Anasuya was having tea with her friend Sujata and chatting as they do almost daily. The latter, a friendly lady, lived in the opposite apartment. Anasuya had started living in this place since six months after her marriage with Akhil.She had not taken up a job since coming to the city busy as she was with a long honeymoon and settling down in a new place. The phone rang.
”Hello, yes this is Anasuya.Who is calling?” said Anasuya.There was some silence.”Why do you give me a ring daily without telling who you are and what do you want? I will be constrained to report to police if you trouble me again” she said before slamming the receiver.
She wiped the perspiration on her forehead in the AC hall and sat down with a visible worry lines on her face.”What is that? From whom is the call?”asked Sujata.
The phone rang again.Anasuya ignored it till the ring died away after some time.”I really don’t know but this guy has been pestering me since a fortnight and the calls have become more frequent. He wouldn’t tell who he is but seems to know everything about me. That makes me scary” said Anasuya
Knowing well that Anasuya is extremely fetching, Sujata asked “Is the guy flirting? Is he showing any romantic interest in you? Could it be someone you knew before marriage, a colleague or class mate?”
“Flirting….not very much but he did say once that we meet and get to know each other better. I shouted at him and slammed the receiver even as he was giggling at the other end. I don’t think I know this guy through his voice seems familiar” Anasuya replied
“You said that he knew everything about you. What do you mean by that?” asked Sujata.
“He knows what and where I had studied, where I worked, who my people are and even more minute details. I wondered whether it could be any relative of mine or someone known to my family. But I don’t see anyone like that” Anasuya said.”One more thing comes to my mind about his having said he is an IIT and IIM product and very well employed with a huge pay packet. I said who cares and asked him to desist ringing”
“Did you confide to your hubby? You seem to have no ex boyfriends. Why not tell him and seek the help of police?”asked Sujata
“I did tell him and sought his help to put an end to this nuisance. He simply laughed and said it must be some cranky fellow telephoning from different public booths. He said the best thing is not to respond but put the receiver down and the guy will give up after sometime. I do that always but when that guy tells me something that he is not expected to know, I get curious and ask him how he knew”
“Tell me like what” asked Sujata
“Like, that I looked best in the yellow Bengali cotton sari or that he was fascinated by the intricately embroidered salwar suit with sequined patchwork that I wore that day. He knew what I wear each day. Don’t you feel it unnerving to be in the constant gaze of an unseen stranger? My hubby doesn’t seem to realize the mental tension that I go through” said Anasuya
“Okay, tell me when you had your bath and wore this blue salwar today? Early in the morning or leisurely after seeing your hubby off?” asked Sujata
“I was lazy today, Suji, after watching a late night movie in the TV.I usually take bath on getting up but today I had my shower and change of my dress only after seeing off my hubby” Anasuya replied.
It was then the phone rang. Sujata immediately told her friend “Do not disconnect if the call is from the guy. Talk to him and ask him what you are wearing today since he seemed to know everything”. She nodded her head
“Hey, I told you not to disturb but you persist. Since you profess to know everything about me, tell me what dress I am wearing now. This should call your bluff.”
There was a long silence and the call was disconnected.Anasuya waited for some time. She got only a call from Akhil and after pleasantries he was asking whether the guy troubled her today.
When she told Sujata, she said “I now know for certain who the unknown caller is. You may be in for a shock but it is a fact. Shall I tell you?”
“Yes, go ahead” replied Anasuya
“The mysterious caller is your hubby.Is he a suspicious type? Is he possessive and insecure that you are very beautiful compared to his plain look? Be frank” I have a feeling he keeps testing you Sujata said
Anasuya kept silent for long. When prodded she said “Yes, I think so. He will always be monitoring whom I talk to when we go to parties. I felt his stare from behind always. He is suspicious alright but has not accused me. I have caught him reading my diary and scanning my mobile when I go to bathroom or kitchen”
“I am so sorry. He needs counseling, I think. Confront him this evening and gently suggest that he needs professional help. But be firm. I hope everything will work out well’ Sujata consoled her