This is the first chapter in a short story of total six chapters. It is a tale of Ajay and Sasha- a couple in love- and their families. Their parents had committed mistakes which are going to affect their relationships.
Sasha smiled as she swiped the screen of the phone to dismiss the call. In less than three seconds, the phone beeped again. ‘Ajay,’ it read for the eleventh time that evening. “Receive that call,” Rosa, a colleague of Sasha said to her, “he seems desperate.”
Sasha smiled coyly and swiped the phone’s screen to receive the call. “Finally,” sighed Ajay. “Now, before you decide to cut this conversation off, I have to say that I have been waiting for you in the parking. And I’m feeling odd.”
“It’s not the first time you have waited for me,” Sasha teased. “Keep waiting. You might make a world record of waiting in the parking- more than most of the cars over there.”
“That would be great. However, you would be the cause. You would also make the bad record of making people wait. Come quick,” he chuckled.
“Okay, I’m coming.” Sasha cut off the connection again and grinned. She closed the file she was examining and looked at the clock on the wall over the reception desk. She always preferred looking at that large clock when she was there even if she had a watch or a phone that could tell her time. She produced another register, signed up and said to the girl who had been sitting on a chair beside her, “Time’s up. It is your turn to take care of the patients, Rosa. Especially the one on bed number 331.”
Rosa nodded. She had already prepared herself for the night shift. Sasha smiled and walked out. The hospital she worked on was not as crowded and noisy in the evenings. She loved this tranquillity but she also knew was it was short-lived. Once someone wailed out of pain, the nurses would have to be the first to reach them. Sasha need not rush at that time, though. Her eight hours long shift had just ended. She could go home and get a good night’s sleep.
But she was not thinking of sleep that evening. All she wanted at that moment was that to reconcile with her boyfriend and celebrate the anniversary of their first meet. She had not told Ajay anything yet. She had planned a surprise for some days. All she had to do was to convince him to go to her house. He had left her up to the gate several times but had always refused to go in. It would be a tough job. Moreover, she was tired already. She wished he accepted the proposal without much effort.
All her fatigue faded when she saw him sitting on the bonnet of his red car. She had thought of surprising him but Ajay was certainly keeping his eyes upon the corridor from which she would come. He jumped and walked a few steps towards her and opened his arms, smiling. Sasha hugged him tight. Without saying anything, he dragged her into the car. When he shut the door on Sasha’s right, Ajay ran around and took the driver’s seat. Before the engine roared, he had played Sasha’s favourite music. Sasha smiled as the car went out to the street. Thoughts were racing on her mind, ‘How can you always care for me, Ajay? Am I even worthy of your love? Can I love you like you love me?’
They passed through the streets of the sleeping city quickly. Within fifteen minutes, Ajay stopped the car in front of Sasha’s house. “Aren’t you coming in?” Sasha said. Those were the first words since they had met that evening.
“No.” Ajay plainly replied.
“You must come in,” she insisted. “You always leave me at the gate and drive away. That’s not going to happen tonight.”
“Practically, I can’t drive into your house. How will I convince my dad to compensate for the damage upon the car and your house?” Sasha laughed heartily. Ajay continued, “Will you just stay here with me? That would be better.”
“But you won’t feel warm and cosy in here.”
“What did you just say? This is a luxury vehicle. Temperature and comfort is not a problem in here.”
Ajay looked a little annoyed. Maybe he was playing with her. Sasha felt she was failing. But she would not fail that day. She put her right arm around Ajay and looking lovingly into his eyes, said, “Just for a cup of coffee. Please.”
Ajay surprised her. He agreed. ‘Too easy,’ Sasha thought, ‘so he might have been planning something himself.’ She did not ask anything, however. She just hugged him tight and got off the car to be hit by a frosty breeze. She walked a few steps and opened the gate. Ajay drove in. She showed him the garage and she herself stood waiting at the porch. When her boyfriend saw Sasha standing outside her house, he said, “Did you lose your keys?” Raising his hands up, he continued, “If you want me to break into your house, I give up. I can’t do it.”
Sasha rolled her eyes. Ajay grinned and moved closer to her. She turned her back and opened the door with the key she had already taken out from her handbag. Within seconds, they were in the living hall. Ajay seemed mesmerized. Smiling, Sasha told him to rest on the couch while she went to the kitchen. She put the milk-pan on the stove, turned on the gas, and waited for the milk in it to boil.
All of a sudden, someone put arms around her waist. Shocked, she turned around to look straight into Ajay’s eyes. She too put her hands around his neck and pulled him towards her lips. At the very moment, a strong stench hit her nose- the stench of gas. She pushed Ajay and looked at the mess on the stove. At the exact moment Ajay had caught her, the milk had boiled and fallen over the fire, ceasing it. She turned off the gas and transferred the milk-pan to another stove. She added some water and heated the milk again. Within two minutes, she poured the content into two coffee-mugs, added two spoons of coffee on each of them. She then went back to the living room. She had already noticed that Ajay had left the kitchen as soon as she had pushed her.
Ajay was looking at a large portrait on the wall behind the couch. “Ahem,” Sasha coughed once. Ajay looked at her and smiling, asked, “This is a beautiful picture. When had you shot a photo on a red sari, though? This portrait does not seem recent.”
Sasha grinned as he handed a mug of coffee to Ajay. She raised her eyebrows as if questioning, ‘Guess who?’ Ajay looked at Sasha and the portrait again and said, “It’s your mother’s, isn’t it? Wow, you both look so similar.”
Ajay’s statement did not surprise Sasha. She had heard that compliment from a lot of people. However, she was impressed that Ajay had discovered the truth himself. Ajay sipped the coffee and sat on the long couch talking about something Sasha did not properly hear. She went closer to him, put her head on his chest, and looked up at Ajay. He too was stared at him lovingly.
All of a sudden, he jumped and the coffee in his hand spilled upon her clothes. Sasha noticed Ajay as she jumped up as well. He seemed scared; but she could not understand what he was frightened of. She could not have scared him. ‘Oh no, my uniform,’ Sasha also realized that she had not changed. Without looking at Ajay, she said, “I’ll come right now.”
Sasha rushed upstairs and picked up a beautiful red dress from her drawer. She put on some make up and was about to move out when she noticed that she had brought her coffee-mug to her room. She finished the lukewarm beverage in one gulp and went downstairs into the kitchen. As she put the mug into the sink, she saw a woman’s reflection on the mirror. The woman stood behind Sasha wearing a red sari and red blouse. She was smiling at her and talking, but her words invoked terror. She was saying, “Kill that boy, Sasha.”
“Why?” Sasha asked.
“Don’t act like you do not know,’ the woman snapped, “You know what I am talking about.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t understand why you want to harm him.”
“Not just harm, “Sasha’s mother looked enraged, “but I want him dead.” Sasha chuckled. The woman continued, “Why don’t you understand, Sasha? All men are the same. Once his desires are fulfilled, he will leave you helpless like beggars in the streets. I don’t want you to suffer.”
“You’re mistaken, Mom. He is not anything like you say.”
“Why is he not? You do not even need to look back into distant past if you try to understand what I am saying. Just recall how he had grabbed you from behind. That was not a move of a decent man. He did not even apologise.”
“He did not say anything, Mom, but I have looked into his eyes and know that he meant no evil,” Sasha replied. “And remember, I won’t let you harm him.”
“You don’t understand, Sasha,” Sasha’s mother stared at her angrily, “You have been blinded by love and you don’t leave me a choice.”She abruptly produced a steel rod (Sasha had not noticed it earlier) and hit hard on Sasha’s head. She felt her vision blurring. Sasha looked with disgust at the woman on the red sari, as she fell and hit the cold floor.