Free for download only on 4th and 5th March 2020

Monday, 27 April 2020

Wandering the Murky Path

Read the previous part here
 Vinay entered the conference room. Its tall, thick  and arid walls made up of stones spoke volumes of the colourless lives of an inmate. An elderly sweeper was sweeping the room with a long broom. He was oblivious to the fact that Vinay had entered the room. He continued his work, raising clouds of dust in the air. Some of the dust particles entered Vinay’s nose and he had a bought of cough. Holding his handkerchief across him face he stood there cemented, waiting for the sweeper to complete his task. It was against this cloud of dust that he saw a familiar looking face emerge from another window.

A woman guard had held Sulabha’s forearm as she escorted her into the room. Is this my Sulabha Vinay thought for a moment. She was looking haggard. Dark circles of worries had formed on her face below her eyes. She looked emancipated too. Looking her condition Vinay wondered if it was the right time to pose any questions. Slowly she walked and sat on the wooden bench kept in the room. ‘You have only fifteen minutes.’ Said the woman guard. The guard went to another corner of the room, to chat with her colleague and offer some privacy to the couple.

Vinay was perplexed. He didn’t know where to start from. For a moment there was no conversation between the two and the only sounds that could be heard were of the rickety ceiling fan hovering over their heads. After a minute, Vinay said, ‘Sulabha how are you?’

Hearing the assuring voice of Vinay Sulabha couldn’t control her surging emotions. Her eyes turned moist and her voice choked as she spoke. She clasped Vinay’s hands tightly and cried. She kept on saying, ‘It is not the way you think Vinay.’

After a minute, she wiped her tears with the blue border of her white saree and said, ‘I have never cheated you Vinay. My motive was neither money nor love. Satish was just a friend. I know you wont believe it, but still I have to come out clean in front of you.  I cannot die with the guilt. You must have read it in my statement. But still I want to tell you in person. That day when I went to Satish’s house in the woods, I was bubbling with excitement. The thought of meeting your beloved clandestinely was exciting enough for me. I was dressed in my best salwar suit. I still remember its colour. It was turquoise with pearl embroidery on it. I was wearing a matching ear-rings and a necklace as well. I wouldn’t deny it that every pore of my body was jumping in excitement. Satish had drawn a map on a piece of paper giving directions to his rest house when he had invited me to his birthday part six months back. I had not attended the birthday party for the obvious reasons – my parents had not allowed me to go. But still I had kept that address with the map in Satish’s calligraphic handwriting. Today, when he casually mentioned that he was going to meet his beloved in the rest house, I had blushed. I knew no man could invite a girl from respectable family directly. So, making an indirect proposition he had added, ‘You know where the rest house is? No, you don’t. You didn’t make it for my birthday party.’ Today, I had decided that I would make up for everything. Soon we would pass out from college and I would be married to the man of my parent’s choices. Satish would fade in the oblivion. But I would clutch to this one beautiful day, made up of hundreds of moments that I would spend with Satish.’

‘Swarg Sadan was a solitary bungalow standing at the edge of the cliff. Locating it was no difficult at all. I was smitten by its surroundings. I envied Satish for owning such a piece of property, and secretly hankered to be its owner. The path to the bungalow was covered with a sheet of gentle, fragrant bakula flowers. I removed my sandals, for crushing these flowers with my sandals was utter disrespect towards them. Holding both my sandals into one hand of mine, I gingerly walked through the path, trying my best not to step on the flowers. I picked a few flowers in my hand and held close to my nose. Their fragrance enchanted me. This fragrance of love, this scent of longing should permeate my life, that is the only thing I wished for.

I was about to press the doorbell. But before I cold press it, the door opened. Satish stood in front of me. His shirt sprayed with blood. He wiped his forehead with the collar of his shirt. From what I could make out, he was dragging a dead body of a girl. ‘What are you doing here?’ He screamed. 
Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 

No comments:

Post a Comment