“ The Nuclear Plant has accidentally released a large amount of Radioactive energy. However , the energy has been released in the form of a strong beam and is estimated to have hit right in the middle of the uninhabited forest, no effects and deaths have been reported. The experts suggest that, as all the energy has been shot out in the form of a beam, only a limited area is affected but the effect is extreme.” Announced the news reporter of a local news channel as a part of the breaking news.
Sameer, a man in his late twenties, was walking on a barren land flattened by a massive turbulence , which he assumed to be an earthquake. His ears were ringing like a church gong and he couldn't take it anymore. Days had passed and he hadn't sniffed a grub . He was bruised all over with fresh blood oozing out. His face was scarred, his eyes were purple, his hair was unkempt and clothes were torn. Everyone around him was dead as they were crushed under the rubble while some had just fallen down with blood oozing out of their ears. His fate would have been the same if his prison was a few metres nearer to the headquarters. He felt a tingling sense of pleasure when he saw his torturers, lying dead and lifeless. He saw a well built middle-aged man, lying lifeless, Sameer kicked his face with anger and murmured , “ Rot in hell ”. His prison had broken open due to the turbulence and finally he swayed in the cool and fresh breeze. He suddenly remembered a woman, playing with her hair and staring at him lovingly as he sang songs composed by him. “ Tara, my dear wife”, he whispered. The thought of her smile would heal all his pains. All of a sudden he saw a group of men entering the site with guns in their hands, they weren't the police, they had come there to kill him. A bullet was shot which he dodged. He paced up and began running dodging over the dead bodies and rubble. He limped hurriedly but accidentally fell into a pit. The pit was pitch dark, and seemed to be a horrific abyss. He felt his body getting weightless as a strong force pulled him deeper and deeper. The energy inside the pit was so high that it increased his speed exponentially and he seemed to travel at a speed faster than light. The energy inside was so intense that he blacked out.
Four months before:
Murthy stood there, shocked as he watched Sameer being dragged and beaten. Sameer yelled in pain and fell on his knees when he was kicked on the back of his knee. The men began dragging him and Murthy pretended to join them. A man punched Sameer face, turning his head towards Murthy’s face. Murthy looked worried. Sameer looked at Murthy and mouthed , “ Continue, the job. Don't inform them that I have been caught, it will disrupt the information we might get from them. ” A young woman tried to run towards him, her father held her wrist firmly and said, “ He is not your husband Dear, Forget him”. “ What about our unborn child, Father?”. “ Your child doesn't deserve this abhorrent man”, replied her father. “ You will get what you deserve, you devil.” said Sameer and spat a blood filled blob on the ground. Bhimdev was the head of the gang and was merciless and brutal. He wasn't the kind who gives a second thought before slicing someone's throat. The next instant he pulled out his signature pocket knife and walked towards Sameer laughing maniacally. He bent down, placed the knife at Sameer’s throat and whispered, “ I knew something was amiss when the girls escaped and my men were caught. We never fail Sameer. We knew that we had a snake among us. My boys may go through hell but will not utter a syllable. Now with you gone, our gang will rise and shine ”. Bhimdev pressed the knife a bit deeper, cutting the skin as the blood oozed out. All of a sudden, the young woman pulled his hand back and urged, “ Kill me and my unborn child first, father” . Bhimdev stopped, his daughter was the apple of his eye. Sameer was dragged from the underground Headquarters to a dark and dingy prison with the foul smell of rotting bodies. A lid on the ground in the middle of an uninhabited thick forest which seemed to be a manhole led to a whole new world. It had well constructed rooms meeting all purposes. Sameer had been living in one such room for a year, the dungeon wasn't very different, apart from the smell, darkness and solitary living.
He suddenly snapped out his thoughts as he regained consciousness, he thanked his stars as he was alive. The thought of uniting with Tara was the only inspiration which made him hold onto his sanity in the dungeon . Tara was his life force without whom he was just a breathing corpse. His heart yearned to meet her and his two little kids. He began searching for the other end of the tunnel in which he had fallen into. As he walked around he realized that he was in a Strange garden, there were small tortoise shaped robots on the ground, with pipe like attachments rising from its body, moving around and sprinkling water. They suddenly popped out a wheel from below and moved to the adjacent flower bed. He saw a beautiful house facing the garden and wondered whose it was. All of a sudden a very strange looking car halted in front of the house, Sameer quickly limped and hid behind the bush. This car didn't have wheels, they had four ducts at the bottom which emitted gas just enough to raise the car a few centimetres from the ground. He couldn't believe his eyes, he had never seen such a car on any website on the internet. He felt as if he was in a new world. A young man and his family including his wife and two children got out of the car. “ Rohit, How do I look?” asked the woman. “ Perfect as always”, said Rohit with a wink. Sameer smiled and thought to himself, “ Oh, he shares my son's name and I can't wait to meet my son, I guess he has started going to Kindergarten”. He continued watching and saw another man and his wife coming out of the house to greet this family. “ Brother! Late as usual”, said the other man with a laugh. “ When you have kids, you’ll know how stubborn they can be Mohit”, said Rohit nudging his brother. Sameer was taken aback, he thought, “ Mohit! That's the name of my second newborn son. What a coincidence?”. All of them sat in the hall, Sameer crawled near by to get a good look at them through the glass window. He saw an old woman in her seventies sitting on a chair. He squinted his eyes, to get a clearer look. He gasped, that old woman was none other than his wife Tara. He couldn't believe his eyes, his wife who was twenty two when he last saw her was now old and wrinkled. He looked around, nothing looked familiar, the buildings , vehicles and the dresses people were wearing. The women who wore shorts or sleeveless tops were confidently sporting their body hair, just like how men do. They had no trace of makeup, be it kohl or even a nude lipstick. He thought, “ These women here have to be applauded, they are breaking the established stereotypes ”. He walked up to a girl and asked her, “ Can you please tell me today’s date?” She replied, “ It's the 26th of June”. He continued, “ Can you please tell me the year too?”. She raised her eyebrows with surprise and replied, “ It's 2060, are you okay?”. He nodded his head, thanked her and went back near the glass window to hear their conversation. He couldn't believe this series of events, he was forty years ahead in future .“ This dress looks very pretty on you”, said one of her daughter-in-laws. “ Isha, my mother is the prettiest woman I have ever seen. Sameer was such a shameless human who left this beautiful woman to elope with a street rat” said Mohit. Sameer heard it and thought, “ Yes, I have done her wrong. Such a devoted and caring woman shouldn't have faced this”. “ He is your father, don't call him by his name”, said Rohit. Mohit replied, “ I have never seen how he looked like, neither did he ever spend a penny for me or even come to check if I am alive, I have no respect for him”. Sameer was disappointed, but he knew it wasn't Mohit’s fault. Suddenly a realization popped in his head, he never made it back to them after the blast. Mohit added, “ Sameer is a coward who runs away from responsibilities. We know that the other woman was very rich. He is a gold digger.” Rohit continued, “ Couldn't he have come to meet us at least once. Didn't he love us?”. “ Don't talk ill about your father, sons. He might have abandoned me, but I still love him and talking like this about him will hurt me too”, Tara said.
Tears flowed down Sameer’s eyes. His wife loved him though she thought that he had abandoned her. At the same time,Sameer was disappointed as he didn't like the way he was being remembered. He had risked his life to perform his duties towards his country as well as showered all love possible for his family except for one year. Sameer wondered, " Why didn't I return to my family after I would return from the future, will I be caught again?”. Rohit continued, “ If our step dad had not informed our mother about our father’s affair, she would have been waiting for him for years together. I am happy our mother married again and is living happily” . Sameer was taken aback, till now he thought that his family was assuming that he had an affair. He realized that someone actually told them, and that person even married Tara. He didn't want to be remembered as a cheater, he was actually a patriot. He had risked his life repeatedly by sending information about the organ smuggling gang thereby saving many girls who were lured in the promise of work.
Sameer wanted to go back to the present, as he knew he could change the future. He wanted to go back to his family without getting caught, before any other man poisons them against him. He began searching for the other end of the tunnel hoping to return back to the present and gain the trust of his family. He walked all over the huge garden and finally reached the backyard.
He saw an old man sitting on a chair with a cigar in his hand. He looked tormented and was mumbling to himself. Sameer took a closer look, it was none other than Murthy. Mohit came there and said, “ Dad, why don't you come in? The lunch is ready”. Murthy nodded his head. Mohit left the place. Sameer was Stupefied. Murthy was his childhood friend, more like his brother. Sameer had helped him fight against the bullies in school and even helped him prepare for his exams. He thought, “ Murthy cooked up stories just to get to my wife. He convinced poor gullible Tara and made her believe that I had an affair. I knew he had a thing for Tara since I introduced her to him during our college days. I can’t believe that he could stoop to this extent. He knew the exact reason why I married again, yet he lied and made them believe that I am a gold digger ” .
A few months earlier:
Murthy giggled and said, “ So you get to marry the daughter”. “ If this is what it takes, to earn her father's trust, I would”, replied Sameer. “ Fine, but you have to agree, the girl is smoking hot”, said Murthy and nudged Sameer with his elbow. Sameer replied, “ By marrying his daughter, I would save many other daughters. So I need to make this marriage look real, hope Tara understands” . "To understand Sameer, she must know that you are an undercover cop trying to bust an organ smuggler’s gang by marrying their head’s daughter but she has no idea what you are up to. She believes you are in Delhi, on an assignment. Poor woman, little does she know that her husband would be spending all his time pleasing a young voluptuous woman, while she spends all her time slogging for his kids and his parents" said Murthy. Sameer sighed as he wore his Kurta, a traditional Indian attire, and walked to the main hall. He saw Rani entering the hall wearing a magnificent red wedding dress and minimal jewelry. She was dusky, with very beautiful features and had left her long hair open which bounced as she gracefully walked. She looked ethereal like a warrior princess. He lowered his eyes out of guilt. Rani walked up to him and smiled. Sameer said, “ You look Beautiful Ta.. Rani”. Murthy said, “ I am no priest, but I would be glad to perform the duties of the priest”. Bhimdev excitedly shouted, “ Love is what matters, Murthy. You are just a prop. My daughter fell in love with Sameer from the day she set his eyes on him. Sameer, if you make my precious daughter shed a tear, I'll pluck out your eyes myself with my knife”. Saying so he laughed loudly along with all the members of the gang and hit Sameer’s back with a thud. Sameer chuckled nervously. Rani looked at Sameer, smirked and said, “ I won't even let him touch you, don't worry”.
He snapped out of his thoughts when he saw Tara enter slowly taking support of the walls. Murthy said, “ Do you think he is alive?”. “ You went there yourself right after the nuclear blast, you said he wasn't found in any of the neighbouring areas. You were even informed that he just disappeared once he fell in a pit”, Tara replied.
Sameer wondered, “ So it wasn't an earthquake, it was nuclear energy. The beam hit the area, forming a pit. The energy inside the pit was so high that it affected me by increasing my speed as my mass would always remain the same. As far as I know, we can time travel only if our speed is faster than the speed of light.”
Suddenly he felt himself falling on the ground as he realized that he couldn't return back. He had not traveled through a time machine, so there wasn't any button to press and go back.
He desperately wanted to make amends and win his family back. All of a sudden he remembered Tara’s words and wondered, “ How did Tara know about the blast? Did she know it all the time? Why would she lie to my Kids? Maybe she actually thought that I was dead or missing and didn't want to hurt the kids. ”
Murthy continued, “ Yes, the people I had sent to find him saw him fall in the pit and miraculously disappear”. Sameer remembered and thought, “ Those people who chased me didn't want to just find me, they wanted to kill me. How nicely he convinced Tara that he sent people to find me. He was the snake among us.”
All of a sudden a realization popped up in his head. He wondered, “ When I got caught, I assumed that the gang had spotted the bugs planted in their rooms. In that case, they should have doubted Murthy too, as we were always together.” His blood began to boil and he began shivering with rage as he mumbled “ That treacherous beast, he ratted me out and played on both sides”. He couldn't control his seething anger and wanted to rip Murthy's heart out his chest. All the love he had for Murthy vanished in a jiffy. Murthy was now his blood enemy.
Murthy continued with a sigh, “ Ask your unemployed sons Rohit and Mohit to find work. I can't feed them anymore. The guilt is killing me, Tara. I want to leave the gang”. Tara yelled, “ Are you crazy, I married you thinking that you are smart. I couldn't live anymore with that self righteous husband of mine. When all the other police personnel could gift their wives with diamond jewelry, he couldn't even buy me a snack whenever I wanted. I was fed up with his honesty and now I am fed up of your guilt. I thought that you were smarter, you would become the head of the Gang in a few years, which you couldn't. You instead let Sameer’s bastard son, Rajan become the head and you became their faithful sidekick. I wish Rajan and Rani had died in the blast along with Bhimdev, those wretched humans got lucky. Murthy, is it my responsibility to fill your head with ideas? All the money you have been earning by joining that gang is because of me. It was me who gave you the idea to play on both sides and get Sameer caught. You have no brains of your own Murthy. ”
Sameer’s heart broke, the snake was Tara all along.