As I read a news story about how a parcel bomb failed to explode in the nearby city, I started recollecting my own encounter with a bomb.
Those were the lockdown days. I collected a parcel from the main gate of our residential campus, a bit puzzled as I was not expecting any post. Moreover, the sender’s address was unfamiliar. The size of the packet was not that of a typical magazine or book, but substantially smaller. It had some thickness, but uneven. I rechecked the sender’s address.
No, not from anyone I know.
The packet was from a district which was infamous for its notorious activities. I examined the packet to see if I can decipher its contents. It felt rough and metallic with plastic and wire would around it.
What can this be?
I flipped the packet in curiosity. On the back cover was a cryptic message ‘for THE SECRET’.
My life is as transparent as distilled water. What could be a secret in my life?
Is this a bomb?
I held it gingerly and walked home with a lot of confusion and a pinch of panic.
At home incidentally, my family members were in the living room. I read the address aloud for everyone, hoping one of them would recognize the sender. However, everyone looked at me blankly.
As my wife collected the packet from me to sanitize, I casually said, “Be careful, it can be a bomb.”
“What! Who will send you a bomb?” My wife asked rhetorically.
My son, playing a game on his phone, smirked without raising his head, “What do you consider yourself, an investigating officer or a Governor?”
“Who wastes a bomb on a college teacher?” My wife joked at which my son had a hearty laugh.
Only my mother, from whom I had inherited my share of fears, looked serious. “Son, is it from somebody who called you an anti-national on Facebook, when you critiqued the government?”
“No Ma. They’re all my good friends from college-days.” I assured my mother.
“Ma, I have cautioned your son to not watch crime serials. He is thinking too weird.” My wife tried to relax her.
My mother snatched the packet from my wife, “Whatever, I am the one who is going to open it.
“Ma…” I gasped.
“I am not going to listen to a word you say. All of you get out of here.” My mother ordered while going to the balcony with a pair of scissors.
“You and your mother! Over-reactions unlimited!” My wife muttered.
After some struggle, my mother opened the parcel to find a medal with ribbon packed carefully with thick polythene scraps as filling.
My wife took the medal and read, “Excellence in Short Fiction”.
“Oh! Is this from the Lit Society? I had sent a story few months ago. I have forgotten about it completely.”
“Which story?” My son paused his game and asked.
“The Secret… Oops! That’s why ‘for THE SECRET’ is on the envelope”, I sighed.
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