The Wall3 mins 25.2K 3 mins 25.2K
Of the many surprises that life could probably throw upon you, few can be as exhilarating and as agonizing as having your ex-love arrive with her husband to live as your neighbour. It happened for Ramesh on a sultry May afternoon as he was fooling around in the veranda after a minor altercation with wife who, with superhuman patience, had been trying to impress upon him the inadequacies of stock market as a permanent income source. The neighbour family arrived in an Innova. The children – a boy and a little girl- came out first and sprinted toward the house which was getting ready for occupancy. The man Ramesh had already seen; lanky and incredibly active. Ever since he bought the plot next to Ramesh's house he was making weekly visits to supervise the construction which got underway straight away. Partly out of some strange premonition and partly out of severe sense of inferiority which was gripping him for some years Ramesh had chosen to avoid the incumbent neighbour. So he was beginning to walk back to room when Deepa, his wife came out and started watching the neighbours.
"The construction is over. They must be moving in soon," she said. "Oh! This time the lady is also there. She is a bank employee," Deepa provided further information. With idle curiosity, Ramesh surveyed the car and the woman emerging from it and was instantly stunned. It must be said here to the credit of Ramesh that he reconciles with every happening –however grave- with the utmost ease. Thus, as the banker lady walked sprightly toward Ramesh and wife , causing strange and many hued waves in his mind, he, nevertheless, managed to look on with the composure of a man who had seen life for centuries. While the ladies got engaged in a brief but lively conversation, Ramesh's mind had already started replaying intense moments in college. She is verily the same Sandhya whose giggles caused his heart to skip beats and breaths to stop. She is verily the same Sandhya whose occasional absences used to freeze him down. That there was no trace of memory about him in her eyes didn't confound him. They had hardly talked, or perhaps never. Only his feeble heart was wailing aloud then in class room and corridors. For him, only that had mattered then.
Ramesh and family were invited for house warming ceremony and they went. Ramesh felt suffocated in the new house and stayed mostly out. While Deepa was all care and love for new neighbours, Ramesh sounded warnings. "It is better to keep some distance with others," was his repeated counsel. As it became possible to see Sandhya everyday Ramesh wondered about college days when he waited impatiently for the end of holidays just to see her. The thoughts, appeals, prayers of those days have materialized in a ridiculous way. Now she has become his neighbour. As days pass, they will discuss over wall mundane things- water connection, electricity bill, bus timings. The thought pained him.
Dusk was falling next evening when Ramesh spotted Sandhya and husband engaged in conversation outside house. He approached them and cleared throat to get attention. Then, in a cracked voice the strangeness of which surprised himself, told them: "The wall is damaged in one area as you unloaded rocks. I hope you would repair it."
Deepa was furious. "You have spoilt a good relation needlessly. Oh! I can't bear it. It was after all a minor damage to the wall and where was the urgency to repair! "
The wall was mended soon. Sandhya began to mention Ramesh privately with a nickname, 'beast'.
It became usual in full moon nights from then on for the 'beast', to come out and lean against the wall exactly at the point where the repair was done.