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.