Mother was surprised to see me up so early on a Sunday morning.
It was when I was a sub-editor with an English national daily. My day used to start at 10 am in the morning with a hot piping tea and three national dailies. Yes, it was expected of every journalist to make a comparison of how a piece of news is carried by the competitors. After reaching home around 1 am, I had the habit of watching movie, if interesting or read for a while before calling it a day.
I did the usual on Saturday and returned home in the wee hours of Sunday. I was restless rather tensed and couldn’t sleep. Mother was surprised to see me dressed up at the breakfast table.
“Are you going out,” she asked.
“Yes. I have an assignment.” I said. I was unusually quiet.
“Where?” she asked.
“To the central jail. I have to do a story on the inmates.” I said. I was in no mood to talk, wanted time for myself to calm down.
Father lifted his face from the newspaper, looked at me and resumed his reading.
Mother threw a fit. She expected a bit more from my father.
“How could your boss send a girl to the jail to meet a bunch of thugs? Isn’t there anyone else left in your office? Give me his number. I will talk to him.” She was fuming.
I asked her to calm down but deep within I wanted her to stop me from going. I can’t remember the last time I was this scared. I was going to spend the whole day with the inmates, definitely, not an exciting one to look forward to.
“Are you fine? Do you think you can do this assignment?” inquired papa before I left home.
“I think I can,” I replied.
I so badly wanted to say no. I wanted him to call my boss and cook up a story so that I can be saved.
As the huge gates opened, I was greeted by one of the bodyguards of the jailer.
“Sir is expecting you,” said he.