Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunita’s love

Whenever I see Sundar, I longed to hold him tightly in my hands. I loved to cup his cheeks in my palms and smother him with smooches. I loved to run my fingers through his unruly and curly hairs and smell the fragrance I liked. His dark eyes that always twinkled mischievously at the corner and his defiant don’t-care look were the things I liked most in him. He was always a bit rough with me but I liked it most of the times. He was sitting just a few feet away from me in a corner casting his longing looks at me every now and then as if pleading with me to come and sit by his side. My heart sank for I dared not go near him with dad sitting by my side. Dad is a no-nonsense type brooking no improper behavior.

Sundar made a secret sign that only we two knew beckoning me to come near him. There were a few others in the room including my mom. Everyone knew dad’s disciplinarian streak and I didn’t want to risk however coy and innocent face Sundar put up.. When I seemingly ignored him by talking to others, I was all the time looking at him through the corner of my eyes aware that he stole glances at me. Now he had the audacity to wink at me. Luckily dad did not notice. I could not suppress my smile and the short giggle that escaped from my lips but luckily they went unnoticed by others.

What hurt me most was that dad did not take kindly to Sundar and his ways. He never spoke to him warmly and there was always a note of disapproval whenever he found him with me. Sadly dad had not moved with times and harboured antiquated ideas on men and matters. No one these days are submissive and there is a bit of brashness in all.

It was then the most unexpected thing happened.Sundar all on a sudden stood up from his chair, took a few steps defiantly towards me and hugged me in the presence of all. Dad was livid with rage and shouted”Sunita, go to your room I say. I cannot tolerate this behaviour.”

I was irritated at dad’s boorish manner and blurted “Dad, you forget he is a small boy of five years and expect him to behave like a grown up man. How long would a child sit in a corner unspoken to and away from his mom as a ‘sit out’ punishment?”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The lead

Sadanand drove aimlessly. The road was long with no trees on either side. Just a barren hot stretch it was with sun blazing in all its summer fury. He was not sure where he was going. He could not sit quiet at home.He could do nothing better when the police with all its resources are yet to get a lead. His five year old daughter had been kidnapped. He had neither an enemy nor was he rich. All relatives and friends were contacted with none offering any clue. There was no ransom call either. Someone took her away when she was playing outside the house and his wife was cooking lunch. The police had nothing to work upon. With no demand in the last four days, they wondered whether it could be a pedophile behind this. The ad in dailies brought no response. It looked they were at a dead end. With his wife constantly crying, he had her parents brought to comfort her while he roamed the roads in his bike hoping for some lead.

He saw a petrol bunk just before the road forked into two directions. The road that curved along the petrol bunk led to another town. He saw some buses taking that route.

“Fill the tank fully” he told the lone attendant.

As the petrol was being filled in, the attendant asked “Where are you bound for in this hot sun?”

“No idea” he replied with a shrug of his shoulders

There was a puzzled look as the attendant’s eyes surveyed him from head to foot..”The curved road takes you to Makkalchatram, a small town” he said

“Any idea where the straight road takes you to?”

I don’t think anywhere. I haven’t seen people taking that road”

“Haven’t you ever gone that side?”

No, why do you want to take that deserted road with no purpose? You seem to have a jaded look.”

“I am thirsty. Do you have water to drink?

“Sure. Come into the bunk. There is an old fan running.”

The water was cool and Sadanand looked refreshed.”Thanks. a lot. How much for the oil?” he asked

“765 rupees”

Are you sure that road leads to nowhere? I would like to give it a try” he said

“I told you I have never gone that side beyond two or three miles. Except for a deserted small tiled house, there is nothing there beyond”

“A small tiled house, is it?”

“Are you planning to take that road? I think that is strange”

“Why, what is strange about it?”

“Come to think of it, four days back one middle aged man with a child took the same road”

“What? What child? Tell me quickly” Sadanand grabbed his shoulders and shook him.

“A girl of five years who looked not his type. Why have you lost any child or what ?”

Sadanand thrust Rs1000 note in his hands and said to the attendant “Keep the change”

The baffled attendant looked at the speeding car on the lonely road

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unfinished work

I hate this cell with nothing but jaded walls and a grilled door, a bare room dark and dingy with no movable part in it. I am a condemned convict. I do not mind hanging in gallows but wish to get out just for a day to kill that viper Praveen.

“You will not go out ever”, I turned when I heard the voice.

“I will. Without wreaking my vengeance on him I cannot die. I need to spray the bullets on every part of his evil body till he dies. I need just half an hour with him” I replied

“That Praveen is not wholly at fault. Your wife also was an accomplice to the treachery” he responded.

“But I have already hacked her and I am here because of that. But killing him after a torture is an unfinished job” I said.

“You were a fool. Why did you bring them together in the first place?” he said as If I am at fault.

“How would I have known beforehand, you idiot? He was the MD.I had taken my wife to the office party. He came near us and said to me that he never knew I had such a charming wife. I took it as a compliment. He asked her whether she worked and was a graduate. When she said she was a homemaker and a PG, he offered her an appointment instantly. We were happy at the increased income. She liked the work:”I said when my mate interrupted me.

“Why do you wish to kill such a benefactor” he asked

“Benefactor, my foot. I never knew his evil intention. He gradually drafted her in MD’s office with increased responsibilities and pay. Even then I was oblivious of his wicked plan. He gave me a promotion and started sending me on tours initially for a couple of days and then for longer periods. I was a fool to his gradual seduction of my wife and their liaison till one night when I returned unexpectedly for them and found them in the bed. I hacked her then and there in my rage. He escaped but he will not get away from me. Do not advise me without knowing all the facts” I said with anger mounting in me.

“Day dream. You cannot touch him, you idiot, let alone killing. You will be hung very soon. Just keep quiet and pray God for mercy for killing your wife” he said.

I lost my temper and shrieked “How dare you call me an idiot? I will strangle you first before killing that viper”

The warder came running and tapped the door.”With whom are you talking? Don’t you know others are sleeping and you should not make noise in the middle of night” he said

“This fellow is infuriating me even when I do not talk to him” I complained.

The warder saw inside the small room and said “No one is there. Do not imagine. I will send for the doctor in the morning. Go to sleep” he ordered.

I turned round to see no one was there in the cell. But trust me he was there a little while ago

The warder along with a doctor and two others came unusually very early in the morning. “Please examine him, doctor.He was agitated and talking to himself last night” said the warder.

“Just an emotional outburst. Is it not slated for this morning? He is fit for that”the doctor told him after examining me and looking at me with pity.

I was given a bath, breakfast and led somewhere. But they didn’t know I have work to do.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aditi's bridegroom

Aditi’s parents were busy since morning. They had the maid servant spruce up the house changing curtains, sofa covers, vacuuming the carpet, wiping the photo frames and the glasses. Her dad brought fresh flowers for the vase. Her mom was busy in the kitchen making some sweets and snacks. They had also obtained some Bengali sweets from a sweet stall. One of the prospective bridegroom’s parents had informed that they would come in the evening after 3pm to see Aditi.She had taken off for that day from office and went in the morning for a facial at a beauty parlour.After a shower ,she dressed herself in a fine saffron light weight designer silk sari paired with apt jewelry. When it was nearing three, her dad sprayed lavender air freshener in the hall. The aroma of a sandalwood incense stick was wafting from the puja room. There was also the fragrance of jasmine in the air.

There was a short and hesitant buzz. Her dad rushed to open the door to find a young man in a blue coloured striped shirt and charcoal grey pant. He looked tall, very handsome and muscular. He smiled and asked “Is this Aditi’s place?”

“Yes, yes, please come in and be seated. We were actually waiting for you. Has no one else come with you?” The hall was cool with the air conditioner humming.

“No, it is enough if I meet her. I should have come half an hour earlier but was held up in a meeting” he said with a smile.Aditi who was peeping through a small opening in a window from the adjacent room noticed his well aligned sparkling teeth. A cute looking guy, she thought with some satisfaction.

“I hope you had no difficulty in locating the house” asked Aditi’s dad.

“Not at all. It took just 30 minutes to drive from my office. The ambience here is good. A bright but cool home you have in sylvan surroundings” he said

“Yes, I bought it ten years back” he said as Aditi’s mom brought a plate full of snacks and sweets.

“Why all these? Where is Aditi?” he said

“It is customary. Please have” he said and turned to his wife and added “Where is Aditi? Ask her to come. You also come here”

Aditi came demurely accompanied by her mother. The young man stood up and folded his hands to both of them.

When they were seated he said with a large smile “Glad I could come today.Infact I have wanted to see you ever since I heard about you. I could find time only today”

After some pleasantries, Aditi’s dad stood up and said “I will leave you alone and you can discuss matters of mutual interest.”

It was then Aditi’s dad heard a car coming to a halt opposite his house and gate being opened. He rushed to see an elderly man and his wife in kanjeevaram silk sari getting down along with a young man .They had a basket of fruits along with flowers. He was surprised and wondered who then this young man in the hall could be.

He rushed in before Aditi and that young man get to talk to each other and asked him “Who are you, Sir? What brought you here? Why did you want to meet Aditi? I think there has been a mistake.”

“Yes Sir, I was also wondering at the warm reception. I had a lead that Aditi was planning to take an insurance cover. I had come to meet Aditi regarding that. I am an officer in a multinational insurance company” he said

Meanwhile the elderly couple entered the hall accompanied by a short man with a pronounced paunch and a weird face.

Aditi hurriedly left the hall with a disappointed look in her face.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The tiff

Not a day passed without Preeti and Prateek quarreling. If she wished to go to grocery stores, he would say a mall. If she suggested pizza for dinner, he would ask her to make zafrani pulav.While she would want both of them to see together Dance India dance programme, he would opt for cricket. With both adamant they would go to different rooms to watch the shows they liked or both shutting down the TV in disgust to browse the net separately. Such incidents invariably led to exchange of words with both sleeping turned away from each other. The irony was Preeti’s parents had matched the horoscopes for compatibility. He was an extrovert, loud and gregarious while she was quiet, introvert and receding by nature.

Being the only son, Prateek never knew to adjust or share. She was a pampered daughter being the only girl amidst five sons. The saving grace was that both were good and faithful to each other. But life after the initial charm turned dull and boring even within a year of marriage. Both worked and met only in the late evenings. Weekends invariably ended in a tiff when he went to play tennis or a game of bridge or beer party with friends. She invariably went to mall to while away the time. Sometimes she wished she had remained single enjoying the freedom at her parent’s house.

What brought matter to a head was that on the first wedding anniversary, he went to another town to attend a distant cousin’s wedding. He had not told her of his plan. She had hoped it would be a grand outing for them to a distant resort for a couple of days. She found in his room some packets of dresses for her on his table but he had not remembered to tell her beforehand.

When he came late in the night, she opened the door and quietly proceeded towards bedroom without asking him anything.

“Preeti, are you upset? Why the long face? Whatever for this scowl in your face? I was not here the whole day for us to quarrel ” he said.

She was furious at the manner he was talking even when he had forgotten or pretended so, about their first anniversary. Could any man forget this important day and absent himself without telling her? She simply said “ Have I not opened the door promptly after the first bell? I have nothing else to talk to you. Good night” she said

“I know you are angry because I went to my cousin’s marriage. I also know you do not like my people or tolerate my mingling with them. I hate you for your narrow mindedness” he spoke in anger

“What else can I expect from a person who does not even know his first anniversary? You should not have married and spoilt a woman’s life” she replied equally strongly.

“What are you blabbering about? Are you referring to completion of one year of quarrel and curses from you? Anyway you could have taken the dresses I had kept on my table. Have you ever spoken lovingly to me? Have you ever taken interest in things I like? You hate my friends, my hobbies, my people and even my presence. Yes, I should not have married you and should have spared myself of seeing your ugly face” he fulminated

“Enough of your rubbish. I go out of your house early morning and spare you of seeing my face. I would also be happier without you” she exploded

“I would welcome it gladly. Get lost wherever you wish to with whomever you like. It is a good riddance”

“How dare you talk to me like that? Mind your words. I hate you from the bottom of my heart” she said and ran away to another room.

Six months had passed since she came to her parents house. She did not reveal much but said she would like to stay with them for some time. They could surmise that something was amiss but did not press her to tell. Her mom on one or two occasions obliquely said quarrels between couples were common and should not be carried too far unless there was a serious reason.

Preeti had in the first few months disconnected the calls from Prateek on her cell. After a few times, he stopped calling. When she saw her brothers’ wives happily living, she also longed to be back. She knew Prateek despite his coarse behavior was not a bad guy. Only he didn’t realize the folly of continuing his old habits even after wedding. She felt she had been hasty in walking out.

Meanwhile Prateek was forlorn and miserable. He hated to come home and did not relish watching his favourite programmes alone. He was filled with remorse that he failed to celebrate his first anniversary and attended a wedding where his absence would not have been noticed. He decided to go to her place in the adjacent town and seek her forgiveness. He left office early and reached her parents place. Her mom received him with warmth.

“Where is Preeti?” he asked

“I don’t know where she has gone. But she said not to worry if she did not return by night. But she was telling that she was rude to someone and going for apologizing. She didn’t tell me who and where” her mom said.

Just then his cell rang.”Where are you? I am in our house”Preeti asked

Friday, January 20, 2012

The resolution

Neeraj was already late. The lift door was almost closing as he rushed towards it. His office was on 17th floor and it would take considerable time for it to come down again. The other lift was under repair. Luckily the door opened and there was a young woman in it alone. He rushed in and the doors closed.”Thanks” he mumbled.

“I saw you hastening to the lift and opened the closing door” she said softly with a smile.

“Thanks again. I am actually in a hurry. Do you work in this building? I do not remember to have seen you ealier”he said.

“No, I came here looking for a job.” she replied.

The lift was moving up slowly. “What kind of job?” he queried

“Anything in HR.I have a diploma in HR management but not from a prestigious institution” she said

“Okay. My floor is coming. Note down my cell number and call me in the afternoon. I will tell you where to send your CV’ he said hastily and went out. She had scribbled the number in her palm but had forgotten to ask for his name. A cute looking guy he was just being courteous to a woman who had opened the lift door. Nevertheless she entered the number in her mobile.

In the afternoon she hesitated for a moment whether to give a ring to this stranger or not but chose to call him.”Neeraj here.”Who is calling?” he asked.

“Neha, I met you in the morning in the lift” she said

“Oh, that charming and helpful lady, I remember now.Neha is a sweet name. Do you have a pen and paper? Note down the email ID and send the resume. Let me explore through my contacts whether anything can be done .Do you have any specific requirement?”he asked

“Yes, I have. I need a job immediately” she said

He let out a loud laugh.”I cannot promise but I will try. Any objection if I call on this number when I get a lead? Where do you live?” he asked.

“No objection .You can call at any time. I am at Motinagar living with my mom. Thanks for the help”

She sent the resume the same day. There was no response for a week. She concluded that he was just being polite and nothing may come out of it. So it was a pleasant surprise when she had an email on a Monday asking her to appear for an interview at an Import and export company on Wednesday morning. It was in the same building where she had met Neeraj. She was the lone candidate and was interviewed by by three men who asked her general questions. They asked her to wait for some time.

In about 30 minutes, one of the three who interviewed her came and said “Sorry, you have not been selected. In fact we had recommended your appointment but the Managing Director overruled us saying you will not meet his requirements for the job. Nevertheless he would like to see you. Best of luck. Come this way” he said and guided her towards MD’s room. She was asked to wait for some time in the ante-room and the person left.

At that time surprisingly Neeraj entered the ante room and on seeing her asked her with a smile “Hello, Sneha, what brings you here to MD’s room?”

“Neha, not Sneha.Are you working in this company? It seems your MD does not want me. I don’t know why he wants to see me when he has already decided against me? Do you know him by any chance? I came with lot of hope” she said

“Let me go in and find out. Yes I know him well. Please wait till he calls. He is a good man. May be he has some other job for you” he said and went in.

There was a buzz. MD’s secretary took her in. She was rendered speechless when she saw Neeraj sitting in MD’s chair. He stood up and extended his hand. He sent the secretary away asking her to send some fresh fruit juice.

She was silent waiting for him to speak. He said “I am sorry to hear that you have not been chosen.”

“Sir, I heard you only rejected me. Why do you give hope and then make it come crashing down? We are not play things but are seriously in need of a job to keep our hearth warm. I heard you wanted to see me. Now that you have seen, can I go?”

No Sir business. Call me Neeraj.Are you in a great hurry? I have some explanation for your rejection. I felt you cannot be a staff in this company. I have some other plan for you in my mind and may be can utilize your skill in another capacity” he said

Thanks a lot Sir. When you cannot give a junior position in your own company, what role you are talking about elsewhere? Please permit me to leave” she said sneeringly as she stood up.

“Oh, oh.The fruit juice has come. Please be seated and let us drink. Allow me to complete before you decide to walk out” he said. As she sat down, he said “I have made detailed enquiries about you and your family. I am coming to your place on Friday along with my parents for formally asking for your hand. If you agree to the proposal, a director’s chair will be awaiting you here” he said with a large smile

Neha could neither believe her ears nor utter one word as tears flowed from her eyes.Neeraj stood up and came around her side and asked “Is this a happy resolution to your job hunt?”

Award from Vaidegi of Desert trails

Thanks a lot, Vaidegi for conferring this award , tagging me and for the nice things said about my blog.
She has stipulated the following conditions:
The rules of this tag:

 Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your Blog Post
 Thank the Blogger who nominated you
 Share 7 Random things about yourself
 Nominate 15 fellow Bloggers
 Inform the Bloggers of their nomination
Let me do the difficult part first.It is well nigh impossible to choose from among the bloggers who visit my blog regularly and whose blogs I find interesting and versatile.Many vie for inclusion but I have chosen six at random.Each one is different from the other in style,narration and in their capacity to hold the reader's attention.I simply enjoy reading their posts and would commend their blogs to those who are not currently following.
1.,Cloud nine:
3.NRI Girl:
6.Sujata Satya:
The seven random things about me.
1.May be at 80 I am the oldest among the blogger friends I have come across here.
But that does not hamper my style or the blogging.The one advantage is that younger
bloggers feel comfortable in interacting with me.
2.I enjoy Sudoku solving two or three problems of evil/diabolical level.
3.I am a lover of Carnatic music and most of the time I am before lappy, the music of
old or modern greats would be on. making me wonder whether it is the net or the music that ties me with lappy
4.I watch old wild West movies frequently from DVDs.
5.I follow cricket and tennis with keen interest.,read and discuss about them.
6.Cooking South Indian food is my hobby and if my daughter permits I try my hand at it.
7.Though god fearing, I am not very religious

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Raghav’s ragging

The engineering college was on the outskirts of the city in the vast expanse studded with isolated old houses of what was earlier a village. The boys and girls were ferried by buses. There was hostel separately for boys and girls. The college was not high in the list and was a haven for boys and girls who could not score highly. It was notorious for ragging with an inept management unable to control the few unruly students. Complaints were often made but the concerned students with power and influence behind them had no fear.

Raghav a timid boy in the first semester and born with four sisters from a family of ordinary means was scared of these bullies and gave them a wide berth. A puny boy, studious in habits and given to obedience, could evade the rampant ragging thus far. It was his bad luck that on this day the lecturer taunted a few students when Raghav answered a few questions correctly while many blinked. Word went round to the seniors during lunch time about the humiliation of the back benchers. That was his nemesis and he was marked instantly for ragging.

As he came out of the class in the evening, three bullies from the senior class ambushed him and took him away from the bus stand to the rear of college building.

“So you are a show off. You wish to expose the other students with your intelligence. But you don’t have the guts those boys possess. What do you say?” one senior asked him with his hand holding his collar.

Raghav’s throat went dry with fear and he kept silent. This infuriated another bully who gave him a hard slap.

The third one said” If you are that gutsy and smart, why don’t you go into that house you see yonder and wave your hand from the balcony? Unless you do it, you will not be allowed to go home” even as the one who slapped took away his bag and things kept in the pocket.

The house on the rear was for long lying unused and was rumoured to be haunted by a violent ghost. Nobody ever tread into the sprawling ground. Even the daring boys kept away as people talked of unnatural deaths and mental wrecks for those who dared. Into such a house the poor lad was pushed into. When he stood near the broken gate the bullies threw stones at him making him go further inside. He gingerly moved on the pathway that was littered with dry leaves and dirt. Stones were hurled at him whenever he lingered. He gathered courage and stepped on the verandah. The bullies gesticulated him to go inside the house.

The door was covered with cobwebs and dust. He tapped the door gently and was shivering in dread. The bullies were watching intently. The door slightly opened to reveal an old woman in white gown who seemed tall but shriveled. Her eyes were sunk deeply and there was a white tooth with a skin that was drawn tightly on the face looking a skeleton. Raghav could not utter any word and was sweating profusely.

“Come in. Do not be afraid. What brought you here? No one comes. Are you in trouble and seeking refuge here? Tell me without fear” the lady spoke.

Raghav mustered courage and narrated the trouble he was put into and said “I had no mind to trouble you. They threw stones at me to trespass into your compound. They insist that I show up in the balcony for them to release me to my home”

“That is easily done. Come on to the first floor” she said. They went up the creaky stairs and waved their hands at the boys with old woman’s hand on Raghav’s shoulders.”Call the boys here and as they enter the verandah ,you run away by the rear door. Do not stay here after they enter” the woman added

Raghav signaled the boys to come telling “It is nice here and there are fruits. Do come”. They saw Raghav smiling and talking to the old woman.Curiosity took better of them. They decided to have some fun and came rushing. Raghav ran away through the rear door as fast as his legs could carry.

When he neared the outer gate, he heard loud screams and shrieks from his college mates as if there was a murderous assault on them. He did not linger and ran away

The next day there were crowds of students, lecturers and staff outside the building. There was a police van.. He heard from them that the three boys who had ventured into the forbidden building the previous evening were behaving strangely with fear in their eyes and talking to themselves incoherently like lunatics.

Raghav looked at the balcony. He felt there was a slight movement of a figure in white clothes

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doubly lucky

Vinod had his account with the bank at the ground floor of his office building. It was manned entirely by ladies except for the security.Vinod never made use of ATM or credit card facility. The reason is not far to seek as to why he loved to visit the bank so often. It is not by any design of his that an extremely good looking lady happened to be the teller but that was the reason for his daily visit. She was around 27, quite efficient and businesslike. Though she smiled, her answers to Vinod’s questions were brief and to the point. This did not deter him from trying to cultivate her. He informed her unsolicited that he worked in the same building and that he was an engineer and in good position. Sometimes he would talk about the weather and of the overcast sky. She would just count the money and hand it over with a smile. But the pleasure of seeing her once daily was adequate recompense for the trouble he took.

Vinod had gone with his mother to a book fair on a Sunday. It was a huge fair drawing heavy crowd and on this day it was unmanageable. The weather was oppressive in the mid summer. With poor ventilation and narrow corridors, it was smelly and hot. His mom bought some religious books while he went for some cheap editions of old classics. It was nearing 8pm and they had covered more than half the fair.They heard cries ‘Fire, fire’ from one side and there was a mad scramble of the visitors for the exit gate even though smoke was coming from one corner. Soon the fire spread and engulfed larger areas. The unruly rush became a stampede near the exit and it was by luck that Vinod found an opening on the side to take his mother out. Someone had cut the power and the whole place was plunged in darkness. He could hear the bells of the fire engines rushing towards the different sides of the fair. In a short while the fire engines were dousing the fire and the shop keepers busy in salvaging the books. Most of the visitors had left except for idle and curious onlookers. There was utter confusion, smoke and shock

By the time he located his car in the darkness, it was 9pm.As he got into the vehicle, his mother shrieked from the other side and said ”Vinod, come here, I find a young girl sleeping on the ground near the door.”She was about five fast asleep. Obviously separated from her guardians she had strayed in the darkness to this place and fell into slumber.

“Mom, shall I leave the child with some policeman? You be here. I will come soon” Vinod said

“No, it is a girl child and it is night time. It is not desirable to leave her with some policeman. The girl looks from well to do family. Let us take her home and leave a message with our area police station that we have brought the child home and give our address and phone number. The missing parents would eventually find their way to us” she said.

The next day morning the little girl started crying when she woke up to the new surroundings.Vinod’s mom had gone to a temple. The child could not tell precisely where her house was located though she gave the name of the play school.Vinod decided to take the girl to the school, when the phone rang. It was from the police station informing that the girl’s mother was coming to Vinod’s house along with a policeman. The girl was tidied up, given milk and some toys to play with.Vinod was playing with her to keep her in good humour and the little girl took to him instantly.

The bell rang and the girl rushed to open the door.Can you guess who was there with the policeman? You did it right. None else than the teller at the bank in the building where Vinod worked. For a moment both were rendered speechless. It was broken when the girl rushed to the arms of the lady telling “Uncle is so sweet but did not know to play even in simple games.”

Both broke into laughter.”I am Vinod.Please come in. Mom should be here very soon. Lucky that we could find your daughter sleeping last night near our car. Should I say doubly lucky?” Vinod said and sent the policeman away after thanking him profusely along with some money.

“I am Archana.Thanks a bunch. I am indebted to you for ever for bringing her here and keeping her safely. I see you daily at the bank. Why doubly lucky?” she asked with a smile

“Mommy, can we take uncle with us to our home? I like him so much” the girl intervened

“Don’t worry little girl, I intend to drop you both at your place and meet your daddy” Vinod said

Her mom’s face fell . She said” My husband was killed at the Kashmir border three years ago. I am living alone with my daughter”

“I am very sorry. Can you wait for a few minutes? I want my mom to see you” he said even as the girl snuggled in his arms.

When driving them home, he asked with broad grin in the face. ”Should I explain why doubly lucky if you have not guessed it already?”

She looked at him and made faces before breaking into a smile. A love was born.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The smile

It was at a party that I had met Sudhir.Strikingly handsome with a muscular body that was very fair and his curly hair, he caught my attention immediately as I entered the hall. He had not obviously noticed me as he was chatting animatedly with a few young ladies. His smile was magnetic as I could see from the expressions of his listeners .I moved closer to him to catch his eye.

For the last few months I have no boy friend after the last one moved away preferring someone else may be for her money. Though I was dating some, I had not found the right man. This guy appeared to be a good catch. He dressed well. I liked the dimple in his cheek when he smiled. As expected he turned and his eyes fell on me. It seemed they froze on me forever till I smiled at him. He returned the smile and abruptly left his company to move towards me. It was only when he came close that I noticed it wasn’t a dimple but a scar. But did it matter when it added to his charm?

After the introductions, he asked very courteously whether he can hold my hands for a dance. His lavish remarks on my beauty and the ease of my dancing steps, his soft whispers and the gentle touch and his winning smile made my legs weak aware that I had fallen for him head over heels. After a while he took me out to the darker side of the long corridor to hug me and plant his first kiss. Cuddling close to each other, we sat on a cold bench for a long time and expressing our wish to carry forward the friendship further by frequent meetings. A sudden cold breeze swept across and he held me tight. There was some uneasy feeling when he stared at me with his smiling eyes. I didn’t know why but his eyes suddenly reminded me of a viper.

“Why, what happened, Savitha?”he asked anxiously.

“Nothing, the wind is chilly” I replied

“Okay, let us go inside. I will pick you up tomorrow evening from your office for our first date. Be ready” he said.

He was there sharp at 6pm outside my office. We went to a film and then had dinner at a posh restaurent.He behaved with me very gentlemanly.”Would you mind visiting my room before I drop you at your place? We can have some drinks and some cuddling” he asked

“Why not? I do not mind so long as you behave yourself. From what I have seen you so far, you seem to be fine gentleman. I consider myself fortunate to become your friend” I replied

It was a well kept place and things neatly arranged showing Sudhir in bright light.I was happy and said “I am cleanliness freak. I think we have similar taste.”

He wrapped his arm around my waist and drew me close to kiss me. It was the same smile that I saw the previous day. I involuntarily shuddered in fear and drew myself back.

“Why what happened, Savitha? You did this last evening also” he asked

“It is nothing” I said

“No, I don’t believe you.You are scared not without justification. Your inner instincts have warned you correctly. I am an evil man since one year. Have you had a boy friend? Tell me” he said

“Why, I did have a few but nothing clicked .II never got close to anyone. It is only you that I have really fallen for and it is my wish that this stays for a long time. What evil you were talking about?” I asked

“Don’t get scared of what I am about to tell you. I love you and would not harm you. I had a girl friend. We were in deep love with each other and were very intimate. We had plans to get married. I was making all arrangements till I saw her one day betraying me with another man. When pressed she confessed that he was her ex friend and have been having affair on the sly. I lost my cool and in a fit of rage strangled her to death. Her man had run away. Due to lack of adequate evidence I was convicted on some minor account and let off after a short tem in prison. This incident affected me mentally and I have lost faith in women. I befriend young women and when alone with them suddenly the rage in me swells up and I in a fit of madness kill them, may be a way to remove the bitterness in me” he stopped for a while when I interrupted

“Can I go home now, Sudhir.You can tell me the rest later. I am feeling giddy” I said

“Savitha, do not be afraid. I am no psycho. I am changed. No harm will come to you. I love you very much and wish to spend the rest of my life with you” he said even as he embraced me as if to assuage my fears.

It was then I felt a burning sensation in my back. I tried to free myself from his steely grip even as I saw a patch of scarlet on the floor around my feet, warm and sticky.Oh my god, what has happened to me I thought and looked at him.He was smiling at me with the same scary eyes staring like viper. The brightness around me dimmed as I crumpled on the floor.