Since her marriage to Nikhil, a year back, Sheetal’s favourite, and only, hobby involved turning herself into a self-talking gossip magazine.
The posh colony in Ballygunge, where she lived with her husband, had many dwellers but none with an overt socializing instinct. Thus trapped inside the three-bedroom flat, all day, her eyes kept making notes on the diary of her sub-conscious from whatever she could see from behind the curtains of the myriad windows in the flat or the spacious balcony or standing behind her best friend – the peephole on the main door.
And lying idly at night, beside her always-tired-after-work husband Sheetal used the notes to prepare a collage of a fantasy world.
Her current collage work, though, concerned her neighbour, Mr. Bhatt. His wife, on Sunday, had gone to her parents’ place for a week while he was supposedly bed ridden with viral fever. But on Monday Sheetal’s peephole helped her see a fit and excited Mr. Bhatt opening the door to a woman clad in a saffron sari with a matching blouse and a neatly made bun.
“Who is she?” Sheetal wondered.
Four hours later when she saw the woman leave adjusting her dress indecently Sheetal reframed her query.
“Who the hell is she?”
Her mind scripted all sorts of stories each with the tarka of a typical daily soap but it was while returning from the market on Tuesday evening she knew exactly who the lady was.
It’s Mrs. Sen! She was wearing the same saffron apparel. But she has got two kids and a husband. Her senses felt a forbidden tickle. That’s the eligibility criteria, I guess, these days!
On Wednesday, Sheetal, with a journalist’s instinct, waited for Mrs. Sen to arrive. And she did! Same time, same dress. After half an hour Sheetal decided to defy her patience. She went to the kitchen, took an empty cup, walked up to the main door and opened it slowly.
She looked around. There was nobody in the corridor. A quick glance at the elevator’s indicator told her it was on the ground floor. She took one deep breath and proceeded towards Mr. Bhatt’s flat.
At first she only placed her ears on the door. No sound. Then something. Rocking of a bed? No, falling on the bed. No, rocking of the bed for sure! No, nothing really. Sheetal pressed the calling bell once. After few silent seconds there were urgent footsteps following which Mr. Bhatt opened the door. He was perspiring copiously and breathing a tad faster than normal.
Is his face exhibiting a caught-red-handed expression?
“How can I help you?” He asked.
“Sorry to disturb you but I ran out of sugar. If you could-”
“Yes-yes. No worries.” He hastily took the cup and closed the door.
He closed the door! On other days he requests me to come inside. All her doubts were crowned with conviction. He is having an extra marital.
On Thursday, after her husband went to office, Sheetal fast motioned through her daily chores and waited impatiently by her door. The woman came – again same dress, same time. Doesn’t she stink? Sheetal thought and immediately dialled Mrs. Sen’s number to confirm.
What the hell? She is at home, Sheetal wondered, that means Mr. Bhatt and Mrs. Sen aren’t having an affair. She sulked. On an impulse she decided to go to the security. There she checked the visitor’s register. The name read: Mohita Jain. Not from this colony, she thought.
On Friday Sheetal’s indomitable curiosity pushed her to be more daring. And she once again took an empty cup and approached Mr. Bhatt’s flat. This time I won’t let him close the door quickly. But before she could press the bell her eyes fell on the door knob. It wasn’t locked properly. Wetting her dry lips she pushed it gently. The door slowly opened up. She rubbed the perspiration off her forehead with the lose end of her sari and stepped in. She was about to call out to Mr. Bhatt when she heard some vulgar groans. An instant lump formed in her throat. Should she call out his name? Or should she simply run back to her flat? Eventually the voyeur within her won.
With the gait of a cat she carefully ambled towards the bedroom unsure about her endeavour. And as she peeped into the room she saw the saffron sari scattered on the floor, the blouse, petticoat, undergarments, a white trouser, vest, a wig and finally on the bed, she saw, Mr. Bhatt riding her husband.
By: NovoneeL ChakrabortY