There was a couple sitting in the cafe when I walked in. As the light was low, I didn’t know who they were until the woman turned around & I saw it was my wife. Somehow, I managed to avert the eye contact & left the place in a great rush.
“Hello, I am Rajiv Roy, 35 years old, Area Sales Manager in Lords, Statesman & Co. I was leading quite a happy life with my beautiful wife-Ranu & 7-year-old daughter- Khushi.”
“Baba, Baba I want the new Barbie,” Khushi told her father when he entered the flat in the evening. “Khushi you already have 2 Barbies. Rajiv said caressing his cute little daughter. “Ok, if you score more than 95% in your coming Unit Test, you will have that.’’ Rajiv smiled.
“Maa, Baba has come.”- Khushi. “Oh Rajiv, I need to go out now to attend an urgent call. Khushi, be a nice girl & don’t disturb Baba”. Ranu just moved out in a whisker throwing these words leaving Rajiv speechless. In the night when Rajiv tried to make love, Ranu was least interested. He went outside in the balcony & lit up a cigarette. He was brooding for the bygone days.
“Hello, hello just hold for a second.” These words of Ranu brought him back to reality.
From his 5th storey flat, the whole city seemed to be in deep slumber as if a demon had cast its spell.
“Rajiv, what about the sales in House Detergent & Industrial Cleaning segments? We are facing huge pressure from the Head Quarters.” retorted Mr. Bakshi, Regional Manager. “Sir, I am trying hard to push sales. I will be updating you late in the evening.”-Rajiv signed off.
As he came out of RM’s den; his mind got crowded with thoughts of Ranu.
“Ranu, have you seen Khushi’s Report Card, she had fared poorly in all the subjects. Aren’t you paying enough attention to our daughter? -Rajiv uttered in unprecedented dismay, that evening.
“It’s very easy to point than to act.” Ranu replied in high octane. They both found Khushi staring at them with tears in her eyes.
“Dada, what happened? I am marking you for the last 4-5 days. You can confide to me”- Deepak said to Rajiv, the next day. Deepak is Rajiv’s junior. Deepak & Rajiv were in a cafe. As they were sipping coffee, Rajiv narrated the whole story to Deepak & told him that he was extremely perturbed due to the unparalleled development.
Deepak: “Dada, before jumping to any conclusion, let me investigate. I will present the true story to you”. Deepak took a day off.
The next day, he was following Ranu from a well-guarded distance. Ranu after leaving Khushi at school took a taxi & entered into a Coffee counter at Park Street. Deepak parked his car beside Bangur sweets, lit a cigarette. He was feeling very sad for Rajiv who had stood like a pillar for him during all adversities.
After nearly an hour & half, Ranu came out with a guy. Deepak snapped both of them, thanks to the smartphone. “Smart! Have people become really smart or inconsiderate?” Before leaving, Deepak had called Tapan, an old mate, updated him about the work/necessity/timeline as it wouldn’t be possible for him to take off for several days & find out Ranu’s everyday chore like a sleuth.
After 5 days, Tapan & Deepak met at a bar. Tapan handed over the photos to Deepak. Deepak gave him ₹4000 for the job. He was astonished when he saw the last photograph.
On the 8th day,
“Dada, where are you? Can you please come to St. Cathedral Orphanage, Elgin road?” Deepak called Rajiv. “Yeah, coming “came the reply.
As they were waiting outside the orphanage, keeping a safe distance; to his utter surprise Rajiv found Ranu coming out of the orphanage with a Nun.
That evening, “Ranu, I need to discuss something grossly serious. ”-Rajiv. “Yeah, tell me, what you want to convey?”-Ranu. “See these photos. Who is this man? I had earlier seen both of you in a cafe in Salt Lake, sector-V. You were attending some ghost calls at midnight. Why are you keeping everything clandestine?”-Rajiv asked. “Rajiv, can you take an off tomorrow & spend some time with me. I will take you somewhere -Ranu told. Rajiv: “Ok”.
The very next morning they both went to St. Cathedral orphanage. “Mam, this is my husband Rajiv. We have come to meet Angel. You are requested to complete the legal formalities.” Ranu told to Head Nun.
Rajiv was looking at Ranu in utter bewilderment. Ranu - “Rajiv do you remember Manju, who was your best friend in your village? “Rajiv was shocked. “How do you know Manju? Who told you about her?”
“Rajiv, you were inquiring about the guy with whom I had met. He is actually Manju’s brother Ravi. One day I got a call from him, went to meet him in the cafe at Sector-V.” -Ranu.
Rajiv: “Accidentally I was there. I dropped to relax with a cup of coffee.”
“Rajiv, Angel is your & Manju’s daughter.”-Ranu
Rajiv: “What? Are you mad?”
Ranu: “ Ravi showed me some old photographs of both of you & the two families were very close.”
Rajiv: “But how that confirms that girl is my daughter. “
Ranu:” I went to Dr. Khurana’s clinic. You visited their clinic days back to give blood. Here is the DNA report, it is matching with that of Angel.” Rajiv was experiencing the shock of his life. He broke down into tears. “Where is Manju now?” Rajiv entreated. Ranu: “She is no more, she died while giving birth to Angel. I have decided to adopt Angel. ”
As they entered, it seemed Manju was standing in front of him. Suddenly he went to his teens & found he & Manju roaming through the orchards, gardens of their village.
“Come, Angel, we have come to take you home.” - Rajiv.