No24, DMC Ville, Bangalore —Nov 21st 2012 00:02
He woke up in the middle of the night and moved a bit to reach for the mobile lying at the corner of the bed and learnt it was just 2 minutes past midnight. He could not fall back to sleep so easily. The heated conversations of the night started making a cacophony in his mind as he got up to fetch a glass of water. The kitchen was still smelling with the spicy flavour of his favourite dish on earth. He looked around and saw the vessel filled with Bisibelebath spreading its aroma all around. He realised he was hungry but also realised he had an early meeting the next day and hogging now would mean a disturbed sleep. He was about to close the lid when he also noticed a open packet of chips and a combination of chips with bisibelebath is something he loved more than the sleep. He took a plateful and put a lot of chips as a side. He regretted skipping the dinner last night. He regretted having that argument with his wife which eventually led to both missing the dinner and it all seemed silly right now. It is always a mystery how a trivial topic would trigger a big fight and all of a sudden be nothing at all the next day. It always happens between him and her and wondered if it is the case with every other loving couple. He felt he should say sorry to her right away.He wanted to wake her up right now and ask her to join for this midnight feast.He went near her bed and saw her sleeping like a baby with her beautiful face half covered in the sheet.He kissed her on the cheek,whispered a sorry but did not wake her up as he knew she loved her sleep more than anything else. Even more than the bisibelebath..…
He took the plate and moved to the living and comfortably sat on the sofa.He opened his mobile and took a picture of his plate and shared it on FB tagged his wife and added a line..”Thanks my darling wife for making this…Thanks my dearest God for making my wife”He thought it would make her smile the next day He was about to eat a spoon of the south Indian delicacy when he felt he saw a shadow move in the passageway. He was almost sure it was the wind playing with the curtains and his mind playing with him but still he got up and went near the passageway holding the plate of in his hand.He could see a clear shadow of a person and this time he was sure it was not the wind nor the mind.He froze on the ground.Before he could think of a fight or a flight he felt a sharp pain in neck.He could not scream as his vocal chords were broken apart by the knife piercing through his neck.He could feel his life going away and within seconds he dropped down on the floor all dead and the plate falling on the ground made a deafening sound and splattering the dish all over the place.
His wife in the bedroom was jolted awake by the sound.It took her less than a few seconds to realise what had happened.She was not so uncommon with this situation,it was usual for them to shower their anger on the dinner by totally skipping it.She understood her husband would have woken up all famished and unable to bear the thought of his favourite dish lying wasted in the kitchen,would have paced to it and grabbed a plateful but in the dim lights of the living would have tripped across the newly bought corner table and dropped the plate and that explains the sound.She immediately felt sorry for him and got up stealthily to catch him off-gaurd and she felt he deserved a sorry as she had over reacted over such a petty issue.She came to the living and saw the rice dish splattered all over the walls,all over the ground and what she saw next was beyond her comprehension. She saw the body of her husband in a pool of blood and there was a rush of emotions of fear,shock and above all an uncontrollable grief.She was about to burst into a scream when she felt a jabbing pain in her head.The last thing she could see was the reflection on the glass of the corner table of a man behind her hitting her hard with a rod the second time on her head….
No24, DMC Ville, Bangalore —Nov 21st 2013 07 :02 AM..
Mr. Murthy woke up and realised that the sun had long been awake before him.
He had gone out for a late night movie on insistence of his wife who was still on bed now She too was getting late and went to wake her up but did not feel like after seeing her smiling away in the sleep like a baby.
Murthy was in the shower in the next five minutes and the shower .Shower is a thought stop .Thoughts come in just like the water drops…Millions of them and it ends up to be the most wasted time in the morning.
He started thinking that he could not afford to be late on a Monday morning especially in these times when he was going through the worse of his career.Despite the best of his efforts his boss was all against him and hated him the most in the office and the feeling was mutual. The company was doing bad since an year or atleast the reports showed that which reasoned out for downsizing and salary cuts happening across the company.
Anyways all was going to end very soon as he was getting his visa for US ready in the next 6 months and he would say a goodbye to all and start a good new life all over again
When he came out of the shower he saw that his wife was already in the kitchen making his breakfast.He announced that he has to skip his breakfast and his wife gave an scornful look.He hurriedly rushed through his dress,packed his laptop and rushed for the front door and his wife glanced at him in surprise.He immediately realised and rushed back into the living and exited through the rear door,waving a good bye to his wife.
She asked him to come home early in the evening.She was wondering if he did not remember that this day was special to them and hoped he would realise it by the evening.
In the next ten minutes, his wife also exited through the same rear door ,climbed down the steps and rushed to the bus stop
No23, DMC Ville, Bangalore —Nov 21st 2013 07 :02 AM..
The scene was no much different in the Varma household,Murthys’ next door neighbour,He was also yet another leaf attached to another tree in the IT forest except that there was a wailing kid to add to the scene.Mr Varma was in the shower as his wife went on reminding him how some of the tasks has been pending since two weeks,the overdue credit card bills, the pending EMIs for the personal loan and the uncleared phone bills.Varma choose not to answer as he knew they would go on pending till the end of the month.He could not afford any more loans to clear the existing ones.
Murthy noticed Varma running to the stop.He could not help notice how Varma stopped using his car to the office and switched to company cab in the recent months.He had also seen a lot of letters from different banks always lying around at his door.He knew that not all of them were just monthly statements but few of them were notices for overdue payments.They both stood next to each other without speaking a word.Within the next few minutes they boarded their respective cabs .
Dawn to dusk…Its another day again..
It never fails to ask me what did you gain..
Murthy wrote down this line before packing his laptop from work and realised it was late for the usual cab and started waiting for the next one.
He messaged his wife the same and she messaged back mockingly ” As usual”.He choose not to reply.She had already reached home and started to cook.An hour later he reached home tired and frustrated.
The most tiresome part of the day is not the usual meetings,not the usual project stress,not the usual traffic all the way but the usualness itself.Routine is such a killer.He entered the house an hour later and did not hear the regular “Hi” from his wife.She looked at him and felt that she was bit scornful but did not know why.She glanced at the calender as an answer and he realised that it was the day they had met together at her house for the first time 2 years back.That day,She had prepared bisibelebath without actually knowing it was his favourite dish and he had brought her a bouqet of gerbera without actually knowing she liked it the most than any flower.They named it a favourites day and she promised that she would make bisibelebath on this day every year throughout her life.He promised that he never would miss to bring her gerbera on this day till his last breath.
She said”Promise for a life time and you miss it just the second time huh”
The mocking statements made by his boss in the meeting was still haunting the mind of Murthy and the tone of this statement somehow heightened his irritation and without a thought let out the words
”There is nothing great about that day to remember about.Infact its all so silly”.
This spurted out some anger in Mrs Murthy and she had her reason for that as she had returned for the day early from the office,went to the local market ,brought all the vegetables and cooked his favourite dish in a way he would love it and was waiting to have a dinner together.
She mocked back”The sillier thing is that I continued to meet you after that day”
From then on lots of statements went on back and forth.It was like a fight where you continue to throw rocks of styrofoam just to be in the fight and not exactly intending to hurt. After that neither had the mood to dine and Murthy opened his laptop while his wife never realised that she slept off with her iPod still plugged in to her ears.
Meanwhile Mr.Varma had reached his home an hour earlier.His home phone started to ring.He picked it up and realised it was Mr.Gowda,the land lord of his building.
“Hello Varma sir,Hope I did not disturb you calling at this hour”
“Gowda sir,It is always a pleasure to talk to you.I know there is a delayed payment of the rent from my side and I will make sure its right on time from next time”
“Varma sir,Dont even bother about it.I did not call you for that though I have some trouble for you”
“There is one couple who would want to see that apartment of mine.They have a flight tomorrow early morning and are away from India for next 6 months and wanted to have a look before they leave.Could you please show it if that is not a trouble for you”
“Sure Sir.No problem at all.I will take care of it.I do have the keys with me.” Said Murthy before ending the call
Two decades back,Gowda was a milkman of the locality.He had a huge plot where he had a shed with a dozen cows.He used to supply milk to the locality on a cycle.He father started the business with 2 cows and by the end of his lifetime could increase it to 12.Explosion in the Real Estate business was the best product IT ever produced in Bangalore. Gowda made a smart move at that situation and sold all his land to a builder and all his cows to his cousin in the village.He made quite a good fortune which was farfetched even if he had milked all the cows in Bangalore.He went on to settle in Dubai along with his family and never visited India since then.
He also got half of the houses in the apartment the builder built over his land as part of the deal.All his houses were rented or leased out except for one. This had been empty since a year and the actual source of his botheration was not that the house was vacant but the reason it was vacant.
Varma answered the door and saw a couple with a kid holding the hands of the father.He saw the woman of the family and noticed that another addition to the family was on its way.
“Hello.I am Mr Sunil and I hope you are Varma.Gowda sir ask me to meet you to have a look at the vacant house” the man spoke.
“Hello… yes,I am Varma and Gowda sir did call me too.Give me a second,I will just search for the keys”
“Thats great.Is the house in the same block?”The woman .
“Yes Ma’am.It is just next door.Ours is 23 and the vacant one is 24”
Varma took the keys and walked towards his next door.Mrs Varma also joined them.He opened the door and asked for the couple to come in.It was dark and Varma went in to switch on the lights of the living.The couple saw that all the furniture had plastic sheets on them.When Mrs Sunil looked at the ground,She was taken aback to see a part of chalk outline drawn on the ground under the carpet.Varma was quick to pull the carpet on it before she signalled her husband to look.
He started explaining”This is a a very comfortable place to stay in.You have the bus stops near by.Local market within half a mile”
“Unlike other places,You do not have supply problem with water or the power here and also two men are always available for any maintenance service day and night”Mrs Varma joined in.
“Then why is it vacant since a year “Mrs Sunil asked with a tone of concern.
Both Varma and Mrs Varma stood without an answer.Varma felt a relief as his phone started ringing.It was Mr Gowda.
Varma went near the balcony and answered”Gowda sir,they are having a look and I have explained how comfortable the house is”
“Varma,Please try to see that this deal is struck.I am so sorry for the trouble that I am disturbing you all the time whenever there are new seekers for this house.”
“Sure Gowda sir,Please do not worry about it and I hope you still remember the promise of my commission you made if a deal is struck for this house”
“Sure Mr.Varma.I promise to take care of it”.The call ended.
Though the conversation was inaudible in the living,Sunil’s wife was sharp enough to catch the last few words of what Varma spoke in the call.She waited for Varma to come back and gave him a questioning look.Varma understood she was expecting the answer to her previous question and tried to deviate again”There is another room but it is locked”
”Do you have the key”Sunil asked.
Mr Varma and Mrs Varma looked at each other
“Sure,We do have it” and moved in to unlock the door
Sunil’s wife could not help notice Mrs Varma signalling something through her eyes.
Varma quickly withdrew himself from opening the door and handed over the keys to Sunil himself to open.
Sunil himself went to open when Mrs Sunil stopped him by holding his hand.
“I think it is fine that we have seen the other rooms and this room might be no different”She said.
“Is it not this the house where a brutal murder happened an year back?”She questioned.
Both Varma and Mrs Varma stood again without answering as if their minds had gone blank.
Sunil chirped with a little surprised ”Was there something like that?”
Mrs Sunil started speaking again answering both the questions herself
”There was a brutal murder of a couple that happened in this locality an year back.By the evidence at the spot,It had happened when the couple were having a meal together.Their bodies were dragged into the bedroom and things came to light days later only by the stench. The media sensationalised the case as “Bisibelebath murder” and it flashed across all the news channels for a few weeks questioning the security of the apartments in the city and also raising a question against the apathy shown by the Police department in the case.But still the murderers are at large until today”
Mr Varma nodded in agreement.Then there was no much conversation later.Both the parties bid goodbye to each other and parted ways.
Mr Sunil and his family started slowly walking back to the car.”
“I understand that Gowda would want to get rid of this house but I wonder why this guy did not mention it” Sunil broke the silence
“I heard him mentioning commission in a call with Gowda. It is so evident that he has cut in this deal and would want to help Mr.Gowda get rid of this house as soon as possible.”
“Do you really think it all matters.It happened more than year ago and am sure we would not get a house this cheap “
“Don’t you see the obvious reason he is giving it for less?It would be impossible for me to stay in that house in this state.Did you not notice so many creepy things about that place?The huge chain of melons and chillies hanging on the front door,His reluctantness to open the door of the room and whats still shaking me in fear is that I could strangely smell a strong odour of Bisi-Bele-Bath!!!!”
Varma retreated to his house.His mobile started ringing and heard Murthy speak before even Varma said hello
”Thanks Varma.I don’t know what I would do without you Thanks a ton”Murthy said with his mouth still munching away the bisibelebath sitting in that bedroom.
“Thanks for what you have been doing in return.I have cleared almost all my loans now with that twenty thousand I am getting from you every month.You bear this whole thing for next six months and we would end this and part ways before Gowda gets any suspicious.”
“For me,Avoiding the front door to avoid neighbours’ eyes and a small drama every time there is a new buyer is not such a huge price for paying a twenty thousand for a fifty thousand rent worthy house”Said Murthy as he started removing the plastic sheets he put up as soon as Varma informed of Gowda’s call!!!