Monday, February 25, 2008

A shocking revelation

It was a nice colony of about hundred apartments amidst the shaded trees with ample space for car parking, children’s play ground with swings and slide. It also boasted of a small Vinayaka temple in one corner. There were twenty fours security. The residents were friendly and mingled well. The camaraderie among the lady folks were more than among the gentlemen. The former except for a few young things who went to work had the entire afternoons at their disposal. They assembled in the children area, exchanged news and gossip and lamented about the irregular sweeper boys or the unfettered growth of weeds on the rear side of the houses. Water scarcity was no longer an issue thanks to the munificence of metro water. Although many of the apartments were in wives’ names, the colony association was an exclusive male preserve.Bhujanga Rao a long time owner resident has been serving as the president of the colony. A soft spoken lawyer with abundant common sense and a good knowledge of the Apartments Act, he was acceptable to everyone. Only the secretary and other office bearers changed once in two years. Rao had a great capacity to bring about compromises even on tricky issues of the colony that threatened to explode once in a while. He was sort of a father figure respected by all though they knew that he was a meek person before his wife.Mrs.Rao was a big built and tall woman, well educated and had a stentorian voice that commanded instant compliance. None of the lady folks dared to talk against her in her presence.
Things were going on smoothly in the colony till recently. What irked the female members was the new occupant of a first floor flat in one of the blocks. Mallika seemed a woman in her early forties but did not appear to be more than thirtyfive.She was very pretty and attractive. Tall and slim, there was always a twinkle in her eyes and pleasant smile in her face. It was a winsome appearance that made people turn their heads. The women did not take kindly to this. No one knew where she worked. The person who seemed her husband was rarely seen. She spoke freely with the men in the colony but kept the females at a distance. This irked them a lot .They were already unhappy after the revelation by the durwans that she had male visitors in the evenings who stayed over. They were convinced that she was a woman of easy virtue and that her presence could be a likely threat to the peace and happiness in their households.
Mrs Rao discussed that night with her husband and pleaded with him that the new occupant should be thrown out. But Bhujanga Rao told her that as long as she was no inconvenience to others, she cannot be evicted on mere suspicion and loose talk of watchmen. He taunted her saying that ladies seemed jealous of her good looks and that they lacked faith in their husbands.Mrs Rao informed her friends the next day what her husband had told her. She also added for good measure that she agreed entirely with him. She was absolutely confident of her husband and that she had no reason to worry as he was like Ram an eka patni vratan.It was up to them to ensure that their husbands did not stray away. Her friends who were not satisfied prodded their husbands to take up with the president. Somehow they were also reluctant to send the woman away for reasons best known to them. The woman continued going about her job unobtrusively.
Some months later Mrs Rao had gone to Coimbatore for a wedding in the family. Mr. Rao could not accompany her. It was during such time in the middle of one night an ambulance arrived at the colony with siren blaring and waking up all residents. It stopped opposite the block where Mallika lived. The men quickly took the stretcher to her first floor flat. The doors were partially closed and she was standing grim and quiet at the entrance. The ambulance driver told the anxious residents that someone has had a massive heart attack. The stretcher soon came out.Every one craned their necks to see who the victim was. They were all shocked to see the venerable Bhujanga Rao unconscious on the stretcher. The news spread like wild fire after the ambulance left. One could see a sense of utter dismay accompanied by a muffled glee amongst the faces of the ladies at the plight of Mrs. Rao.

1 comment:

  1. good expression:"sense of utter dismay accompanied by a muffled glee..."