“Mom, Tia is missing. We can’t find her anywhere.’’, Anita was weeping profusely as she informed her mother Rima. Rima was stunned and could hardly believe her ears“But how? How did she manage to get out? Your door must have been closed and she must be sleeping beside you. Didn’t you notice anything?’’Anita replied, “She must have left early morning. Someone managed to open the door.
Malati found out that the door is open when she woke up at around 6.30. She immediately called us and we have been looking around for Tia. Rajib has visited all our neighbors and has also searched our entire complex, she is nowhere mom. Tia is so obedient and responsible girl, mom. She has never behaved like this before. I am really worried. She must be hungry.” Anita was continually sobbing. Rima said, “Don’t cry and continue to look around. I and your dad are coming to your place.’’
She quickly informed her husband, Anil. Anil quickly called Rajib and asked him to inform the local police. They got ready quickly; their driver had not come yet. Anil quickly went to the steering wheel. Rima said, “Anita should have taken more care. Tia is just seven years old. They are not at all responsible. They remain too engrossed in their world. In our days, it was so different.’’ Anil replied, “Rima the world has changed a lot over these years.
They are both working and are so busy. I think you are being just too harsh on them. This is just an accident. We will have to be composed now and handle the situation with patience,.’’Rima was silent now as Anil was hastily maneuvering their car to Anita’s place. They soon reached and found Anita was weeping profusely. Rajib had gone to the local police station. Rima tried to console Anita.
Anil asked Anita, “Does any of her school friends leave nearby? Maybe she has tried to go there.” Anita replied, “No, Dad, no one leaves nearby. And she never behaves like this, mom. She was so obedient.”Anita then told in a hushed voice, “I suspect some foul play, dad. Malati can also be involved. She can easily abduct her, taking someone’s help and pretend that the door was open.”
Anil replied, “I think it’s too early to jump into conclusions. She is new to your household, I know, but still, let ‘s see, the police will surely look into these details.’’Rajib now entered the room, looking quite pensive and said, “I have given them her photograph. They are searching for nearby places. But they are suspecting this can be a kidnap also. They are apprehending a ransom call. There is nothing more that we could do now. We will have to wait.’’
They were all silent. An hour passed by while all four of them were seated in the spacious drawing-room when suddenly Rajib’s mobile ringtone broke the silence. Rajib hastily answered the phone, “Oh, that’s great news. Yes, I am coming, quickly.’’ Rajib breathed a sigh of relief and said, “The police have found her. She was loitering around a park, a few blocks away.’’
Anita was elated to see Tia again. She hugged her tightly and said, “Why did you go like that, Tia. We were so worried. You are such a good girl. We did not expect this from you, Tia’’.Rajib said, “Go to your room, Tia. Malati will bath you’’.Rajib now began, “Tia has told me a very surprising reason.
She had left the house for searching, Arati. Yesterday, I had mentioned that Arati has taken a job in a nearby complex. So she was certain that she would be able to find her just by crossing the road. But eventually, she lost her way and ended up in a park where the policemen finally located her.’’ They were all stupefied. Arati was their previous domestic help. She used to be Tia’s constant companion while they were away in their offices. Tia was very fond of Arati and she even used to sleep with her.
But Arati started demanding a hefty hike in her salary. Then, Rajib and Anita decided to replace her with Malati. But this was heartbreaking for Tia. She could not take this and constantly wailed for the absence of Arati. But they could not think even in their wildest dreams that Tia could take such a drastic step. Rima now said, “I am not that surprised Rajib. She is just a child and children only understand love and affection. She only understands that Arati loved her and was her constant companion. But I am afraid that you and Arati could never give her that company which she craved. I know you are busy, but still even after coming back from your office, how much time do you give her?
You guys are too engrossed in your own lives, your office, social life, it’s all about you. But there is no space for Tia. Do you realize that? You don’t understand that no domestic help could be a substitute for parents. I think it’s high time ….’’ Rima was interrupted by Anil who said, “I think you have said enough, Rima. They are matured enough to figure out something. Rajib, I think we should take a leave now.’’

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