Bharathi and Mukund were a loving couple married for seven years.Their daughter Meghna was five years old.As both were working, They had a full time nanny to look after the girl and also the house.Weekends were fun with outing to some picnic spots, mountains or beach resorts. It was a love marriage when they were colleagues in the same office.She was very beautiful,a picture of grace and talented.Mukund knew that she had no mother.She was however vague about her father telling that he left home when under a great stress and never came back.He did not pursue that subject as he felt she was uncomfortable.Mukund’s father was a rich landlord living in a moffusil town.They were a traditional and conservative family well respected in the society . They were initailly not happy about his son’s choice but chose to give in to his wishes.
Mukund had since left that company and joined elsewhere.The couple spent time together only in the evenings.Life was smooth and happy till one day Mukunds’ aged uncle rang up telling that he saw Bharathi’s car in the morning at Neelankrai and that he had seen her car frequently there. He and his wife being not very far from that place , they had hoped she would drop in some time.Mukund said may be she had been attending some meetings at her company’s guest house.Her uncle said it did not appear to be a guest house but a small T type house just opposite to Aavin milk booth in Neelam colony, a housing board complex. He assured his uncle that he would ask Bharathi to visit them soon.
In the evening he asked her casually how the day was .She replied that it was a tight day since the start of the day till the evening with meetings one after the other.This set him thinking she was hiding something.He could not sleep the whole night as she had never mentioned about her visits to Neelankarai even once.They practically shared daily the day’s experiences in the night.The next day itself he went after lunch to Neelankarai after making sure that Bharathi was in her office.He had no difficulty in locating the house.The door was opened by an elderly person in his sixties.Mukund greeted him and asked”I am sorry to disturb you.I am on the look out for an apartment.I was told by some one reliably that one is available for rent in this area.Are you aware of any such,Sir?”
“Please come in.It is very hot.Would you like a glass of cool water?”he asked
Mukund said “It would be most welcome.It is nice of you.”He ran his eyes around the drawing hall quickly.It was simple with minimum furniture,a TV and a a small showcase on the wall..When he went near to see a photo in it, he found to his great shock the photo of his wife.He was puzzled how come her picture was here as she never told of anyone known to her at Neelankarai.When the old man came with the glass of water he said”That is my daughter.The picture was taken some eight years back.”
“I see.Is she also staying with you?”he asked
“No, she is elsewhere in the city with her husband and child.I am not aware of any apartment vacant in this locality.I shall check and give you a ring if you can give me your number”he said
He thanked him and said it was not necessary as he would put some rental agencies on the job.
In the evening after dinner,when they were watching TV he asked her”Can we discuss something in our bedroom” She gave him a surprised look as he did not seem his exuberant self and was glum ever since he came home.
“Do you know anyone in Neelankarai?” he asked abruptly when they entered the bedroom.
“Why do you ask?” she countered
“Answer my question instead of asking me’he said sharply
“Since when you have been tailing me?I never knew this side of you?”she said
“Since when you do things behind my back?What is your picture doing in someone’ bungalow there?Can you give me a satisfactory explanation, if you care to?”
She was silent for a while.She wiped her eyes before she looked at him.
“So you had been there.How did you know that it was my dad?I had not told you about his shady past as your family is a respectable one.When we married ,he was in jail undergoing imprisonment for misappropriating money by fraudulent means in the bank where he was in charge..My mother died in shame.All his money was forfeited except what was in my mom’s name..It was only about six months back he was released.I settled him there and meet him once a while.He is now a changed man repenting for his foolish crime.He is keeping indifferent health as the incarceration has totally ruined his health.I was afraid to confide in you because of his criminal past.Please excuse me.I have not taken Meghna even once though he has been expressing his wish to see her” she said with tears
Mukund hugged her and said”Honey, you should have taken me into confidence.Don’t you have that trust in me?.It is human nature to make mistake but if it is repented they become normal like any one of us.Come on, let us go now and bring him here to live with us.He can spend his twilight years with his daughter and grandchild”
Bharathi fell at his feet and clasped his knees saying “You are so kind.How fortunate I am to have been blessed with a husband like you.”