Day 1 – 9 Oct 2017, Monday
A scraping sound of the table against the floor breaks the silence as she struggles to untie herself. Her hands and feet are tied up so tightly, that her effort fails. She heard the squishing sound but all her eyes can see was pitch darkness.
“Who is there?” 28-year-old Maisha (tied naked on the floor) screams with fear.
The sound gets louder and faster, she fears that someone is coming closer to her. Her fear rejects her believe that it’s someone who’d rescue her. A hand starts frisking her body. They both can’t see each other.
“Don’t touch me. Please.” The firmness in her voice turns into pleading as tears burst out.
“Please leave me, let me go.” She continues to beg. Suddenly she smells strong burning metal.
“AAAAAAAAA”, she screams in pain as the heated metal is pressed on the middle of her upper back.
The man leaves her in tears, tied to the floor.
She tries to touch the mark, but her hands couldn’t reach the spot. Her tears fail to wipe out the darkness in her eyes and her pain made her lie unconscious for the remaining day.
Day 2 – 10th October 2017, Tuesday
Maisha rolls her eyelids and squeezes her eyes shut against a bright light. She opens them in surprise, “I can see now?” She was rubbing her dry eyes when the light underneath the door was covered by a shadow. She could sense, the same person was coming in again.
Maisha has been missing for more than 24 hours and her partner seems worried now. Maisha and Dev have been living in together for 4 years. They both met at work and started seeing each other, 5 years back. Dev’s worried because it has never happened in these years, that he has no information where she was. He has already checked with family and friends, but his efforts were in vain. The last update from Maisha was that she was taking a cab back home.
“Should I wait for a few more hours or should I call the cops?” Dev is getting worried.
“I think I should call the cops before it’s too late”
Maisha opens her mouth to scream; she coughs and holds her throat in a shock. “I can’t scream?”
She tries again, but fails. The door opens and shuts, the man enters. She could see him approaching but couldn’t hear a thing. The person approaching is a man, average height and not so muscular. Wearing loose off-white pants and an untidy white shirt (not tucked in properly). A cloth covers half his face, not covering his unibrow and his short black hair. She again tries to pull herself out of the rope and fails. The man grabs her by her hair with one hand and tries to say something with the other hand. She fails to understand the sign language.
“Is he telling me why is he holding me in this room?” Maisha’s feeling helpless.
“I can’t even see his face.”
“I don’t know who he is?”
With her tied hands, she tries to reach to the cloth tied on his face. Before she could reach his face, the man bangs her hand on the floor. Her head was dripping blood and eyes couldn’t stay open for long. She lays lifeless on the floor.
A few hours later, when Maisha gains her consciousness, she smells the same metallic smell. She’s afraid as the man approaches and tries to scream. She struggles but fails and she gets the burning mark on her chest this time. Maisha’s hope is bottled-up by the mark, as her eyes once again surrender to the pain.
“Sir, I want to register a complaint.” Dev tries to explain the cops with sign language.
The officer can’t hear Dev and thus shakes his hand, trying to ask “What’s your complaint?”
He points to the picture of Maisha and tries to tell the cops that she’s missing.
The officer writes a few questions on a paper and hands it over to Dev to answer.
- When was the last time anyone saw her or spoke to her?
- Who are you? How are you related?
Dev writes the answers:
I spoke to her on Sunday Night, when she was coming back home from work. She calls me when she leaves work after a night shift. On Sunday she called me around 2am and told me she is sitting in the cab.
We live together. She has not come back home from work since 9th morning. Sir, I need your help, please help me.
After reading Dev’s answers, the officer writes more questions and the investigation continues. The officer returns assuring Dev that they will investigate and get back to him in some time.
Day 3 – 11th October 2017, Wednesday
“Dev” Maisha screams and wakes up from a much painless nightmare from the one which she’s living right now.
“I can scream, I can see” she again tries to release herself from the ropes she’s been tied to. Her mind still holds the hope but the body fails to support. She looks around the room. It’s an empty small room, where she lies tied up to a heavy wooden table. There is a wooden door, with the paint coming out. There is a small window near the roof, with a dirty exhaust. She can’t find her clothes, bag, shoes or anything. Her struggle to escape fails because the rope is made of nylon, every time she tries to pull her hands out; the rope leaves a mark on her hands. Sometimes even blood. Her hands and legs are tied far apart that she can’t even reach her shoulders with her hands.
“I don’t even have the strength to pull this table” she again burst into tears.
Dev decides to visit the police station and leaves home.
There is a sound of a key entering a keyhole in the door. The man is back. This time he has bought food for Maisha. He puts the plate next to Maisha, picks something from the plate and tries to feed her. She refuses and turns her face the other side to avoid what he’s feeding her. He was successful in pushing the food into her mouth.
“If I have to escape, I need strength. I should eat the food.” Maisha thinks to herself.
While she was still contemplating why is he feeding her, she realised there is a problem with the food.
“I can’t make out the taste of the food.” She’s still thinking in her mind.
Food felt like a tasteless sponge. She kept chewing, just to get the strength to plan her escape. As soon as she finished the food, the man was back to make a new mark on her body.
As soon as she saw him with the rod, she started pleading “Please, don’t. Why are you doing this? It hurts, please don’t.”
He presses the rod. A buzzing sound and Maisha screaming; she gets another mark on the back of her left thigh. Every time he puts a mark on her, it knocks her out completely and she wakes up the next day.
Day 4 – 12th October 2017, Thursday
Maisha wakes up and hopes someone would rescue her from this hell. Suddenly she realises the foul smell coming from the room has vanished. It’s Thursday, she would not smell the burning metal before it hits her body. She wishes it was Friday, at least she won’t feel the pain of the burning metal piercing into her body.
Dev is feeling helpless. He visits the police station every day but till now no progress has been made to trace and find Maisha. As Dev enters the police station, the officer informs that they have a suspect. Dev is hopeful again.
“The cab driver is also missing since Monday morning. Maisha was her last drop. And because it was Monday morning, they both couldn’t see. The driver’s cab was tracked down and we are hoping he has Maisha with him near that area.”
Dev is praying to find Maisha today itself.
“A team is going to the location. We will update you once we are back.” The officer keeps his hand on Dev’s shoulder assuring him that they will get Maisha soon.
The entire day has passed, Dev is getting restless and he decides to call the officer.
“Sir, did you find Maisha?”
“The driver had abandoned the car in a park. It will take time to search the place. We are trying to trace Maisha’s cell phone and driver’s cell phone. We have a lead, don’t worry we will get him.”
The fire alarm started buzzing. Dev didn’t realise the food he had kept for heating, has started burning. It’s Thursday, not his fault. He couldn’t smell the food burning, it already burnt to ashes.
Day 5 – 13th October 2017, Friday
“I have to get out.”
“I can’t die here. I can’t let this psycho kill me.”
Maisha knows its Friday and she can’t feel a thing. Today is the day when she can take the maximum pain and try and release herself from the rope she is tied to.
She stretches to reach the rope and try to open the knot with her teeth. Before she could finish her attempt, she could hear footsteps coming towards the door. She lay still on the floor. The man comes with the iron rod and again puts a mark, this time on her arm. This time Maisha didn’t feel the pain at all.
Dev is sitting lost in the balcony, thinking about Maisha. His cigarette is finished and it burnt his fingers, but he can’t feel a thing. Suddenly there is a vacuum in Dev’s life. He sits there for the entire day, gazing at the society park. He can hear children playing, he can see cars coming and going. He can smell the daisies on his balcony but can’t feel the pain that Maisha has been missing for the last 5 days.
Maisha thinks of a plan. It’s Friday and she can take as much pain as possible and tomorrow is Saturday when all her senses will work. That’s the day she must escape. The man feeds Maisha with more food. She eats without a protest. As the man leaves, Maisha gets on to the taste of chewing the rope to break free. For hours Maisha rubs her teeth against the rope. She bleeding yet can’t feel the pain. Finally just before the clock strikes midnight, her hands are free from the rope. She quickly tries to open the rope tied to her feet.
Day 6 – 14th October 2017, Saturday
The officer calls Dev, “We know where he has kept Maisha; we are going to get her today.”
Dev’s excited to see Maisha. Maisha stands at the door waiting for the man to come. As soon as the man opens the door, her plan is to push him and run as fast as she can. The man opens the door with a key, so she doesn’t know whether there’s a bolt from outside. All her senses alive, she wants to end this nightmare, it doesn’t matter whether she has no clothes, no phone or no money. She wants to live.
The door opens and as per plan, Maisha pushes the man who opens the door. It’s the cops. Maisha burst into tears. She can’t believe her luck. The cops give her clothes to wear and take her out.
“Don’t worry madam, we got the culprit.”
“Who was it?” Maisha is curious to know.
“The cab driver.” Officer answers.
Day 7 – 15th October 2017, Sunday
Maisha is not in shock. Dev does not rejoice. They both sit in the balcony like a log. They don’t know what happened, they can’t feel a thing. Why? Because it’s that day of the week when all your senses shut down. As accustomed to they eat and sleep.
Day 8 – 16th October 2017, Monday
Maisha’s scream wakes Dev up. She moves her hand on the bed looking for Dev. Dev gets her hand and gives her a hug.
“It’s over Maisha.” He consoles her.
“You are home with me.” She takes a deep breath. She tries and feels Dev’s face with her hands. Dev holds her hand and brings them closer to her lips and kisses them.