, there are plenty of girls…”

“They came to my home. They humiliated my parents…, my sister… they made it personal man… If they catch Neha, they might even kill her, and no one would raise a finger. I can’t let that happen.” As I was saying that I realized I was angrier than I was scared. Toto looked at me all surprised and confused. Clearly, he had no idea what I was talking about. But there was no time to explain. I turned and ran, this time he didn’t try to stop me.

I fethiye escort ran inside the platform; it was flooded with people. Every time I saw a huge crowd which is very often at places like railway stations, I always thought “humanity could really use an outbreak of a deadly virus.” For the first time, it did not seem like a good idea, not because I was among that crowd, but because someone I really cared about was also in it. And that someone was in more prominent danger, far worse than a virus outbreak.

“She must not have gone far. I just have to keep looking,” I kept saying that to myself, not allowing any other thought to even develop in my head. I started walking in the direction in which her boarding coach would be. My eyes traced every shop, every corner, in all angles, looking for a sign. In the back of my head, I was trying to remember every single detail about her, how she looked, the way she did her hair, the color of her jacket and her backpack. It was not that hard since I was doing that same thing subconsciously from the moment I first found her in that waiting room. “Speaking of which, I did find her once. Why did I let her go? How stupid of me. What if I don’t… No, no, no… don’t even think about it, just keep looking. You have to find her. She must not have gone far…” my brain was going in a loop.

“I think I saw her backpack. Where did it go? It was right there!” I ran in that direction, pushing people out of my way. It was turning out to be quite a challenge, pushing people aside. I just kept pushing them left and right until my way was clear. Suddenly I had no idea where I was going. There was no sign of her. I was frustrated, almost beginning to think I was hallucinating. Then I saw her again, for real this time, I think!

She was walking away. There was her ponytail, bouncing with her every step. Her backpack, in total synchronization with her hair, bouncing up and down. She walked with a certain ease, like the weight on her shoulder was nothing. I ran towards her.

As I caught up with her, my plan was to grab her hands and pull her to the side, away from the rush and try to explain the situation, but then I looked at her face, she was looking down and walking straight. She looked angry, a genuine look after what just had happened with us. She did not see me, even though I was walking right next to her. Grabbing her hand might make it worse, and in this crowd, no way.

“Neha,” I whispered, gathering all my courage; she did not hear. I cleared my throat, “Neha,” I said, this time a little louder.

She looked at me, a bit surprised but with a whole lot of anger. She looked back down and kept walking like I was a stranger. Her eyes were also red, probably because of the sleep deprivation. It was cold in the morning so the tip of her nose had become red; for some reason it looked very cute on her. I shook my head, “Save her now, admire her cuteness later.”

“Neha, listen to me. It’s important.” I tried to sound sincere. It had the opposite effect, she started walking faster.

“Please! You need to come with me.”

“Why are you here?” she asked without even looking at me. She didn’t even slow down. Well, at least, she spoke!

“It’s really important, you need to come with me, I’ll…”

“No…, I need to get away from you, as far as possible.”

I had very little experience talking to girls but I had no experience of talking to angry girls. I grabbed her hand and pulled her to the side, “Listen, I hate being here as much as…” the moment I looked into her eyes, I knew I had made a mistake. She stared at me like an angry lioness. I had never seen someone so furious in my life, probably my mother at some point when I was a kid, but I don’t remember. I freed her hand and she walked away.

“Com’ on Mohit, you fool, you have to find some way to stop her…” I cursed myself and followed her.

She was almost running away from me. I was running out of time, well, actually she was running out of time. “The moment she makes it to her coach, it’s all over. They are probably already there. I can’t let that happen”.

“Neha, please stop,” I whispered in my head.

And she did. One moment she was almost running, and suddenly she stopped in the middle of the crowd. People were walking past her like a stream of the river around a rock.

I ran up to her. She was staring right in front of her. Her face looked different. She didn’t look angry anymore. She was terrified, like she had seen a ghost. I had a pretty good idea of what she was looking at.

I hesitantly touched her left shoulder, she was shaking, “Neha, are you…”

“He’s here,” she whispered, keeping her eyes fixed where they were.

Her words sent a chill through my spine. I grabbed her left hand. I was cold and shaking now, unlike a few seconds before.

“Neha, we are going to turn around and walk normally, do you hear me?”

She didn’t respond. escort fethiye Her face had turned pale like all the blood was shucked out of her. I pulled her in the other direction, she did not resist.

As I started walking, I found my legs shaking too. “Did he see you?” I asked softly.

She kept walking with me, looking straight ahead.

She was clearly in shock. There was no point interrogating her, nor was there time.

I looked around. I saw a blue, baseball cap hanging on the side of a shop…, maybe. Maybe, there were some other caps along with the one I saw, or maybe, it was just one blue cap. We walked straight to it. I grabbed the cap and handed a hundred rupees to someone I thought was the shopkeeper. “Keep the change,” I said, and we walked away.

“It’s One-thirty,” the person shouted back. We were lost in the crowd already.

I put the cap on her head. She turned her head towards me in surprise. Before I began to explain, she was already adjusting her ponytail. Her hands were still shaking.


I took a deep breath as soon as we got out of the station. Neha was still shaking. Her eyes were wide open, but she seemed to be looking at nothing. She was lost in her thoughts. Her palm, which was cold, but was still sweating somehow, was clutched in mine, seemed like her only anchor to reality. I wondered what she was thinking. I wanted to say that she was safe now, but I wasn’t so sure myself.

I looked for Toto, but he was nowhere to be found. We walked to the parking spot, hoping he would be on his bike. We were wrong. “He wouldn’t leave me here in the middle of all this. He wasn’t that kind of friend,” I thought.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket to call him. There was a message on my phone; it was from Toto. I opened it.

“Hey, my Dad called. Very angry about our impromptu road trip and demanded my return asap. N as u no, I don’t want to lose my share of the property. I had to run back like a pet dog. I left your backpack…”

The message ended. I was so mad at him I was about to lose it but then I looked at Neha, “One person at a time,” I thought to myself. “Left my backpack, where? Ohh! There’s another one.” I opened the second message.

“…at the coffee shop in front of the parking space. I guess, whatever you are doing, you won’t be coming home. You’ll need a place to crash. You can go to my apartment, the one where we used to get drunk. I’m sure…”

Third message.

“…you know the way. I left the keys in the left pocket of your backpack. Good luck!”

“Still helping, even when he’s not here.” I felt bad for being mad at him earlier.


I remembered the place Toto had suggested. We used to go there whenever we were in the city, mostly to get drunk. Toto’s father had property all over the place; this flat was one of them. They bought it only for the reason that if they were in the city, which happens very rarely, they would have a place to stay. At least, Toto had found good use for the place. We always cleaned up the mess before we left so his parents wouldn’t find out. They never did.

“Take the next left,” I told the cab driver and went back to my thoughts. Neha was still silent. She hadn’t spoken anything since she saw…, I am not sure what she saw. Just the occasional nod was the most I was able to get from her since then, that too after asking things twice, thrice sometimes (At least she was able to understand and follow the things I said to her- “Neha, get inside the car… Neha…, Neha.” A nod and she is getting in. “Neha your bag… Your bag.” A nod and she grabbed the bag). I looked at her to see if there was any change. She was looking out the window of the car.

My eyes followed her gaze. It was the side of the road, nothing odd, well, except the rags and litter, tons of it. But that’s not odd (it’s the normal odd). Bhopal was pretty much like any other city in north India, full of litter and dirt. Some are cleaner, some are worse but mostly they are pretty much the same.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I always mumble these words in my head when I see squalor. I don’t remember when I learned it, not even sure who said it first, but in my mind, it made sense. Whenever I looked at the pictures of European cities, any of them, they did look heavenly.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” A concept so lost in the minds of people of Bhopal, poor and rich alike. There were clean places – rich houses, malls, parks, etc, the kind of places where rich people and politicians spend their time. But the streets, they belonged to the middle-class working people, and Godliness was far down in their priorities.

I pulled myself back to the problem at hand, which was, “what are we going to do next?” I had no clue whatsoever.

The car turned onto a road which was a bit familiar to me. Soon we entered the colony fethiye escort bayan where our destination was. The car pulled over in front of the building which we were supposed to go in. I pulled our bags out of the trunk and handed one to Neha. She was reactive this time. She didn’t say anything, but unlike before, she didn’t need a command from me like a robot. I paid the driver and we entered the building.

I pressed the key for the elevator and stood on the side waiting for it. Neha was standing right next to me. Her face still looked blank. She was rarely blinking her eyes and staring at the door of the elevator. The elevator started going further up instead of coming down.

“Hey,” I said, trying to be as gentle as I possibly could. “It’s going to take a lot of time. I’m sure you are tired, but would you be able to walk up the stairs, it’s only two floors.”

I wasn’t hoping she would speak. She didn’t. She just pulled her backpack over her shoulder and walked towards the stairs.

As we entered the apartment I ran inside the bathroom. In all that turmoil I had almost forgotten that my bladder was about to burst. I turned the tap to check if we had the water running. It was. I came outside in the living room. Neha had found a window to stare outside. I wondered what horrors that man had brought upon her that one glimpse of him was enough to put her in this state.

I looked around; her bag was resting right next to mine on the sofa. I headed toward the kitchen to check if there was something to eat. The fridge was empty, fortunately, I had bought some eggs, milk, and bread just for the scenario like this. I knew how to make French toast, probably the only thing on my list of cooking skills.

I walked up to Neha. “Hey, the water is running, that’s good news. Why don’t you freshen up while I set up something to eat.” This time I was really hoping for a verbal response.

Neha didn’t even look at me, instead she just walked up to her backpack, took some stuff out of it and went inside the bathroom. It was getting a bit annoying. After a few seconds, I heard the sound of running water from the shower. I, myself, started working on the French toast.

After about ten or fifteen minutes I was ready with coffee and toast. Neha was still in the bathroom. The shower was still running. “A long shower is what she needs right now, ” I thought to myself. I took out my toothbrush and started brushing my teeth. I began thinking about how she must be feeling. “I mean, I have no idea what kind of a person her husband is, not the good kind surely. He must be a monster to freak her out like this. She was finally about to get away from him, but the bastard somehow found out. Whatever hope she had must have been shattered to pieces. Good thing she is not alone, or she might do something stupid.” As soon as that thought crossed my mind my hand stopped brushing.

“She is alone right now,” I thought. “No, no, no, it can’t be.” I smiled at my stupidity. “On second thought, she is taking an unusually long shower. There’s plenty of stuff in the bathroom you can kill yourself with.” I threw my brush down and ran towards the bathroom.

I assumed the door was locked from inside, but it wasn’t. I banged on it a little too hard in the haste and it slammed open. Neha was sitting on the floor with her knees pulled up to her chin, under the stream of the shower. She had been crying probably. It was not clear with all the water but her eyes were red as the devil. But one thing was abundantly clear that she was not pleased with me barging in like that, not at all.

“What the fuck are you doing in here, you fucking pervert?” she shouted with anger and surprise.

I was a bit surprised too, for one, she had not been very talkative lately and the other, god, the women could curse.

“I’m sorry, I just thought…”


I so wanted to answer that question, probably to prove that I wasn’t a perv like she thought, but more importantly, I didn’t want to put any idea in her head. Before I could come up with something…

“You what? You just thought I was waiting for you with my legs spread apart, so you can come and give it to me good. Is that what you thought?”


“Sure, why not? Things are finally working out for you.” With that, she actually spread her legs apart, and her arms. “Com’ on, isn’t this why you saved me?”

I couldn’t dare to look below her eyes, her fiery eyes. It seemed like she was going to bleed from them at any moment. I closed the door behind me. Now, I was kind of furious too. “First, she doesn’t speak and then when she does, it is as molten lava coming out of her mouth. Was she angry at me the whole time?”

I sat at the dining table and started stuffing the toast without even stopping to taste them. I had no intention of leaving any for Neha, but I was full up to my neck and there was still plenty left for her. I thought ‘that lucky bitch!’ The coffee was already cold. I poured it down my throat at once and left the table. I was so tired that I did not have any energy to be mad at Neha. I threw the bags off the couch and dived on it and closed my eyes

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