"Stop screaming Nisha! Take it easy. It's just another nightmare."
Nisha opened her eyes and saw Rahul bending over her, his keen, gray eyes staring at her face. She blankly looked at him, trying to remember where she was. Rahul pulled her head upon his chest and affectionately patted it.
"There there. Everything is okay now. Would you like to drink some water?"
He felt her head slightly moving on his chest. He lifted the water jug from the bedside table and gave it to her. She drank water in big gulps and replaced the jug on the table. She noticed that her hand was shaking. Rahul softly kissed her on the forehead and said,
"Feeling better now?"
She nodded again.
"Then let's return to bed."
Nisha shook her head and said,
"No! If I sleep that nightmare will haunt me again! I'd rather stay awake and watch a movie on YouTube."
Rahul knew that it would be futile to argue with her. She always stubbornly stuck to her decisions. But Rahul had his office to think about. He had an important meeting on the following day. So he smiled at Nisha and said,
"Okay darling, watch a movie if that makes you happy. But don't forget to use your headphones, okay?"
Nisha nodded. Rahul lay down on the bed and fell asleep almost immediately.
Nisha Mukherjee and Rahul Sinha had been married for nearly five years. Theirs was an inter-caste love marriage. Nisha belonged to an affluent and conservative Bengali Brahmin family. On the other hand Rahul, who was an engineer, came from a middle class Rajput family of Bihar. As he was neither a Brahmin nor a Bengali, Nisha's father refused to accept him as his son in law. After facing a lot of opposition, the couple eloped and got married in a temple. A month later they did court marriage as well. Since then Nisha had no connection with her parents. Her mother visited her once to inform that her father had legally disowned and disinherited her from his property.
Rahul supported Nisha during her trying times. He encouraged her to complete her Masters in Chemistry and get a job.
"We don't need your father's property my dear," said Rahul. "Let your opportunist brother enjoy everything. We'll work hard and achieve both success and money."
Nisha gave a warm hug to her husband and thanked him for his kind support.
The couple's family life began. Rahul's salary was not as handsome as his looks. Nisha did not want to be a burden on him. She gave tuitions and earned the required money to complete her Masters degree. She also did a postal course in B.Ed and passed both exams with flying colors. She gave interviews in different educational institutions and soon got a job in a reputed school. Her starting salary was nearly double of that of her husband. If Rahul felt bad about that he never expressed it in front of Nisha. Instead he congratulated her on her success.
Nisha never liked the one-room apartment that Rahul had rented for them. She had grown up in a palatial mansion. Even the washroom of her room was bigger than the apartment she was living in now. But she knew that Rahul's mediocre salary couldn't get her anything better than this. The moment she got a good job she started looking for a bigger apartment in a better locality. When she told Rahul about her plans he just said, "Do whatever you like. It's your money after all."
The following month they shifted to their new apartment.
Nisha's father had two cars. Hence she never had to travel in public transport. But that changed after marriage. Rahul never had a car. He had a motorbike in which he went to office. For Nisha, it was a punishment to travel in a crowded bus. She withstood it till she saved the money to buy a car. She knew driving and drove the car herself. Rahul never showed any interest in Nisha's car. He was happy with his old bike. But he did not forget to congratulate her on her new purchase.
After marriage Rahul had taken Nisha to his ancestral home in Bihar to introduce her to his parents. His mother openly voiced her disappointment for not getting any dowry from Nisha's parents. She said that they had cheated her son. After that incident Nisha never accompanied Rahul when he visited his parents. The only regret she had was that her father was no more alive to witness her success. Otherwise she was quite happy with her life.
A couple of weeks back she experienced a horrible nightmare. In her dream she saw a masked man chasing her with a bloodstained dagger. She ran through a lane where bloody corpses were scattered everywhere. She stumbled on a corpse and fell down on a pool of blood. Her pursuer raised his hand to stab her with the dagger. She started screaming in abject fear. Then she felt someone gently shaking her and saying, "Are you okay darling?" She opened her eyes and slowly realised that she had been seeing a nightmare.
On the first night she did not give it a thought. She knew many people who experienced occasional nightmares. But for her it became a regular affair. Normally she was a sound sleeper. But now the horrible, gory nightmares made her feel scared to go to sleep.
Chapter - 2
When Nisha's nightmares continued for seven consecutive days, Rahul decided to take her to a psychiatrist. His office physician advised him to consult Dr Manish Kapoor who had a good reputation as a psychiatrist. Rahul rang up his secretary and made an appointment with him on the following day at 9 am.
Dr Kapoor turned out to be a good looking, elegantly dressed man in his early thirties. His spacious and well furnished chamber on the third floor of a multistoried building reflected his income and good taste. Rahul was impressed.
The psychiatrist had an hour-long session with Nisha. During that time Rahul waited in the outer chamber and read a magazine. After the session was over the doctor called him in and asked Nisha to wait outside. He closed the door after her and turned to face Rahul.
"Mrs. Sinha is suffering from parasomnia," said he. "It's a type of sleep disorder that involves undesirable experiences while the patient is asleep. Nightmares usually occur during a stage of sleep which is known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep."
Rahul did not understand much. He blankly looked at the doctor and said, "Oh!"
Dr Kapoor's mobile phone started vibrating. He disconnected the call and continued to talk with Rahul.
"Nightmares can be triggered by many factors, like, stress, anxiety, trauma, inadequate sleep, medication, alcohol, depression, scary books, horror movies, etcetera. After talking with Mrs. Sinha I gathered that stress and anxiety are parts of her job. She experienced trauma and depression after she left her parents to marry you. She hates poverty. Hence she spent sleepless nights to study hard and built up a bright career. She has high pressure and takes regular medicines. She occasionally drinks with her friends. She enjoys thrillers, ghost stories and horror movies. That means she has all the factors that trigger nightmares."
"Oh!" was the only word Rahul could utter. That Nisha felt traumatic and depressed after their marriage was news to him. He was aware that like all rich people she too hated a life of poverty. But he felt bad that she told about her sufferings to an unknown psychiatrist and not him. This was the same woman who once told him that she'd be happy with him even if she had to live in a mud hut. How little he knew his wife! He sighed and looked at the psychiatrist.
"Those nightmares must stop doctor. Or else she'll go mad!"
"I know. Her condition shouldn't be taken lightly. Regular nightmares can even develop suicidal tendency in a patient. Anyway, don't worry. I have shown her some meditation and stress relieving exercises. Make sure that she practices them every morning. Hope these will help her. Otherwise I'll have to conduct a nocturnal sleep study or polysomnography on her. An overnight sleep study will help me to determine if the nightmares are connected to another sleep disorder. Sensors will be placed on her body. They will record and monitor her brain waves, the oxygen level in her blood, her heart rate and breathing, and her eye and leg movements when she sleeps. These will be video recorded as a document of her behavior during her sleep cycles."
Rahul understood very little of what the psychiatrist said. He only wished to see his wife recover and return to her normal life.
"What about her medicines?"
"Medication is rarely used to treat nightmares. We only use it to treat severe nightmares that are associated with PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. I don't think that is the case with her. For the time being I've prescribed her some multivitamin tablets and a light sedative which she should take only in case of insomnia."
"Sedatives? You mean sleeping pills?"
"Yes. She said that she can't sleep due to the fear of nightmares and feels tired and sleepy throughout the day. Actually I prescribed those pills upon her insistence. But see to it that she doesn't make it a regular habit."
Nisha's next appointment with Dr Kapoor was after a month. Somehow she felt relieved after unburdening herself to him. Before marriage her mother had been her friend, philosopher and guide. She still missed her even after so many years. Rahul was a romantic lover and good husband, but he had never been a close friend with whom she could share all her secrets. Today Nisha found such a friend in Dr Kapoor. He patiently listened to all her problems and comforted her with soothing words that made her feel relaxed and hopeful. She felt she could depend on him. Even before reaching home, Nisha was already looking forward to their next meeting.
After dropping Nisha in her school, Rahul left for his office. He was already late. Upon reaching office he parked his motorbike and rushed for the elevator. His cell phone started ringing even before he reached his seat. It was a call from his boss, the Marketing Director.
"Where are you Rahul? I've been looking for you for the past half an hour!"
"I'm extremely sorry boss. I'll be in your chamber within a few minutes."
"Yes, do that. And don't be late, okay?"
Rahul hastened towards his boss's chamber without further delay. His intuition told him that the boss would be in a foul mood. He was right. The Marketing Director scowled at him as he entered the room.
"Rahul, may I know why you reached office an hour late?"
"I'm sorry boss. But I can explain. My wife..."
"Don't bother. I'm in no mood to listen to your excuses. You say 'sorry' so often that the word has lost it's meaning."
Rahul opened his mouth to say 'sorry' then closed it again. His boss intently looked at him and said,
"I'm going to Panaji for three days to attend some important business meeting. You're also coming with me. Our flight is at 7.45 pm this evening. Go home after lunch and pack your bags. Meet me at the airport at 6.30."
"But how can I get ready within such a short time?"
"That's your headache. You always wanted to see Goa, didn't you?"
"You may go now."
Chapter - 3
Nisha made a scene when she leant that Rahul was going to Goa without her.
"How can you do this Rahul? We had planned to have our honeymoon in Goa. At that time we didn't have the money to go there. But now, when we can afford the trip, you come and say that you're going there alone?"
"For God's sake Nisha, it's an office trip. I'm not going there to have fun on the beach."
"I'm afraid to stay here alone. What if the nightmares come again? Can't I come with you? I'll bear my own expenses."
"Impossible! Wives are not allowed on office tours. You can invite one of your female colleagues to come and stay with you for two/three days."
Rahul hurriedly packed his bags and left for the airport in an Ola cab.
'How little he cares for me nowadays!' though Nisha. She prepared a mug of strong black coffee and got busy correcting exam papers. Suddenly her cell phone began to ring. She saw that the screen displayed an unknown number. She hesitated for a few seconds and then rejected the call. Almost immediately she regretted her action. Rahul was out of station. Someone might have called to give some news about him. She should have received the call.
Before she could call back her mobile phone started ringing again. The same unknown number was calling her. This time she received the call.
"Am I speaking to Mrs Sinha?"
That voice seemed too familiar to Nisha. But she had to be sure.
"That's me. May I know who's calling?"
"Good evening. This is Doctor Manish Kapoor, your psychiatrist. Remember me?"
Dr Kapoor's soothing voice brought some relief to Nisha. It was nearly half past nine and the thought of sleeping alone had already begun to scare her. She smiled and said,
"Of course. And please call me Nisha."
"Thank you Nisha. Hope I did not disturb you?"
"Not at all."
"Good. Coming to the point, just now I found your ATM card under my table."
Nisha remembered taking out her mobile phone from her handbag to receive a call in the doctor's chamber. The ATM card must have dropped on the floor then. It was her good luck that the doctor found it. She smiled and said,
"Dr Kapoor, thank you so much for letting me know. You have saved me from a lot of tension and trouble."
"You're most welcome. By the way, my name is Manish."
"I know. Well Manish, I'll collect my card tomorrow after my school gets over. That will be around 4 pm. Will that be okay?"
"I'm afraid not. My chamber reopens at 6 pm in the evening. Anyway, don't worry. My secretary lives near your house. I'll ask him to return the card to you when he goes out for his morning walk tomorrow. Okay?"
"Perfect. Thank you so much again."
"You're most welcome. I hope your husband won't mind my calling you up so late at night?"
"Not at all. He has gone to Panaji on office tour."
"Leaving you alone in the house in your mental condition?"
"What else could he do? He needs a job to survive."
"I understand that. Still he shouldn't have left you alone like that. But don't worry. Your loneliness will help you to evolve as a stronger person. You know, our mind is our greatest strength. Once you learn to control your mind no problem can ever touch you. Always keep your mind in a perpetual state of happiness. Never allow negative thoughts to enter your mind. Now have your dinner and go to sleep. Good night and make sure to have sweet dreams only."
After many days Nisha had a sound sleep that night. She felt thankful to Manish for this. His speech over the phone again worked wonders for her nerves.
Next morning when Nisha was making her breakfast, the calling bell rang. She opened the door and found Manish's secretary standing there. He had come to return her ATM card. Nisha thanked him and closed the door. She wanted to call Manish and thank him as well, but was not sure if it would be right to disturb him so early in the morning. So she sent him a message on his WhatsApp number.
Manish replied her message after fifteen minutes. He enquired about her health and congratulated her for having a dreamless sleep last night. Nisha was touched by his gentleness and concern. No wonder that his patients and colleagues had such high opinion about him.
Rahul called Nisha before she left for school. She was still cross with him and hence her replies were mostly sarcastic. He felt worried when she told him that she had to spent the night alone. What happened to her friends on whom she depended so much? Where had they vanished during her time of need?
"Don't you have even a single friend in need?" he asked.
"No. I don't even have a husband in need," pat came the reply.
Rahul knew that Nisha's mood wouldn't improve until his return. So he said good bye to her and disconnected the call.
For some unknown reason, Nisha did not utter a word about her conversation with Manish. That was the first time she kept anything secret from her husband.
Chapter - 4
Rahul returned from Goa after three days. During these three days he had regularly called Nisha to enquire about her health and remind her to take her medicines. Nisha was touched by his concern, but she was determined not to be softened by his sweet talk. She still hadn't forgiven him for visiting Goa without her.
"You're behaving like a kid Nisha," said Rahul. "Is it my fault that the Germans chose our Panaji office for the meeting?"
"I never said that," replied Nisha with a frown. "At least you could have let me come with you."
"It's against the rule of the office. Even the Chairman's wife did not accompany him there."
Nisha scowled and said nothing.
"Now stop being cross darling," said Rahul. "I promise to take you to Goa in December."
"Stop making false promises Rahul. We've never been to anywhere since we got married."
"Trust me, this time we will. And here's something I brought for you from Goa. Hope you like the dress."
Nisha opened the box that Rahul gave her with little interest. Knowing his lousy taste for ladies garments she did not expect to find anything to suit her taste. But she was pleasantly surprised to find a fashionable evening gown inside the box.
"This one's really classy!" she exclaimed. "Never knew your taste has improved so much!"
"I'm happy that you liked it."
Nisha was shocked as she saw the price tag.
"My goodness! I agree that the gown is beautiful, but it's too expensive!"
"Forget about the price darling. To me, nothing is more valuable than that pretty smile on your face."
Nisha ran into Rahul's arms. She was already dreaming about their future trip to Goa.
That night Nisha again had a horrible nightmare. She saw herself swimming at the deep end of a pool. It was a pitch dark night and she was alone in the pool. Suddenly she felt someone holding her legs and trying to pull her down. As she fought for her life, she noticed objects floating on the water. The darkness of the night was suddenly pierced by a flash of lightning. In that momentary light she saw that the water of the pool was blood red and the objects floating around her were corpses. And the one floating nearest to her was the corpse of Rahul! As she opened her mouth to scream, her unknown assailant pulled her down into the water. Before drowning she faintly heard a soothing, familiar voice calling her from a distance. She tried to reply but gallons of red water entered her lungs and muffled her cries.
Someone was shaking her and repeatedly calling her by her name. She opened her eyes and saw Rahul's anxious face in front.
"Another nightmare?" he asked.
Nisha nodded miserably.
"You said that the nightmares have stopped."
"Yes. I didn't see a single nightmare during the last three nights."
"When I was in Goa?"
Nisha nodded again.
"Do you mean to say that you get nightmares only when I'm around?"
"I never said that."
"Your indication was clear. Anyway, if you say I can sleep in the guest room."
"Please Rahul, I can't take this. My nerves are already in tatters."
Rahul felt guilty for his sudden outburst. He took Nisha in his arms and said "Sorry".
Next day Nisha rang up Manish and told him about her nightmare. He asked her to come to his chamber after 6 pm. Rahul got a promotion two months ago. Since then he remained busy in the office and often returned home late. Hence Nisha decided to go alone.
"Tell me about your nightmare Nisha," said Manish.
Nisha shuddered as she described her horrible nightmare. She still couldn't forget the sight of Rahul's corpse.
"Why did I see Rahul's dead body?" she asked. "Does it forecast some future catastrophe?"
"Don't be silly Nisha! I know certain nightmares give rise to a sense of foreboding, but they are baseless. Continue the exercises and keep your mind calm. Don't forget that I'm always there beside you."
Like always, Manish's words worked like a balm that helped Nisha regain her lost confidence. She returned home and found Rahul watching a cricket match on television.
"Where had you been?" he asked.
"Had a coffee date with my friends Natasha and Sneha."
"Oh! I thought you went to see Dr Kapoor."
Nisha became alert.
"What makes you think so?" she asked cautiously.
"While returning home I saw you entering the multistoried building where Dr Kapoor has his chamber. You had a nightmare last night. So I thought you went to see him."
"You saw someone else. I went to Golpark CCD."
"Is that so? Then it was my mistake. Anyway, there's a pizza for you in the microwave."
"Thanks. How come you're back so early? Normally you don't return before 8."
Rahul pointed at the television screen and said, "To watch the cricket match. Today is the first semi final."
Nisha was not in the mood to watch a cricket match now. She entered her bedroom and closed the door. She needed some private time to overcome the shock she just received. She knew that Rahul would never call her friends to verify her words. But what if he met one of them by chance and talked about their coffee date? Then her lie would be caught. It was her mistake to mention her friends' names. What the heck! Couldn't she even tell a lie properly?
Chapter - 5
"Where are you Rahul?" screamed the Marketing Director. "I've been talking to you for the past five minutes and am yet to receive a response from you. What's the matter with you?"
"Nisha's having an affair behind my back."
"Who, your wife?"
"How did you find out?"
"I found flavored condoms in her handbag."
"Who's the lucky man?"
"I don't know. But I can find out."
"What's the use? Just divorce her."
"You know I can't do that. I need the money of our joint life insurance policy."
"You're too eager to get that one crore, aren't you?"
"Maybe she's also craving for that money."
"She'll be disappointed as I'm not going to die soon."
"Neither will she."
"Or maybe she will."
"What do you mean?"
"You once said that people should remove the obstacles that come in the way of their success. Remember?"
"Yes I do. So?"
"The obstacle coming in the way of my success is Nisha. So I've decided to remove her."
"Rahul!! Do you know what you're saying? If you're caught you'll either be hanged or get a life time imprisonment."
"I know. Trust me, my plan is full proof."
"Really? Tell me about it."
"Have you heard about opium?"
"Yes. Dope, big O, Shanghai Sally, hop, midnight oil, O.P, dream pipe - these are the common terms used for opium. Not many people know that the important drug morphine is also produced from opium."
"Cut the lectures Rahul. Come straight to the point."
"I'm coming to that. A slight overdose of opium initially cause depression, anxiety, hallucinations and nightmares."
"You mean she's having nightmares because you're giving her an overdose of opium?"
"Exactly. Her psychiatrist said that regular nightmares can develop suicidal tendencies in a patient. This can happen in her case too, right?"
"Hmm...You're cleverer than I thought you to be. Now get undressed and come to me."
"I'd love to do that boss."
Marketing Director Priya Aggarwal walked towards Rahul and sat down on his lap. Her shapely, well manicured hands went round his neck and their lips locked in a passionate, never ending kiss.
Nisha would never forget the day when she first walked into Dr Manish Kapoor's chamber. Rahul just told her that she would be going to see a psychiatrist named Dr Kapoor. How was she to know that the doctor was none other than her ex-lover Manish!
Nisha and Manish studied in the same school. Manish was two years senior to Nisha. At first they were just good friends. But later their friendship took a different turn and they became lovers. But their love story couldn't continue as, after Board exams Manish left for another city to study automobile engineering. Initially they called and messaged each other regularly. But with the passage of time their love fizzled out.
Nisha was indeed surprised to see Manish as a psychiatrist. Then she remembered that both his parents were doctors. Probably they wanted him to follow their profession. When she asked him about it he said that she was right. Upon his parents' insistence he appeared for pre medical test in the following year and got chance in AIIMS in Delhi.
"Imagine my surprise when I saw that instead of designing new models of cars you're treating human minds," laughed Nisha.
"At least it gave me a chance to meet you again," replied Manish with a smile.
"Tell me about your wife. Is she a doctor like you?"
"We got divorced last year. She was a model."
"Oh, I'm so sorry."
"Don't be. I'm happy the way I am now."
"But you must get married again."
"I will. If I get someone like you."
That was the beginning. At that time Nisha had no intention of reviving her past relationship with Manish. Though she still liked him but at the same time she didn't want to jeopardize her marriage by having an extra marital affair.
One night Nisha woke up and saw that Rahul was not there in the bed beside her. She called him but there was no reply. She checked the washroom but he was not there. She noticed that the door of the balcony was slightly open. Rahul was standing there, talking to someone on his mobile phone in a very low voice. Nisha tried to listen to the conversation but in vain. She wondered with whom he was talking at 2 am. She returned to bed with a frown on her face.
Rahul returned after half an hour and was surprised to find his wife awake.
"Did you have another nightmare darling? Why didn't you call me?"
"I called you but you were busy on a call. May I know who you were speaking to so late at night?"
"Oh, it was my boss."
"But this is not your office hour."
"I know. But everything has changed after my promotion. People working in managerial position don't have any fixed office hours."
"I see. Anyway, switch off your phone and get back to bed."
Nisha couldn't sleep well that night. Suspicion had already crept into her mind.
A few days later, while returning home from the school, she saw Rahul coming out of a hotel with a fashionable looking woman. She couldn't call him as she was driving her car. Later, when she asked him about the woman he completely denied being there at all.
"You must have seen someone else," said he. "I didn't leave my office even once today."
"May be," said Nisha. But she didn't miss the expression of guilt on his face.
Her suspicion became a surity when she found a lipstick mark on his shirt one day. She knew it would be futile to confront him. Like always, he'd feign ignorance and deny everything. If only Nisha knew who the bitch was!
Chapter - 6
Nisha found no reason why she should maintain her distance from Manish. Their attraction was mutual and there was nothing to keep them from getting close. After a month of torrid affair Manish asked Nisha to divorce Rahul. Nisha shook her head and said,
"I can't do that. I must have the money of our joint life insurance policy."
"That one crore means a lot to you, doesn't it?"
"I suppose he's also waiting to get that money."
"He won't, as I'm not going to die soon."
"Do you think he'll die soon?"
"Who knows, maybe he will."
"What does that mean?"
"I won't allow anyone to come between me and my money. So I've decided to get rid of Rahul."
"Nisha!! Have you gone out of your mind? One wrong step and you'll either land up in jail or face the gallows!"
"I'm aware of that. I have to make a full proof plan."
"I know that one crore is big money, but do you really have to..."
"Leave everything to me. Just be there when I need you."
"That goes without saying darling. I'll always be there beside you."
"Thanks. Now come to bed. I need you."
Priya toyed with a glass paperweight and looked at Rahul.
"Have you ever heard of a poison named Aconite?"
"Poison? I thought it's a homeopathic medicine."
"Aconitum napellus or aconite is a perennial herb whose every part, especially the roots, contain toxins. Aconitine, which is the most dangerous of these toxins, affects the heart and nerve. Raw aconite plants are extremely poisonous. They can be used as medicines only after reducing their toxicity by boiling or steaming. Consuming as little as 2 milligrams of pure aconite or 1 gram of the plant itself may paralyze respiratory or heart functions and cause death. Poison may enter the body even through the skin. Like, touching the flowers can numb finger tips. Are you getting my point?"
"Yes, but what about the post mortem report?"
"The poison will not be detected in any forensic lab. The doctor will think she has died from cardiac arrest."
"Really? It's too good to be true. But how do I get the plant?"
"I've already got one for you."
"Oh baby, thank you so much. You're a darling! You're a...."
"Enough! Now listen to me carefully. Which date is day after tomorrow?"
"Yes. It's celebrated as World Chocolate Day. Tomorrow get a box of your wife's favorite chocolate and inject aconite into it. Next morning, make sure to leave for your office early. Gift her the chocolate just before leaving. Upon reaching office you'll go our Bardhaman branch with two other men with some official work. Spend the day there and return in the evening."
"What do I do if she calls me after falling sick? Ignoring her calls may give rise suspicion."
"Good question. Put your mobile phone in silent mode immediately after leaving home. Forget it in your office desk as you leave for Bardhaman. Return to office in the evening, collect the phone in front of your colleagues and go home."
"What if, after failing to contact me, she calls one of her colleagues or her doctor to get medical help?"
"The teachers of her school are not allowed to use mobile phones during school hours. Her psychiatrist keeps his mobile in silent mode and doesn't receive calls while he's in his chamber. You told me these things, remember?"
"When you find her body call her doctor immediately. Most likely he'll say it's a heart attack and sign her death certificate."
"What if he smells a foul play and demands a post mortem?"
"Even if he does, nothing can be proved. So relax and concentrate on your job. Remember, even a single mistake can prove to be fatal."
"I know. By the way, I'm supposed to visit her psychiatrist's chamber on 7th July to book her next appointment."
"Wonderful. Do that before you come to the office. It will show how much you care for your wife."
On 7th July Rahul left for office half an hour before his usual time. Before leaving he gifted Nisha her favorite chocolate and wished her a Happy Chocolate Day. In reply Nisha gave him a cold hug and said "thank you". After Rahul left she put the chocolate on the dining table and went for her bath.
On the morning of 7th July, Manish was a bit late to reach his chamber. As he parked his car in the underground parking space his eyes fell on a motorbike whose number plate was known to him. He guessed that Rahul had come to his chamber to book Nisha's appointment.
Suddenly Manish recalled their first meeting. Rahul was carrying a most ordinary plastic helmet under his arms. Manish warned him about the uselessness of his helmet and advised him to buy a stronger one. In reply he said that he hated helmets and only wore one when he spotted a traffic police.
Due to his knowledge in automobile engineering, Manish knew that bleeding was the most important process while installing brakes in a motorbike. Bleeding means the removal of air particles from the internal system. If any air particle was present in the system, it would get compressed and block the air from passing. This would result in a brake failure.
Manish felt that this was a god-send opportunity. His eyes swept through the parking lot to see if anybody else was present nearby. There was none.
He took out an empty injection syringe from his medical bag. Then he squatted down beside the motorbike and injected air bubbles into its internal system with expertise. After that he rose and left the place quite normally. The entire thing happened within a couple of minutes.
Manish entered his chamber and saw Rahul sitting in the waiting room. He cordially greeted him and noted down Nisha's appointment saying that his secretary would be arriving late that day. He wondered why Rahul looked so nervous and tense.
Manish entered his chamber and removed the screen of the glass window. He saw Rahul driving out of the building on his motorbike. There was no helmet on his head. Manish took out his mobile phone and called Nisha.
"Hello darling. I'm terribly missing you. Any problem if I close my chamber and come over to your place right now?"
"Nothing at all. Today I have classes after recess. Come over. I'm also missing you."
"Reaching there within fifteen minutes."
Manish rang up his secretary and told him to cancel and reschedule his morning appointments. Then he locked up his chamber and moved towards the elevator. In his hurry he left his mobile phone in his chamber.
Nisha disconnected the call and longingly looked at the big chocolate Rahul had gifted her. It would be fun to share it with Manish.
Rahul noticed Priya's missed call after he reached office. He immediately called her back.
"You called me boss? Sorry couldn't receive it as my mobile is in silent mode."
"I know that. Listen, my car is not starting. Probably the battery is down. It's difficult to get an Ola or Uber cab during office hours. Come over to my house. I'll take a lift in your bike."
"Sure boss. I'm coming over to your place right now."
As Rahul parked the bike in front of Priya's house it's front wheel slightly skidded. But in his eagerness to meet Priya he didn't notice it.
Priya jumped on the seat behind him and said,
"Why are you without your helmet Rahul? I need one too."
"Sorry boss, left them at the office. But don't worry. I'll take a shortcut where there's no traffic police."
"Stupid, we wear helmets for our own safety!"
"Sorry darling. It won't happen again."
Priya looked at her watch and grimaced.
"Drive fast Rahul. We're already late for the office."
"Sure boss. Today I'll show you how fast my bike can go."
Rahul started his bike and picked up speed. The road in front was not too crowded and soon he was driving at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour. He didn't know that the breaks of his bike were not working. But breaks were nowhere in his mind then. Priya always dominated him and took him for granted. Today he'd show her the warmth of his masculinity by giving her a real aggressive bike ride. Rahul increased speed.