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Monday, 20 April 2020


Read the previous part here
Nisha rummaged through every drawer and shelf in search of some clue. The almirah was stuffed with clothes, the drawers with documents, and the kitchen with utensils. Nothing suspicious, nothing unusual. Waste of time, thought Nisha. She was totally exhausted. But there was no time to rest. She called up Vinay and asked him how long would it take for them to return.

'The check-up is done.' He said. Sulabha was staring at him point blank. His voice lowered as he said, 'Nothing to worry. Will be back home in half an hour.'

'Oh! Shit.' Nisha said. She had to rearrange the house to its original shape, unless Sulabha might sniff something. She quickly placed the things back. Fortunately, knowing Sulabha's penchant for keeping things in order, she had taken photographs of the shelves, cupboards and drawers before she touched them. Now those photographs came handy when she tried to restore them to their original stage.

Once done with that Nisha checked the watch. She had got ten more minutes. It struck her that she hadn't checked the guest room. So she rushed to the first floor. The room contained extra set of bed and beddings, old newspapers and some empty cartons. In the corner, stood the painting. Nisha was drawn towards it. The woman indeed held some mystery in her inviting eyes. She admired her form and striking features. Nisha checked the paints and brushes kept in the niche behind it. 'Nothing here as well.' She said and then looking into the painting she said. 'Now, at least you give us some clue.' If paintings spoke, many secrets of the world would be revealed. They don't speak but they can communicate ideas, feelings, emotions and sometimes even hidden messages. Nisha felt the painting was communicating something with her.

There are many things which the words fail to convey, but the heart simply understands. This was one such case.

Nisha instinctively took the painting in her hands and then turned it backside up. There were some words scribbled in a very small font behind it. Alas! She had found something. But that was when the door bell rang. Nisha quickly took a photograph of those letters and placed the painting back into the place.
'Why did you take so long to answer the bell Nishu?' Sulabha was visibly irritated.
'Nothing Di.'
'I was sleeping Di.'
'Come on you are tired. Let us get in.' Vinay came to Nisha's rescue and ushered an irritated Sulabha inside the house.
'I have had enough of it. I can take it any longer Sulu. I am fed up of this life. Better to end this all.'
'Shut up Satish! We all commit mistakes. That doesn't mean that we all should …' Sulabha avoided the words commit suicide and continued further, 'you know what happens when we end life before its due time. I am there for you. Nothing comes before its assigned time and nor do problems say good bye before they reach their expiry date. You have survived so far, you will pass this phase as well. Have trust in yourself and in that of the teachings of the Master.'
'Sulabha, if you hadn't been there...'
'The Master would have sent some other instrument. Strange are His ways.'
'Thank you Sulabha. Thank you so much.' said Satish.
Nisha and Vinay found it difficult to converse in private. Sulabha wouldn't leave them alone. She knew what they were up to and the easiest way of preventing them from reaching her was to be with them all the time. Nisha had read the words behind the painting and she was eager to share them with Vinay, though she was not sure of what they meant and if they would be of any help. She was trying to find an opportunity to speak about it to Vinay, but with Sulabha around, it was becoming difficult for her.

Finally, after two days they found some private time when Sulabha had been to the bathroom.
'Vinay I have found this Nisha said.' But before Vinay could have a glance at the picture, Sulabha stepped in.

'What are you showing him?' She said. Nisha's heart skipped a beat. Her mouth turned dry. She knew Sulabha very well. Once she made up her mind, she would achieve whatever she wished. Her presence was always intimidating. Sulabha twitched her hand towards the phone. Sulabha's face beaming with satisfaction of having caught them red handed. Her fingers even brushed the body of the phone when the door bell rang and seizing the opportunity Nisha darted towards the door with the phone in her hands. When she took too late to return, Sulabha said in a stern voice, 'Who is it Nishu? Why are you taking so long? Who are you talking to?
Read the next part here

Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 


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