Turn the Page, Turn the Life | A Writer’s Battle for Survival | Help Her Win
Turn the Page, Turn the Life | A Writer’s Battle for Survival | Help Her Win

Laxsha Natraj



Laxsha Natraj


Love Story Of A Lady Carpenter

Love Story Of A Lady Carpenter

14 mins

The calling bell rang for the third time. Aarya was just finishing his shaving. He got irritated. Who is becoming so restless that the bell is pressed for the 3rd time? He was getting ready for his bath and was wrapped in a bath towel and a vest. He thought someone could have come to the wrong address. He will just peep out and tell them. Humming a tune he reached the main door and peeped through the view hole. He was in for a surprise,

 He saw the side profile of a young girl, looking like a college girl, dressed in faded jeans and a brown worker's apron was standing there restlessly tapping her feet. There was a tools bag in her hand. Aarya opened the door by a centimeter and said, "Please wait, I will open the door in a second" he did not want to walk out in front of a girl in a bath towel. He hurriedly wore a shirt and pants and while walking to the door he wondered why she was wearing an apron and he opened the door.

He asked, "Yes Madam, are you looking for some address?" The girl turned towards him and removed her dark glasses. Aryan's breath stopped for a second looking at the beauty of that face. As he stood staring at her, ignoring his look she coolly looked at her cell phone and readout, "Mr. Aryan, Assistant manager, house no 5, Jasmine colony. This is house number 5. Am I right?"

Aarya swallowed hard and managed to talk, "Yes this is house number 5, and I am Aarya. But….."

She smiled mildly and added," Mr. Arya, I was told that you needed some carpentry job to be done for your house and wanted some person for the job. Right?"

Aarya still a bit dazed stammered, "Yes. But I wanted a carpenter for the job"

With the same smile, she stepped one step closer to him and said in a taunting voice, "Why Sir, do you think a girl cannot be a good carpenter or you do not want a lady carpenter? You have any problem with a lady carpenter?" Her eyes kept locked into his eyes and under that powerful gaze, Aarya felt restless.

He blinked once and stammered. "No, No not like that. But I did not expect a lady carpenter. Please do come in"

He pushed the door wide open and allowed her in. A heavenly perfume breezed through as she crossed him. She walked to a sofa and keeping her tools bag down she sat down on the sofa without any hesitation.

Aarya followed her and sat on a sofa facing her. She started,

"Mr. Aarya, now tell me what all furniture you want to be made and what all rooms you want me to work?" She opened her jute bag purse and pulled out a note pad. Opening a ballpoint she said, "Yes please go ahead"

Aarya said, "Actually, I don't like this sofa set. Madam …"

As he stopped she said, "You can call me Pavitra, no need for a madam"

He said, Ok Pavitra, I need an 'L' shaped the latest type sofa so that many people can sit and at the same time and it can also be used as a bed……" Ashe continued she noted down the details. They went one by one to all the three bedrooms and finally came to the kitchen.

They finished all their discussion and it had taken nearly one hour. As she was about to leave, he said a little hesitantly. "Will you mind having a cup of coffee Pavitra?" She looked at her wristwatch and said, "Fine. No problem. But you are going to make coffee?"

He answered, "Why coffee. I can even cook. Most of the days I cook my dinner at night, believe it or not! " He opened the fridge and took out the milk. As he started boiling the milk, she comfortably perched herself on the kitchen platform and they started a light conversation about college, the latest music, etc. He made the coffee and pouring it two, three times in glasses he made it frothy, just like typical south coffee. She sipped the coffee slowly, relishing the coffee bit by bit.

When she finished she said, "I will get my workers tomorrow, who will take all the needed actual measurements and also buy the needed materials like wood, etc. We will try to work mostly from 10 AM to 5 PM so that you will not be disturbed by the work. Is it ok for you?"

He nodded and said, "That suits me. I will give the duplicate key of the house to you so that you can open it and work comfortably. What about advance money? You will take cash or check or bank transfer?" 

She thought for some moment and said, "Tomorrow, you can give me thirty thousand rupees as advance, the balance I will take after finishing the job. I will give a rough estimate of the expenditure for the job also. Is it OK?" He nodded vigorously. She took leave and left. He sat a bit dazed. 

He still could not digest the idea that a girl could go through at least two years of carpentry training and go from house to house to do her job! Generally, boys coming from the lower-income groups, who were not able to cope up with higher education, or could not continue their studies for some reason went for jobs. But, girls always picked up fashion designing, art-works, or even electrical repairing. But he had never heard or seen a girl with a hammer working in a workshop at least in India. Even if she had to do carpentry at least she can open a shop and get orders there, instead of wandering from house to house like this. He laughed at his own thoughts. Why should he worry if she moves from house to house for her job? Strange. He had met her only today and hardly know anything about her.

The next day Aarya was waiting restlessly as the time ticked on. He could not concentrate on any work. He cursed himself for not taking Pavitra's cell number. He got a call and as he delightedly picked up he heard the booming voice of his boss,Agarwal

A bit disappointed he wished him and his boss asked, "Aarya I had told our admin office to send a carpenter to your house. Did the carpenter turnout?"

He answered a bit hesitantly, "Yes Sir. But, it was a female carpenter who came yesterday" His boss burst into boisterous laughter and said, " Oh, Pavitra came personally to your house? She owns a furniture shop and manages most of the work in our office and our staff quarters. If she had noted down your requirement, her staff will come today and start the job. Let me know if there is any problem OK?" He closed the line. Just then the doorbell rang. When he eagerly opened there was a group of five men in uniform. One of them said, "Sir we had come from Pavitra Madam's office Can we start the job"

Aarya let them in and went and sat in his bedroom. He was highly disappointed. Why Pavitra did not come to take the advance? Yesterday night he had withdrawn from the ATM and kept the cash ready.

He tried to control his feeling as he talked to himself. "Aaryan, you are an MBA and working in such a high post in a reputed company. She is just a carpenter! How can you ever…" He shut off his mind and said "Stop. Don't make up stories. I was just worried about the completion of work as my mother will be coming here next month. I want the work to be completed before that. That is all"

The carpenters finished their job for the day and left. As he closed the door and walked back, the bell started ringing again. He thought maybe some worker might have forgotten some of his kits and had come back to collect it.

A bit irritated he yanked the door open and for a minute smiled like a stupid school kid. Pavitra was standing there. He hurriedly welcomed her. Thankfully today she was not wearing that carpenter overhaul. She said, "Hope I am not troubling you. I came just to check if the work is done is OK?" Without waiting for his approval she brushed past him and walked to the inner rooms. He stood there at the open door, still grinning from ear to ear for a few seconds. Then he hurried back to follow her.

The same wonderful perfume filled the room. She carefully checked the wood purchased, tested them by tapping, looked at the cut portions, and measured some of them while he stood starring at her. After she finished her work, she looked up and smiled and said, "Well not a bad job! But I want them to work faster so that your house will be ready before your mother comes"

Aarya was taken aback. He said, "How do you know that my mother is coming after one month?"

She flashed a smile and said, "No secrets Aaryan. Your boss had given me the job with strict instruction of completing it by a maximum of 20 days. He said that your mother will be joining you and she should not be disturbed by the carpentry work"

He grinned and added, "Yes, Yes, I told the boss that I want the work to be finished soon"

Without his asking, she walking comfortably to the front room and seated herself on a sofa. As he joined she started, "I think your boss must be very fond of you. He got so many employees here to whom he had given official quarters. But I had never seen him taking such a personal interest and getting things done for anyone. You must be his blue-eyed boy!" Once again she smiled easily.

He mechanically answered while his eyes were glued to her face, "I am lucky that I got such a good boss who appreciates my work. I am working in this company for the past five years. Originally I was working at the Banglore branch. I invented some strategy for future marketing and it seems he was impressed by that. He visited Banglore once and had a meeting with me. He said that he would like me to shift here to the headquarters in Mumbai. He told me that there will be a quarter's facility too. I got a posting here with a promotion" He suddenly stopped, feeling a bit awkward that he had talked too much, unnecessarily to a stranger. But, felt good that she seemed to be listening intensely to his conversation.

Some time passed, as some meaningless conversation exchanged between them. As usual, he made a coffee for her and then handed over the cash in advance. She handed him a company receipt, which she had brought ready. She added, "All this money will be later reimbursed to you from the company. So please keep the receipts carefully"

When she got up for leaving he asked unable to control his eagerness, "I presume that you will be coming here every day to check the work if it is done properly."

She smiled and said, "No, No, Aarya, I came today only to collect the advance. My people are good and I am sure they do not need any supervision. Rest assured. Your job will be done superbly" After this statement for a few seconds she studied his face silently as if to gauge his reaction.

He quickly changed his disappointment and said, "Of course. You are right! Anyway, I work late and come home by nine at night. So it suits me also"

He followed her up to the gate. Then he noticed she had brought a car. She waved to him and got into the car and drove away. He still stood there, too stunned. On the first day, she had come on a scooter, with all paint peeled off, horrible looking one, and he pitied her that she had to go from house to house for her job. But it looks she is pretty well placed and her company is doing fine.

He picked up the receipt given by her, thought of keeping it safely in the file, then he wondered, why she had given his company receipt and not her own company? So the receipt had only an office number and not her number. Now how will he contact her?

Recollecting her conversation word by word, a thought struck him, "She did not call him Sir! She called him by his name Aarya right from the beginning. Is it possible for any service provider company to address the customer by name? Maybe she is not just a Carpenter as such but owns a company! But, whatever be the reason her calling comfortably by his name made him delighted.

Days flew. After two weeks she dropped in again. He did not bother to hide his happiness and welcomed her grinning ear to ear. In the final week, she came every day supervising the smallest details, got the curtains, and needed things fixed. 

Finally, the work was all completed and she said, "OK Aaryan, I hope you like the work done. I had submitted your bill to the office directly so they will pay me straight. So, shall I take your leave now?"

Aarya's heart sank. He swallowed hard and said, "One-minute Pavitra, Could you give me your house address so that I can visit your parents when my mother comes"

He took out a note pad and was ready to write. She tilted her head and laughed and added, "Aarya, Why you have to visit my house? If there is any complaint about my work, any repair, etc. you can always inform the office Admin and my men will come and do the job"

Aarya turned his face to hide his embarrassment. Then when he turned she was still looking at him and there was a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. Aarya said, "I want to see your parents because it will be only decent to ask them for their daughter's hand. Hope this answer satisfies you. Have you got any objection for this?"

She looked steadily at him for a few seconds and said, "Ok. But my parents are out of town now. When they come back I will surely give a call to you" She left abruptly without giving him time to talk. 

He again cursed himself for not taking her number. Suddenly everything in the world seemed to have lost its life. He went to bed without his dinner thinking and rethink what he could have done better and how he could have proposed to her in a better way.

The next day his boss invited him for dinner at his house. He said that it was his wife's birthday he would love to have him for dinner at his home. Aarya reached the house with a bouquet.  Agarwal and his wife gave him a warm welcome.

After a short time, Agarwal said, " I am going to give you two good news today. The first one is that you are promoted as Regional Manager. The second one is, I want you to marry my only daughter and thus become the owner of my Company later. Is it not happy news?"

Aarya sat stunned. Then he got up and said in a bit of stammering voice, "Sir, I am very, very sorry that I am not in a position to accept the promotion as I cannot marry your daughter. I am very sorry Sir for refusing your orders. If needed I will resign from my job, Sir. But my heart had decided about a girl and I cannot marry and cheat your daughter.

Agarwal jumped up furiously, his face turning red, and shouted, "How dare you! I picked up you from the bottom line and shaped you up to this level and you I am not going to spare you .." 

Before Aarya could talk anything Agarwal cell started ringing He threw an angry look at him and walked away with his cell. Aarya got up. He walked up to the exit door and waited there uneasily. He wondered that should he wait and apologize or just go away for today, and talk to him tomorrow in the office. 

A voice startled him. "Aarya Sir, will you like to have coffee made by me today?" The voice of Pavitra made him whirl around in shock. She was very much there, standing with a tray of steaming coffee cups. He opened and closed his mouth two times and blinked. Words refused to come out of his mouth. As he continued standing and staring, Agarwal and his wife came inside together and clapping their hands burst out laughing. Agarwal asked, "My dear Aarya, now tell me. Will you please marry my carpenter daughter?"

 Pavitra reached him and pulling him by his hand forced him to sit on the sofa. She said, "Aarya, actually my dad brought your proposal for marriage to me when you were in Banglore itself. After seeing your honest, hard work in the company he thought you will be a good match for me. But, I told him that I cannot just marry any stranger just by meeting him two or three times. Hence, I decided on this carpentry disguise and came to your house. Several times I was all alone with you and you treated me with so much respect and not even once brushed against me, even by accident too. Then finally came the climax, your wanting to see my parents!"

She burst into uncontrollable laughter. Agarwal said, "Pavitra is also an MBA and is the admin director of our company. Rest assured that she had never ever nailed a single nail with a hammer anytime in her life. Very naughty girl"

Aarya looked wide-eyed at the still giggling Pavitra as his heart overflowed with pure boundless happiness.

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