Kokila had an early dinner afraid that with the incessant rain the power may be cut any time. She had the candles ready on the dining table. Luckily her fears seemed unfounded as there was no power cut and she could see her favourite serial till the end. It was 8pm. There was a knock at the door. She wondered who could call on her at this time. After her husband’s demise, she continued to stay alone in this house. Her only daughter who was abroad had come to visit her old mom and left only the previous month. Kokila opened the door keeping the safety chain intact to see a young lady of about 35 standing there drenched in rain. Her clothes were completely wet with hair dishevelled.
When she saw Kokila she said “Sorry to trouble you. Can I stay in the portico till it stops raining? I should have left my office a little earlier.”
It was dark outside and she saw the lady alone. Taking pity Kokila said “Please come in and dry yourself.”
The lady smiled with profuse thanks and entered the hall. Just as Kokila was about to close the door, there was a lightning and she saw in the glimmer of light a car parked outside the gate. She immediately felt she had made a mistake in allowing a stranger inside but did not reveal in her face her thoughts. She gave her a towel asking her to wipe herself while she made hot tea. She started making tea and decided not to betray her scare. In the rain no one in the adjacent houses would hear her scream for help. News papers were abuzz daily with the news of old people who were alone being mercilessly murdered for monetary gain and warning against letting strangers in when alone.
She gave the hot tea to the lady who was comfortably seated on the sofa. She looked strong and a big built woman. Kokila’s mobile was on the dining table. She wanted to get it but did not want to create a doubt in the lady’s mind. Instead she chose another sofa a little away from her.
“Thanks a lot. Do you live alone? Any servants staying with you? I do not see any. Any children living with you?” she asked softly.
“I am not alone.I have a cat to give me company. I think the rain is almost gone. Do you have far to go? Did you come by walk?” asked Kokila wanting to test whether she would tell her about the waiting car.
“I came by walk and will presently leave in a few minutes. I have a question to ask? You don’t know me. You are old and alone. How could you trust me and let me in?” she asked
“Your face looked innocent and your bearing indicated that you are from a decent family. You were completely drenched. I did not think about anything then except to make you comfortable. I think I have not made any mistake in my judgment” she said with a laugh.
“Oh, I am sorry madam.You were not wise but you have been very nice to me.I would not like to hurt you.You are like my mom. Please hand over the cash and valuables without any protest. Any attempt to draw the attention of others would invite immediate death to you. I hope you understand.” she said like a snake hissing.
Kokila did not lose her cool. She said “Please do not do any physical harm. Whatever you want take it. Let me get up and fetch the keys after a few minutes. The shock makes my head reel. Please give me just five minutes. I will cooperate with you fully.”
In three minutes they heard the shrill blaring of sirens from police cars and one screeching to a halt outside. The lady was struck with fear and asked whether any exit is available by rearside
. Meanwhile there was loud knocking on the doors and voice over mike that the house has been surrounded by police. As Kokila opened the door, a constable with a gun in hand walked in and asked in an amiable voice “Where is our intruder?” The young lady was promptly hand cuffed.
When the young woman as she was being led ton the car turned towards Kokila with hate and anger in her eyes Kokila triumphantly smiled at her and showed the hidden buzzer on the side of sofa to the shocked woman.The wicked woman did not know the security arrangement Kokila had made already with police.