The resort was nestled amidst the verdant plantations and the undulating green plains.Their room was overlooking the lush garden with flowers of different hues.It was drizzling since last night and the morning sun was not yet visible.Pranesh and Praveena snuggled with each other on the sofa were sipping tea.They were married just a week earlier.The ambience was great and ideal for newly wed on their honeymoon.
It was then the phone rang.She got up to take it from the bed. A voice in almost a whisper said “Praveena ,don’t be shocked.This is Vijay, your forgotten and ditched lover.It was by chance that Reddy told me of your marriage to some well heeled bloke and your honey moon trip.Sorry, I forgot. Hearty congratulations.I wish to meet you and your hubby to greet you in person.I know where you are staying”
“Hmm………thanks……………” she could not say anything more with Pranesh watching her.
“Dear,do not be afraid.I will never harm you.You were so generous with your love in the past.I would be an ungrateful wretch to put you in any difficulty.I just need a tiny help to get over some pressing financial problems.I need one lakh rupees immediately.Pity you didn’t have a computer and you had to write all your passionate and romantic letters.Keep the money ready.I forgot to hand over your letters after you parted from me.I will bring them for sure.I am unable to forget you easily after our intimacy “ Vijay said in a soft voice.
But she knew the viper had come to bite her by blackmail.She looked at the sofa and found to her immense relief that Pranesh had gone to bath room.
“Look here, Vijay.I cannot talk much now .I have no money to give.I beg of you to leave me alone and not harm me’ she pleaded with him
“Sweety,I am told he is a rich guy.If you cannot pay I will talk to him and make an honourable deal for exchange of letters to the sum I wanted.I need by tomorrow.How you play your cards is upto you” he seemed adamant.
As she was beseeching him with her pleas for mercy, Pranesh came out of bathroom and asked her who was on the line?”
“One of my friends.He couldn’t attend our wedding. He wished to greet us in person.I told him we are away on honeymoon” she replied
“Ask him to attend the reception we are giving on Sunday at the hotel “ he said.Rushing suddenly towards her, he snatched the phone and said “This is Pranesh,Praveena’s husband.Your good name ,Sir….Vijay? Thanks .Please attend without fail the reception at Green Hall on Sunday.I would be happy to meet you and talk to you ..Bye till then” said Pranesh in warm tone before disconnecting the line
“Why do you look so pale and haggard? What is bothering you, Praveena?I think it is lack of adequate sleep these last few days’he said with a mischievous wink.
She knew Vijay was wicked only after being tricked by his sweet talk and handsome looks.Within a few months, she decided he was not made for her and broke off the relationship.No doubt she had committed a few indiscretions and her letters to him were one such.Hr did not let her go easily and pestered her. She did not succumb to his threats.But she dreaded him now that she is married and shuddered at the harm he can do to her.
The reception hall was crowded with guests coming one after another to the couple shaking hands, wishing them well, handing over the gifts, having pictures taken and walking towards the dining hall.It was hot and sweaty despite the AC hall.Praveena saw Vijay at a distance and started trembling..Pranesh who was holding her hand saw the change in her and quietly whispered “Do not worry.The crowd is too much and would soon be over”
“Congratulations Praveena and Mr Pranesh.I am Vijay.We spoke the other day.Praveena is very close friend of mine.I wish her all the best.Kindly have this small gift. I have another gift for you Pranesh which I wish to hand over after a small talk with you in private” Vijay said
“Thank you Vijay.We can meet in half an hour.The guests are still pouring in.Mean while you may kindly rest in the adjacent AC room”Pranesh said.
He signalled to someone standing nearby and said “Take this gentleman into that room and take good care of him.Please pay special attention.I will be with you in 30 minutes”
Once inside Vijay saw four more heavily built men in the room.They closed the door as they approached him with a smug smile.Abruptly one man punched his nose asking him”Buddy,don’t you wish to live peacefully ?Since when you have taken to blackmailing?”
When Vijay protested more blows were showered on him by all the four men on him and his clothes removed leaving him in his underwear.Some one took the other gift packet and tore it open to find innumerable letters.while another guy lit the letters with cigarrette lighter to see them burn to ashes.Another guy kicked Vijay on his groin and told him to keep off from the couple lest he is finished.
It was then Pranesh entered the room and said”What is this? Vijay, are you okay?
Turning to the four men he asked “Can’t you people have taken the letters from him without being rough? Give him back his dress and take him to the dining hall.”
“Sorry, Vijay.You wanted to say something.Do you have still anything to tell?’ he asked
When Pranesh went back to reception hall, Praveena asked “What did he say to you?”
“Nothing.I asked him to have his dinner but he pleaded his inability due to urgent work.I don’t think he will come again ever.Do not worry” he said with a smile
Pranesh took care not to divulge to Praveena that he had overheard the conversation in the bathroom in the resort on the parallel phone.