The early morning rays fell on Rohan’s face, he immediately placed his hand on his eyes trying to get the comforting shadow to avoid the brightness. The other hand scanned the bed trying to find Ananya. “Ananya” he called out. She did not answer.
He lay on the bed for another few minutes thinking she would return from the bathroom. Feeling restless he swiftly moved out of the bed, calling her out louder than before, “Ananya….where are you?” He opened the bathroom door and moved the shower curtain she was nowhere to be seen. He searched every corner of the two room suit at the Starlite Inn to avoid a chance of a foolish prank. She was absent.
He walked out of the room; a stout housekeeper gave a blank look. “Have you seen my wife, Ananya?” he questioned the housekeeper. “No sir, I didn’t see anyone go out, I am here since 30 minutes.” He ran through the floor and took the stairs down to the reception. Hurriedly he asked the receptionist, “Did you see Ananya, my wife?” The man behind the counter looked with an impassive face, “who wife…sir?”
Rohan furiously said, “Are you out of your mind?” And moved hastily towards the cafeteria. His eyes searched all over as he approached an old woman, “Aunty did you see a girl..I mean a woman here, she is short, this height, black eyes.” He gestured placing his hand near his shoulder depicting her height. “No beta, I haven’t.”
He was now worried and petrified. He rushed back to the reception, “Don’t you remember her, we checked in last night, you even asked me if I preferred a higher floor, I looked at her and she gestured its ok. Don’t you remember anything?” he blabbered in one breath.
“No sir. I was not in the night shift; I have just come an hour back that would have been my colleague.” Before the receptionist could speak further he started again, “Are you out of your mind? Call the police now, my wife is missing.” “Sir, did you try her mobile.” “No, in fact I am not able to find any of my belongings, can you please call the police. We have come by car from Mumbai to Pune and I checked my car is also missing. She has never taken the car without informing me.”
“Please calm down.” Pacified the receptionist as he picked up the phone and dialled the nearest police station. It rang.
“Aundh Police Station.” Voice on the phone.
“Sir, I am Raghubeer from Starlite Inn.” The receptionist said hesitantly.
“ha bola (please say).” He continued.
“Sir, there is a gentleman here, he says he came with his wife and she is……” the receptionist started narrating.
“Thamba ek minute, dusra phone vaajtoy. (Give me a moment please, the other phone is ringing.). interrupted the constable.
On the other phone, “ho saaheb, me lihitoh. Rohan….Ananya. Accident near Expressway exit.” He scribbled on his book as he spoke aloud.
He got back, “Ha sir, bola.” He continued. “Sir, what accident you just noted, I mean heard on the phone?” the receptionist questioned preempting.
“Arre, last night a truck and a car collided near express way exit. A couple was travelling, the car is burnt completely, and we recovered one seared body, a woman. The man is missing, looks like he escaped death without a scratch. We got the names as Rohan and Ananya from the sim card of the damaged phones.”
“Sir, the man..I mean Rohan is not missing; he is here at Starlite Inn. Can you please come over?” he completed and hung up.
He opened the check-in register, only one name; Rohan next to it, verification documents to be submitted was mentioned next to it. He looked at the hyperventilating Rohan as he ranted at every passer by asking for his wife.
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