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  • Prachi Jhawar

When Gold Doesn't Glisten

Poraves were one of the busiest places in the city. It was a hot spot for numerous corporate headquarters and start-up businesses. At any time of day, we could witness bustling, chattering roadways thronging with vehicles.

Even I was one of these firms' hardworking employees. My life had been on the wrong track for the past several months, resulting in unwanted circumstances that had made it difficult for me to concentrate on my work. However, because I had a deadline today, I opted to do my unfinished job without further delay, saving up more bundles of work. As I got more and more engrossed in work, little did I realise that it was already sunset and my colleagues were there in front of me saying that the weather forecast for the night was predicted to be stormy and dark with dynamic lightning, high tides, and heavy rainfall? However, I had little faith in weather forecasts. Whenever the weather prediction suggested a heavy day, it generally turned out to be a cheerful sunny time of day. Moreover, I was driven to meet my deadlines to accomplish the work. So, I refused to accompany them but assured them that I would leave in an hour or so. Soon, that one hour expanded to four hours until I completed my work. After several hours of hard work and achieving my goal, as I stepped out of the office, I saw that the weather prediction was true this time.

Thunder and lightning shattered the silence, purring with energy, while the boiling, demonic heavens loomed above me in midnight blackness. The roads were deserted.As I rolled my head all over, I saw that most of the windows were shut and lights of the houses were switched off, making it appear as if there had been a power cut. Due to the terrible climatic conditions, the street light flickered, making it look like a haunted spot. I kept looking for the bus, and I noticed a tall, gloomy, suspicious man glaring at me constantly. I was terrified by his bulging eyes, scar on his right brow, and a handkerchief tied around his mouth. I got my small phone out of my handbag to make a call, hoping that seeing me busy talking to someone would get rid of him. However, the battery of my phone was dead. Due to this, I couldn't make a phone call. The night was becoming increasingly wild and gloomy. It had also begun to drizzle as slow voices could be heard. I contemplated approaching the man and pleading with him to stop staring at me, but I lacked the courage to do so.

Different thoughts flooded my mind about the man's intentions based on his appearance. I thought perhaps he was a stalker who had been watching me secretly and that this was how he picked his victim, or maybe he was a robber, or maybe he intended to harm me physically or mentally. With all these negative thoughts in mind, I had no choice but to go down to my house by myself because the bus didn't appear to be approaching as the night grew darker and wilder. As I walked through the rainy streets, I noticed the same man following me, staring at me at the bus stop. For a minute, I paused and watched the man from the corner of my eye. He had paused too, making it clear that he was following me. Seeing all this, I started running while keeping a watch on the man behind me and took the opportunity to pass through the dark streets in the mist and make my way through to my home.

In my panic, I did not realise that I was being followed up to a point where I could not run anymore. While huffing and taking a long breath, I did not notice a big pothole under my feet until I fell into it. The man following me caught up with me, showing a big purple envelope. "Is this yours?" I was stunned by his question, as I tried to get up, but fell again, and got my head into that pit of the pothole when I lost consciousness. I couldn't hear any more or see anything either. As I gained consciousness, I found myself lying down on a hospital bed with a doctor examining me. He looked just like the guy who got hold of me when I fell into that pothole and who was staring at me. Upon seeing him, numerous questions filled my mind.

Was he a doctor? Then why was he dressed like a homeless strange man? Was it his part-time job? What envelope was he talking about the previous night? God! I just couldn't figure out an answer. Until he examined me and replied that I just had a minor fracture in my left hand. Just as I was going to ask him about the previous night, he replied that he was also waiting for a bus that night, and as he was waiting, he was watching a cat go and sit on a wall, which was just behind me, and I thought that he was staring at me. Then he added that while I was trying to get the phone from my bag, an envelope form fell out. When he noticed the fallen envelope, he discovered that I had already taken my way, so he followed me to hand it over. Then because of the rain, I slipped and fell into the pothole. Huff, it was total hopscotch but, at this point, I realised that appearances are deceiving.

When we meet someone for the first time, we tend to judge them primarily on their appearance. Appearances can be deceptive. Here, I thought this man was a no- good person and a stalker, but he was just waiting for a bus and watching a cat before risking his safety in that harmful weather to give me something I had dropped.


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