Dear Readers and Listeners, today we will conclude the story we started last week. A man slips into slumber only to find himself in the middle of the sea! Do you wish to know why? Sure, you do. Read on or listen or do immersion reading, that is, read and listen at the same time. If you haven't yet become a member of this website and joined my mailing list, I will urge you to do the same. It shall be an honor to have you on board. Enjoy Sea Part 2.
Welcome to OBSCURUS, your weekly dose of paranormal fiction. Every Wednesday OBSCURUS features new short stories and serialized novels written by novelist, screenwriter, and voice-over artist Biswajit Banerjee. The realm of the paranormal stretches far beyond the usual horror story. So, while you will get to listen to lots of ghost stories on this podcast, there will also be many tales of lesser-known paranormal themes. To get us started, here's your host Biswajit Banerjee.
HOST TALK 00:00:47
Hello and welcome to OBSCURUS. I am your host Biswajit Banerjee and what a pleasure it is to be with you again! Today, we will conclude the story we started in the last episode.
But before we resume the tale, I would urge my readers and listeners to visit my website biswajitbanerjee.com, become members of the site, and join the mailing list. On this website, you will find information about all my creative pursuits.
I shall be flattered if you also visit my second website, obscurus.buzzsprout.com, devoted to this podcast. All OBSCURUS episodes, their transcripts, and chapter markers are available on this website.
And now, let’s plunge into the second and concluding part of the story. In the first part, we saw Sudhakar sensing an uncanny familiarity with the Arabian Sea from a particular position at Worli Sea Face in Bombay, although it was his maiden visit to the city. Later he realizes he saw the sea as is visible from that position on his mind’s screen during a micro-slumber whereby he just dozed off for some moments. The understanding of the reason behind the familiarity brings him little relief. He now wonders how he had a vision of the sea as it is visible from that particular position in his passing slumber.
Later, when Sudhakar falls asleep in the company of his girlfriend, he finds himself in the middle of a speaking sea. Is he dreaming? Come, let’s find out.
SEA PART 2 00:03:00
Written and performed by Biswajit Banerjee
When I gently opened my eyes, I found myself lying on the embankment, close to the tetrapods Malini and I used for sitting the last evening. A crowd of about forty people had gathered around me. One of them was Malini.
"Thank God, you have come back to senses," she said.
"But I ... I ..."
"Relax, don't speak, Sudhakar."
She and two other men helped me sit. A man offered me a bottle of water.
"What's happening," I said to Malini after drinking some water.
"We can talk about all this later, Sudhakar."
"No, tell me now. How am I here?"
"Well, Sudhakar, I am not sure how you are here, but the people at the hotel reception told me you had a cab booked for Worli Sea Face.
"They are telling lies. I didn't have any cab booked through the reception."
"Okay, cool down."
"Your body must be aching, Sir," an elderly vendor said, adjusting the position of his vegetable barrow."
"What makes you think my body is aching?"
"Sir, you have been swimming in the sea since 1.30 a.m.," the vendor replied, "I spotted you on my way home. Thinking you to be in trouble, I rushed to the coastguard office to report what I witnessed. But they were already aware of what you were doing."
"What? Are you crazy?"
"Don't get agitated, Sir. He is telling the truth," a man in a white uniform said, "I am one of the coastguard officials. Our guards were patrolling another part of the coast when you moved into the sea, but our cameras picked you up. My colleagues and I rushed to the shore and tried everything within our means to reach out to you. When you didn't respond to our calls made with loud mikes, we sent a rescue team consisting of three expert swimmers to bring you back. After some time, they came back with their heads down, realizing you didn't need anyone to rescue you."
"But I don't ..."
"I have never seen a swimmer of your caliber and stamina, Sir," another white-uniformed man said, "I was a part of the rescue team. We tried following you, but you were too good for us. Why don't you take part in the Olympics, Sir? Without a trace of doubt, you will win our country a flurry of gold medals."
"Now listen, I don't know how to swim? Do you understand that?"
"What a joke," a young woman said.
"Look, I can't connect with any of the things you people are telling me — asking the reception to call a cab for me, coming to Worli Sea Face, swimming in the sea — nothing at all."
"Well, I guess you need rest. Don't cause yourself more mental distress. Let's get back to the hotel." Malini said.
"Ma'am, you have to wait till the police officials arrive." The coastguard official who was a part of the rescue team said.
"What business does the police have? Has he broken any law?" Malini asked.
"Well, he has certainly violated the coastguard directives. These directives are in the nature of government rules — the stuff we call subordinate legislation."
"So, what will the police do now?"
"Nothing much, Ma'am, they will just record his statement. We will not register any complaint because we understand he didn't have any malicious intent when he entered the sea."
"What the hell am I going to tell the police," I said, "I can't connect to anything that you all are saying. The truth is I was sleeping, and when I woke up, I found myself on the embankment of Worli Sea Face."
"No, Sir, you must not say that," the first coastguard official said, "the available evidence won't support that story."
"Then what should I say?"
"Just tell them you moved into the sea for the sake of fun, without realizing how dangerous the high tide could get."
"But I didn't move into the sea."
"Please refrain from saying such things. The recorded footages on our computers show you moving into the waters and swimming all over the sea."
"Please do as we say, Sir, and you won't be in trouble," the rescue team member said.
"Do you really have those footages, Sir?" Shades of confusion crossed Malini's eyes.
"Can you show the footages to us?"
"Sorry, Ma'am, the law does not allow us to do so."
After about half an hour, the police arrived. The coastguard didn't file a complaint, and I made a statement as advised by the two officials. Their advice paid off — the police left after recording my statement without touching a hair on my head.
As the day progressed, I witnessed Malini's concern for my health and efforts to calm my nerves replaced by moroseness and unexpressed anger. What caused the shift of mood was not clear.
In the middle of the day, I recounted my dream to her, to which she responded with a wry smile and unkind words. "Good that the sea has become your friend. You won't need anyone else in your life now. Not even me."
"What has happened to you, Malini. Why are you talking like this?"
After a minute of silence, Malini said, "I have booked an evening flight; we are leaving."
Malini's cold behavior continued even after we boarded the flight. Things had now crossed the limits to my patience, and I decided to clear the air with some straight talk.
"Tell me clearly, Malini, what makes you angry?"
"I don't wish to talk about anything."
"Listen, I have had enough of these cold responses. I don't deserve this; do you understand that?"
"And what do I deserve, Sudhakar — your lies?"
"Lies! What do you mean?"
"So, now you will pretend not to understand."
"Does it hurt you to be clear?"
"Why did you have to do such stupid things to spoil our trip?"
"You mean the mysterious things that happened at Worli Sea Face?"
"Nothing mysterious happened there. You tried to make those things appear mysterious."
"So, you think I did a drama at Worli Sea Face."
"Of course, you did. And then you concocted the stupid story of the dream, the one in which the sea became your friend."
"Please trust me, Malini — I didn't tell a single lie."
"Sorry, you have lost my trust."
"What a fool I had been to think your movement from the bed to Worli Sea Face was a case of teleportation. I believed none but you."
"All I know is I was dreaming lying next to you; I have no idea how I reached Worli Sea Face."
"Oh really! Take a look at this. On my insistence, the hotel reception shared their CCTV footage with me."
The video running on Malini's mobile showed me talking to the reception folks.
"Now, take a look at this. The coastguard official I shared my number with sent this private video to me — it was shot by a passer-by with his powerful DSLR camera."
This video showed me walking into the sea and then swimming all over the waters with extreme skillfulness.
"Will you still claim you were teleported from the hotel bed to Worli Sea Face by some unknown force?"
"Well, I can't explain these videos, but I am not lying."
"Shut up, Sudhakar, and have some shame.
Malini turned her face away. The insult she rubbed on me reached my soul, and I closed my eyes to shut myself off from the world around me. Within minutes, I slipped into slumber.
Waters ... nothing but waters. Again, I was in the middle of the sea. This was a different area of the sea, not the one close to Worli Sea Face.
A blob appeared and turned into a wave that swished and swirled around me. And yet again, a telepathic exchange ensued.
"Sorry for the pain you had to bear because of me. The world treats surface phenomena as evidence. Malini is a part of that world. So, I will generate phenomena she can treat as evidence of your innocence."
"Please don't harm her."
"How can I harm her? I can't even think of hurting my friend's beloved. But at the same time, I can't let my friend be insulted by his beloved like this. Last time, I didn't teleport you; I guided your physical movement without your conscious participation. But I am also capable of teleporting you, my friend. And for this meeting, I really did teleport you so that your beloved realizes you didn't tell lies to her. Go back now, my friend. I have sealed the cracks in your relationship with Malini."
"But will you be calling me often?"
"No, my friend, I will never call you again. I wouldn't have called you even now if Malini had not been unjust to you. When I saw your heart bleeding because of what she told you, I couldn't stop myself from doing what I needed to do — that is, to repair your bond of love with her. Don't worry, I promise never to establish a communion with you again; I know these communions are not pleasurable for you. But do keep me in some remote corner of your mind. Go now, my friend, goodbye."
I was all drenched in seawater when I woke up. Again, a crowd had gathered around me — the flight attendants and fellow passengers watched me in stunned silence. When I turned right, I found Malini stupefied in the truest sense of the expression — she had her gaze fixed on me with her mouth agape in disbelief.
For a while, no one said a word. When Malini regained some control over herself, she said, "You vanished ... and re-appeared ... water dripping from your body ... what's ... this ... tele ... por ... tation?
After another minute or so, she spoke with greater clarity, "So, you weren't ... lying ... Sudhakar, I am so sorry ...
Thanks for listening to OBSCURUS. If you like what you heard, please subscribe and visit biswajitbanerjee.com for more information about Biswajit's books, movies, documentaries, and other creative pursuits. We shall see you next Wednesday with another episode of OBSCURUS. Till then, take care!