October 5, 2018

The Book Keeper (Part II)

(For Part – 1 click here -> http://www.nitatussiemussies.com/blog/the-book-keeper-part-1/)

 

“Listen I have informed the police and have sent all necessary documents. Hope she is found soon.”

“I really hope so. But I think we must once go to the book-keeper’s house and find out the truth ourselves”

“No please don’t. The police have specially warned me to do any such thing. He was simply talking to her. While investigating police went to his house too. He was found gardening in his home and said that he left the park after a while. We can’t take the law in our hand sweetheart.”

“Listen Simone. I will wait for another two hours max, and then I am going to bash this guy up real hard till he tells me where he has kept Myra. I know for sure it’s him who has done this”

Simone’s ear cell rang the moment she hugged Jeet to calm him down.

“What? Really? Thank God! You are bringing her home? Thank you so much.” Simone disconnected her cell pressing the button on her watch and hugged Jeet back tightly.

“They have found Myra at the park. They are bringing her back home.”

“Thank God! My little Myra. God knows what she had to go through”

They hugged and cuddled and cried around Myra for quite some time after an officer from the park dropped her home. Myra looked tired but happy, and she continuously wiped her parent’s tears assuring them that she is okay and have gone lost all by herself.

“But where did you get lost and how?”

“Mommy, I saw a beautiful butterfly and ran after her to get a better glimpse. And then when I lost her, I found myself in a place unknown to me. It wasn’t the park, but another beautiful place. There were lots of beautiful flowers and rabbits ran around. I even saw a squirrel family. I started playing with them till dusk fell. And then I suddenly realized that I am lost. I tried looking for a way out and shouted for help. I kept walking in different directions, and then I felt dizzy. When I woke up, I was in the park, and the officer woke me up with a splash of water on my face.”

“See. I told you not to mess up with the book-keeper. He did nothing.”

“Yes. But you only said he looks like a mysterious child kidnapper.”

“Yeah, that’s what people say. Well, now that Myra is back let’s not talk about him anymore. Myra, you look tired and famished. Let me get some algae biscotti for you, and then you take a bath, have dinner.”

Simone and Jeet fixed up the dinner together, and they all ate and chatted together after a long, long time. Simone promised to come back home a little earlier and spent more time with the family. And soon they settled little Myra in her room and retired to their bedroom.

Myra’s eyeball moved inside her shut eyelids for few minutes, and the moment she heard the click of her parents’ bedroom door, she leaped out of bed like a frog. Reaching out to her desk she opened her bag that she took to the park. There it was lying cozily within the fabric of the bag were two books. One her grandma’s and the other was a green paperback with a girl’s face drawn on it and the name “Matilda” printed.

She pulled out both the books and remembered the little adventure she had today afternoon.

“You sure you want to do this?” The man with a French beard and white cap had asked when she followed him through the park towards an unattended bush.

She nodded excitedly.

“Be careful. Follow my steps closely, else you might get hurt” He said as he pushed the branches up from his hands making a bridge like structure for her to pass through.

“My name is Abir Ghosh, and I work as a book-keeper. But, you can call me Abir Uncle if you want to” he introduced himself speaking as softly as possible.

They walked for some time and then there was a bright circular patch of grass. Inside it was another circle demarcated by a fine line only visible when you are close enough. Mr. Ghosh stood inside the inner uncle and pulled Myra inside.

And then he took out something from his trouser pocket that looked like a car key and pressed it.

Whoosh!

The grassland where Myra was standing jerked and slipped down smoothly. Scared by the sudden movement, Myra clung to Mr. Ghosh and closed her eyes. Within moments she felt she was again on a stationary platform and slowly opened her eyes.

“Sorry! I should have warned you. It was a kind of lift that brought us down. But we must step away fast and let it go back to avoid any suspicion” Mr. Ghosh pulled her few steps away pressed the remote again to send the lift back.

It took her eyes a while to adjust in the dark, but what she saw took her breath away. Rows and rows of books stacked in tall shelves ran all around her.

“Oh my God! So many real books” Myra screamed, her voice breaking in excitement.

She feels a tingling sensation in her head and starts giggling. Mr. Ghosh takes her to a desk where a lady was reading a book. As they came near the lady looked at them through her glasses and gave a sigh.

“Abir, I told you not to bring kids here. It could be dangerous for us. We don’t want to be exposed. People will laugh at us and might create a problem. Some of the books are rear and could be confiscated by the museum. We don’t want to lose this last resort where we read paperbacks at peace. Do we?”

“No Ramola. Not at all. But, I saw a great urge for paper books in the eyes of this girl. And why not? Do you know who she is? Her great-grandmother was a great writer. Look she has her book too with her. Show her Myra” Mr. Ghosh replied gesturing Myra to open her bag.

Myra took out the book and showed it to the lady in a purple jacket and brown hair. She took the book from Myra’s hand as if it was a precious item.

“Oh wow! It’s a real treasure. But what if she tells others?”

“She won’t. Will you? If you tell people no one will believe you and then you will never be able to come here.” Mr. Ghosh looked straight into her eyes squatting down and warned her.

“I promise. I will never ever say a word. But would you let me read books? I also want to write on papers with real pencils.”

“You will get all that you want related to papers here. But you need to keep this all a secret.”

“I will never tell anyone about this place if you let me come here often”

And that promise opened a new world for Myra. Mr. Ghosh settled with a book in a sofa, letting Myra go around the place on her own.

The place looked a little old and shabby and smelled damp. But for Myra, it was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. The air was heavy with the smell of leather and dust, of old parchment and binding glue. It smelled of secrets. She slowly moved towards the nearest bookshelf. Carefully she extended her arms and touched the books as if afraid that they might vanish. But they didn’t. And so, she touched few more books feeling the leather bindings. She smiled within herself as she realized that it is all for real and no dream. Finding her hesitant, Ramola picked up a “Supergirl” comic book and gave her to read. Myra sat beside Mr. Ghosh and read the thin book at one go. Impressed by her fondness for literature, Ramola was about to give her another book, but Myra instead asked for a pencil and a piece of paper to write.

“Oh, thank you, Mam. I love writing on paper.”

“What will you write?”

“Ummm…. Let me try and write a poem. I love poems.”

“Great! Go on” Ramola showed her a desk with a drawer.

“There’s an eraser and a sharpener in the drawer if you want. But please use them sparingly. We don’t have too many to waste.”

“Oh, my dear pencil where did you get lost

I wish I could get you at any cost.

The shades of your lead

On paper, so thin

Makes my heart soar

And urges me for more.

Oh, my dear pencil where did you go.”

Myra Carefully folded the paper and slid it inside the bag. The clock in her room struck ten, and she yawned feeling terribly sleepy. She took out the new book Ramola had lent her and opened it. The first page said, “A property of the secret library.” There was a little card inside that read “Membership Card.” Myra looked at her name on the card and kissed it several times before getting inside her quilt.

 

-Nita Bajoria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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