Disclaimer: All characters and events depicted in this story are entirely fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Also this story is meant for entertainment purposes and I do not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect or religion.
I was a little surprised to get her call. We were good friends at college but ever since, we had almost lost contact. We did chat a few times on Facebook and talked once in a blue moon, but we were completely out of touch since the past few months, perhaps years now. She was coming to Thane and asked meet me to pick her up from the railway station.
I checked the arrival time of her train on the internet and found it was on time. So I left at the destined meeting time of 6 o’clock at Thane station and waited patiently for her. Her train had already arrived and I was looking for her when she called out my name. I turned back to find her standing right behind me. She still looked pretty much the same was she did during her college days.
She asked, “Hey, how are you?”
“I am fine. How are you?”
“I am fine too. How was your journey?”
“It was okay. Very tiring though and my head is aching.”
“Have you booked a place? If not you can stay at my place as well if unless you mind staying with a bachelor.”
“Actually, it’s a company trip. So they have booked a hotel for me. But the next time I come, I promise I will stay with you unless you get married by then and your wife has objections to me staying at your house”, she said winking.
“No she won’t” I replied.
“Okay how do you know? You have got a girlfriend?”
“No. Still no luck but then when I find one, I am sure she will love my friends” I smiled.
“To blame it on luck is not right. You never tried.”
“I was never interested. I have a lot of things to accomplish in life before I think of love and marriage.”
“Yeah I know. Dreams-so huge, that I feel you would be a bachelor for your life” she teasingly smiled.
“No they will get accomplished and I feel I would soon fulfill my dreams and find the women of my dreams as well” I frowned. “You did find someone?”
“No! Still single.”
“Okay where are you staying? I will drop you there?”
“No. Please let’s have some coffee somewhere before we head there. I am having a bad headache and badly need some coffee.”
“Sure lets head to Viviana Mall. There are a lot of coffee shops there”
We drove for a few minutes till we reached Viviana Mall and went to a coffee shop in there. On the way she talked about her job and life in Bengaluru.
She sat at a corner table while I got the coffee and brownies that she asked for.
“So your weakness for brownies is still there?” I asked.
“Yeah, can’t help it. I just love them. So how’s your job?”
“Hmm…Actually I quit my job a few months back hoping to do what I love the most- writing. But now, I feel a little lost and am stuck with my stories and don’t know how I proceed with them.”
“So you are writing a novel? Wow, that’s great.”
“Actually I started two but am not able to complete either.”
“Why don’t you write short stories just like you did earlier? You can publish a compilation of that too before your novel gets published and that may help you gain popularity.”
“I have written a few but then, that’s not what I left my job for. I felt I was not able to write novels because of my official commitments at my job; and now that I have left it, I am still stuck the same way as I was before. I don’t know what I did was right or wrong. I am so lost.”
“You just need to keep faith in yourself. You have to keep trying. If you want I can share a story with you. I will tell you the story in brief. You can add to it and make a novel out of it.”
“I would love to hear it. What’s the story about?”
“Promise you will write about it and not stop till you finish it.”
She sipped some coffee and continued “The story is of a girl called Aadarshini. She was born to Tamil Brahmin parents in a small village near Bengaluru. She was fair, around 5ft 7 inches tall, not too slim but decent looking. A bright student at school, after completing her twelfth, she took admission to a college in Mumbai. Once in college, she became the object of attention of most guys in college. Guys fought over her as if she were their property. She didn’t like it but never cared much about who fought whom. After all, she was in college to study not to bother about who did what.”
“Like those typical serious and studious girls.” I said.
“Yes. She was a kind of introvert. She had very few friends but the friends she had were very close to her heart. In her second year, she met a guy called Rohit from another department of her college during a quiz competition at college, and soon became friends. Their friendship blossomed with time and it soon turned into love. The two would always be seen together in the college.”
“The guy must have been the envy of the college.”
“Not sure. Perhaps you can say that. You guys know more about who you envy.” She said smilingly and continued, “But then their relationship met their first hurdle. She got a job in Bengaluru and the guy got posted in Mumbai. Their parting was a tough moment for them as they loved each other deeply. At that moment, she provided him great support and encouraged him to stay back in Mumbai and excel in his life. They can always be together once they get to leadership roles in their respective companies, she said.”
She took another sip of her coffee and continued, “The boy reluctantly agreed. The two used to talk for hours together at night after they came back home from office. At times, they stayed awake till morning, talking about their dreams. But then came the second hurdle. When she had gone home for vacation, her parents informed her that they had fixed her marriage with a Madhav Raghunath. She was shocked and protested. She told them that she loved someone else and wanted to marry him but they did not listen to her. She tried to inform him about that but he was busy in a meeting when she called and so could not talk. She cried to sleep that noon. In the evening, her to be in-laws were supposed to come. Her father threatened her that he will kill himself if she opposed in front of them or said anything about her past relationships to them. After all, she was a daughter who loved her parents however wrong they might be. She decided to remain quiet during the entire ‘show’. She behaved like completely normal, smiling shyly at them just like the ‘to –be wives’ are supposed to be in their culture. They liked her and confirmed the marriage. They were supposed to marry in a year’s time.”
“What her marriage got fixed and the guy had no idea of it! She should have told him, come what may? Had she told that it’s very important and it was regarding their relationship, I am sure he would have given the meeting a miss and talked to her.”
“She had other plans. She knew marriages don’t take place overnight. There is always time enough to cancel it till they marry. She planned to meet the guy alone some time later and tell her about her being in a relationship with someone else. Madhav looked like decent guy and she was convinced he would understand. That night she tried to tell her boyfriend about what happened in the day but he was so happy regarding his new promotion, that she could not master the courage to give him the news regarding the happenings of the day. The next day she came back to Bengaluru.”
“What happened then? Did she tell her boyfriend about what happened?”
“No. She could not master the courage to say that she has got engaged. She knew, he would be furious if he came to know about that. The last time she mentioned about a guy proposing to her, he was furious. He drank all night and did not talk to her for a week. She was scared.”
“When did she tell him then?”
“She could never tell him. A day after she came to Bengaluru, her father had a heart stroke and was admitted to a hospital. She had to go back. Her father never recovered from the stroke completely and was paralyzed on the right side. After he came back home, he called her to be in-laws home and requested that the marriage be preponed to the coming week as he felt that as he may not leave too long, and wanted to marry his daughter married before he dies. Everyone agreed.
She thought of informing her boyfriend regarding that but could never do so for the fear that he may come to her home if he got to know of her marriage and her father’s health may get worse.”
“So she married without a protest?”
“Yes. She did not have a choice. She married Madhav in a private ceremony attended by few neighbours and relatives.Her in-laws were good to her and were open-minded. They allowed her to keep working after marriage in Bengaluru even as Madhav ran the family business at her home-town.”
“What happened to her boyfriend then?”
“After she came back to Bengaluru, she deliberately fought with him repeatedly and then they broke up. Madhav had won her heart by his open-minded and caring nature. Everything was going on well. She went for a honeymoon to Mauritius and soon got pregnant.
A few months later, she gave birth to a baby girl, Madhu. But that brought a sudden halt to her happiness. Her in-laws though educated and open-minded wanted a boy and not a girl. They did not even once take the child in their arms. Madhav also didn’t support her through this.
She was missing Rohit now. She wanted to contact him but he had changed his number by then.
Her in-laws announced that now that she has committed a mistake by giving birth to a girl, she must rectify it soon by giving birth to a baby boy soon. She was still lactating when Madhav started putting all efforts to fulfill their demands. There was no pleasure and love making with Madhav anymore. He just fucked her again and again, in attempts to have a baby boy.
Soon, she got pregnant again. Upon confirmation of the news they took her to a doctor who was related to her mother-in-law’s side and got the gender determination test done of the unborn. They were satisfied only when they got to know that it is a boy.
Her in-laws and Raghav started to be loving to her once more though their contempt for her baby girl, Madhu did not change much.
A few weeks later, she gave birth to a baby boy and he earned the affection of the entire family. They were so enthused to welcome the baby boy that they often treated her baby girl as non-existent. One day she heard her in-laws talk that they cannot afford the upbringing of Madhu and that she must be given away to an orphanage.
She cried back in her room holding Madhu close to her. She did not love her baby boy as much as she loved her daughter. After all, she was born out of love and he was born out of pressure from her husband and in-laws.
That night, she decided to flee the village with her baby girl and live separately. While she was leaving, she thought of a sweet revenge. She took the kitchen knife and thumped it into her baby boy.
She reached the station and boarded the first available train. The train reached Thane station the following night. She checked into a hotel at Thane West with her child. The news of the baby’s murder must had spread by now and she was scared of getting caught with Madhu. She was not bothered about her own well-being but was concerned about Madhu’s future.
She logged into her Facebook account after ages and found Rohit still stayed in Mumbai. Better still, his number was there too.
In the morning, she called him and asked if they could meet. Rohit agreed and they decided on meeting at a cafe.”
She reached there much before time. She was nervous and was getting impatient. She called him and
he said that he had just left home and it would take him an hour to reach. She could not definitely stand for an hour, waiting for him and was in no mood for window shopping. So, she sat in the cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay in her handbag covered with a blue silk scarf.” she paused
“What happened next?”
“Can I just come back in a minute? I badly need to use the washroom.”
“No you can’t go now. You have to tell me what happened after that? You can’t stop at the climax like they do in the TV soaps. Please tell me now.”
“Please I need to go. I will come back in a minute. My purse is still here. Please look after it.”, she smiled. As she got up, she dropped her cell phone. She bent down, picked up her phone and left saying she will be back in a minute.
It’s been a long time and she still has not returned from the washroom. The waiter comes to our table with the bill, “Sorry Sir. We are closing for the day. A corpse has been found in the mall.”
“What? Who is it?”
“No idea Sir. Someone reported about it just a few minutes back and the police will be coming for investigation soon. The mall will be cordoned off and shops closed”.
“Even malls are not safe nowadays it seems. Someone gets killed even with so many people around”.
After the waiter leaves, I pick up her purse. The zip is half open and I see a blue blood stained silk scarf. Nervously, I open the zipper and find a piece of paper lying over the cloth.
“Sorry about all I have done. By the time you read this, I would be no more. I always loved you but could never master enough courage to tell you. This story I told you is of my life with a few changes to it so that you don’t suspect. Because of the current circumstances and for Madhu’s safety, it’s best I don’t live any longer. I know you are a good human and felt you would be the best person to bring her up. Please pick her up from Hotel Rajhans and take her home with you. I have told the baby sitter that her dad will pick her up from there.” The baby sitter’s number was mentioned below.