Thursday, July 12, 2012

Idiot in the Box

Read first part of the story here

Chapter Three


Raj was busy working on his computer and Ms. Reva was typing something furiously on hers. She kept throwing nasty glances at Raj of which the latter was totally unaware. He, however, occasionally looked at her lovingly and seemed deeply satisfied about something. He was actually thinking what a wonderful couple he and Reva would make. Not that he thought it was anyway possible now, but he wanted (he himself did not know why) to look at every perspective of this otherwise great idea. So, when almost everybody else had left the office and Ms. Reva too got up from her seat and was preparing to depart, Raj got up hastily, picked up his coat and briefcase and darted through the door to join Ms. Reva.

“So… leaving, Reva?”
“Yeah, I guess it’s about time…” she looked at her gold-plated wrist-watch and replied nonchalantly. Raj began escorting her along the aisle. Ms. Reva smiled and continued to walk. When they reached the elevator, Raj finally asked what he had so long wanted to ask: “Hmm… Reva… D’you… Do you watch serials?”
What???
“Television soap operas... Those cozy, mushy, delectable (and outrightly stupid and bugging) serials they show everyday on TV?” It was clear that he was trying hard to hide his strong hatred for the serials, as he spoke.
And, finally, to his satisfaction, Ms. Reva replied in the negative.

***  

Reva wanted to leave early today. But as usual, the pile of work on her desk held her back. When she had finally finished most of it, and was feeling totally exhausted, she got up and filed away all the loose papers. She came out of her cabin and found Mr. Roy coming out of his, smiling at her.

“So… leaving, Reva?” asked Mr. Roy in his peevish voice.
What a dumb question to ask. She wanted to ward him off. She looked at her gold-plated-wrist-watch in the way of expressing extreme annoyance, and replied, “Yeah, I guess it’s about time…”
But emotion had, perhaps, blinded Mr. Roy and he unwaveringly started walking alongside her. Reva didn’t know what to say and she merely forced a horrible smile. When they reached the elevator, Mr. Roy suddenly asked, “Hmm… Sandhya… D’you… Do you watch serials?”
Why would you want to know? “What???”
“Television soap operas... Those cozy, mushy, delectable serials they show everyday on TV?”
Reva loved them. But it was something about the way Mr. Roy had shot the question that she didn’t want to give an affirmative answer.
“No… I hate them.” She added that ‘hate’ part just out of hope that Mr. Roy would be seriously offended and would leave her alone. But to her dismay, Mr. Roy seemed delighted to hear this.
“Hmmm… then what are your interests? Perhaps sports!!!” Mr. Roy was trying to hide his excitement without success.
Reva was too exhausted to keep track of all the lies she had been telling. “Yes” seemed the simplest and shortest reply.

***


Little Tina was having a wonderful time. All day she had been talking to her ‘Barbie’ doll in a language which only she and her ‘bestest’ friend understood. She had talked about how inane grown-ups are, how lovely she’d look when she’d grow up, how interested the baby-next-door was in her when they had met in the park last week - he had literally jumped out of his pram to smile at her.


Suddenly, Nisha came over to her cradle. “Why are you laughing so much? Do you know we may not watch the serials any more?”
Stupid girl. I care in the least. Tina giggled.
This annoyed Nisha a lot. She looked over her shoulder. Sandhya was busy in meticulously putting on nail-gloss. She reached for Tina’s thighs and pinched her. Tina began to wail in pain.
Sandhya dashed to the scene, clearly annoyed at being disturbed while she was busy with her make-up. “What happened? Nisha, what did you do to her?”
She pinched me. Tina began to cry louder than ever.
“Nothing, Mama. She must’ve hurt herself.”
Liar!!! Mama, take me up in arms. Tina let out a particularly high-pitched shriek.
Sandhya seemed to be in a dilemma. She wanted to tend to Tina but that would surely spoil her half-an-hour worth of effort of putting on the nail-polish. “Mama’s here, baby, don’t cry” she almost sang those words, “good baby, mama’s nails are wet…”
Tina tried once more, and then gave Sandhya up as bad job. She shut up on her own and began fiddling with her Barbie.

***

The elevator was gliding down unusually slow. Reva was getting impatient. Mr. Roy continued with his badgering.

Reva had a feeling that if Mr. Roy didn’t stop within the next minute, she’d have no other way than slamming her hand-bag against his face. But all she did was smile and smile.

Finally, they got out on the ground floor. “Should I drop you off, Reva?” asked Mr. Roy rather politely, still jumping on the balls of his feet.
“No, thanks; I guess I’ll get a cab.”
“Oh come on, Reva; you need not be this formal. We are friends, after all.”
Yes, Lecher. “But you really need not take all the trouble, Sir.”

Ten minutes later, Reva was seated on the front seat of Mr. Roy’s car, with a rather serious expression on her face. Mr. Roy was merrily steering the car, feeling excited and conscious at the same time. When they finally reached Reva’s Apartments, Mr. Roy gallantly got out of the car and opened the door for her to get out.

“So...”
“So?”
“Ah, well... bye then.”
Reva understood only too well what Mr. Roy wanted, but she would rather kiss a donkey than invite this lecher to her home.
“Sir, I would have invited you for a cup of coffee but my boyfriend is probably back by now. He doesn’t like visitors. I hope you understand.”
“Your boyfriend??”
“Yeah, he moved in only last month.”
“You never told me, Reva” spluttered Mr. Roy, and upon discovering the questioning expression on Reva’s face, added “I mean I didn’t know.” Raj was totally distressed. Reva had a live-in boyfriend. He got into the car and began driving back home.

Reva was walking up the driveway, smiling to herself. The idea had struck her while she was seated in Mr. Roy’s car. She had no boyfriend.

***


Chapter Four

Raj parked the car in the garage, rebuked the Durban without any reason and climbed up the stairs like a zombie. No sooner had he rung the door-bell than Sandhya opened the door, dressed in a cute pink dress and carrying a lavish smile. This was a bit surprising, for usually he had to stand for at least ten minutes before the door opened up, and surely Sandhya has never been this happy to find him back.

“You are back, darling. How was your day?” Sandhya made way for him to get inside.
Flustered at this sudden change in Sandhya’s attitude, Raj almost fumbled into the sitting-room. “Yeah, OK.”
Raj looked around for a reason that could explain the weirdness of the situation and caught sight of Nisha lurking in a corner, looking thoroughly anxious and apprehensive.
“Hey Nisha, my baby, come to papa” he called out to her and to his amazement, Nisha, instead of running into his arms, looked at Sandhya, as if asking for approval. He could sense Sandhya giving a short nod. Nisha glided towards him, still not her natural self. This all was driving Raj crazy. He wanted an explanation. And then, he remembered!! All the events of the morning came, flashing, to his mind and his teeth gritted themselves in anger.
Okay, let’s play it your way then…


He turned round to Sandhya, and almost imitating her peevishly cheerful tone, said, “Darling, do you mind making me a cup of coffee? By the way, they are showing the re-telecast of some cricket match today. I can’t possibly afford to miss it.” Raj was sure that had it been any other day, Sandhya would have straightaway refused to make him a cup of coffee. But she smiled in an indulgent sort of way and went towards the kitchen, followed by an evidently shocked Nisha.

Raj settled on the couch and switched on the TV. (A news reader’s face flickered on the screen)… click… (Two dancers were bumping their bottoms against each other’s)… click… (One of those talent-hunt contests)… click… wait a second, the sports channel was supposed to be somewhere here. He went through all the channels once again.
It had to be Sandhya. She must’ve changed all the settings. He began re-setting the channels, while assuring himself that vengeance would be his very soon.


“Coffee is ready, darling” Sandhya entered the room carrying two coffee mugs and her now fading smile “How’s your cricket-match progressing?” she looked at the TV screen and smiled, “Oh, actually, I had to change the setup because of Nisha… she was insisting on watching some stupid wrestling match. Of course, I couldn’t allow her to watch those. So I put a lock on all the sports channels.” Nisha, who too had followed her mother into the room, nodded vigorously like a poorly trained actor.
“Oh really… what's the key?”
“Oops… I forgot” Sandhya faked an expression of extreme remorse, “I’m sorry, darling.”
“No wonder.” Raj could easily re-set all the channels. The only thing was that had Sandhya given him the code, it would have been much faster. “Sandhya, if you think that with all this drama, you’d be watching your stupid serials then drop it. I’ll make sure that you keep your word.”
“Not that I expected anything else from an insensitive person like you, Raj” Sandhya suddenly turned emotional. For the second time that day, Raj admired how quickly Sandhya could change her expressions. Sandhya rubbed her invisible tears on her sleeve and rushed towards the bedroom, Nisha again following her. Normally, Raj would have gone after her to console her, but not today. He continued with fine-tuning the channel.

About two minutes later, Sandhya again entered the drawing-room, looking perfectly normal, as if nothing had happened a few minutes back. She came and sat on the couch next to Raj and suddenly began to sob or rather pretend to sob.
“Raj, oh Raj, why do we do this to each other? I love you, Raj? But I don’t know what gets into me. Please, Raj, forgive me, Raj.” She edged closer to him and put her arms around him. Raj was totally taken aback.
Sandhya started whispering, and apparently forgetting to sob, “Oh, Raj, tell me you have forgiven me.”
"Hmm... "
"Thank you! You know Nisha is also upset about the serial thing. Let's watch it together today, shall we?"
“Sandhya, I must say you have talent.”
Sandhya moved back her head and looked at him.
“But, sadly, none of your tactics are gonna work today, for I’ve realized what sort of a scheming woman you are.”
Sandhya could not take this. She pushed Raj away from the couch, seized the remote-controller and hurled it straight at Raj. Raj ducked just in time, and the gadget crashed right into the TV screen smashing it to smithereens.

The crashing noise brought Nisha into the room. She looked at the smashed TV and raised her hands to her mouth, apparently shocked. Sandhya, too forgot that she was angry at Raj and merely looked in horror at what she had done.

Raj decided that it wasn’t safe anymore for him to stay in the room. He quietly sneaked out of the room, leaving a distraught Sandhya and a distressed Nisha behind in the room.

The helluva noise had woken Tina up. She was whimpering in her cradle. Raj walked up to her and asked lovingly, “What is it, darling?”
One can’t even sleep in peace in this place. Tina let out a last moan, rolled over and fell asleep again.

***

2 comments:

KayEm said...

Hope there's more to come.

Yogesh said...

Haha.. thanks for having the patience to read through both parts of the story. But this is where it ends :)

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