The biggest Fir in the world!
Now that I have almost killed myself @PureGym this morn, I can get on with the rest of my weekend ;)
Recap: Ruby Iyer is pushed in front of a local train in Bombay, and wakes up with super powers. Her world is shaken even more when she meets Edward; now what will she do on coming face-to-face with her adversary The Hand. Read on—
“OMG, OMG,” grabbing the helmet next to her, Ruby wore it once more.
“What are you doing?” Pankaj looked at her in surprise.
“Shhh! Don’t speak loudly, or he—“ she nodded towards the man now seated at the far end of the café “—will hear you!” Ruby cautioned him, lowering her voice even as she spoke.
“Him, him—the Hand, he is here!”
“Its him Panky, HIM!” Panic bubbled up in her throat lending a shrill edge to her voice. “He’s the one who felt me up and pushed me under the train, the one who—“
“Keep your voice down!” Now, it was Pankaj’s turn to shush her! Ruby immediately shut her mouth, knowing he was right; she had been on the verge of getting hysterical. Ruby took in a deep breath and tried to calm herself.
“What is he doing now?” Pankaj asked.
Ruby peered through the darkened glass of the helmet. “Damn! I can’t see properly through this thing!”
“If you insist on wearing it all the time… we’ll have to make you one that looks a lot more stylish!”
“He is coming this way! Pankyyy!” Dropping down to her knees, Ruby crawled under the table, hating herself for feeling this scared; why was it that even thinking of that incident, of what he had done to her, made the hair on the nape of her neck stand on edge. He couldn’t harm her, now she was in a civilised space—a coffee shop for heaven’s sake! Far more disciplined that a local train station, there were no heaving hordes here; people sat amicably at their tables and drank mochas; plus there was air-conditioning and—
“Ruby, why are you hiding under there?” Pankaj’s voice—slightly choked—as if he was trying to hold back his amusement, cut through her thoughts.
Ruby looked at what she could see of Pankaj, under the table; his legs. “Because that horrible man is here and I don’t want him to see me. What does it look like Panky? Don’t you dare laugh at me—are you laughing at me?”
“Ruby!” He was speaking to her now as if to an errant child, his voices flat with patience: “aren’t you forgetting something?”
“What?!!” She replied impatiently, craning her neck, trying to see where her tormentor was bumping her head against the underside of the table! Owww! Despite or perhaps because of the helmet her head now hurt like crazy!
“You now have—” He peered under the table, “superPOWERS!” He said raising his voice.
“Yes… oh!” It was the first time—in all the time she had known him that Ruby could recall Pankaj ever getting angry with her.
“Come out of there Ruby; be a—“
“Man?” Ruby interjected, still digesting what he had said.
“I was going to say super-hero!”
“… Heroine!” She shot back, wondering if she dared believe in herself.
“Whatever! Just sit up already, I am getting a crick in my neck, looking down at you like this!” He retreated, leaving her with conflicting thoughts. Damn! All those years of conditioning, were coming to the fore: of being told not to stand out lest she draw attention to herself; of simply keeping her head down and taking the path of least resistance, but never picking a fight, even if it was misconstrued as not standing up for herself. It was what Pankaj called: her South-Indian-Vegetarian sensibilities—that absolute need to fit in, staying safe and secure, which now rang alarm bells, questioning the logic behind her actions.
Don’t think! Don’t think too much. Just do it! She crawled up, turning around to lever herself up, from under the table, back onto the chair; she leaned back, taking a deep breath, rubbing her hands together in disgust, to flick the dust from the ground which had jumped onto them, readying herself. She followed The Hand as he walked to a table by the window diagonally opposite to her, half way between the entrance and where she was. Picking up a menu he studied it: as if reading a coffee shop list of goodies on offer for the first time.
“Go!!! Ruby!” Pankaj hissed at her, his brows furrowing in anger or was it disappointment?
“I am, I am!” She swallowed, trying to bite down the anxiety at having to face her opponent. Was this what they meant by coming face to face with your creator? He had created her—in a manner of speaking—hadn’t’ he?
“What happened to my super heroine, my Roarring Rani, my Pralay Padmini?” Pankaj chided her.
“Yeeesh! Stop, stop! I hate those horrible nick names.”
“Then don’t think so much. Just do something about that villain,” he jerked his neck towards where The Hand, was now beckoning the girl behind the counter to take his order.
She got to her feet “Okay, then.” She squared her shoulders, preparing for the inevitable: “here I go.”
Just then a gaggle of aunties walked in through the door obscuring her line of sight. Blobs of moving colour they were, sheathed in silk salwars, wrapped in tight backless cholis over which their overfed flesh popped, sporting manicured red tipped fingernails topped off with coiffed hair.
“Jesus…. the age factor of the place has suddenly gone up exponentially!” Pankaj shuddered in typical Panky fashion.
Ruby wrinkled her nose, as the air blowing in from the street wafted over to her now, burdened with a liberal sprinkling of Poison.
“Saroooj… “ One of the gaggle screeched, “Isn’t that the latest LV model?”
Said Saroooj turned around to her overweight companion: “but of course sweetie, André himself brought it for me, all the way from Pah-r-is.”
“But Indubabhi, aren’t we going to play Housie! I was so looking forward to our weekly game!” Before Ruby could take another foot forward the women were standing over The Hand. “Hullo! Beta, this is our table!”
“Kisne kaha?” The Hand replied belligerently.
“Uh! Oh!” Panky exclaimed under his breath, “that was not a good move!”
“Yeh reserved hai!” Indu-bhabhi picked up the sign, which had been conveniently turned facedown, waving it under his nose!
“I just ordered…” the man whined
“Up” Indubhabhi gestured, pointing to the door.
“Bitch…” He said loud enough for Ruby to hear.
In response Saroooj clasped his ear, raising him to his feet smartly: “haven’t you been taught to be polite to your elders?”
And hell hath no fury like a kitty party scorned! Ruby smothered a chuckle, as The Hand was marched a few steps away from the table; before the women immediately occupied it, promptly losing interest in him after that.
As she watched, The Hand moved to another table, where a girl was sat on her own, working on a mac. She saw him grin before he sat at the adjoining table, very close to her and reached out a hand to her knee, stroking it. The girl continued to work, raising her right hand from the keyboard to absently push his out of the way, before continuing to work.
Ruby looked on disbelieving, as The Hand reached out once more—“Heyyyy!” She yelled, feeling the familiar red-hot anger pump through her blood cells, firing up those mitochondria, so that a burst of adrenaline jumped through her veins, popping the sensitive nerve endings.
She was back! The Hand looked up: Ruby could see the lascivious grin on his face fade to one of shock. Oh! Yeah! Recognise me, don’t you? He turned, running out through door of the coffee shop. Ruby burst into a sprint, taking off after him.