Swapan whispered to Ram, “There… that woman… dont go by that innocent face, she is a selfish fiend.”
Ram nodded in consent.
“All you will have to do is keep an eye on her and tell me about her whereabouts, whether or not she goes to meet my employer’s son in law, the man she is squeezing dry! Anyway, whether or not she meets him in open, she will meet in secret, so just keep me informed about her whereabouts.” he dished out the instructions. “Here.. the expenditure..” He handed him over a 1000 rupee note, Ram’s daily income from selling fruits was hundred rupee or less.
He of-course will have to carry his basket to ward off suspicion but if Swapan dishes him out 1000 rupee note weekly that will mean a lot to him.
He started shadowing the woman, adding his own bit, to prove his loyalty to his “invisible master” by spreading canard against the woman he barely knew.
But slowly things started to look really strange, he never noticed that woman interacting with any men other than the shopkeepers or grocers, maybe a bus conductor… even though Swapan told her that she was squeezing his employer’s son in law dry she travelled by bus, sometimes on feet when bus was not available…her movements too were very limited, either home or office.
To add up her nature was so kind that it was hard to believe that she could be a fiend, no one can be that expert in wielding a mask.
One day he was trailing her when they both passed by a old beggar, shivering in the freezing cold, the beggar stretched out his hand at the woman walking just in front of her, the woman ignored him and walked on, he could see that she was quite rich, the beggar hesitated a bit before stretching out his hand again. This woman stopped, rummaged her purse and fished out a ten rupee note, handed it to the beggar and to his utter shock, opened the polythene bag in her hand and pulled out a shawl, gave it to the beggar and moved on. As if it was nothing. The beggar sat there with an expression of pure amazement on his face.
He has already noticed that there were other people too who stalked her, and he has seen some of them loitering in Swapan’s teashop, so what was this drama all about?
“Here!” Swapan handed him a 500 rupee note this time, “You wont be required anymore. My boss’s son in law has been chastised!”
He was glad, even though he enjoyed the extra money but it was really not feeling good! Not right!
Just out of curiosity he mingled himself with the crowd next day and waited on the road through which that woman passed, she was as usual stalked by a group of poor men like him, people who either worked as daily laboureres or vendors.
He decided something …. and approached the new stalker they have appointed to replace him, and told him the reality.
“It was not her youth or charm that made dad walk away from you mom.” her son said blushing red. He was trying hard to control his rage. “You will be quite surprised to know that dad is remarrying and not her! She was just a friend, a friend who you will again be surprised to know respected marital vows more than you do!!”
She did not answered him.
He had every reason to feel ballistic because she has fooled him, his wife and even their teenage sons. Now he will have to suffer the humilliation of being proven a dumb, malicious fool in their eyes for the rest of his life. A man without least sense of judgment who ran after a hummingbird when he heard someone shouting that it has stolen her ear, he not only ran after it he killed it and made his family an accomplice.
Will he ever get the forgiveness?
She gently landed on the window sill.
The human child was sleeping. Her face was pale as a faded rose that was about to drop its petals. She flew inside the room, she knew the reason but her parents did not.
She has often seen that black shadow silently disappearing in the air. A succubus was feeding on her soul.
Her parents were too modern to believe in fairies and demons but she has seen this girl since the day she was brought here, wrapped in a pink towel, she visited her at night when she woke up and played.
She has requested fairy Godmother for a potion that will save her from the succubus.
She sat down on her cheek and poured the potion down her lips. A soft sound made her turn her head, it was her mother entering the room, to check on her daughter.
Her mother saw a beautiful butterfly sitting on her daughter’s cheek.
She softly captured it and placed it outside the window and closed it.
“Fly away little guy or else a lizard will catch you!” she sat down beside her daughter and felt a change in her pale face, it looked a little more lively.
The sharp whistle made her jump.
“Turn off the light!” someone ordered. She looked around there was no one. She must have heard it wrong. It was late any way.
If mom checked she will hear the same order from her.
So she picked up the book on her chest to fold it.
“You almost smothered me!” the same voice repeated indignantly from her bedside table.
She turned her head, a little fairy was standing under the lamp looking at her, hands on her hips.
She looked a the book, where was Tinkerbelle?
“If I was you, I wont build my home here.” The bird was surprised to hear the tree talk.
“I wont harm you, I just like that little hole.” The little bird said. She thought he was scared that she will create a nuisance.
“You see that house?” he asked.
“Yeah the house in which human beings live!” the bird answered, “I go there to forage foods sometimes.”
“That is one side, you guys forage on their leftovers but building nest near their homes is not much good.” he said. “I wish I could move like you or animals.”
“They chop of my branches whenever they need, and as if that is not enough, when the leaves dry up they set fire on them, not even bothering about the birds or insects that live on my branches.” the tree said.
“Thanks a lot for the warning.” the bird said, “i will visit you whenever I come to their home for food.”
Asitbabu’s assylum was quite famous in dark spheres of the society. He owned a small housing area. He earned it by his own merits, of course evil merit but merit after all.
He worked for richest of the rich.
They pointed out their enemies from shadows- a whistleblower, a pigheaded rival, someone they wanted to devour and paid the fees.
Asitbabu’s job was to kill their spirit, soul.
“You dont uphold your belief by making fun of the belief of others, by hating them or rubbishing them, mocking them or falsifying them. You uphold your belief by proving their worth.”
“For centuries people have tried this method and most of them have failed miserably.”
“But beware my son, some have succeeded brilliantly and have made the earth bleed, creating rivers of innocent blood.”
“Dont play with this monster.”
Marrying her was never his goal.
His goal was to rip his enemy off the love he wanted most.
So he kept her hanging like a puppet using her blind love for him, waited for him to drown in despair totally.
Then he came back to haunt him with all the vengeance of hell.
“People should live through their own experiences, they should never borrow guidelines, especially survival guidelines from others. Forget about blindly copying them.” the woman said. The younger one sat on the bed.
“It is but natural for younger people to look up at elders, but if a person is betrayed by one after the other old person, older than her parents then she should realize that either she is too guillible or the circle in which she moves feeds on youth and its tendency to trust elders.”
“I will never ask you to blindly obey me, trust me.”
“I will ask you to be wary and walk your own path with confidence. Don’t look for approval of others, unless ofcourse they have walked a mile or two in your shoes and are still confident that you are wrong they are right. Even then listen without prejudice.”
“Ah!” the old man smirked like a hyena. “All you will have to do is insult her a few times and then while Radha is around drool all over her. Radha will think that you are making passes at her, she on the other hand being the dignified sort will not give you any lift.”
“I have gathered all this experience through years, years I have spent pretending to be her lover, her young, handsome lover … technology can be such a bliss for us, the cheats!”
“Now, if you can make Radha jealous enough to accept your proposal, her money will be ours.”
“Knowing how much Radha is jealous of that girl I believe you will succeed son.”
“You young men should learn from men like me, how to handle young women and make profit from that.”
She looked at the mirror, a tired haunted woman looked back at her.
“What happened to you?” she asked herself. “Where is that young woman who used to laugh and sing all the time?”
“A leech that thrives on innocence got attached to me.” the reflection answered.
“It is time to get free.” she said.
“it will hurt and the wound will take time to heal.” the reflection reminded.
“It was never your ordinary looks that gave me cold feet.” He said as gently as he could.
“If looks meant anything to me that ring would not have been in your finger.”
“I am tired of your over-suspicious nature and jealousy.” He said. “I know you check my cellphone, my internet accounts spy on my friends, especially the girls whenever you can.”
“If you cant trust me why did you accepted my proposal?
She stood up, glowing like a beautiful rose in her velvet gown. The small crown with diamonds sparkled against the background of her raven hair.
Everyone looked at her with eyes full of expectation.
She walked on, till she reached the end of the hall, a humble young man was standing there in cheap attire. He was not supposed to be there, it was the birthday party of the princess, he was working in the field when the soldiers without much fanfare whisked him away to the palace.
“You remember the little girl in rags? the one you gave your own bread to eat and starved…. that was me before my father conquered this kingdom…” she sweetly said.
The door was open… not wide, the lock was open.
“Mita?” he called out, his voice slurred, the earth was rocking under his feet.
“Where are you? Dont make me go looking for you … you …. *&^%”
Still no response.
Then the earth swallowed him.
He woke up with a head as heavy as mount everest, he was sprawling on the ground of drawing room, drenched. The milkman was standing there his face dark with worry.
“Are you alright saab?” he asked.
Everything came back to his mind… he returned home late at night, drunk as always, the only difference was his wife, his obedient all accepting wife was not there to attend to him… where was she?
They rushed to the bedroom.
She was lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
He had dozens of alibis in the bar so the police did not harassed him much.
He returned to the bar in the evening.
The bartender looked at him with eyes full of sympathy.
“Regular?” he asked.
“Large..” he mumbled trying to look morose, infact tense, really tensed about chores at house.
Suddenly the mopstick standing on the corner became alive … wham… wham…
one blow at him and the other at the bartender it continued till the bar was empty.
They looked at the old couple walking side by side, without much talking but their faces glowed, telling everyone they loved being together.
“Hey kids!” the lady smiled at them as they passed by.
Twenty years ago they lost both their kids, they have already made the decision of not having a third kid, so went through necessary medical procedures.
She suffered for years, deepest form of depression, friends, family slowly gave up, he did not.
His singlehanded attention brought her out of that hell.
“Will we ever be able to love each other like that?” she asked.
“it’s worth trying!” he smiled.
Her feet touched the dancefloor like feather brushing the ground only to fly away again. He sat watching her captivated.
She accepted his bouquet of red roses with a sweet smile. That instant he realized she was blind.
He watched her walk away, gracefully leaning on the arm of her friend, it was hard to realize that she was incapable of seeing anything.
Her eyes were the most beautiful eyes he has ever seen.
A cigarette and a peg of whisky. That was how he loved his evenings.
Away from commitments.
Then age got the better hand, life started to feel bleak. The problem was, he was not a rich old man looking for a pretty young lass.
He was a middle-class old man, with a beer belly and dark patches under his eyes, looking for a pretty young lass.
No one was interested.
A gentle knock on the door woke her up. She got up and tied up her dressing gown before opening the door. A small boy was standing there, shivering in cold.
“Please help me…” there were tears in his eyes. He was wearing a rag in that freezing cold.
“What is wrong?” she asked.
“My mother… she is dying…”
she picked up a shawl from the drawing room sofa and gave it to the child. “Here, wrap yourself… where is your mother?”
“Down there….” he pointed at the road.
She followed him.
A woman was lying on the pavement, seemed dead but when she checked her she felt her breathing.
“She is a beggar memsaab.” she lifted her head, it was the watchman of their apartment building.
“Did you called an ambulance?” she asked.
“Do it now…” she ordered. He went away unwillingly.
A few minutes later the ambulance pulled in.
She made arrangements of sending the woman to a hospital she volunteered in.
She turned looking for the kid but he was nowhere.
“Where is the kid who woke me up? her son?” she asked the guard.
“There was no kid with her madam… only her… and i have been on the desk all the time, I saw you coming downstairs alone.” the guard said in a defiant tone.
She felt the hair on her nape rising up.
She went upstairs… the shawl was not there. Where did it go?
Who was that kid?
“I will not go too far mommy… I promise.” He meant it but before he could turn back the huge wave got him, and he was coughing, panting and choking, rolling with the wave.
In a few minutes he was too deep in the ocean.
I am about to die… he thought.
Something swam past him, he could see its fin, jutting up.
Great… a shark….
It turned back, headed for him.
In a minute it was snuggling to his struggling body, he realized it was a dolphin, and it seemed it was trying to support him.
He grabbed his fin, and it slowly started to swim towards the shore.
Once in shallow water he kissed its slippery body and released the fin.
It swam back to deep ocean.
He returned home, a grateful witness to a miracle which he did not shared with his mom of-course…
Their decayed souls burned everytime they felt the presence of some thing good, the more good it was deeper their souls burnt.
They gave their souls up to devil, sometimes were initially tricked, fooled but the remaining path was quite willing, so they cursed and damned every good thing.
They mimicked the good ones, acted like them, not because they wanted to become like them, but to convince others that the actually good people were not good either, “Scratch the skin and we all are rotten…” was what they wanted to convince everyone.
If you could hear these minions you will hear them saying things like this…
“Look at her… strutting around, refusing every provocation of sin for reputation… let’s ruin that reputation and see what happens then.”
“Look at them… communal harmony… huh! Let’s join in, pretending to be friends and then start joking, taunting about one religion and see how they will fall apart!”
“Look at these…. lovers from two different religions… it will be fun… let’s first start working with the parents, the lovebirds wont listen, so let’s start feeding their brain with the vices of each other’s religion. I will grab the tongue of the boy’s mother, you possess the tongue of the girl’s brother…. huh!!”
Don’t underestimate these slithery things, because mostly just like all other slippery things they walk around in the garbs of benevolent creatures, full of love, forgivenenss and twenty other virtues.
Listen to their preachings but dont listen to their spiteful lies without judging every probable intention.
She stood at the kitchen sink, the terrific heat was roasting her to the bones. A frown formed on her face. Then she heard him, singing merrily, as if he was living in the seventh heaven.
She has never seen him, but have heard him singing merrily, day and night, she could guess that he was severely autistic, he had that special lisp in his voice, and he never sang with words, just the happy singing like a bird on branch, spreadinng his joy if you can feel it.
She smiled and blessed him in her heart.
They truly are special beings.
“Let’s adopt a boy….” was Jogendra’s wish, a week before he collapsed and passed away. They have been thinking about having a boy or girl for quite some time, with age they were feeling a little bored with the life they were leading. It will be good to have a fresh face around.
She pulled the car inside the gates of the orphanage and the young girl instantly caught her eyes, she was quite old, looked in her teens, late teens.
She was surrounded by a bunch of kids. She had the most ordinary yet extraordinary face… a face without much external
beauty but filled with internal beauty.
She entered the office, the superior shook her hand and smiled. She has been the patron of this orphanage for more than twenty years. But never had the chance to visit it.
“Who is that girl on the lawn?” she asked.
“That is Mohini… poor thing, she is deaf and mute… we just could not dare to part with her, you know not all adoptive parents are trustworthy.” the superior said, looking at the girl with softness and love.
“I will love to adopt her if you think I am trustworthy…” she smiled.
She watched the car pulling inside the gates. Another couple came out of the car, elderly fellows, a sigh came out of her heart.
A few years back she used to hope, maybe, someone will look past her plain face and see the love-hungry heart and adopt her, but everyone wanted pretty girls.
“Megha!” someone touched her shoulder. It was one of the nuns. “Come downstairs, to the office…”
She went downstairs, surprised. There was no chance of their adopting an eighteen years old girl.
“Yes it is her.” she heard the woman saying.
“Sit down Megha.” Mother superior smiled at her.
“These are Mr. and Mrs. Barik, they live a little distance away from here, their only son is Doctor J. Barik, he was attending the kids last year, you remmember when they were down with pox?”
She nodded, hoping he might appoint her in his dispensary… they actually worked hand in hand for those kids, often passing sleepless nights.
“Well, Jayanta’s father came to me a week after the last kid was cured, but you were seventeen then… they want you as their daughter in law…” Mother superior said with a huge grin on her face.
“Not daughter in law, daughter…. you will officially be my daughter in law, but …” the lady smiled.
“You dont love me.” she said firmly.
“I do darling…” he begged, “Marry me.”
“No…” she said. “If you truly loved me then after proposing me you would not have been looking around, you would not even have any interest in any other woman…like I never even thought of anyone else after you proposed me. So many expressed their desire … but I just could not think of anyone else. Now I am feeling like a fool…”
“Dont go…” he requested. “Give me another chance….”
“Meet me after an year, if I dont fall in love in-between I will marry you.” she said with a shrug.
She was a woman of simple ways. She knew nothing of coquettishness. Her expression of love was straight from heart, gentle, mild and pure.
He was a man of real life, he had seen too many nymphs, so when he stumbled upon the angel he held her hand.
Years passed together. Through ups and downs they stayed by each other’s side.
Then a monster envied their love and poisoned his heart. He walked away without giving her reasons, she waited… then one day she left.
He returned when the monster’s true face was exposed by accident, but their home was no longer a home, it was a ruin now, where bats and mices dwelled.
It started with a small spot in her arm. Within a month it covered half of her arm.
Skin cancer… the diagnosis said.
“There is no question of calling off the marriage.” He said firmly. “We have been through the good times, will be through the bad times. You never left me when my business went down the drain… when that millionaire was chasing you day and night. How could you dream that I will walk away?”
“I will marry you…” she crooned in his ears, gently running her fingers through his balding hair. “The day I ruin that arrogant girl.”
He helped her in her mission, quite tough one. It was not easy to ruin the life of a person with nice reputation and strong character, solid level of education and skill.
His advantage was he was a cop, of a high rank. The first thing he did was tamper some police records and entered her name as a suspected terrorist, that gave him the excuse to keep a watch on her, rest became easy. Nothing is impossible when two poisonous minds work together and lot of power and money is there to help them.
The wedding night came, the groom reached the bride’s home. It was dark. The landlord gave him a note.
“Fairies dont marry dogs… sorry… maybe in next life.”
She could feel his reptile eyes boring deeply on her back. He was hiding behind curtain, watching her, taking note of everyone who came in and out of her door. So he could scare away any possible threat.
His paid ghouls often whispered to her ears, how much he wanted to have her in his harem… how much he loved her!
If only he knew the meaning of love.
Alas, she was too weak to fight the tentacles of this hundred armed hydra, too tied down to flee… but she knew one thing, he will never have what he lusts for.
Even though it was not enough but was something… to let a monster know he cant have everything he desires.
“They are lucky… are not they?” Ishita said. They were sitting in the garden, watching the Aroras, who lived across the road.
“Yes. They knew what they were sowing and reaped. We on the other hand planted, nurtured and lost our crop.” Mrinal said.
Mr. Arora looked at them and waved his hand cheerfully, Mrinal waved back.
The phone rang, Ishita picked it up, the look on her face told Mrinal it was not the expected call. She started talking on the phone, it was one of her friends.
Both their kids lived abroad, married and settled, sometimes they came, sometimes the Chatterjees went there to visit them. But the gaps were really long, because they were not that rich.
The Aroras were childless, theirs was a love marrirage, Mr. Arora knew that his wife will never be able to give birth to a child, they accepted it and enjoyed the life to the core. They had adopted some kids financially, sometimes they brought them over to their house and have some time together.
Atelast they dont have to pine for their kids, grandkids like them…
He looked at her, she was licking her fingers, with an expression of deep satisfaction on her face.
His mother might have had a fit, had she seen her… licking her fingers after eating her dinner, with hands… to add more.
He remembered all those lessons he was taught by her, how to sit, how to stand, how to eat… what to do, and what not to do.
It’s good to not follow all those rules sometimes, and relish the food.
One of the advantages of inter cultural love.