The Duo - Suruchi
The Duo - Suruchi
Vaibhav was in jail because Chhaya had accused him of some very serious provisions of law related to the sexual harassment. Rajini Devi was trying her level best to get him out of this mess, but very soon, similar kind of news started to pour in from other areas and police stations of the city also. It was clear after Pathak ji's death and Vaibhav's arrest that the way he had been evading the police so far, it would not work now. He had to bear it. Due to the FIR filed by Chhaya, some other girls, who had to bear the brunt of Vaibhav's never-ending carnal desires or his sex racket in the past, they mustered some courage and were coming forward now against him. Rajini Devi was well aware of the serious nature of these sexual harassment cases against her son. She knew about the evils of her son quite well and She also knew that it was not easy to get bail in such cases and here, the numbers of cases were increasing. Rajini Devi was so much troubled because of it.
Meanwhile, Vijay was produced in the High Court where the Akbarabad Police opposed his bail application. Court agreed with it and thus Vijay was denied of bail again. An important development also took place that the state government requested the Central government to take over the investigation of this heinous and very sensitive, high-profile assassination case to which the Central government responded positively and handed over the case to the Central Investigation Agency (CIA). A special team of CIA led by the senior IPS officer Mr. Amitabh Kumar had already reached Akbarabad and had established their office there. The CIA had started the investigation and now this was very clear that Vijay would see the gallows as it was almost next to impossible to evade the CIA.
Meanwhile, Vaibhav too had been shifted to the Central Jail where his bairak was located far from that of Vijay. In his bairak, there were already many prisoners who had to suffer by his hands in the past. There were many who had grudges against Vaibhav for some or the other reasons, or the lives of their families and sisters had been ruined by Vaibahv in the past. They certainly wanted to take revenge, and Vaibhav was there, in their own bairak now. Some minor scuffles between him and some other prisoners had already taken place by then. Vaibahv had requested for the change of the bairak but Jail Administration refused to do so. After all, Pathak ji was no more.
Rajini Devi was now a worried person because of this and in this grave situation, She had only one ray of hope, her daughter and her son-in-law. Rajini Devi finally decided to reconcile with Geetika, and on one fine evening, She dialled Nandan who had reached his residence by then.
“Hello…is there Nandan?….this is Geetika’s mother here.”
“Yes, yes….this is Nandan here…..Pranaam Mata ji!!.....how are you?....how have you called?...is everything O.K.?”
“what should I say about myself?....everything is O.K. here. How are you and your family?”
“They are good…thanks to the blessings of elders……yes Mata ji, tell me”
“There is nothing as such…..you know all the things….now I am alone here in this house…..Pathak ji is no more and my son is in jail….I feel bad and dejected at home. If I would get a chance to meet you people then maybe I will have some relief…..otherwise every person has to follow his or her destiny, so am I.”
“No, no Mata ji…..absolutely not….you should not worry about…..we are there always for you. After all, my mother has also lost her husband and I can understand your pain…..but we never leave her alone or in depression…..so how would we do it to you?....you are also like my mother. Myself, Geetika and Aruna will be there to meet you tomorrow evening…..is it O.K?”
“yes, yes….thank you so much Nandan for this gesture…..is Geetika there?....would you please give the receiver to her?”
“Yes, yes, definitely…..she is sitting here with Aruna.” Nandan handed the receiver over to Geetika. Geetika was a bit confused and hesitatingly She said “Yes, mother?”
Rajini Devi said painfully “Hello…Geetika?....we both are well aware how bitter our relationship is…but you know, my time has also come….how long this weak and ill body and mind would support?....I have been already borne much of the torture because of my son….now I want to have a peace with my noble and a very nice daughter at least, whom I have been always very cruel towards. I want to rectify these mistakes now……it would give me immense internal satisfaction".
Geetika did not say much, she only said “its O.K.”
“This is your own home Geetika….and an old, ill lady lives here…who badly needs you. Please come and meet me Geetika….I want to remove all the misunderstandings between us.”
This time too Geetika did not say much except a formal “yes, its O.K.” , and She handed the receiver over to Nandan.
“O.K. Mata Ji…we will be there by tomorrow’s evening.”
“O.K. My Son!.....may God always shower happiness upon you.”
Then the call got disconnected.
Nandan asked Geetika “why did not you talk to her?”
Geetika answered “what should I talk to her over phone?....I will go there and talk to her.”
Geetika was in a pensive mood in her room. She was thinking of something. A woman who had never even touched lovingly her cheeks so far, now was calling her for a meet…why?....what will she talk to her? How would Rajini Devi remove misunderstandings between them ?...how would She remove the 30-years old jealousy towards Geetika from her heart? So far, She has been only cultivating grudges and hatred towards her. The day since Geetika arrived in this house, Rajini Devi had not seen her with love even once, and now She was talking about eliminating misunderstandings. Rajini Devi was a person who had so much hatred against Geetika in her heart that She used to throw even a glass of water given to her by Geetika and then She ordered Vaibhav or a servant for the water……now that lady was talking about removing misunderstandings and rectifying mistakes….How?....and Why?
Geetika did not talk about these things to Nandan. Usually, She did not talk to anybody about her relations with her mother Rajini Devi.
Next evening Nandan reached her place with Geetika and Aruna. Rajini Devi smiled and said "You people sit here, I will prepare tea". She went to the kitchen. Geetika was feeling a bit uneasy and nervous but She also followed her and came into the kitchen. She was trying to smile but She simply could not. She also did not know the art of pretending something. It was a tensed silence in the kitchen. Rajini Devi brought out the milk from the refrigerator. Geetika picked a pan from the utensil holder in front of her and started to pour the milk into it. Both of them were quite silent and this ice was broken finally by Rajini Devi who asked her “How are you Geetika?” Geetika answered in a low voice “I am good…you tell about yourself….how are you?”
"How am I?....are not you seeing?....a widow whose only son, who is actually a good-for-nothing guy, is in jail….how that woman would be?"
Geetika was quiet.
Throughout this life, I only hated you Geetika…..had I loved you like my own daughter, at least It would have been relaxing today, that O.K., my boy turned out to be a rascal but at least my daughter emerged as a very good and capable child…..It would have been some sort of relief to me, but look at my destiny Geetika…..I could not earn even that also”.
Geetika was still listening to her. Only the sound of milk, kept in a pan on the gas stove, and smashing ginger and black pepper was breaking that silence in the kitchen.
“….therefore I called you Geetika….so that before my death, I may amend at least this one mistake of my life….I may atone at least one of my evil….At least I may infuse some life into this very mother-daughter relationship”.
The milk was oozing in the pan and Geetika dimmed the flame after putting some tea leaves into it. Now it was boiling. She said “You know that I have never seen my mother….but I saw the mothers of my friends….and I had been always longing for that divine experience of having a mother…..and with a lot of hope, I always tried to discover that mother in you….but maybe I was not that lucky as my friends were….and I could not find it in you.”
Geetika poured the sugar-free tea for Rajini Devi in a separate cup, added some sugar in the pan and put it again on the stove.
“…but when you called me, I realized that it was not too late…..there is no bad time to start a good thing. My only regret is that I wish the father was alive…..if he was alive at this time, he would have been very happy for sure….at least he could see it in his life”, and Geetika was weeping now.
Rajini Devi put her hands on Geetika’s shoulder and consoled her in a sad voice “sometimes, the man continues to commit mistakes without giving a thought to it, and he or she never feels even a bit about it. I was maybe on the wrong side of the line. I could not understand a simple thing that whatever had happened in the past, it was the mistakes of two individual only….you were certainly not at fault. Why I was continuously punishing you out of hatred?.....what was your mistake?.....so I thought that whatever the time I have, I don't want to live it with baggage on my heart and soul…..I should have at least something to say in front of The Almighty at the judgment day, otherwise, I have spent all my life in just covering the wrongdoings of my only son….even I have abandoned my such a nice daughter-in-law for that rascal….now if I can compensate it even a bit, definitely I should go for it. Maybe because of this I may earn something to show to The God.”
Geetika poured tea in all remaining cups and they both came out of the kitchen with tea. Nandan was playing with little Aruna at the sofa in the drawing-room.
Chat was started on the tea. It was natural to talk about Vaibhav’s case.
Rajini Devi said to Nandan "Nandan, you are a renowned real estate magnet of this state. Are not you?.....people from Akbarabad to Delhi, would have known to you”
Nandan smiled “Its all are there because of the blessings of elders and by the grace of God….and How may I know who knows me or not?”
“That is true Nandan….but your such a huge business cant be successfully conducted without links or connections…..property disputes, court cases etc….it is not easy to handle these issues regularly…..this is not a joke after all.”
"This is a collective work Mata ji….no one can do it alone. There is a whole team which works tirelessly for the company…..there are so many lawyers, managers etc. ….they are the backbone….we can't do anything without them."
“Then Nandan…you would have definitely known some of the expert, reputed lawyers out there.” Rajini Devi asked.
"We have nothing to do with the lawyer's reputation or expertise….what we target is to get our job done. If a lawyer can make it, we follow him. But yes, definitely it is a solid fact that some big names, some expert and reputed lawyers make our works very quickly and easily, which are normally can not be done by any other lawyer.” Nandan said.
"Then please listen to me Nandan…….is there any chance to get some expert and reputed lawyer for Vaibhav's case?...you would have known to many…..there is nothing to hide from you Nandan….we have our only son….If I were not there then anything may happen, I can do nothing. But in front of my eyes, in this life, I cannot see him behind the bars. Now Pathak ji is no more….please arrange some expert and reputed lawyer who can get him out on the bail at least,if not as an innocent." Rajini Devi asked Nandan.
Nandan said “I will try my best, but I cannot provide any surety. As you know….many other girls have also accused him in different cases and that too under some very serious charges.”
Rajini Devi said in a depressing voice “You please give it a try Nandan….I will also try once again….rest is not in our hands. A person always pays for his or her ‘karma’…..Vaibhav will have to pay and me as well…..what else can we do?...this is the destiny for me.”
After the dinner, Nandan came out of the house with his wife and daughter, accompanied by Rajini Devi. They entered their car and Nandan started it. Then Rajini Devi reminded him “Nandan, please keep my request in mind.” Then She said to Geetika and Aruna “You please keep coming here Geetika….I don’t have much time left I think. If the things continue to happen as they are happening now, then the final call is around the corner.”
Geetika held her hands and said “Everything would be all right Mother, don’t worry.” Then they went away.
Geetika was washing the clothes when She felt some item in the pocket of Nandan’s trouser. It turned out to be a costly lipstick of a renowned foreign cosmetic brand. A surprised Geetika went to Nandan who was there at his home then and asked "Nandan, I have found this….a branded lipstick in your pocket….that too a very expensive one…..why have you purchased it?.....I did not say this to you….and you know, I don't like lipsticks too. ” Nandan was first surprised at it, then He said with a smile “Actually, it was for you darling!!...I have purchased it for you as a special gift….a surprise gift.”
“its O.K. ,but such an expensive one?” Geetika smiled.
“You know Geetika…. Actually you deserve it perfectly.” Nandan was smiling. “I really did not know that you did not like lipsticks….I thought that most of the young women prefer lipsticks so a bought this one…..also you go to the High Court frequently, now you are the Party president too. Very soon you will be an MLA and after that, you would represent City Central Lok Sabha constituency at Delhi…..so definitely you deserve it. The wife of Mr. Nandan Agarwal should go for quality, not for quantity…..you have a different status now…..you should go everywhere with style and grace, is not it?" and He hugged Geetika.
Nandan was deeply troubled because of that Nindaura thing. His wife Geetika also could not help him. The farmers’ agitation had been definitely called off, and this was an obvious relief for Nandan but his worries were far from being over as the core issue still remained unresolved. Nandan knew it quite well that the agitation was withdrawn just because of the untimely demise of Pathak ji and Krishna Babu as the farmers there were very upset because of their leader's death and they wanted to show respect towards the departed souls. That withdraw was actually temporary only. Nandan was also a bit relieved because Vijay was behind the bar and as the CIA was now handling the case, there were very fewer chances that he would come out of the jail, it means a person who could mobilize the farmers was now under police custody. But it was also a reality that if Nandan or ‘Photon Infotech’ would try to do anything related to land acquisition there at Nindaura, the angry farmers shall again start their agitation for sure, and the issue would come in media highlights again. But Nandan's firm would only get benefit out of this project if the process of land acquisition would be started there. Only then the road of the investment of Rs. 300 Crores in his company would be cleared. Nandan was thinking about this very mess and driving his car on the roads of the city. Then his car entered into the premises of one of the most famous hotels of Akbarabad ‘Hotel Raj niwas’ in Civil Lines area.
'Hotel Raj Niwas' was one of the prestigious and quite expensive hotel of the city. Every big name always preferred Hotel Raj Niwas for their overnight stay in Akbarabad. Nandan was also a regular customer of the hotel as he frequently conducted his important business meetings with his clients in this very hotel. In that hotel, a special suit in his name was always reserved and the hotel staff were quite familiar with him too.
After parking his car in the hotel’s parking, he straight went to the reception counter. The staff there greeted him. Nandan acknowledged and asked him “has any guest come to meet me?”
“No Sir, nobody has come so far.”
“O.K. , if anybody would come then send him to Room No. 315…and before sending him, ask me over the phone.”
“O.K. Sir, I will.”
Then Nandan entered the lift, adjacent of the reception counter and reached to the third floor. His suit was located there.
After some time, an auto-rickshaw arrived in front of the gate of 'Hotel Raj Niwas' and a young lady perhaps from a wealthy family, clad in a lemon-green silk saari descended from it. She paid the fare, crossed the road and proceeded towards the hotel. She went to the cash counter. The hotel staff sitting there chatted with her for a while and then the staff dialled a phone number on the landline phone there.
“Hello sir, this is from reception counter….one of your lady visitor is here.”
“ Ask her name….who is She?” a male voice ordered him.
Then he asked the lady "Madam, what is your name?"
“Ranjana Sharma” the lady answered.
The staff said over the phone “it is some Ranjana Sharma , sir.”
“O.K. , send her here.”
The staff then said to the lady "Madam , please go to the Room No. 315….here is the lift" and he pointed towards the lift. He said to one of his colleagues "Please take her to the Room No. 315."
The lady reached Room No. 315 ,at the third floor. She thanked the hotel staff and signalled him to go back. He went back. Then the lady knocked on the door. A man from inside said, "the door is open, please come in."
The lady entered the room and latched the door. A window was located on the opposite wall through which Nandan was looking towards outside in a pensive mood. The lady laughed and said “My Baby!!....are you so upset today that you are even not looking at me?”
Without looking at the lady, Nandan light a cigarette and exhaled the smoke outside of the window. He said indifferently, with a sigh “Leave it Chhaya….I am upset, nothing is working here.”
Chhaya went to the window and She took the cigarette from him, kept it between her fingers, inhaled it and exhaling the smoke towards Nandan’s tensed face she said with a smile “Come on Nandan!!....its O.K…..just chill. You must have seen even more difficult situation than this in your business…..and you are on top now…it means that this situation too would be resolved….everything would be fine.”
Nandan said irritatingly “How it would be fine?...it would be fine only then when some process of land acquisition would be started there…which is not in sight as of now. Such a big opportunity is not available again and again….good luck does not knock your door frequently…..Rs. 300 Crores deal…..and so much name and fame for the company Chhaya…..its not just big, its a huge deal Chhaya.”
"Oh my dear friend!!....your wife is the Party President now, that too for life. She would be an MLA very soon and definitely, after some time, She would be the MP of the City Central Lok Sabha constituency. Everyone knows that Ujjawal Singh ji is just a part-time MP. The Shramshakti Party is also like a home enterprise to her, that too will be always in her pocket…..but still, you are panicking, Why dear?....just chill as I said……the deal would be yours for sure.” Chhaya said to him.
"Yes, but it will have to be very soon…..if it will be delayed then maybe Photon Infotech would like to pack-up from here….they may choose some other state for their project….they are investor after all, who are coming with big money, and a big risk. They will definitely go there where they will get more benefits.”
"…and there is another headache too….that is her mindset" Nandan continued, "…..She is not at all interested in joining active politics or being an MLA or an MP….she is only interested in her social activism which She has been doing so far, I mean she prefers her work at the High Court and District Court, representing court cases of those farmers, labourers, the poor etc….I mean that very old shit!!. Do you know?, she visited Nindaura 2 or 3 times with your dear husband on his motorcycle….I don’t know what transpired there or what did he tell her…she came back and said that farmers were right. They were agitating because this proposed I.T. Park would not bring any benefit to them and It would just usurp their fertile and productive land and agriculture…..so it would be better that the I.T. Park should not come-up there…..and not just only this, She also advised me to relocate the entire project at some other location in Akbarabad district….now tell me Chhaya, is this a way to do business?.....and you know, She is my wife, She should help me…but She is favouring those farmers and that Vijay, your husband.”
Both were silent. Nandan took cigarette again from Chhaya and inhaled. Then he looked at her and said "Oh yes, it has just struck me……Chhaya, I would be caught red-handed someday because of you."
“Why? What the hell happened?” Chhaya asked.
“I had bought that expensive, foreign brand’s lipstick for gifting it to you…I don’t know how but Geetika found it in the pocket of my trouser while washing the clothes.” Nandan told her.
“I had to tell her a lie….that I had bought it for her, as She is the party president now and She would be an MLA, followed by an MP….so I wanted to gift her….It was indeed a brand-new, shining lipstick that saved me at the moment, otherwise, I would have been at trouble.”
Chhaya took the cigarette from Nandan and said to him with a smile while inhaling “then you should take care of it!! O.K.,…then give me my gift please. Give that lipstick to me.”
“Now where do I bring it from?....that lipstick is now in her make-up box." Nandan told her this while taking the cigarette from her .
Chhaya smiled at it "No problem Baby!!...take necessary precautions next time." Then She proceeded towards the large-sized bed and sat upon it tilting her body slightly backwards.
Nandan was looking outside of the window now while smoking. He then asked her with a smile “How is he now?.....you have trapped him so beautifully, is not it?”
“Who?...that moron Vaibhav?....he has gone there where he was supposed to go. He had always some bad intentions towards me….both the family were on very good terms so He would have thought that I would not resist, would give in easily and He would get his hands quite easily on me.” Chhaya smiled.
“Now its very difficult to him to come out….there have been so many cases filed against him”, Nandan said.
Then he teased her “How is your dear husband?..., did you meet him in jail?....you should go there and meet him."
Chhaya rudely replied “Yes, I went there to meet him….now what to do with a beggar?....a beggar is always beggar, be it in his home, on-road or be it in the jail…he will be same. Now he will have to spend the rest of his life behind the bars only. CIA is investigating the case after all….it is extremely important, so much high profile case…..his bail petition too has been refused 3 or 4 times in a row.” Then She said after a pause “once you have a final deal….both of us would file divorce petition to obtain the divorce respectively and then we would marry….then our life will be set….I cannot get along with a beggar anymore.”
Then Chhaya said “Dear friend Nandan!!...that old lady turned out to be very smart na?”
Nandan burst into laughter and said "Yes, but her smartness did not work at all….She actually called me at her place to discuss the Vaibhav's case and She requested me to arrange some expert and reputed lawyers for his son."
“So what did you respond?”
“I requested her to let me see it….its not an easy task to pursue his case in the court at this moment”
“Would you find the lawyers for him?”
“Absolutely not!!...Why I would create trouble for both of us?”
Then Chhaya looked at him with a naughty smile and said “Why are we wasting our time here?”
Nandan looked at her and a lascivious grin appeared on Nandan’s face.
Chhaya was combing her long hairs in front of the mirror of the dressing table at her home and daughter was sleeping behind her on the bed. Thoughts were coming into Chhaya’s mind. She knew Nandan quite well from her Lucknow university days. They both completed their B.A. and M.A. together from that University after which Nandan went to south-India to pursue his MBA. They were very good friends during their college days but not more than that was there between them back then. It was just a coincidence that first Geetika was married to Nandan and later Chhaya was married to Vijay. Due to very good relations between the Pathak's and the Mishra's family, they both rekindled their friendship after their marriages and this time, it has reached far ahead. There may be many reasons for it but one concrete fact was the mentality and mindset of both the individuals. They both were hardcore materialists and they both valued money and the luxury the most. In case of Nandan, it was quite logical as he was the only son of a wealthy business family of the state and He had to manage the huge real estate business of his family after his MBA but that was not the case with Chhaya. She was a middle-class family girl but it was also true that She was a highly ambitious and materialist woman. From the beginning it was her strong belief that She would marry to a man of a wealthy family with enormous wealth to show-off vis-a-vis strong political connections too so when Krishna Babu approached to her father with Vijay’s marriage proposal, She instantly agreed. She had been listening about Vijay regularly through news, newspapers etc. She taught that her life was going to be a roller-coaster ride, with full of unlimited wealth, fun and luxury but within 3-4 years of her marriage, all her desires and ambitions had been evaporated and She always targeted her husband Vijay’s mindset and mentality for it. She again came into contact with Nandan, thanks to the very good relations between their in-law’s family and therefore, from here She started dreaming again.
Suddenly She felt that someone was talking to her. She was listening to a type of sound. She further listened to it carefully and then she discovered that it was her mirror image from the mirror of the dressing table who was trying to talk to her.
The image smiled and said “Hello Chhaya!!....which type of lady you turned out to be?...what you have become?....what have you done all this?”
Chhaya asked her angrily “Why?...what I have done?”
“Ask that what have not you done?....you have just sold out your soul, your inner conscious, your womanhood and your entire character…..the greatest possession of a person is his or her character….you have destroyed it completely even that…..you are a woman after all…..now tell me, what is remaining with you at this moment?”
Chhaya laughed and said "Ask what I am about to achieve?...I am standing at the cusp of crores and crores of wealth….an enormous amount of wealth which I have been always dreaming for. That enormous wealth would be at my feet very soon when I will marry to Nandan….and what type of character you are talking about? …..the character which cannot bring the prosperity, ease and luxury to the life, a character which compels you to a suffocating life , it is absolutely of no use at all…..and tell me one thing, why this question of character is always thrown at the woman?.....why someone does not ask Vaibhav Pathak for his character?....why the persons do not ask to Nandan Agarwal for his character?”
“Why Chhaya?.....what was there which you did not have?....your husband is just like the Diamond, he is like the first among the equals….and he is moving up the ladder inside the party too…isn’t it?.....it will not take much time, and He will definitely get his due…..at least he would be an MLA for sure…is not it?”
“He would be nothing….” Chhaya screamed with so much anger. She interrupted her “…he would never get anything in the party…..he would get only praises and consolations, nothing else…..whoever would get anything in the party, they will be either Geetika or Vaibhav…..have not you seen the outcome of party meeting?...even my father-in-law could not become an MP, that too after 35 years of service" Chhaya was furious.
“So was this the reason that you made Vaibhav to dance on your tunes?
“Yes, definitely this was the reason, plus he is a moron, a duffer and it was easy to trap him….but I was totally unaware that there would be no one in the party to support him at the party meeting….after all it was the party established by his own father and it was natural that he would give preference to his son over anybody and there was no one in the party who could object to the decision of his father…..but I did not anticipate such drastic result.”
“then what?.....the person got most of the benefit was that orphan Geetika. But to me, the good thing was that the husband of Geetika was Nandan, a good friend of mine since my college days….and we have almost the same mentality and mindset….he is the husband of an MLA, and very soon her wife would be an MP for sure….his company is about to receive the investment of Rs. 300 Crores….and then , there is Vijay, my husband, a beggar indeed, who does not even think amid the fever of this non-sense social service, that he has a family to be supported and as the time passes, the requirements of the family also increase……he only follows his ideals, moral values which are of no use as of now. There is no importance of his wife and daughter to him in his life….if he really gives importance to the people, they are only those villagers, farmers, labourers, and the poor. That man is hell-bent for the cause of those rascals on the cost of us, his own family.”
“But why do you think that Nandan would leave his family, because of you?.....as you are saying, his wife is an MLA, and very soon She will represent the City Central Lok Sabha seat….so in that case, Nandan would enjoy much more benefits as an industrialist husband of an MP or MLA….then why would he leave her and come to you?” , the mirror-image asked.
“Because his wife is exactly the same as my husband is….that social service bug has also bitten her. Because of her this very mindset and mentality, Nandan’s problems at Nindaura are far from over. Had she really been a well-wisher of her husband, she would have supported him rather than taking sides with that beggar Vijay and those idiot farmers….Nandan is unhappy because of it. Had Pathak ji been alive , then He would have thrown his full weight behind Geetika. Now he is no more, and Geetika can never trust Rajini Devi…..so, now nobody is behind her to support…..so it is quite easy to blow her up, and she cannot do anything to us. After the finalization of this deal, we will marry, and we will start a new, happy and prosperous life where there would be no place for the pain, for the scarcity, for the poor and those beggars, farmers, villagers and labourers.”
“But Chhaya, remember one thing always….what you people are doing is utterly wrong. The Almighty is watching each and every thing….and everybody has to pay for his or her ‘karma’ in this very life….you and Nandan too would not be exceptions….you people are torturing to the persons like Geetika and Vijay, have not you felt ashamed of it ever?.....how do you sleep peacefully at night?”
"Don't tell me about right or wrong….nothing is right or wrong…..one who has money and power would be right and rest would be wrong…that's the mantra. Don’t start this utterly non-sense moral lecture to me. I have already heard it so much from my dear husband, but as we are seeing, it is of no use at all….I have never seen any benefit out of this logic so far. Vijay who cannot even hit a mosquito in his life, do you ever believe he would hatch a conspiracy to assassinate Pathak ji and his own father?...but look at him now, he is languishing behind the bars, and as the CIA is investigating, he would be there in jail for the rest of his life…..who did commit this crime?......and who is being punished?.....is this the price someone pays for his ‘karma’?....I know what I am doing, and please don’t lecture to me.”
“You may be true….but Chhaya, he is a businessman…..and a businessman always goes for the profit maximization. I am just advising you that you should be cautious….please don’t tell me again that I did not warn you.”
Immediately then her daughter got up and started weeping. Chhaya suddenly came back to senses and hurriedly combed her hair and went to her daughter towards the bed.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India had issued the notifications regarding bye-polls of vacant Lok Sabha seats and Assembly seats in U.P. , and after 12 days, the nomination process would be started. The whole election process was to be completed by the mid of next month, so not much time was in hands.
After some days, Geetika was washing the clothes when coincidentally She found an old, expensive and used golden ‘laung’ studded with a yellow sapphire gemstone from the pocket of Nandan's shirt. Being an experienced lady from a wealthy family, She had very good knowledge about jewelry and precious stones and thus She clearly discovered that it was an old, used piece of gold, and if somebody says that He, being a famed real estate tycoon of the state would gift an old, used ‘laung’ to her wife like Geetika who was herself from the prestigious Pathak family, it would be nothing but an absurdity. Earlier, when She found that lipstick She did not care much about it, but now She was thinking…..and gradually She was submerging in deep sorrow. Her heart had been broken. But She decided that She would not say anything to Nandan.
Vijay had appeared for another hearing in the High Court, where again He suffered a setback as his lawyers could not secure bail for him because again the CIA and the Akbarabad police opposed it. But this time, the High Court said strictly in its interim order that both the CIA and the Police, had been still unable to frame and file the charge sheet against Vijay even after 5th hearing in a row. If this conundrum and the inability of the CIA and the Akbarabad Police would continue then the Court would seriously think about granting the interim and conditional bail to Vijay in the next hearing.
One night, after the supper Nandan was doing his work in his chamber at his home. Geetika went to him with tea. Nandan was very busy, he smiled at her and signalled her to put the tea upon the table. Geetika put the tea on the table and without saying anything, She turned back and came out of the room and She was closing the door of the chamber when the telephone at Nandan’s table rang suddenly. Nandan picked up the call. Chhaya was standing quietly out of the chamber and She then tried to hear the conversation “Hello?....yes Chhaya?....yeah baby, speak up….so late in the night?...no,no…not like that…..yes, absolutely….yes….O.K…..yes….you do not worry at all…..yes, I will definitely see it…..no, no, it would be not that easy to get bail in this case at all….Vijay would not come out certainly…yes, yes….O.K….Oh darling!! You will get a much better gift than that silly lipstick……you deserve much more than that, lipstick is nothing….O.K. dear, Good Night!!"
Geetika was shell-shocked. “Was it Chhaya?.....Vijay’s wife?....who has the dotting husband like Vijay?....the woman Vijay loves more than anything?” Geetika was about to cry there but She somehow controlled herself at that moment. Then She quietly went to her bedroom.
A few days later, She said to her husband at the evening tea “I had been thinking for quite some days that I should stay for some days at my mother's place with Aruna. Aruna would also get a chance to become familiar with her Nani…She has never spent even a full week at her Nani's place after her birth….and I will have the company of my mother for a while too. She is alone now in at her home. Elections have already been announced and I know….that in coming days, the workload for me would be increased only….I never aimed for such active engagement in electoral politics but now I cannot avoid it anymore, due to the untimely demise of my father….I think I would do all these things quite easily from my father’s home.” Nandan immediately affirmed it.
The very next day Geetika reached at her mother’s place with her daughter Aruna. Rajini Devi became so happy to meet them.
Since the assassination of her father, Geetika was facing an emotional conundrum and was unable to decide whether she should have met to her old friend Vijay or not? A person who was an apple of everybody’s eye and whom Geetika trusted a lot, now He was facing the charges of the assassination of Geetika’s own father and the towering figure of state’s politics Pathak ji and Geetika herself decided that She would never meet Vijay come what may and She would explore every legal option to get him hanged. But now, She was thinking about a meeting with Vijay. She was at enormous pain after the revelation of that Nandan-Chhaya affair and She also believed that even Vijay would be unaware of it. But how would She meet him?.....and what would she say?.....after all He was the murderer of Her father. Finally, She decided that She would meet him in jail but She will not talk anything about Chhaya.
Vijay was informed that his visitor had come there to meet him. Vijay reached to the meeting hall from his bairak. That meeting hall was especially commissioned in the jail premises so that the prisoners might meet to their visitors. It was a large hall with many tables there arranged in a row-column fashion, and at every table, there were two chairs, one for the prisoner and the other for the visitor. Vijay was told there by a constable on duty that only 30 minutes had been allocated for the meeting and he signalled him towards a table where his visitor, a lady was waiting. Vijay reached there and found that Geetika was sitting, with her head down in a pensive mood. Vijay sat on the opposite chair. Both of them were silent and perhaps they were searching for the appropriate word to start the conversation.
Vijay somehow mustered courage and started “How are you Geetika?”
Geetika raised her eyes and said “I am O.K., …what about you?”
Geetika saw that Vijay was looking at her. She was surprised and thinking “ look at this shameless person!...how can he look at me like this?...why he is not lowering his eyes?....how can he make eye contact after committing such a heinous crime?...he has brutally murdered his own father and my father too, how can he look at me without any guilt or shame?”
Vijay said “I am sitting in front of you….look at me yourself.”
"Yes, I am looking at you Vijay….in fact, I have been observing you since our graduation….I never imagined even in my dreams that I would look at you like this, that too in jail." Geetika taunted her.
“It means that…have you too conceded what the other people are saying?” Vijay asked her.
“What greed and selfishness can do with a man, there cannot be a better example than you Vijay….have you turned into a monster just because of that one Assembly seat or Lok Sabha seat?.....it was you who used to boast about your lofty ideals and moral values in graduation….wan not it?”
Vijay was listening silently.
“Vijay……had you said this just once to me, I would have certainly refused this offer of being an MP or MLA….I just wanted to be Geetika, a daughter of her father…..but no, you had some other ideas….”
Vijay interrupted angrily “...listen to me first Geetika….I am not uttering a single word, it does not mean that I cannot speak up.”
Geetika became quite now.
He said “I did not need anything from this party ever….neither Assembly seat….nor that City Central Lok Sabha seat….not the post of the Party President…..not the post of the head of the election campaign committee…..I had never asked for anything, and I am not intending too for it. What I wanted from the party the most, that was the freedom of doing, whatever I enjoy doing….like visiting villages, talking to the rural folk, to the farmers and labourers,…and of course, an appropriate monthly salary to me and my family, as my family members are too, my responsibility…..and you know, all these things were going on smoothly and I was enjoying my work in the party. I did not have any solid reason to harm your father back then and even now too. I have not committed anything wrong…..It has taken quite some time…..5 or 6 hearings have been completed in the High Court….even the CIA is investigating now…..and the framing and filing of the charge sheet against me is yet to be done……and remember Geetika one thing, I too have lost my father.”
Geetika was silent. Vijay became quiet too after his outburst.
"…but still if you think that I am the culprit, it is your point of view and I cannot do anything with it. I can only say that I am waiting for that moment when I would be able to make you and other people understand me."
They both were sitting quietly there when the constable on duty came and said “time up now….please vacate the chairs.”
Geetika said, picking up her bag “I am leaving….electioneering is on….so much work is to be completed.”
Then Vijay said rudely “then you would not have come here.”
Geetika was surprised for a while by this attitude of Vijay. Vijay stood up and proceeded towards the exit gate of the hall. Geetika thought that before exit, Vijay would look at her at least once, but Vijay did not look back. He just went out of the hall.
Geetika came back and She was sitting in her room quietly. She was thinking about the meeting “Is Vijay right?.....has he not done this?...how could he talk to me fearlessly like that ?....If he has not committed it then who is the culprit?”
The bye-polls had been over as per the schedule and the counting began just after 3 days. By the next afternoon, almost all the results had been declared. It was not a surprise to anyone that the Shramshakti Party swept all the seats quite successfully with the huge margins. It was indeed imperative, as the biggest factor was the sympathy wave caused by the untimely demise of two of the greatest leaders, plus Geetika’s own persona and her ability perfectly complemented to that wave. On the other hand, the opposition parties too did not consider the bye-polls seriously as the results were already known to them. Now Geetika was an MP and She was about to go to Lucknow for her oath-taking ceremony.
At her home, evading her mother Rajini Devi, Geetika used to sob whenever She got some solitude. Actually, she was still trying to come up with the terms that her husband betrayed her. She was still in some sort of disbelief. She was shocked that a person with a beautiful wife and a lovely daughter, and whose life was appearing like a paradise, he could do such a thing. She thought frequently what was that which She was lacking in and Nandan had to look for another woman? There married life was going on pretty smoothly…..also it was nothing between both of them like the things between Vaibhav and Beena….. then why She had to suffer this pain of betrayal? She was feeling alone and She was suffering from some depression too. One day when She was weeping alone in her room, and She somehow forgot to close the door, Rajini Devi found her sobbing and immediately She came inside her room. Little Aruna was sleeping there on the bed. Rajini Devi hugged Geetika lovingly and asked "What happened Geetika?....why are you crying like this?”
Then Geetika told him everything about Nandan and Chhaya. Rajini devi was shell-shocked when She heard the story. More than Nandan, She was blown away by Chhaya's devious personality. She was utterly surprised how a lady could stoop to such a low?....first She trapped Vaibhav, now she is playing the game with Nandan and Geetika….what would be the stuff She would have been made of?”
Rajini Devi consoled her daughter and said “You call to your husband and ask him to come here….I will personally talk to him and will make him understand that his path would lead him towards only destruction….that woman cannot be trusted….maybe tomorrow we would hear the news that she has filed a case of sexual harassment against Nandan…..it is extremely important to stop Nandan before being too late. My son’s life has been ruined by that Chhaya but I would not let her to ruin the life of my daughter…..you call him and tell that I want to meet him immediately.”
Geetika dialled Nandan when he was working in his office. He picked up the call and when he asked for the reason to come immediately at her place, Geetika burst into anger "Nandan , I have come across your reality…..and I have told this to my mother also. Now you cannot make me fool anymor….you have already made me fool so much….now I would not”. “What are you saying Geetika?.....I am not getting anything” Nandan tried to pretend as an innocent.
Geetika was weeping bitterly "Excellent!!....that expensive, foreign brand's lipstick…..did you buy it to gift me?....that yellow sapphire-studded, old and used, golden ‘laung’ that I have recovered from your shirt’s pocket…..did you buy it too, to gift me?....would you say ‘Yes?’…….I have heard the telephonic conversation between you and Chhaya when I was standing there, near the door of your chamber one night. Would you say ‘No’?......now you cannot pretend further Nandan, you cannot tell a lie to me anymore…..you have just shattered my belief, my trust, my feelings and emotions. You have a wife, you have a daughter Nandan….did you think even for a minute about them, about your happy family?....how mean you turned out to be?....you would not get a place even in the hell Nandan. You just come here and talk to me and my mother. That’s it.” Geetika disconnected the call then.
Nandan was sitting shell-shocked. He had been fully exposed. He dialled Chhaya while he was thinking something. Chhaya picked up the phone “Hello?”
Nandan was tensed “Chhaya, We will have to meet this evening….its very urgent…please come to my place at sharp 6 PM."
“What happened Nandan?.....you are a bit tensed, Why?” Chhaya asked.
"Yes, Its is a serious matter…..I will not discuss it on phone….I will explain to you first you come here." Nandan put down the receiver then.
At 6 PM , when Chhaya reached at Nandan's place with her daughter, Nandan told her about the whole thing. Chhaya said with a sigh "I knew it from the day one that someday, it would happen that we would have to face Geetika…..It was indeed imperative…..we cannot meet frequently like this, in this small city of Akbarabad.”
“That is O.K., but now what to do?” Nandan asked her.
Chhaya replied “Its pretty simple!.....we will have to go there and we will meet to that mother-daughter duo….we will have to confront them head-on, and You would not go there alone….I will be there with you…..if everything has come out in open, then there is no point to hide anything. Also, we would not have any better chance than this to expose Rajini Devi. It would be a golden opportunity to demolish her pride and honour, to bring her reality, in front of her daughter. We should fix timing for this encounter during the school-hours of my daughter….we will go for the kill then.” And thus, the timing of this meeting was finalized.