“What is for dinner?“ she heard as he ambled along towards the dining table.Chandra said “Go and wash your hand before you sit for dinner”.This made him angry and he pounced on her.Chanda felt a slice of sharp pain on her arm as she defended herself from Navin.He looked scary with blood shot eyes, slobbering mouth and a scowl of hate in his face.”I hate you, you slut.you dare to talk back to me’ he said in anger as he raised his hand to slash her again.She hit him on his wrist and the knife jumped from his hand to a corner.He started blabbering and she was always afraid of hearing him talk of late.An alcoholic beyond redemption he was the antithesis of what she thought he would be a suave, handsome, diligent, upcoming executive and a loving husband.Her marriage was a total failure and luckily they had no children.
It was last week she remembered he was sipping his tea in the sit out while reading the paper.Suddenly he put the cup down and said “Check whether Peter’s wife is OK.She was admitted in hospital I feel.I have a queasy feeling”
Two days later when she rang her friend who was living adjacent to Peters she was shocked to hear that Peter’s wife suddenly took ill only the previous night around 1 am and passed away despite emergency treatment.Chandra looked at her sleeping husband with horror when it dawned on her that Navin had a premonition of the impending death.
She recalled how one day a few months back when they were walking in a mall, Navin pointed out to a middle aged man with baskets on both hands and said that he would fall down in the escalator.She felt Navin was talking insensibly when the man appeared strong and walking with firm steps.As they were climbing down to the lower level in escalator , she saw to her great shock the man suddenly folding in two and falling on the moving escalator few steps ahead of her.A crowd gathered and rushed him to emergency.She asked Navin how he knew he would fall.Navin said it was just a hunch and he really did not know why he felt like that.She dismissed the event as a coincidence.But Mrs. Perter’s demise convinced her now that he had some power to foresee events.
She looked at her arm as blood was oozing out.He did not stir but shouted instead ”You dare to hit me, you stinking wench.I hate you and am leaving you for ever.Take it from me you will see no more of me.You can romance unfettered with your office manager .Don’t think I am not aware of your shenanigans..I am fed up with you.”He went out blabbering nonstop till she heard his car start and leave the house.
She was outraged at his insinuation though there was no such romance except they were good friends liking each other.He knew she was married and maintained the friendship at decent level.She would often feel that he would have been a better choice than Navin but knew the mistake had been done.She did not feel like eating after Navin’s sudden exit and became morose that her marriage had entered the shoal of mutual dissatisfaction and incompatibility.All her efforts could not wean him away from liquor into a responsible and understanding way of life.She put her head on her arms on the dining table and fell asleep.She must have slept long for it was 11.30 PM when the telephone rang shrilly.
A sudden fear engulfed her.She did not like Navin talking of leaving her permanently.There was a cramp inside her stomach as she clutched the receiver to hear a male voice.”Is it Navin’s house….? I am sorry madam to disturb you..Are you Mrs. Navin?.... Oh oh….er …er.There has been a ghastly accident.May be he drove while fully drunk.Can you come to the hospital at…”
She did not want to hear anymore.She knew what must have happened as memories of the middle aged man falling in the escalator and Mrs.Peter rushed in her mind.