The Breaking News
A Chapter from my Book,
The Girl in the Well

All over the city, it was the same breaking news, the leopard attacking a hostel and killing five kids and running away with one was creating havoc in the urban communities. If a leopard can attack a well guarded hostel in the middle of the city then for sure the flats and independent houses were definitely in danger.

There was a CCTV footage running on all the major channels showing the large leopard running with a kid's body, how can this happen, where is the police and how did this happen? The leopard was at least seven feet long and appeared to be more than eighty kilos, this was the biggest leopard anyone had seen till date. The reporters were questioning the law enforcement and forest officials about the origin of the large canine, but unfortunately nobody had any answers. Everyone was afraid and didn't know how to deal with the situation. Was it a man eater or by mistake it attacked humans?

Well in our country people start connecting these types of events with religious sentiments too ,as some High Priest appeared in one of the news channels giving the statement that, it's not a leopard but an incarnation of Goddess Kali, angry at people about their disrespect of religion and immediately there is a need to do a grand Puja to make her happy and forgive the people of this place.

While the police and forest officials had no clue of how to catch the leopard, due to the religious sentiments, people started believing the Priest's story of its links with a Goddess. This belief suddenly started establishing huge donations for a Maha Puja ceremony. All of this was causing enough confusion in Shantanu's life.

Shantanu had planned to talk to his student Gagandeep in the morning for the gloomy behaviour, but didn't get a chance, and then by evening the leopard news had turned the city into a chaos. Everybody was rushing home and trying to safeguard themselves. The government declared a holiday for all schools, markets and offices and was even planning for an emergency curfew to handle the situation as no one had any clue where the leopard was and who was the next prey.

Shantanu was a local of the city and stayed a little far from the boarding school where he taught mathematics. His wife Meena got very worried when she heard about the leopard attack but then was happy that the hostel was not in her husband's school.

Now she wanted Shantanu to stay at home till the leopard scare was resolved. Shantanu on the other hand was getting restless about the state of the city, if the government imposes a curfew it will be very unplanned. He had to get some grocery stocked before it's late.

"I have to get some grocery Meena else if there is a curfew it will be very hard to survive! Let me go out , the leopard has attacked on the other side of the city and I assure you, I will be back before he catches me!!!" Shantanu somehow convinced Meena and left for the kirana store.

The sight on the street was devastating. Everyone was in a hurry, some running, some speeding, all trying to get home at the earliest. While he quickly walked past the street corner towards the nearby kirana store, he noticed the fear of life was turning people inhumane too. A young adult on a bike crushed a street dog and sped , it was really a selfish society, his eyes were sad looking at this but he was in a hurry too! But then he saw a small boy running towards the dog from nowhere!

There was too much of a crowd and Shantanu couldn't resist, he ran towards the boy and lifted him and took shelter near the pavement.

"What were you doing running in the middle of the road, if a car or bike ran over you? Where are your parents?" Shantanu enquired.

"I am an Orphan Sir!"

Shantanu thought for a second, and immediately decided to save this boy and maybe adopt too. Shantanu and Meena had no kids even after ten years of marriage.

A disaster day turned into a miracle day for Shantanu, but little did he know about the background of the orphan he had just adopted.

© Siddharth Sen