The eerie darkness of the murky night got disturbed by the howling of the lone dog.
It was slowly drizzling outside. Mishra Ji’s restless sleep got disturbed with the pitiful cry and he sprang up. Despite of the unrelenting cold, he kept profusely sweating .Looking outside, he shivered as the thunder stuck the barren land adjacent to his shanty. Tiny drops of rain clinched to the glass window as he slowly came down from his bed. He searched for his glass of water kept beside his bed and gulped at once. The whole house seemed fast asleep, untouched with the tumult happening outside and inside Sashodhar mishra’s feeble heart. He opened the window a bit to feel the gushing wind on his face.Dark,rigid lines appeared on his forehead as he feebly repeated the single sentence ,bringing chill down his spine.
‘Give me your daughter or return the money!’
‘gggivee mmeee your daughter or return the money in a month! Or else….’
He blankly stared at the ravine gushing with the rain water. The edgy thoughts came creeping each and every moment into his mind. He felt time was passing by. But there was not much in his hand. Eight lakhs and that too in just a month!!! It was impossible for him…Mishra Ji’s business was running into troubled waters and he barely managed his family.
Suddenly a streak of lightning struck on the barren paddy field and Mishra Ji dropped the glass from his hand. The steel utensil made a cracking sound before coming to a standstill. He started trembling and immediately closed the window. A few seconds after, Mishra Ji fugitively slide the window covers to have a glance at the ravine. He looked for a moment but no one was there. Sashodhar Mishra cursed himself for his foolishness and felt relieved. And just then! he realized that the shadow he had seen crossing the ravine was now entering his compound!
Mishra Ji trembled and ran towards the drawing room .He fearfully checked if his wife or daughter was awake but no one could be seen. A bit relieved, he opened the door .The shadowy figure slowly removed the blanket and a mid-aged man emerged. In the dim light of the verandah, he looked straight into Mishra Ji’s eyes terribly. His threatening words made Mishra Ji hysterical.
‘Mano yaa Maro (agree or die).
Your Daughter or My Money –it’s your choice!!!’