Polo Skins

She was very happy with her life. She had a good job that paid her well. She had a beach view apartment in Chennai and a BMW. She lived alone in her three bedroom house, with the finest interior anyone could afford. She was a queen in her palace. She would get up every morning, stand in her balcony , breath in the fresh air and absorb the energy from the bright sun.”I love my life”, she would say to herself. Every day she would get dressed and drive to the office in her BMW. As she entered the office, everyone stopped their work and look at this 5’7″ tall woman walking past them in the corridor to her cabin, with her six inch high pumps, her skirt just above the knee and a perfect fitting coat and her hair tied into a high ponytail. No one would forget to wish her good morning. And she would smile back and nod her head. Everything was back to normal once her cabin door closed behind her. She was the CEO of BMW India. People adored her. She was like the angel who walked in every morning and everyone would be redeemed of their problems, leaving a smile on their faces for rest of the day. She was smart, witty, beautiful and she had a very captivating voice. No one could pass by without turning back and taking a second glance. Did they hear a bird sing! She was extraordinary. Like everyday she had come to office and was sitting in her cabin. Her phone rang. She picked it up and said,” hey mom, so good to hear your voice. I have missed you so much.” She sure was her mommy’s girl. Her mom replied,”hey sweety, I’m good. I have missed you too. I’m so sorry I haven’t called you for so long. I have been so busy”. She replied,” never mind. I still love you”. Her mother grinned. She went on,” mom I have a surprise for you. You will soon receive a mail. I have booked tickets for the both of us to go to Hawaii. For 2 weeks.” Her mom taken with surprise expressed her joy and said,” that’s just great. I’ll get to be with you for 2 whole weeks. Love you girl.” Her secretary entered her cabin during the conversation and whispered that she had someone waiting to meet her. So she told her mom,” gotta go mom, I’ll see you soon. Bye”. And kept the phone. Sonal, her assistant, was a short South Indian female. She was from Kerala. She had a typical malayali accent. She explained to her who had come and gave a short gist of that person’s character. This was one thing she was really good at. She could make out the character of a person by observing closely and by the way the person talked. Now she was ready. So she asked Sonal to send in the person. A handsome man entered the cabin wearing a tuxedo. Her jaw dropped, but she sat back all formally and seriously looking busy. He said,” good morning Jahaan.” She looked up. He called me by my name, she thought to herself. She felt a bit nervous for the first time in her career of being a CEO. Everyone addressed her as ma’am. She was taken aback. She replied,” good morning Mister Skins. Pleased to meet you. Have a seat.” Her charming voice came out like magic. He was impressed. She continued,” I still don’t know the reason behind you coming to see me. You never told anything to my assistant either.” “Yeah I didn’t. It was something I needed to talk to you about ,” he said. “I’m listening, go on Mister Skins,” replied Jahaan. “Please call me Polo. My first name is Polo,” he added. “That’s one peculiar name I have heard of. Well, Mister Polo you were telling me why are you here,” said Jahaan. “Do you know Mister Khan?”, he asked. “The one with the porcupine hair? Yeah,” she said. “Your secretary Sonal, is his daughter.” “No she can’t be, it’s not possible. I know him very well and all of his family,” Jahaan said disapprovingly. “That is true Jahaan. And now you must be wondering why she did not ever mention this to you. You trust her so much.” Mister Skins went on, “It is hard to believe but it’s true. Mr Khan has been keeping an eye on you through her. And why wouldn’t he. You killed his beloved son. Last month in the car accident which took place on Shri Brama road. You ran your BMW over him while speeding away. Since then Mister Khan is after your life. He wants revenge.” She was terrified. She didn’t know all this was happening till now. She was struck so hard with this news that she couldn’t speak a word. Her magical voice was lost somewhere. She could never kill a human being. She valued life more than anything. And when did this accident take place? She didn’t have any memory of such a thing. She was an excellent driver. “It’s not possible. I can’t do such a thing. Moreover, I have no memory of doing any such thing,” she defensively said, bringing herself together immediately. “You don’t remember because you were high. You were really depressed that day and all you could think of was to get high on drugs and race your BMW all around Chennai. You even almost drove your car into the sea but fortunately you thought of reversing your car before a big wave could hit you and pull you in.” Jahaan was baffled by what she just heard. All this seemed unreal to her. She didn’t know what to say. She continued to be defensive saying,” you are lying. This is all lies. How can I ever do all this? I don’t do drugs. This is nonsense. My life is perfect. I don’t need to be depressed about anything.” Suddenly, “Who are you? And how did you get in without taking an appointment? How did I even trust you so easily! Please leave. Leave right now!” Jahaan got angry and was little confused. But the fear in her was not visible. Polo tried to calm her and tried his best to stay on. But she resisted strongly and Mister Skins was made to leave the office. Sonal was seeing what was going on sitting on her desk facing Jahaan’s cabin but didn’t hear what had happened because of the glass. She knew something was wrong but she didn’t go in to ask Jahaan about it. She knew her boss was strong enough to handle the situation. And it was best if she was left alone, Sonal knew this from experience. That day Jahaan didn’t smile much. She went home late after all the employees had left. Even Sonal didn’t say anything when she was leaving the office. Jahaan drove back in her BMW in the darkness and stillness of the city. On the way she stopped at the Milk Farm, a very famous chain of department stores. She bought a block of cheese and dark chocolate. She usually cooked her dinner at home. But today she didn’t feel like cooking. So she took out bread from the fridge, grated cheese on the slices and put it in the microwave. And the chocolate, she served herself a bowl full of ice cream and put pieces of chocolate in it. She sat in front of the television eating her dinner, watching a movie. Later, she went out into her balcony and sat in the arm chair staring at the sea and the starry sky. She fell asleep there itself. Next morning the bright sun rays opened her eyes. Her phone was ringing. She had left it in the living room while watching TV last night. She jumped up and ran to receive the call. But it got disconnected before she could attend it. She noticed it was an unknown number and there were twelve missed calls from that number from yesterday night. This made her think, who could it be! The time in her phone showed 9 am. She sprang up again and rushed to the bathroom. Took a quick shower and got dressed and drove her BMW to her office as if she was in a NFS game. She had a meeting with the board of directors at 9.30 am. And she could not afford to get late. Her reputation was at stake. She had forgotten about the missed calls with all this going on in her mind. She managed to reach on time. She sat in the conference room listening to the directors speak. She did her part of talking. She finished off as fast as she could because she didn’t want to stay in office today. As soon as the meeting finished she left her office and drove to her favorite spot. It was an old broken bridge which extended into the sea, massive waves splashing on the platform washing it every now and then. It was a beautiful place for spending time alone. She would park her BMW close by, go and sit at the edge of the platform. And let the waves splash on her. That was fun, but dangerous. But this was her way of relaxing herself. The mighty waves washing her off, and the cool wind blowing against her filled her with the excitement and joy that she waves splashing on the platform washing it every now and then. It was a beautiful place for spending time alone. She would park her BMW close by, go and sit at the edge of the platform. And let the waves splash on her. That was fun, but dangerous. But this was her way of relaxing herself. The mighty waves washing her off, and the cool wind blowing against her filled her with the excitement and joy that she was missing. After a good wash she came to her BMW, took out a pair of dry cloths from the trunk, sat in and changed into them. Sitting inside she looked at her phone. Now she remembered those missed calls. In the excitement she decided to call back on that number. The phone rang. She waited. The ring went on and as she felt someone had picked up the call it got cut. A voice came, “Jahaan.” Jahaan looked around , there was no one. She carefully sat back straight in the driver’s seat. She was a bit frightened because the whole place was empty. People never wandered in this part of the waters. Again a voice said, “I am right behind you Jahaan.” She turned around in horror. She saw a man sitting in the back seat of her BMW. She couldn’t believe it. It was Polo Skins. She said, “You!! You’re that guy who came to my office yesterday. You scared me! What are you doing here? How did you get in?” Never encountered such a situation in her life she was clearly freaking out inside. But it never showed on her face. “Well, it’s not easy to find you that’s for sure,” he winked at her with a naughty grin. Her excitement seemed less now. “So how often do you come here? It’s a beautiful place indeed. And you don’t mind taking chances in your life.” She looked at him as if she didn’t understand what he was talking about. “You, sitting on the edge of that platform and those massive waves splashing on you.” “I’m used to it. I love the water splashing on me. The thrill excites me.” She went on in her excitement, forgetting all that had happened. Polo listened. Then he said,” what if you were sitting on the edge and suddenly something pulled you into the sea. Something you couldn’t see or describe. And you felt that thing holding your legs and pulling you inward but you couldn’t do anything about it. No use of shouting out for help because there was no one around to listen to your cry. Just you in this empty surrounding with the waves roaring, swallowing you and you couldn’t do anything about it. Even if you held the edge of the platform with your hands, you had no chance. You wouldn’t hold on for long. You would let go at some point because you knew there is no way out. And..” Polo paused. Jahaan froze with fear. What was this man saying! This was horrifying. She had never thought of any such thing happening to her. She had never ever thought about dying. She was terrified. Her lips couldn’t move. She sat up straight in the driver’s seat staring at the sea in front of her. Polo touched her shoulder. She turned towards him all of a sudden, coming back to her senses. “Shut up”, she said, “what nonsense are you talking! This isn’t possible! Stop making up stuff.” She was terrified deeply. But she wasn’t that easy to break. She yelled,” Get out of my car. I don’t want to see you again. And how did you even get here!!” She didn’t wait to get a reply. As soon as he got off she drove away leaving him behind. She was going insane after listening to that man. She put on some soft music to calm herself. As she left the beach she drove her BMW at 180 km per hour. But gradually she slowed down as her heart beat became normal. She took to the highway for a longer drive back home. She felt like meeting up with some people but then she decided to stay alone. So she parked her BMW near the highway and sat there alone listening to music. It was now 9 pm. She decided to head back home. Today she decided to eat at the south Indian restaurant near her office. She ordered a large dosa, mutton curry and idli. She enjoyed her dinner, paid the bill and came out. As she was walking out of the restaurant she reached out for her phone in her pant pocket, but it wasn’t there. She checked her other pocket and her coat pockets. Then she looked at her car. She could see her phone ringing. She quickly opened the car door and as soon as she pressed the receive button it got cut. She saw 15 missed calls, from that same number. Sitting in car she kept staring at the phone in her hand. Who could it be? So crazy to call me fifteen times and couldn’t leave one message if it were important. She thought to herself, I won’t call back, let that person call again if he wanted. She wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. She put on her seat belt and drove towards her home. Sitting in her bed all ready to sleep she started thinking, tomorrow is Sunday. I don’t have to worry about going to office. I can sleep longer. And with this thought she slept off. Her eyes opened, she checked the time in her phone it was 10 am. She decided to get up, made a cup of coffee and went out into the balcony. She sat there staring at the beach, people enjoying in the waves. She loved being alone. Her way of enjoying life was to sit back and see the drama unfold rather than being a part of it. It was lunch time and she was in the mood to cook something delicious. She took out a chunk of  meat and some vegetables from her fridge. Marinated it and put it in the oven to bake. She took the vegetables and started cutting them. She seemed pretty happy. This was what that was different about her, she found joy in doing little things. Singing to herself in the kitchen, her eyes went on her phone and all of a sudden she decided to call on that unknown number. She dialed it, the phone started ringing. She felt some sort of suspense as the ring went on. No one was picking up. And then phone got cut. She felt disheartened. She said to herself, never mind and continued singing and chopping the vegetables. After sometime she heard some noise, it came from her balcony. She stopped her work and carefully listened. She heard nothing. But just to be sure she walked towards the kitchen door which opened into the balcony and peeped. There was someone in her balcony, a man! She couldn’t recognize him because his back was facing her. She got frightened. She quickly got a knife from the sink which was near by and called out,” Who are you?” The man didn’t reply. He was turning around and she continued,” you better don’t try any tricks , I have a butcher’s knife in my hand and I’ll stab you if needed.” Her voice was still magical but had a stronger tone. He turned around, and said,” you wouldn’t need to.” She was dumb struck. She couldn’t believe her eyes. It was Polo Skins. Again! How on earth did he get up there. Her apartment was on the 10th floor. “What are you doing here? How did you know where I live? And how did you get up here?,” looking down from the balcony. “Well that I leave for you to imagine,” Polo said rubbing his hands against each other and dusting off his clothes. Jahaan starred at him. “You have one of the best houses in Chennai with such a beautiful view from your balcony,” Polo spoke looking around. She didn’t even invite him in; but he made his way through the balcony into the kitchen as if he was at a friend’s place. And she followed him into the house without stopping him or saying anything to him. There was something about Polo that she couldn’t say no to. Whenever he appeared she was spell bound by the way he talked . He entangled her with strings which pulled her towards him. It seemed that she could do nothing. She followed him as he spoke. Now they were in the dining room. He pulled out a chair and sat on it. “Can I have some water please,” Polo asked. Jahaan, standing beside the table said,” yeah sure” and rushed to the kitchen to get it. She brought him water and sat opposite him watching closely. “Aaah, that feels nice. So what are you baking? I smell something delicious,” Polo asked raising his nose and taking in the aroma of the baking meat. “Steak, it’s in the oven baking,” she said. “I love steak, medium rare, that’s the best thing I could think of for a Sunday lunch.” “You can stay for lunch if you like,” Jahaan offered him. “That’s sweet of you. I’d like to. Thank you, ” Polo said happily accepting the offer. She went into the kitchen to finish it up. He walked around in the house carefully inspecting anything and everything he could touch. Jahaan called out, “ Lunch is ready, you can come.” Polo quickly kept back whatever he had touched and went to the dining room. “Your house is really beautiful. I wish I had such an apartment”, Polo said. Jahaan smiled and keeping the stake on the dining table. They  began eating. “Umm, this is just the best food I have ever tasted in my life. You’re like the perfect woman who can never exist in this world.” “Oh stop it, its nothing great”, Jahaan said as if she knew he was just trying one of his tricks again. After having lunch they decided to watch a movie. Both of them sat on the couch watching an old romantic classic. It was so quiet all around. One could only hear the actors talking and the sea roaring silently in the background. There was a girl walking through the woods all alone. It was a wintery evening, cold breeze blowing and the sun setting behind the mountains. It was foggy and gloomy in the woods. She was walking slowly, following the narrow path between the tall trees. Her hands sunk into her coat pockets and her head covered with a furry cap and boots, she looked up to see the tall trees and light piercing through them from what was left of the setting sun, she breathed in the fresh, eucalyptus scented air and walked. Suddenly a beast like animal appeared in front of her. She screamed. She turned around and started running. It was a huge, ugly beast, now running behind her, roaring. It was hairy, dark, it had sharp long teeth like an elephant’s tusk. But it wasn’t white, it was blue in color. It was a weird creature, like no other animal. She was frightened to death, she was panting, running as fast as she could, but the beast wanted her. It went after her roaring, it’s roar echoed in this silent forest. There was no one around, not even a bird. She reached the end of the forest. In front of her was a cliff. She looked down, it was a bottomless valley. She turned around, the beast was coming after her.  She didn’t know what to do. And as the beast leaped to grab her, she jumped.
Jahaan woke up all of a sudden, sweating and breathing deeply. Her heart was beating really fast, she looked around, she was on the couch and Polo was gone. She was frightened. She didn’t know what was going on. She burst into tears. That had never happened before. Jahaan had never cried like this for a very long time. She couldn’t help it. So much was going on all of a sudden. She didn’t do much that day.
Next day, there was a party at Mister Khan’s residence. He was celebrating his 50th Wedding anniversary. And of course Jahaan was invited. Sitting in front of the dressing table, looking at herself in the mirror and then the invitation card Mr Khan had sent. She didn’t know what to do. She was frightened, she was confused more than that. She opened her closet, took out a black dress, laid it in the bed and got lost in her thoughts again. She was strong, strong enough to take on anything. She said to herself and got ready. She drove to Mr Khan’s house in her BMW. She entered the gates, it was a palace! Both sides there were huge gardens, and a waterfall in the front. It was just like a British bungalow. It was just gorgeous. She got off her car, handing the keys to the valet. She had that black dress on. It was a one shoulder dress, knee length extending till the floor from the back with silver embellishments all over. She had a high bun and long silver ear rings on. She was dazzling in the night lights, people would fall dead just looking at her. She climbed the stairs and entered a huge hall full of people. There was an orchestra playing in the background, people were talking, laughing, eating from the buffet. It was grand. And as she entered Mr Khan greeted her, “So wonderful to have you. I was hesitant you would come.” “Oh mister Khan why wouldn’t I come? It’s always a pleasure meeting you. And congratulations on your 50th anniversary. I got you a small present,” said Jahaan. “Thank you Jahaan,” Mister Khan said taking the gift. Mister Ulfat Khan, that was his name. He was one of the richest man in India. He owned a car company. He had his business all over the world. He was a 5’8” tall man, with a round face, French beard and tiny hair standing up like a porcupine as if how much ever he tried the hair wouldn’t fall sideways. He was trimmed from head to toe. He went to the gym every single day of the year. It was his discipline which brought him so much success.
They went in and continued talking. It was 9 o’clock now. Jahaan was standing near the fruit salad table with a vine glass in her hand. The party was in full swing. There were couples dancing, old and young. Mr Khan and his wife also joined in. She looked at them and smiled.  Her phone began to ring, she opened her clutch and saw, it was the same number calling and there were twelve missed calls already there. She stared at the phone ringing. Suddenly a voice from behind said, “would you like to dance?” Jahaan turned around, there was a man. “Hi, I am Ismail,” the man said. He was a handsome, tall guy. Jahaan didn’t recognize him. “Hi, do I know you?” she asked. “I’m Mr Khan’s son, Ismail Khan,” he smiled and said. She suddenly lost her senses, she went blank. Last week she was accused of killing this man and here he was, standing right in front of her. She didn’t know how to respond. Her phone was still ringing. But he went on, “I have heard about you a lot from my father. He’s really found of your work.” “Hold on, ill be right back,” said Jahaan and just walked out of the hall. She was now in the verandah, staring at the phone. “Not this time,” she uttered and through her phone into the pond which was right in front and walked back into the hall. “Sorry to keep you waiting Ismail. Shall we?” she said accepting his offer to dance. Ismail smiled, taking her hand and walked onto the dance floor. There was some sort of happiness in her. She started enjoying the evening. Everything seemed just right. Jahaan Singh was back. The bold and fearless woman now took the front stage. With her hand on his shoulder and his hand on her waist they danced, talked and laughed. It was like she had just set herself free. The air seemed fresh again. Something that weighed her down was gone, drowned in the water forever. She never saw Polo Skins again.

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