One fine morning, as I was preparing my breakfast, I heard a knock on the door. I opened it and was surprised to see Kathryn standing there, terribly disturbed and her usually rosy cheeks, displaying a pallid appearance. Before I could ask her anything, she said, "Subroto! Something terrible has been happening to me during the past week. I need your help."
"Please calm down, take a cup of coffee and tell me exactly what has happened," I asked.
"I am being stalked! I received late night telephone calls from a stranger, who would cut off when I lifted the handset. Last night I saw a man waiting in his car on the other side of the road and looking towards my house."
"Did you see him? How does he look like?" I asked.
"I didn't see him clearly in the night, but, when he got out of his car for a moment, I saw that he was a tall, burly man, around six feet, with trimmed beard. He looked frightening."
"I think the best course of action for you is to report the matter to the police," I suggested.
"Oh! No Subroto! You know the case of Julia, the reporter from the Herald, who reported to the police that she was stalked. She then simply disappeared and her dead body was found after two days on the edge of the forest. These people are dangerous and can go to any extent to ensure that their victims obey them. I am in the midst of a storm and I really don't know what to do. I am terribly afraid."
"You have to free yourself from the grip of this storm. Like waves come and go, storms in your life too will subside. My 'Guru' told me that when you stop resisting the storms of life and start accepting them with open arms, they will subside on their own. When they subside, you experience that inner cool, soft, delicate aspect of yourself. In that space of calm, all the anxiety, fear lose their grip on you and you become yourself again. Love dawns. That is the purpose of all spiritual practices and meditation," I consoled her.
"Oh I see! So, like me, you've also sought a 'Guru'. But, do their philosophies really work in practice? Can your Guru solve my problem?"
"Of course! Their philosophies are meant to be practiced. I will solve your problem by applying my Guru's philosophy. Only you must listen to my advice," I said.
"I am prepared to do anything you suggest, but don't ask me to report to the police," she said.
"OK, then, go home and be calm. Don't reveal your anxiety and fear and be your normal self. If you're too afraid, I can give you company at night. I'll sleep in the outer room and you can keep your bedroom door locked. I can promise you, I won't even attempt to peep!"
"Tut, tut..! It's not that, Subroto! I know you're such a sweet gentleman. I bet, you won't know what to do, even if I keep my bedroom door open! My only concern is that these guys will come to know that you are here and may harm you. They usually keep guns with them," she said.
"Ok, then, you must promise to keep in touch with me at hourly intervals and inform me, at once, if you notice anything suspicious. You know, I'm very much worried about your safety. Use the mobile while communicating," I requested.
Kathryn went home and I spent a disturbed evening anticipating her calls and ready to move out on a moments notice. I received two calls which conveyed that everything was Ok. Then, around ten in the night, I received a desperate call from her saying that the man has parked his car in front of her house and watching the entrance. Her voice was faint and she appeared to be frightened.
"Don't be afraid. I'm on my way and shall manage the situation with my Guru's blessings," I told her.
I drove like hell and reached her house as fast as I could. I saw a car parked in front of her house and a man sitting inside and smoking. I parked my car a little distance away. I got down, put a cigarette in my mouth and pretended to search my pockets for a lighter. Then I walked towards the other car and asked the man sitting inside, as politely as possible, if he can lend me his lighter. He got out from the car and handed me his lighter. I lighted my cigarette and returned it to him, with a word of thanks. I saw that he was indeed a burly man and I was no match for him in a straight fight.
I casually asked him if he was waiting for someone.
"I am Bryan Hunter, reporter for the newspaper, 'The Boston Noise'. I am waiting for Kathryn. My editor asked me to interview her regarding her recent article on 'a perfect marriage' published in the 'Washington Bugle'. I have been trying to contact her during the past week, but apparently she was very busy and did not answer my calls," he said.
"Oh! Is that the case? I am a close friend of Kathryn and have come to see her. I'm sure she would not have any objection to being interviewed by you. Come on with me right away," I said, greatly relieved that the mystery was solved.
I knocked at the door. Kathryn opened it cautiously, but immediately closed it on seeing Bryan.
"It's OK! He is a reporter and has come to interview you. He had phoned you several times, but found no response. So, he has chosen this time, certain that he will meet you," I said.
After a lapse of few minutes, she opened the door and led us in. My first request to her was to make three cups of hot coffee. The interview was great, particularly, when it is done while sipping hot coffee! Bryan thanked us profusely after the interview and left.
"Kathryn, did you suspect that I had switched over to his side, when you saw me with him?" I asked her, after he had gone.
She stared at me admiringly and said, "It is not unusual for someone to change sides with a little money, or even a bottle of wine. But, I knew, that your Guru's teachings will never permit you to do this. I was a bit surprised at the turn of events and it took some tome for me to adjust to the reality. That explains the delay in opening the door."
"Now you know that one should not draw conclusions without carefully studying and analyzing the situation. You have unwittingly painted a nasty picture of Bryan, when he was such a nice person," I joked.
"Yeah! I really feel embarrassed. Please don't embarrass me further by repeating it!" she pleaded. "You can stay in my house for the night, if you want to. I'll keep my bedroom door open! It's a promise."
P.S. : This story and the characters are fictional.