By Prakash Hegade
Copyright 2016 Prakash Hegade
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please ask them to download an additional copy for each recipient. Please do not use the contents of this book without the author’s permission and reference.
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This story is a dedication to my two rejected research papers.
Hey, it’s been only 10 months of my research and so what if the first ones were rejected! The review has been excellent and I am psyched up to work ahead.
But before I restart, I take a break and write this book.
Time is hideous, rigid and always on time. From time travel machine to fast forward future, time has been visualized in varying dimensions. The exquisiteness of time is that it always gives a new perspective to investigate and inspire.
Beyond 24 is a love story where the hours of time are bound to love. The time is bound to people who are forced to fall in love by a series of time events.
Time lets us heal. It lets us grow. It allows us to see the impact of decisions we take. But what if there is a situation where we don’t exactly know what kind of decision to take? Is it not better enough to leave the consequences to time?
WoooW! Lot said already! Time to begin the actual story!
01 May – 5.30pm
“May I come in sir?”
“Come in. Please take a seat.”
“Thank you sir” saying that in a confident tone, Keerthi took a seat.
There were four people in the interview panel. With two years of experience, Keerthi was looking for a job change. This one was like a dream offer to her. It was the domain she wanted to work on from a very long time.
A lot of questions were shot at her and she answered all of them with buoyancy. She came out of the interview room in a very relaxed and contented disposition.
She went to the rest room, washed her face, looking at her watch, to the mirror she said,
“That was satisfying one hour!” and she walked back home with joy. She was positive about the results.
By night around 9.00pm she opened her mail box and saw a mail that said she was rejected for the job. It was the first rejection she had faced after a long time and that did not feel good. She wanted to squander a day alone, all by herself.
She dropped a sick leave mail to her office for the next day and went to sleep. She wanted to have an unplanned random day where she could forget and celebrate the rejection.
02 May – 4.30pm
Keerthi was in coffee shop. She had wake up tardily, finished her daily chores and wanted some recreation time to sit some place serenely. Though she did not wanted to think of the denunciation mail of rejection, the thoughts were still speculating around.
She had ordered her second cup of coffee and was all prepared to sip.
[*“Hey, Hello!” she heard a voice from behind! She looked back and felt it was a known face but don’t know who! She had some confused questions on her face. He came and stood in front of her. *]
[*“May I take a seat?” asked he. *]
Keerthi kept looking at him. She did not want to say ‘Yes’. She did not want to say ‘No’ either. She just nodded her head in such a way that it could mean yes and no at the same time. He took a seat and said, “I was in your interview panel yesterday. It is me who rejected you!”
Now Keerthi was sure about saying ‘No’ and asking him to take off. He would be the last person she would want to speak to, atleast at the moment.
He made himself comfortable and said, “Look, let me finish what I want to say. Yesterday was my last day in that company. The place is horrifying and awful to work. They have bizarre rules. No talent is appreciated. No appropriate pay as well and the work hours are pointless. They mostly ask over to work weekends too”.
He took a deep breath and continued, “I found you excessively talented and skilled and felt you deserve much better. They make you sign a contract for one year. I have struggled for one year and I did not want you to go through that! I hope I did well.”
Keerthi felt it was high time for her to open her mouth and articulate some words. She conveyed him thanks for the concern and appreciated his helping gesture. He got ready to go and Keerthi said, “No, sit. Have a coffee. Let me atleast treat you with a coffee for all the help you did.”
He sat down and said “By the way, I am Keerthi!”
[* Keerthi with a peculiar face cried, “Whatt?? That’s my name too!” *]
He smiled and said, “I know! I know it since yesterday from the interview panel” and laughed out loud. They had further talks, coffee and left back home. Keerthi looked at her watch and exclaimed, “Wow! Now those two hours went quick!”
03 May – 5.30pm
Keerthi came out from her all cement office building with a droopy face and tired mind. She was already pissed off that the company cab had taken off and the next one was after 2 hours. She booked a cab through her mobile and started waiting for it to arrive. After around fifteen minutes the cab arrived.
She looked at drivers face and was about to yell for being late and then, “Hey, Keerthi, You?” She usually used to occupy the back seat but today she opened the front door and got in. She continued, “How come? You as a driver?”
Keerthi replied, “Like I said yesterday I have quit my job. Until I get a new one, I thought to take this up rather than being idle. I love driving and I can make some bucks too!”
[*“You won’t feel odd? Like a driver job?” she asked. *]
[*“Sadly, No! I don’t feel odd. I feel happy!” he replied. *]
[*“How old are you?” she questioned. *]
“I am 30. See, 30 and jobless” he laughed and asked, “You?”
“Well, a few years younger than you!” said she with a grin!
[*“Like I don’t know!” said he. *]
There was a pause for a moment. He turned the music on and she said, “Hey, that’s my favorite song” and started humming with the tune. He smiled and said, “Sia has been my favorite too, lately! I love cheap thrills!” They both laughed.
There was a lot of traffic and if the cab was racing with a snail, the cab would have sure lost the game. After crossing several red and green lights, she was finally home.
Keerthi said “Well, now I know your home address!”
She smiled and said, “Yeah. I stay in a flat here. We four friends have taken it together”. She paid the amount, waved a bye and he left. She looked at her watch while walking in and cried, “Three hours! Longest time taken so far to reach home!”
04 May – 4.30pm
“What are the odds? Three days in a row?” said Keerthi with a surprised face.
“Not three! Four! Did you forget the interview?” asked Keerthi.
[*“Oh! Yeah. So, why are you here? At the mall? Shopping?” she asked. *]
[*“I have been with a customer. Need to drive them back as well and they have asked me to wait. It’s these three ladies with whom I have come. They have come for shopping and it’s been two hours already. I hope to get back home today!” he said in a sarcastic tone. *]
“Good luck with that” she said giggling with almost all her teeth out.
“What brings you here?” he asked.
“Cousins birthday! Need to buy him a shirt and a pant. Will you help?” she inquired.
“Better than being idle. Let’s go!” he said with agreement.
She described that her cousin had similar complexion and personality as him and made him try few shirts. She told him his waist size and asked him to pick matching jeans. They shopped and decided to have dinner. They ordered her favorite food and it was her treat for all the shopping help. It was Chinese food with some talks and laughs.
She asked, “Listen, its weekend tomorrow. Can you come to pick me up? At 3.00pm, to the birthday party. It takes around 3 hours to go and I need to be there by 6.00. So 3.00 would be the right time to start. Better if you carry me back too!”
He said “That’s my job now! Sure I will”
She was happy and said, “You know my address!” Looking at her watch she continued, “Can you believe we spent four hours together?”, waved him bye and took off without listening back to anything.
Keerthi had to wait till almost 10.30pm to get all the ladies back and drop them home. He was not sure if they had done with the shopping or the shops got closed and they had to come out.
But he was happy that he got company of Keerthi and his time was well put to use. He dropped the ladies home and his home called.
05 May – 3.00pm
Keerthi was already waiting outside and exactly at 3.00pm Keerthi was there with his car. In 2.5 hours they reached the destination. Keerthi complimented him for the quick reach. Keerthi was a good driver and had an overwhelming control on road, traffic and the car driving skills. She asked him to join and he said he would prefer to stay out. He had his friend’s home nearby and said would be back at the said time. She asked him to be back at 10.00opm and they both dispersed.
At 10.00pm the car engine was on. Keerthi thanked him for selecting good dresses as her cousin had liked them a lot. They exchanged the phone numbers and some usual conversation of how her party was and how he spent time with his friend. Keerthi dropped her back home and she paid the amount for the journey. One was in driver seat and other had got down and the conversation continued.
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Nothing. Mostly alone!”
“Wanna come for movie?”
“Like two friends!”
“Just call me when you get free. Before all the shows are closed!”
“He he.. Done!”
She went inside, looked at her watch and said to herself, “Wow. To and fro journey and some conversation in 5 hours! Good! Good for me!”
06 May – 2.00pm
Keerthi picked up her phone and replied, “For a moment I felt I was calling myself. I am ready. Come!”
“I am already down!” he said.
“Two minutes!” she said and cut the call and informed her flat mates that she would be out.
She gave a firm handshake and asked “How did you know I would be ready?”
He answered “I really don’t know. I just felt it that way. My intuitions!”
She continued “I felt the same. That I should get ready! Whatever! Which movie?”
He calmly said “You pick! My treat!”
She laughed and said “Treat? Why? If we opt for an English movie I shall pay and any other you shall!”
He said “I see a catch!”
She said “Look, you are not earning now. Whatever is the case let me pay. I expect a great treat once you get a new job. Why are we even discussing all this crap now? Let’s go to any English movie for which tickets are available.”
They went to a nearby mall and watched a movie. They had heavy evening snacks, back home, good night wish and slept. Before going to sleep, Keerthi noticed that she had spent a good six hours with him. She had liked and continued to like his company.
07 May – 10.00am
Keerthi saw his phone ringing. It was Keerthi calling. He picked up the call thinking why she would call so early. Apparently she had some questions related to work and knew he would definitely be of help. It was the same domain. She kept calling him often. Like whole day. She had said him ‘thank you’ atleast over a hundred times already.
He said “Look, You have been on phone for a lot of time already. Let us meet tomorrow and I will explain you in detail, in person.”
She agreed and said “Okay. I will take off in the afternoon and go for a ‘work from home’. See you at my place. At 1.00pm”.
When she reached back home she checked her call history. She had talked to him for seven hours. She realized why he had asked for an in person meet. Seven hours was too much. She really felt bad for him.
08 May – 01.00pm
At 1.00pm, the discussion started with all the chit chats.
“I am sorry I disturbed you the whole of yesterday!”
“I was pissed off initially. Then I got used to it”
“Hey, don’t be that honest too!”
They both laughed. She had prepared tea and they started with work. Keerthi was expert in that domain. He taught her some new tools to get the job done. He also explained her lot of basics behind it. They had lunch together and so with the evening tea.
“I guess you should stop now. You look so exhausted speaking all day”
“Yeah, I am. Do you want me to continue tomorrow?”
“You won’t mind? I would really like it! ”
“Sure then. I will!”
“I will go to work tomorrow at 7.00am. I shall take off early. We can meet at 12.00 and have lunch here and start. I will call for another work-from-home for remaining few hours.”
They both agreed to the plan. She went to drop him off till the gate and said, “Thanks for all the teaching.”
They waved their hands signaling a takeoff.
09 May – 12.00pm
The day started as planned. It went as planned. It ended as planned.
Near the gate, she said, “Yesterday Eight hours of teaching and today wait, let me count, ohhhh, Nine hours! Thank you so much. I owe you several treats!”
[*“You are a time tracker! Isn’t it?” he asked. *]
[*“I like it that way!” she answered. *]
He smiled, wished her good night and left.
10 May – 8.00am
Keerthi was attending a workshop. It was arranged by the company to dive deep into the domain. Keerthi was one of the selected members to attend the workshop. To her surprise, Keerthi was the session speaker for two of them. She was really surprised to see him. They had never talked about it.
“How is this happening?”
“Hey, you know I am expert in this domain. They had booked me for the two sessions two months ago. Here I am. And they are paying me well as well!”
“Okay, but look, ten days and we have been meeting in one way or the other!”
“Hey, one day we only met on phone”
The ten hours session ended at 6.00pm. Keerthi and Keerthi had a good time as well. There was lot of teaching, learning and sharing.
11 May – 09.00am
It was Friday and there were pings and chats between the two. Once on facebook and once on WhatsApp, Keerthi was expressing how she hated working on Fridays.
Recollecting all the past days, Keerthi felt something unusual going on. It abruptly occurred to her mind through a very haphazard discussion. She started explaining him how the time span had increased by one hour every day, past the last ten days. The date was also following the sequence as they had met on first on first of the month.
Keerthi did not believe her at once. As she started explaining him, he felt it was true. There was an increase of one hour everyday of their togetherness. It was weird and strange. They spent a lot of time discussing it.
It was almost end of the day and the discussion was still going on. He then asked, “How much time do you think have we spent this far?”
[*“You won’t believe. It’s almost ten hours” she said. *]
[* “Really?? Ten?? Have we been chatting all day?” he asked with curiosity. *]
“Yes. Facebook and Whatsapp! We have been in touch all through the day. We have even updated what we had for breakfast, lunch and snacks to each other”, she explained him with all the eagerness.
He thought through and she was right. He said, “Then today it has to be eleven hours. Let’s stop now. Let’s not continue. Let it be ten today. Let us see what happens!”
Both agreed and decided not to talk for rest of the day.
At night 10.30pm Keerthi got a call. It was Keerthi calling. As he picked, she started talking without taking a breath! “Listen, Government has seized our flat. Our owner had constructed it illegally. It is not even his property. They are taking down the building on Monday. I need to vacate by Sunday Night! We got the notice from owner just now. The authorities have been giving it since last three months to the owner but our owner neglected it thinking they would never do. Now there is a bulldozer standing right in front of the home. They are going to start Monday.” She started crying.
Keerthi was trying to convince her but she was not listening. She was in her own misplaced world. Finally he said that they shall spend tomorrow looking for new place. He promised to be there by 9.00 am and start the house hunt.
They had not realized that they had completed their eleven hour quota for the day.
12 May – 09.00am
Saturday, they started at 9.00am looking for a new home. She had a lot of constraints for a place to qualify for the stay. Near to company, near to market area, good surrounding, etc etc and etc.
That day they got to know about each other well. They got to know about their favorite color, food, movie, song and in totality almost every little thing about each other.
Only thing they could not discover was a place to rent. By night 9.00pm they were too tired and they decided to continue next day early morning.
Like at 8.00am.
13 May – 08.00am
Getting up early on Sunday morning sucked. However they had to. They began well and early at 8.00am.
Nothing worked out. Every home had one issues or another. Finally Keerthi suggested that, she would shift the entire luggage at his place and she would keep only the required for the next day. She would be back to work and by then Keerthi would find a place. By evening, she would be in her new place. Rest of the things would be planned accordingly. There was no alternative than this thought of.
Keerthi loaded his car with the entire luggage and moved to his place. It was 9.00pm when all the things got settled. They were too tired to discuss any further things. They had not realized that clock had ticked with thirteen hours of togetherness.
14 May – 09.00am
Keerthi while at work kept constantly in touch through mobile while Keerthi was looking for homes. He used to send pictures and details asking for confirmation. It did not work out. All that Keerthi felt was ‘A large well grown city and not a single place of choice to rent!’
Strange and weird!
At the end of the day, Keerthi decided to go and spend a day at friends place and the same routine would resume back tomorrow. Before the day ended, Keerthi reminded her that, it was fifteenth day and they were fifteen hours together. Her logic was right. It was going the same way as she had explained.
15 May – 7.00am
They had kept this day as the D day and it would be a final call. The discussion went on as usual but yeah, nothing worked. Finally Keerthi asked Keerthi to come and stay with him.
Late evening, when Keerthi entered his house she was at a surprise. Though initially she did some drama on how she would not stay with him, she had to agree as there was no other immediate solution. Keerthi used to stay in a 2BHK house. He had arranged one whole room to Keerthi. It had attached bathroom as well.
“Why do have such a big house for single person?” she asked.
“I wasn’t. Till April end I had two friends. They both left as they moved to other city. No one has moved in yet. I am alone and I need to pay the full rent!” he said with a cranky tone.
“Good then! I shall share the rent for this month!” she replied.
“ Oh! No! It means I need to deal with you and your tantrums for rest of the whole month?? That sucks! Seriously!!” he said with a worried face!
“Oh yeah! Deal with it my friend!” She smiled saying so.
They had dinner and sat on sofa. It was almost about to hit 12.00.
She said, “You know from past few days, I have not been able to track the time. As per my logic, we are going to finish the day of 15 hours. As it hits 12.00 we are going to start the 16 hours day”
He said, “Do you think it’s the destiny that has brought us together? As we cannot be together for 16 hours or more only during day time, have we now started staying under single roof?”
She took a deep breath and said, “I really don’t know. It scares me at times! It scares like a hell! I shall keep a very strict time record tomorrow. If it is 16, then we are in trouble!”
They both wished each other good night and hit the bed.
16 May – 6.00am
It was Wednesday morning. They woke up at around 6.00am. She prepared sandwich for both, got ready and headed to office by 8.00am. She had tracked that it was 8 hours of being together from 12.00 to 8.00am already.
She was home by 5.00pm. As soon as she entered she said, “From 5.00 to 12.00, Seven hours it is! It can never be 16! It can only be 15! I am sure an extra hour cannot be added!”
He smiled and said “Let’s wait for the night!”
They both prepared dinner together. It was lot of talks, some burnt things, some roast smells, some experiments, knowing the family stuff, some vegetable chops and a very nice dinner in front of TV.
As the clock hit 12, she said, “You see! It was just an illusion! There is nothing such!”
He smiled with satisfaction and said, “Yeah. I am so relieved. No Facebook, No Calls, No chat! Asking you to be back at 5.00pm worked! 16th day and 15 hours it was! Wait I have a surprise!” saying so he moved towards refrigerator and got the cake. It was a small cake with a tiny candle on it. It had “To the Time” written on it!
[* “Cake?? I love it!” she said. *]
“I thought it will be like a small welcome treat to you. Plus our time confusion would get resolved. I got it from the ‘Cake-Bake’ shop” he said.
“Oh! I love cakes from there. When did you purchase?” she asked.
“Today! Around morning 11. While I was in shop to buy there was a party going on beside and every one was dressed like jokers and animals. He took almost one hour to pack and give me this cake. Went nuts waiting for it”, he answered!
“Oh My God! Did you notice a panda dressed person there?” she asked
“Who would not? It fell so many times!” he said laughingly.
“It was me! It was our office theme party! I love dressing as Panda” she cried!
“That was the sixteenth hour!” said both in a shivering tone!
Days were getting weird. Keerthi while leaving the home said, “I will come back late today. May be by evening 7.00pm. You don’t go anywhere outside. Stay home.”
He agreed and said “I will be home. I have an important interview tomorrow. I have been preparing. That is why have not been to driving from past few days”.
She said “Good then. Let us see how the day goes” and she left.
Keethi got a call that she had met with an accident. She was rushed to hospital nearby. There was nothing major but there was a leg fracture. She was discharged by evening. Keerthi was rushing in anxiety completing all the hospital procedures. She said not to inform at her home as they would be simply worried. After reaching back home, Keerthi went out and got them food.
She said, “I guess we should not challenge time. Just before I met with an accident, I felt it was a warning from time. I could not fool it. You see, I am very scared. It made us keep up with the 17 hours. Now you don’t go out for remaining hours. I am too scared that something else might happen to you. I was positively assuring myself while walking to office. I was so lost in that thought that I could not realize how absent mindedly I was hit by a bike. For a moment I felt like a time’s warning. I felt time was asking me to surrender!”
They both were quite. The situation was really getting tense.
He said, “May be it was still just a coincidence! I want to give one more try tomorrow!”
They both did not have a pleasant mind. They had lots of confusions. They still preferred to wait for the next day for a definite confirmation.
While keerthi was resting, Keerthi went to interview. It went well and he had managed to impress the panel. He was told the result would be mailed by a week. Keerthi was very positive of getting this job.
Keerthi came back home with excitement and shared his experience about the day. Keerthi was happy too. She demanded for a treat. She also reminded him that he was already out for 6 hours and if he would be home for rest of the day, then that would make the 18 hours.
Keerthi wanted to take a nap and then think of it later. He slept. He woke up after an hour and washed his face like ten times. He looked worried.
She asked him and there was no response. He remained silent with only head nod reactions. She asked “Do you want to take a walk outside?”
He said “No! I will stay here. Here! With you!”
He was quite for the rest of the day. Keerthi knew there was something with that sleep, though he said there wasn’t.
It was nineteenth day.
It was a very lousy Saturday.
Keerthi himself planned the day in such a way that he would be home for nineteen hours and stay out for remaining hours. Keerthi knew there was something wrong since that nap he took. But Keerthi was not talking about it. He used to force himself to look happy and it was evident by his acts.
Till yesterday one who was thinking to break the hour format, today himself was following it to make it happen. He did not say a word about worry. He said he was all right.
But he wasn’t.
Sunday morning seemed pleasant. Keerthi woke up and came to hall. She saw the place was decorated with balloons all around. It was looking cozy and warm. Keerthi loved it. He was already sitting there.
He said, “You know it was a weird dream. The time ticked till 24 and then it stopped. It gave me a message that a day cannot have 25 hours.”
She came and sat beside him and asked, “Tell me more. What else was in that dream?” There was a silence. She then asked, “Why all this decoration?”
He said with breaks, “You know, if we try to forcibly miss the pattern, it warns us. Your accident was one example for it. Do you also feel something terrible might happen on 25th day? I just want to adhere to the pattern and enjoy every moment in it! I could not sleep well. I did all this and it made me feel happy!” He had some random statements but it made all sense to her.
She asked, “Tell me in detail. What did you see? What did you feel? We can face and think of it together. ”
He said, “There was a clock. It had 24 numbers instead of 12. It ticked from 1 to 24 and then it busted out. That’s it.”
Seeking for more information she asked, “Do you remember any details about the clock? Was there anything else?”
He remained silent. He could not recollect anything else. There was nothing else that he could think of. He said, “Let’s celebrate!”
They did. They did everything that made them happy. They could not go out because of her leg fracture. They celebrated the twenty hours of togetherness.
By the time she woke up he had kept a beautiful ring for her, all ready to propose. They had made up several deals and pacts for themselves. All that would remain between both as they did not knew their fate after next four days.
They had forgotten about work. She had forgotten she had a leg fracture. He had forgotten about his interview results. They were making every minute presence felt! The love, bonding, care, there were so many unsaid things but they were there! Strong and bold!
Lust was in the air! Love was in the air!!
Keerthi got up at morning 5.00 am and spent one hour in jogging. He came inside at 6.00am. He knew that the next 47 hours was going to be together. The refrigerator was packed with food. Everything needed for the next 47 hours was set. Keerthi was feeling much better with her leg. He was able to walk all by herself with efforts and there was no need of walking stick or his support anymore.
Keerthi threw away all the calendars. He hid all the clocks inside. They did not want to know the time. The natural way was there though with sunrise and sunset. They wanted to dance with the time moments.
Keerthi got the cake from refrigerator. It was not a surprise that they shared a common birthday. It was twenty fourth day with lot of common things and coincidences. They had no track of time.
They waited till the long past night to assure that they had passed 12.00 and actually it was their birthday. They cut the cake together and went under the bed sheet.
They could sense the sunrise. They were holding hands and doing everything together. They were talking about all possible things that could happen. Some were positive and some negative.
What if time is just a relative term? It could only be our measure to call it a day. In real it could be beyond that. It could mean that they both will be together forever.
What if they both die? Same birth dates, same name, may be this was all set to put them together and let them die!
What if one dies and saves another? Who should? Would that work?
Was it all just a set of long coincidences? There is a possibility that nothing could happen and it would turn to be a regular day!
What if this was all a one huge dream and none of it was real. What if they wake up to find that they don’t remember anything of it?
What if they enter an unknown dimension?
There were a lot of ‘what if’s’ they discussed. They were eager and equally scared to know the consequences.
“Nothing Happened? Are we dead?”
“Nothing Happened! We aren’t dead!”
Little did they know that Junior Keerthi had taken its first step in getting ready to enter into this world!
They did not know yet, the beautiful gift that was waiting for them ahead, mysteriously gifting them a lot of future time together!
About the Climax
I would like to thank Vishwanath Telsag, Sushma Hegde and Swati Bhagwat to listening to story before hand and giving suggestions and go.
I wanted initially to kill both or either of the characters. They completely did not want the story to end that way. They absolutely hated that ending and asked for something better.
The current climax was the only beautiful thing, alternatively I could think of.
About the Author
The moment I had got this concept in mind of ‘time’, all I wanted to do was to complete this novel. I wanted to keep it short, interesting, curious and a quick read. I hope it has worked out with my objective.
Academician, always a research student and blogger who loves to read and write!
Twitter Handle: @itsPhTweet
| Where time decides the destiny
Time! Time is hideous, rigid and always on time. From time travel machine to fast forward future, time has been visualized in varying dimensions. The exquisiteness of time is that it always gives a new perspective to investigate and inspire. Beyond 24 is a love story where the hours of time are bound to love. The time is bound to people who are forced to fall in love by a series of time events. Time lets us heal. It lets us grow. It allows us to see the impact of decisions we take. But what if there is a situation where we don’t exactly know what kind of decision to take? Is it not better enough to leave the consequences to time? WoooW! Lot said already! Time to begin the actual story!