Friday, May 28, 2010

Made for each other

Peter was driving at 60 miles.He could not concentrate on driving .He was hungry and hadn’t had anything to eat since the previous day afternoon It was extremely hot.The damn AC in the car was also not working.It was a highway in the barren land that snaked through with no trees on sight on either side..The sun was scorching the earth mercilessly.

A word about Peter would not be amiss.He did no particular work and had no scruples about how he earned his money.Whenever he drove, it was mostly in stolen car lifted from car parks where left carelessly with doors open.He regretted having chosen this vehicle without checking the airconditioning system.He was in a hurry to get away and had not had the leisure to check this.

He generally gave lifts to unsuspecting passengers in desolate areas or highways and rob them after getting friendly .He never harmed young women or old persons but just threw them out of the vehicle when he had taken their belongings.If they foolishly resisted or shouted he reluctantly killed them.He was merciless to strong men and derived thrill in surprising them with the knife. .He carried a sharp knife secured in the leg sheath.

He saw a little yonder a young man signalling for a lift.Peter smiled at his luck.The quarry seemed well dressed and had a bag around his shoulder.The man looked handsome with ripping muscles on his arms and biceps.Must be a wight lifter perhaps, Peter thought.He was never afraid of strong men as his strength lay in the element of surprise he ensured when he hurt them surely when they least expected..

“Can you give me a lift upto Alwar?” asked the youngman

“That is no problem for I am going beyond up to Jaipur.Get in here in the front seat”Peter said as he opened the door.”You have to put up with a hot drive as AC is not working in this wretched vehicle”

“Could you not check it before you started on this long drive in hot sun”he asked

“True, I should have but could not”

“Where do you live? What do you do for living? Were you waiting for a bus?”Peter asked

“I don’t live in any particular place and am always on the move.I don’t work as what I do for living cannot be called work” he said with a smile

“Sorry.I don’t understand you.What is it that you do to earn your money for your roti and dhal.I don’t think you have a family to support” said Peter

“I will tell you all.But I am very thirsty.You also seem to be, much more than me.Let us quench our thirst”said he as he gave him a bottle of coke that was threefourths full.

Peter was very thirsty but still said “You drink first and I will have the balance”

“No, you please have.You are doing me a great help by giving me a lift.You have been driving in the hot sun for hours.I can slake my thirst after you have had yours.” replied the young man with smile.

Peter did not stand on formality as his throat was parched.He drank almost half the conetents before he returned the bottle

“Have more.Finish the bottle”said the young man

“What about you?”asked Peter as he drank the balance quantity

“I will have water that I have in another bottle.That coke was especially meant for you” he said with a smirk in his face.

Peter knew immediately that he had thrown caution to winds and foolishly drank the coke.He was enraged at this deception and took out unseen his sharp knife from the leg.The young man when he was drinking the water was unaware of his belly being slit by the sharp razor like knife till the warm blood drenched his bare stomach.He looked down with horror to see the knife deep in his belly and the man’s hand drawing it across.

As he slumped in shock at the treachery, Peter said”I never tolerate dirty tricks. I suspected you when you said you work for your living doing what people would not call work”

The young man drowsy with cloudy eyes and blood smeared hands covering his bleeding stomach said “ Do remember that you would n’t live long to drive even a mile.The coke was poisoned, you wretch”

The patrol car a shortwhile later found a stolen car dashed against a culvert with two men dead, one of them with his belly ripped open and the other possibly drugged.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Height of compassion

It was around 7pm and was getting dark.The young woman sat on a culvert looking at the small bundle in her hands.She was crying as she smothered gentle kisses on the new born in her hand. The tiny baby girl was just three days old with plenty of hair on her little head.It looked very charming though dusky in complexion.The young woman looked apprehensively hither and thither before she approached silently the gate of the big church.She believed that no one was watching her as she laid the babe in a garbage bin kept there .Little did she know that a pair of eyes of the security has been watching from behind a bush her suureptitious movement.The moment she laid the baby in the garbage bin and started moving away, he ran behind her forcing her to take the babe in her hands and walk to the pastor’s home in the compouund.

As she stood trembling with the baby in hand, the pastor, a kindly old man, told her “Don’t be afraid my child.You seem to be in distress.Don’t you know it is a sin and an act against God to discard a new born baby like this.Tell me why you chose to do this cruel act.I will try to help you”
“Ayya (Sir) please forgive me.I had no other option left befor me to save the child from being killed”she said
“What are you telling? Is leaving a vulnerable young baby in the open garbage bin amounts to saving its life? Don’t you know the dogs hovering there or the crows flying around would harm the defenceless young thing? Lucky our watchman saw.Tell me the truth’he goaded her
“We are very poor labourers.My mother-in-law does not want a baby girl.She has been insisting that I feed the child with poison made from herbs or feed a unhulled rice that would kill the baby.I have been refusing.My husband is a timid man unable to stand up against his mother though he would not like the girl to die.
Last night when I was asleep my mother inlaw came to take the baby away from my side.Luckily the baby cried when she lifted it and I woke up to grab the baby back from her hands.But I am afraid she is bent upon killing the girl child.This is common practice going on in our village and is not condemned by others.I thought instead of makng my daughter die in her hands let me atleast save her life by leaving it at the church gate.I am told the church takes care of such abandoned babies.Ayya, please help me in saving the baby’s life.Please do not ask me to take it back to my home,I love the girl so much that I want her to prosper somewhere”she said amidst sobs
“The pastor said”Do not worry..I am aware of this horrendous practice.You seem to be a compassionate woman.Leave the baby at the gate and go away.Do not tell others that you left it here.Your motherinlaw will be consider it a good riddance..I will have it admitted in the orphanage attached to our institution.What is your name? Have you given any name for the baby?

“I am Roja.I wish to call the baby Selvi” she said with a faint smile
“OK, I will have her nams entered as Selvi Roja.I will find out whether any ayah’s (attendant) position is available.Do meet me in two day’s time.You can work there without revealing your relationship to the baby.You can even nurse the baby without other’s knowledge..” he said

Roja overcome with emotion fell at his feet and profusely thanked him

(Female infanticide is still rampant and a bane on our society.We have much to do to get rid of this social evi through counseling to mothers in rural areas, monetary incentives, and healthcare and education facilities.This is a stupendous task that government and society should address on war footing)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The unspoken love

There was still ninety minutes for departure of the plane.Vinay and Shriya were seated inside the airport in a corner.He had a large suitcase, a smaller one with wheels and a computer bag.They were mostly silent.One could see the heaviness in their hearts from their sad faces.They had just finished their MBA together at a prestigious institute.He was returning back to his place.Passengers were collecting their boarding passes after checking in with their luggage.

“There is no hurry.i will go later”he said.”I don’t know when we would meet again.You would be going to Mumbai to take up your assignment.I am bound for States in a month.I wish we worked in the same city.Parting is really painful, Shriya” he said

“Two years have flown by so fast.It looked as though we met only the other day.I will also miss you very much, Vinay” she replied

As Vinay looked at Shriya intently at her eyes, she lowered her gaze to the floor.She looked extremely beautiful in her blue salwar suit.Not tall she was petite and had a pair of great eyes with a twinkle in them.He loved her most but had not the courage to express it to her.She was from a very rich family while he was drwan from a lower middle class background.He feared that he would be misunderstood as aspiring for a rich girl if he were to express his feelings for her.Though they tried to meet often after the college hours, they had not dated.

He wished that she would express her feelings for him when he would open the flood gates of his thoughts on her.But she was silent and it was very oppresive.To break the silence,he said “I am famished.Let me get something to eat.”

He fetched couple of samosas and a few pieces of sandesh.He proffered the packet to her and said “Let us share.”.As he was eating the hot samosa, he noticed that she wasn’t eating and felt her eyes were moist.”Why aren’t you taking? Would you like to me to feed you?”he said even as he thrust one sandesh into her mouth..

To his surprise, she opened her mouth and ate with gusto and they both started sipping the coke with straws from the same bottle to the amusement of other passengers and visitors around.With their heads touching each other and the eyes fixed on the other, they looked a perfect pair of lovers to the onlookers.Both were thrilled and could feel the vibes of unspoken love.

“Would you be mailing me? We can chat regularly and if you permit see each other on skype” he said. I wish our studies had continued for one more year.I don’t feel like leaving you, Shriya” he said
“Me too.Ofcourse we should be in regular touch through net.Please send me a mail daily if you cannot chat.Don’t ever forget me.’ she replied

There was an announcement that boarding for the flight had begun.”I must go.Here is a small gift for you.Open it after you reach home” he said as he picked up his luggage.

She opened her bag and took out a small packet.”Here is a token remembrance.I hope you will like it.Please see while you are in the plane” she said.He held her hands and said “Shriya, thank you so much.I cannot forget you for life.Let us be in touch.”

When there was another announcement asking the passengers to have their security check done and board the flight, he rushed inside looking back at her repeatedly.She lingered for a while till he disappeared behind the pillars.

As she was driving back in her car, she stopped it near the kerb for a moment to open the packet.She found an English novel.A small note fell down..She opened it hurriedly to read
Dear Shriya,
I had not the guts to express my love for you as I am from a poor family and you come from a very affluent background.I was apprehensive you may mistake my professing love to you because you are rich.I was waiting for some clue from you.You had never indicated your feelings for me specifically though the body language and your eyes spoke of your fondness for me.I am confused.
I love you, Shriya with all my heart.Please tear this note in case you do not have similar feelings for me.You will ever be in my heart
Happy tears flowed from her eyes and she decided to send him a mail telling how much she loved him but was shy of expressing when he had not mentioned his love for her even obliquely.

Vinay well settled in his seat opened the packet Shriya had given.It was a framed photo of hers with her signature below the words Dearest, with deepest love, Shriya

Oblivious of the surroundings he kissed the photograph several times and jumped with joy exclaiming loudly “Wow, I am lucky.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The scary shelter

Sweta was cycling along the long stretch of road as a part of her daily regimen of exercise.She chose this desolate road that accounted for six kilometres as it was free from heavy traffic and was lined by trees on both sides giving a shady and cool ambience.Only some stray cyclists and trucks could be seen sometimes.This day when she started she hesitated for a few seconds to take this route as the sky was over cast and cloudy but decided she could make it before the rain came.
As ill luck would have it, the sky broke loose when she was midway and what started as a drizzle became a downpour.She looked around and could see no houses or a place to escape the rain except one house a little yonder.She cycled fast, left the cycle at the gate and ran on the pathway to the door of the house that was deep inside She was totally drenched..As she rang the bell and waited for it to open, she looked around.The lawn was uncared for with all litter and leaves scattered all over.The windows were all closed indicating that the house was uninhabited.The downpour was torrential.She pressed the bell again and kept the finger long on the switch.

After a long interval the door creaked open slightly.She saw a handsome man well dressed in three piece suit in his early forties smiling at her.”Please come in.I am sorry I made you wait.Make yourself comfortable. I see you are drenched but can offer you nothing though”he said

When she looked around for a place to sit, she found the sofa and chairs all ocoverd with dust.There were cobwebs hanging everywhere from the ceilings, windows and walls.The floors looked dusty evidently unswept for long period. He looked incongruous in his smart dress in a place so despicable.

As if reading her mind, he said”Yes, I am sorry the place is not presentable.That was the reason for my hesitation initially to let you in.But the rain is so heavy that I had not the heart to turn you away.”

Are you living alone? The place looks uninhabited and desolate” she asked.

“Yes, I am livng alone.I am sorry I am not able to entertain you with tea and snacks.There is water in the tap. Better you don’t take.” he said

“Sorry for asking this.Aren’t you scared to live in what looks like a haunted house? Can you not get someone to keep the place clean just like you? Please excuse me for my impetuosity”she said

“I am accustomed to live here.True the place is not looking good.I am unable to get it cleaned much as I would wish.If you have no objection, I have some work upstairs.i will go.Please be at ease and you can leave the place when the rain stops without having to take leave of me.Just keep the door closed as you leave” he said and left for the first floor.As he was climbing the stair, she could see him smiling at her as she mumbled her thanks.

After he left, she went closer to the kitchen on the other side of the hall.There were some unwashed cups with brown stain, cockroaches running all over and a few plates and dirty saucepans around the place.The water tap was leaking with drops of water falling at intermitten intervals leaving the place mushy.Here again the whole place was filled with cobwebs with soots hanging all over.There was a stale smell that made her feel like vomitting.She closed her mouth and nose with her kerchief and came hurriedly near the front door.She never liked the place and wished to get away as quickly as possible.Luckily for her the rain had stopped and there was only a slight drizzle.

She opened the creaking door softly and as she turned to look at the stair case to see if he was there, she saw on the mantle piece a large photograph 4x2 feet with a dry garland of a person in suit.She looked intently and it was the same smiling gentleman who was talking to her.Stifling a scream with her hand and with hair that rose to stand on their ends all over the body in fright, she ran out to the gate as fast as her legs could take.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A good riddance

Suseela was not happy with the new tenants in the adjacent house.She is non-interfering and helpful by nature.Still there was something about them that put her off. It was actually a small family with a husband, wife and one more woman younger than the wife.Immediately after moving in, the wife came a few times to Suseela to ascertain some details.The other woman had never come.Suseela was also not invited to their house.The man also had made no efforts to meet Susueela’s husband.It was a small municipal town.Suseela could gather her name as Champaka and that her husband was doing some business.Champaka was reticent to talk and was evasive when asked about the other woman whom Suseela thought could be a sister of the man or Champaka.

It was only after a few months that Champaka became a little free and talked to Suseela when her husband and the woman were away.They became friendly with each otherin due course.She could gather that Champaka having borne no child even after seven years of marriage was disliked by her husband.She was constantly abused, beaten and made to do all household chores without any domestic help.She was an orphan with no siblings to come to her help. She was in her early thirties.It transpired that the other woman Nalini was no relative of theirs and was just a mistress to the man.Nobody knew her antecedents.When Champaka objected to her coming to stay with them , she was given two options,either to stay in the house without complaining and do the work or get lost somewhere.Being timid to fight him out and with none to support,she chose to live the life of a drudge.Her husband never came near her eversince that woman came to live with them.Suseela was surprised as Nalini was not pretty, short and stout with a broad nose while Champaka was charming to look at. It was a pathetic story that Suseela would keep telling her husband and seek his advice as to how to make Champaka’s life better.He didn’t evince much interest.

Meanwhile Suseela observed that Nalini was frequenting the opposite house where a teacher lived.He was in his mid thrities, a bachelor and also practised Homoepathy as a hobby during evening hours.She had noticed that the young man was constantly at his window staring at Champaka’s house,evidently to catch a glimpse of Nalini.She heard from Champaka that Nalini was getting treated by the teacher for a chronic stomach ailment.But Suseela had her doubts as she found Nalini lingering for long time in his house and also frequented only when her man had gone out on work.She felt that some romance must be brewing between them.

She pitied Champaka who worked like a servant and rarely went out except to the temple.Her only diversion was to watch the road standing by the window while her husband and Nalini were away or together inside before TV.When Suseela nudged her husband to do something,he saiid that nothing can be done as long as there was no bigamy or a complaint from wife.Suseela was praying god that Nalini soon ran away with the teacher and leave Champaka in peace with her husband.

As if in answer to her prayer she heard one fine morning from her husband who returned from temple that the teacher had eloped with a woman in the adjacent house.Suseela thanked the God profusely happy that the days of hardship and privation for her friend Champaka was over.When Champaka did not come till the evening to announce the happy denouement, Suseela went to her houe to share her joy with her.

When she entered, she was shocked to find Nalini sitting with that man.When she asked “Is Champaka there?”, Nalini smiled with a smirk on her face and said ‘Don’t you know about the secret love affair between your friend and the teacher?She had run away with him last night.”

“A good riddance” she mumbled thinking happily for Champaka

Monday, May 10, 2010

The unexpected windfall

Guru felt the pungent smell of chloroform that is associated with hospital.He always detested it and avoided visiting hospitals. He opened his eyes to find himself in a special ward with a few others. Judging from the medical equipments, the monitors, the tubes and the hushed tones of nurses, he could surmise he was in an ICU ward. There were none around him. He didn’t like his face covered with the sheet and decided to admonish the nurse. It was suffocating. He found none around his bed. He wondered how he came there. He remembered he was returning from Pondy and thereafter his memory went blank.

It was then he noticed a dark shadow moving. He looked closer. It was scary though not ugly. The eyes were bloodshot with a long nose and a moustache that looked unduly long and bushy covering part of the dark face. The tall and big figure was hazy but inspired only fear and awe. It had a rope like thing in its hand somewhat like the cowboys in ranches held.

It stared at him intently before it said in a voice that seemed weird but clear “Your time is up. I have come to take you to another world.”

“What crap are you talking? Who are you anyway? How did they allow you in the first instance to enter this well guarded room? Guru asked in raspy tone.

The creepy figure said “I don’t need anybody’s permission. I am a messenger of Death and can enter even the tiniest hole. Don’t waste my time. Follow me.”

“Oh my God” he was surprised at his own exclamation for he was a pronounced athiest and proud to announce it in every rostrum he took by deriding all Gods. “How can I come with you? I have lots of unfinished things to square up. Otherwise there will be heavy loss to my two wives and their families. Give me a fortnight minimum. It is difficult to recover the huge money I have left in trust ( benami) with others.” he pleaded.

“I don’t understand you. What is benami? I am not authorised to give you extended life. I can wait for a few minutes but that too will go against me” said the messenger of Death.

“You don’t seem to be wordly-wise. I see no harm in telling you. I became from a poster-pasting boy to a senior leader and minister in the largest party. I have amassed crores of rupees in my journey from hatchetman, contract killer, mafia leader, real estate business and settlement of disputes out of messy court procedures, and then to a minisiter in a position to award contracts. You may not know that I cannot keep all the money earned in my name. I had to entrust it with known friends and relatives to be recovered later. If they know I am dead, they would not part even with one rupee. I need a fortnight to threaten them or even kill them if need be to get my money back. I can give you any amount that you may ask. But I am not sure whether you would be interested. Please show mercy. I have been very kind and compassionate man all through my life though the rascals allege that I take care of only my family. They don’t know that I help extended families too.”

The messenger of death was unmoved. “Don’ talk. Come now” and nudged him forward. Guru felt he fell into a deep tunnel of darkness but not before seeing a host of his friends, relatives and benami holders waiting outside in the hall anxiously. His two wives and children were in tears when some doctor announced that the leader had breathed his last despite the best care.

There was a murmur from among the benami holders and the departed leader heard one of his benamis whisper to his friend “I was worried whether he would survive the dastardly attack on his life. Must have been some old enmity on real estate disputes. I am now relieved and happy. I don’t have to part with anything. There is no record.”

“Me too. I had to return large areas of land and buildings he kept in my name. God has been kind to me”

The entire crowd mostly those who owed the slain man walked out with tears on their eyes and towels on their mouths but with suppressed glee in their hearts at their unexpected windfall.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The mango trick

Sowmya in her sixteen was in class 12.She was living in the first floor of a house with the stairs on the side leading upto the terrace.The ground floor was occupied by the owner.Sowmya of late took a great liking for being in the terrace often with books on her hand or under the pretext of drying clothes on clothesline or removing them when dry.It all happened one day when she was removing the clothes from clothesline, she noticed a tall young man staring at her from the terrace of adjacent house..She hid behind the clothes that were hung and found that he was extremely handsome and that he never shifted his eyes away from this side.It pleased her and saw him to her hearts content till she heard her mom call her.She came out of the clothes and cast a quick glance at him before running down the stairs. It so happened that he was also there on his terrace always.It was limited only to furtive glances and suppressed smiles with no conversation lest it attracted attention.

She heard that Babu was in college and belonged to an affluent family.She never found hm in bus stand when she took her bus for the school.One day a paper bit bound to a small stone with rubber bands fell at her feet. When she lifted the stone and read the note she saw him observing her with a smile. It said ”Iam in 6th semester, Engineering.What is your name? .I like the dimples on your cheeks.You are beautiful, reply,with luv, Babu”.Her heart pounded fast and there was goosebumps all over.She took the pen from her blouse and scribbled”Sowmya,class12,KV,thanks”. From next day such stony epistles flew about frequently bringing them closer.

One day Babu plucked a mango from the overhanging tree near his terrace and lobbed it towards her.As she caught it, she heard a noise behind her.It was the landlady from the ground floor and her son whom Sowmya detested for his leering look..That boy had seen Sowmya going to terrace and saw Babu standing on his terrace and looking at this side.Suspicious and wicked by nature, he brought his mom silently

That lady on seeing the mango being thrown and caught created immediately a big scene shouting ”Have anyone seen such atrocity of these two clandestinely exchanging mangoes and God knows what else? If they wish to become intimate, my terrace should not be their venue.Let them go out to any place for their rendevous. Sundar, fetch Sowmya’s mom and let her see for herself what this shameless girl does stealthily.”

When Babu tried to move, the lady shouted “Don’t stir if you are a gentleman and have nothing to hide”he stood transfixed.

Soon there was series of hard slaps on the poor girl by her mom as she was dragged down with her crying in shame and fear.In a week they moved to a different house having been ordered to vacate.Babu was afraid to contact her lest she got beaten and harassed more.She was not seen in the bus stand as she had moved to different place.He had no idea of her whereabouts and could not also ask anyone.He could not however forget her or her dimples.

Years flew by and he did post graduation in management and was well settled abroad.When his parents persuaded him to get married, he had to agree though he wished he could locate Sowmya.Babu’s dad was impressed with one smart girl who worked in his secretariat as executive assistant to MD.She was quite intelligent with a quick grasp, pleasing manners and above all good looking.He thought she would make a good match for his son and made enquiries with her parents.He did not mind in proceeding further though they were lower in financial and social status.
Sowmya had taken leave that day as her MD’s son Dr. Madhavan was coming to see her.At the appointed time when her MD along with his wife, daughter and a youngman arrived, Sowmya’s heart went pitter patter when she saw him from a distance. He looked tall and handsome.After the pleasantries ,when Madhavan and Sowmya were left alone.When he made some funny remark, he saw her smile with the dimples showing prominently..Taken back to his younger days ,he vividly remembered the girl with the same name living in the adjacent house.

”Did you study in Kendiya Vidyalaya in class 12 during 2002?” he asked

“Yes, how do you know?” asked Sowmya

“Were you in the habit of studying in the terrace?” he asked with a mischievous twinkle.

“Used to do as I loved open space” Sowmya said

“Then you must be good in catching mangoes thrown towards you” said Madhavan with a loud guffaw
“Are you Babu? You have changed so much into a very handsome man.I could not recognise you at all.Your name was also mentioned as Madhavan.”she said

“I could recognise you though faintly.You have grown more beautiful and taller too.But your dimple was a give away.I am sorry for that incident but am happy I can make amends now.Will you marry me even after knowing that I am the Babu who put you into trouble? Would you need a small stone, rubberband and a piece of paper to convey your willingness?”he asked jokingly extending his hand

She lookd down shyly at her toes and nodded her head slightly even as she held his hand

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The curse of beauty

It was a very crowded hall.I was standing in a corner.People were moving past me with some staring at me and some may be in a hurry not noticing me.I always curse myself for the beauty god has endowed me with.The pity is I have heard people say that I am a knock down gorgeous woman and would figure above 9 in a scale of one to ten.You can put me in late twenties with a figure that is sure to win hands down a Miss World contest if I contested.The sharp chiseled features with a nose that could make Cleoptara jealous and eyes that could mesmerise even a sage were my bane.I hate being stared at and all the waking hours people ogle at me with covetous eyes. I am aware that extreme good looks can isolate people and make them objects of envy of women and adoration of men. There is also the tendency for people when they look at the beautiful women tending to assume that they are proud, arrogant and selfish which I am not.Be that may, let me recount the incident that happened today.

I noticed this handsome young man giving me all his undivided attention.He was not moving as others did after a furtive glance or a cold stare.He stood transfixed like a statue at a distance from me eyeing me all the time.I averted his gaze but could sense his deep eyes groping on me.No doubt he was very attractive, tall, muscular and dusky with dark hair that curled and fell on his face.I don’t know how to describe his pointed but curious look though I felt inwardly flattered.I didn’t like his eyes grazing on my midriff that remained uncovered by the sari that I wore.

When some people seemed to notice his standing for a long time at the same place, he moved to another area a few feet away without his gaze being shifted.I feared whether his intentions were honest and felt the comfort of the constant crowd around me..When the crowd started thinning, he came closer to me and walked around me though he made no advances.May be he was a silent admirer of beauty as I saw from my sideward glance taking pictures of me surreptitiosuly in his mobile. I didn’t object as I am used to this annoyance.

I don’t know how long I was standing lost in my thoughts.The hall was practically empty except for a few moving fast engrossed in their own preoccupations.It was then this young man made bold to approach me and audaciously stroke my bare midriff and kiss his hands.I was dumbstruck at his impetuosity though to be honest I was happy and even had half a mind to hug him.

It was then I heard the security shouting at him”Keep off the statues.Don’t you see the board warning you not to touch the articles under display in the museum.”

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The revenge

It was past midnight.Arjunan was tired and sleepy.He wished to stop the truck he was driving at the next dhaba and rest for the night after a meal.The dhaba was about ten miles away.It was pitch dark except for the light from the headlights.The radio was blaring some filmy song. The cleaner was sleeping over the cargo at the back of the truck. He then felt something brushing him on his side.He turned to see the vacant seat.There was however a loud giggle and he could hear the heavy breathing after the giggle stopped.He was terribly frightened and his throat went parched.He did not turn that side but the giggling continued.He shouted for the cleaner boy who was fast asleep.Arjunan sped along without stopping the vehicle.He was drenched in sweat with fear when he reached the dhaba.

It is not the first time this had happened.Eversince his wife Rani committed ‘suicide’ six months ago he had this nightmare frequently.His marriage was a failure.He was out of home almost three weeks in a month and whenever he came home for a couple of days there were quarrels, beatings and crying.Rani came to his home with high hopes of a happily married life.She had not reckoned with a husband who came home drunk once in ten days and abused her mentally and physically.She was turned into a drudge cooking for his vile parents who pestered her always to bring money from her parents.She dreaded his coming home.She was willing to tolerate all these but not his suspecting her character and calling her a whore.She knew of his immoral ways and his boast of his flings in every small town or village he halted.She was afraid of contracting illness and avoided him.This made him all the more furious.His parents goaded him to send her away and marry another girl.It was in such circumstances that Rani was alleged to have committed ‘suicide’ by burning her self when Arjunan and his parents were at the home. After some enquiries nothing ever came out about the suicide.

Arjunan was driving the truck on the highway with an urgent load.It was dark and drizzling.He decided to drive till midnight though it was difficult to drive in rain against the blinding lights from the oncoming vehicles.The only sound was from the iper blades.The cleaner boy who had gone earlier by another truck would be waiting for him at the dhaba.He didn’t mind being alone as long as there was no disturbance.He hoped this night would be free from the ghostly apparition.To make sure he glanced at his side only to be shocked to see the whitle outline of a young woman by his side.It started her eerie giigle that sent a chill along his entire spine.He decided to fight it out and shouted “Who are you? Why are you here? Why do you harass me like this often?”

“Don’t you know me, you murderer? I am here to kill you little by little till you go mad.Do you think I will ever let you live after what you have done to me? I will also take the lives of the two oldies at your home,you bet on it” it replied

“I never killed you.In your foolish anger you burnt yourself.What could I have done?” said Arjunan

“When your parents poured kerosene as preplanned and set fire on me and bolted the bathroom door, you never paid any heed to my shrieks.You were sitting in the adjacent hall along with your parents wickedly smiling when you heard my screams.You put the TV on high volume to prevent others from hearing my cry for help.I know you will die of Aids eventually but I have decided to make you pay for your cruelty to me” she spat venom.

He felt her fingers clasp around his neck and the grip tightening..”You filthy fellow.You stink and smell cheap liquor.It doesn’t matter that you never drive in sober condition as your end is very near. Tell me now why did you all kill me? What harm did I do? Tell me the truth’ he heard her saying.

Words would not come out of his mouth easily.He mumbled “It is my parents.I was made to drink heavily..Please spare me,I beg of you”

“You coward.Do not lie.You never had me for your beastly pleasures and you wanted another woman.You will not spoil another persons’s life as you did mine.You must die” shrieked the figure as the icy cold hands tightened the grip..

The speeding truck swung zigzag to the side as he lost his control in fear and hit a tree with a loud thud before coming to a halt..The loud giggle faded away to unearthly silence.