“Hi, this is Martha. Can I have your book…if you don’t mind?” Ken heard a soft voice coming from behind. He was surprised. Turning back, he could only say,”Sure.” Ken was not knowing her but she talked as if they were familiar since long. ” I will return it the day after tomorrow,” taking the book, Martha promised and went out of the class. The fingers were touched. Ken just nodded. He had no words to say anything. Even, he had not seen her before.
Ken had wondered. He had not seen anybody coming in the class as he had sat in front of the door. Moreover, he did not ask her name or class. He was captivated by her soft voice and hypnotic sight and the touch.
“Hey dude, why are you silent, huh..?” Peter asked curiously, “any problem? What’s wrong with you today?” A lot of questions. Ken could not speak anything. He was remembering the voice, the sight and the touch of Martha. He had never been touched by any girl ever.
That night, Ken had food a very little. ” Ken, what is this? What are you thinking? Is there any problem at your class..? You haven’t your dinner properly..? Are you okey..?” Mom was asking. Again a lot of questions. ” No Mom, I am fine. It’s just about studies and nothing else..” was Ken’s curt reply. Hos mind was elsewhere. Mom was wondered.
Ken went to bed but could not sleep the whole night. He was feeling that Martha was calling her… He picked up his cellphone and tried to search Martha. There were many but not that who Ken was wanted to see. He failed to find her. He kept the cell and tried to sleep. Suddenly, he heard the cell ringing. He hastily picked up it and found no number on the screen. He wondered,’ Who could be it at this time of midnight…?’ “Hello.. Who….?”Before Ken could complete his sentence, he heard ” Hi.. This is Martha… What are you doing..?” Ken was shocked. He was surprised hearing the same voice. “N..n..o. N..n..o..t..a..t a..l..l..” He was unable to speak any word properly. His hands were shivering. ” H..e..l..l..o…hello….” Now, there was no reply. He could heard only “beep beep…” Ken thought ‘ perhaps, she would have been using a private number. But how did she get my number..?’ Thinking this and the moment in the class, ken slept.
Today, very early morning, Ken woke up. He had decided to ask Peter about Martha and tell him the incidents that happened yesterday.
“Ken, are you ready..?” Peter asked from the gate. “Yes, I am coming.. Mom, see you..” saying so, Ken left home.
“Peter, do you know any….?” Ken was about to ask something, some other friends joined them. Ken could not say anything. Peter asked,”Ken, what were you asking…?” Nothing…it was about notes.. ” Ken lied.
Ken was unable to concentrate himself. ‘Who is she? May I see her today..?’ his thoughts were unending. The lecture was over. Now, it was recess for 20 minutes. There was hustle and bustle in the class. Noise was spread everywhere. Ken had sat like a dumb. His mind was elsewhere. As he bent down to pick up his bag, he saw Martha, alone, under a huge banyan tree, calling him with gestures of hands. He rushed quickly. His heart was breathing fast. He had many questions to ask her. “H..i.. h..o.w a..r..e y..o..u?” Again he found himself captivated. “I am fine. We will meet after the lectures…here at this same place…” said Martha and disappeared in a group of girls. Ken tried to follow but he could trace her. ‘Where is she… How could she disappear so quickly?’ Ken wondered.
He returned in his class. Sat thinking. He was totally disturbed. He wanted to ask many questions but he had to wait till the end of lectures. Now, the banyan tree was attracting him. He was continuously looking at it. He had no idea of the time and the studies. He was just waiting for the last lecture.
The last lecture ended and Ken rushed towards the banyan tree like a mad one. From the next class, Peter was calling him but he couldn’t understand. He reached the place and Peter too behind him. “Hey…What’s wrong with you? You didn’t pay attention when I was calling… What’s happening to you…huh..?” Peter was asking.. Again many questions. “Peter.. a girl has taken my book yesterday and has promise to return it back tomorrow. Now, in the recess, she has promised to meet me here at this place… Her name is Martha.” Ken told him,”I don’t know her class or anything.”
Peter laughed at him and said,” Ken, let’s wait for a while and we will go home.” Ken couldn’t reply. His eyes were searching Martha in all the groups of girls. They waited there for an hour. All the students had gone. The classes became empty. There was no sign of Martha. Ken was disappointed. Many thoughts were gathering on his mind. “Ken, let’s go home. See her tomorrow. Or better make her a call…” Peter suggested. “Peter, last night she had called me but it was a private number.” “Hmm…okay. Ken, see her tomorrow…let’s go home. It’s already late today,” said Peter. Ken could not say anything but he moved to go home. As they turned, Ken saw Martha in his class sat in his chair reading something. He was shocked. He couldn’t speak any word but nodded Peter and showed him Martha. Peter was surprised. “Ken, what are you talking? Are you crazy…? Where is Martha? Look carefully…the class is locked… Nobody is here. You are becoming mad, Ken,” said Peter and laughed. When they were reaching closer and closer the class, Ken saw Martha disappearing. “Look…It’s locked…” shouted Peter. Ken couldn’t understand anything.
On the way home, both were silent. Now, Peter was wondered but he tried to talk with Ken but he saw him lost in the thoughts. ‘Why is ken behaving like this..? What’s wrong with him..?’ Peter was thinking. “Ken, I want to tell you something..very serious. Ken…Ken…listen Ken…” Ken was silent. He was not responding any word. It made Peter more worried. They reached their homes with many questions on their mind.
“Ken, why are you silent?Is anything wrong with you?” asked Mom. “No Mom…exams are overhead… Leave me alone.. I have to study…” Ken replied from his room. Mother didn’t ask anything but looked worried. Ken slept late night keeping eyes on the screen of his cell. He was waiting for the call of Martha and the morning as Martha was going to return his book the next day. So he was eager and much more excited. But the cell was silent…
The next day, as usual, Peter called Ken but his mother told him that he had already gone an hour before. Peter was surprised. It was never happened ever before. As he reached his class, he saw Ken, sitting alone, with a note in hand. He went and sat besides him. Ken, giving the note to Peter, said,” I found it on my chair..She had sat here yesterday. I had seen her.” Peter read it..’I was waiting for you under the banyan tree…I want you.. alone….’ Peter found himself dizzy but recovered himself instantly. “How is it possible?” shouted Peter..wondering. The lectures were about to begin, so Peter went to his class…thinking of many questions. ‘Had Ken really seen Martha in the class? Was she really there…?’ The questions were endless.
Ken was diverted. His eyes were at the banyan tree, waiting for Martha. “Ken…what are you looking at?” Ken heard a thunderous loud voice. “You are not paying attention in the class. Meet me in the staff-room after my lecture…” Professor Skinner was shouting at him. He was the most senior in the college. Everyone had respectful fear for him. “Yes Sir, Sorry Sir…” Ken said with fright.
After the lecture, Ken met Prof. Skinner. “Ken..What’s the matter? You seemed to be disturbed. Have you any problem? Why do you look outside? Will that banyan tree come to teach you?” Prof. Skinner was asking in a gentle voice. Ken was frightened, said, “No Sir..not like that… I was thinking of exams.” “Ken, you are hiding something. You are a sincere one. Tell me…is anything wrong..?” asked Prof. Skinner. Ken had become pale. He had no courage to tell the truth. He was not looking into the eyes of the Professor. “Sorry Sir, it will never happen again…” said Ken. “It’s okay..let’s go to the class..” saying this, Prof. Skinner put his hand on Ken’s shoulder.
As they came out of the staff-room, Ken saw Martha looking at him under the banyan tree. “Sir, she wants to return me my book…” said Ken to Prof. Skinner. He asked “Who wants to return..? Where is she? Ken, who are you talking about?” surprised Prof. Skinner asked. “Sir, look there, under the banyan tree. She is waiting for me. Can I go, Sir..?” Ken was pleading.
‘My goodness… What’s this..?? Is it started again…? No, it must not be happened again…’ Prof. Skinner was shocked and shivered with fear, asked “Ken, is it Martha..?” ” Yes Sir…Sir, Do you know her?” Ken was excited. “I know her….but don’t go now.. I have to talk with you, right now. Come with me…move fast…” Prof. Skinner was suddenly in a great hurry. He was seemed to be very anxious. “Sir, what’s happened? What do you want to talk with me, sir..?” Ken was curious and little bit frightened.
They reached into the library. Mr. Johnson, the librarian and a priest, was reading a book. At this time, he was alone. Prof. Skinner disturbed him,” This boy has seen Martha. She has taken his book and today she is going to return it to him.”
“My goodness… It’s mere impossible. Everything was done properly. Then how can she come back…? Have a seat , Sir.. Who is this boy?” Mr. Johnson was seemed worried.
Prof. Skinner said,”This is Ken. He has newly admitted recently. He is a sincere and clever student. Since three days, Martha is in contact with him. I am worried about him. We have to do something as early as possible…or it may be dangerous for all of us..”
“Yes Sir…but….” Mr. Johnson was telling something but Ken interrupted to clear his doubt, “Who is this Martha, Sir, will you please tell me..??”
Prof. Skinner and Mr. Johnson were silent. They had not revealed the secret of Martha to anyone. But, now, they had to tell Ken the real truth about Martha to make him alert…
Mr. Johnson revealed,” Ken, 10 years ago, a beautiful, sincere and clever girl was studying in the same class in which you are studying now and used to sit at her favourite place where you are sitting. One day, some boys from the class tortured and exploited her for no reason. The girl didn’t tell anything to anybody and committed suicide by hanging herself to the banyan tree. She was Martha….now appearing. You are the second student who has seen and talked with her. The boy, Mark, who had seen Martha very fist time six years ago, could not keep it secret and told everyone about it. Unfortunately, he died suspiciously in the class……”
Ken was listening Mr. Johnson….but his mind was roaming around the banyan tree and..Martha…