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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

God Sees the Truth but Does'nt Always Wait

Short Story

Rakesh stroked his cheeks. He was still smarting from the slap. The bitc... , he thought.

He had manipulated his every move very carefully and for days. But things had gone wrong in the last minute. He was very certain that she would fall into his trap. And she almost had....

He remembered how he had felt the attraction since the day he had taken up his new job and walked into his office for the first time and had set his eyes on her. She had very striking looks that would attract any man and he had been no exception either.

He had been very disappointed to learn that she was married. The lucky bast.... he had felt instant jealousy for the man who had married her.

Neena was indeed beautiful. Very pretty and graceful.

Rakesh had been bidding for his time. He learnt from the grapevine that her husband had gone onsite for a month and she was alone. He had been patiently bidding his time. He had watched her every move and every word she spoke, her every gesture.

He had made it a point to smile or stop by and say hello and generally time it so that they meet at the water cooler at the same time.

He'd be at the cafeteria whenever she went there and ask her if she would mind if he joined him and invited himself over.

General chit-chats over weather, sports, politics, movies.... continued till he was sure that she was comfortable with him and thought of him as a good friend.

One day he had manipulated in such a way that he went to her on the pretense of asking her for some work related details and had ensured that she got delayed. He knew she took an auto since her husband was not in town and so couldn't pick her up after work.

"Oh God, look at the time it has become quite late. I had better leave now it is hard to get autos as it gets late."

"It is not safe for you to be going all alone at this time of the hour. I can drop you on my way home. "

"Oh no, I don't want to trouble you."

"No, that's fine. It's not a trouble at all."

He did the usual tricks of pushing the brake hard over bumps so she'd lean on him and then he would say, "Sorry" as though he was the perfect gentleman.

Neena was indeed caught unawares when he stopped in a dark stretch before her house where there was no one around.

She got off the bike assuming that there was some problem with it.

Is there a problem, she asked.

She was completely taken off-guard when he had turned and caught hold of her and tried to grab her....

When the realisation dawned, she slapped him hard and started yelling. Lights came on in some houses as people started to come out. Rakesh had cursed loudly, kicked the bike and fled.

Neena had been shocked by the unexpected behaviour. She had hated herself for having been so naive and for trusting him so completely. She had wished her husband had not left her and gone onsite. Not wanting to cause him grief, she had kept the incident to herself, silently grieving and on his return had poured it all out.

I will strangle and kill the bast..., Nikhil had fumed but Neena had restrained him. She had told him that she had to deal with it herself as Nikhil may not always be around and she has to learn to deal with such attempts or attacks. Nikhil had ensured that he dropped her and picked her himself every single day and had been careful to avoid any business travel since that ugly incident. Nikhil had suggested that she report the incident to her higher authorities or HR at work but she had hesitated. She was worried about her name getting tainted by unwanted publicity and did not trust Rakesh to say something untoward.

What if he turns around and accuses me? She’d asked Nikhil.

All my colleagues have seen me being friendly with him and so they might not trust me.

Should I change my job Nikhil, she had lamented. I like the place where I work, I like my team and manager, and I have absolutely no problems here. Why should I move because of this bast....,. She asked.

Nikhil had even suggested that she quit and stay back home and avoid him altogether but she thought it would be too cowardly an act.

Nikhil, it is not that I cannot deal with such lepers but just that I was caught unawares, he had behaved so decently that it didn't occur to me that he could suddenly change and show his true colours.

Nikhil had silently supported her through her grief, realising that she needed to vent and then come to terms with it herself over a period of time. The healing takes time and he had allowed her that time by simply being there for her and comforting her whenever she came to him or wanted to talk to him about it.

He should've been called Rakshas and not Rakesh. Or may be Lankesh! She hissed.....

Neena, I can arrange for some people to take care of him, manhandle him... he had suggested again but she had not wanted that....what if he turned around and hurt both of them or her when she was alone...

You are undecided about what is to be done with him, nor are you allowing me to deal with him the way I see fit, Nikhil had said but had reconciled to have this dealt her way..

Rakesh was still smarting. He could still feel the sting whenever he thought of the slap... He regretted that he had let the opportunity slip away...Now it would be that much harder but he was not willing to admit defeat..

Then it suddenly struck him... This was a great opportunity.

How did I not think of this before! he kicked himself.

Should I ask for 1 crore or may be 50L, she should have enough funds to be able to pay, otherwise it won't work. And it should be unobtrusive too! if she has to pay without her husband knowing...

May be I will start with 5L and then based on how willingly she parts with this amount, I can always keep demanding more....

He patted himself on his back on the brilliant idea!

Of course, if she either can't pay up or refuses, I will insist that she pay me in kind. Either way, I win or she loses...

Now he waited for the right opportunity...

Neena always went to lunch with her dear friend Namitha. He wished Namitha would drop dead or at least fall sick...

The day finally arrived and Namitha was missing one morning... He passed by Neena’s desk several times to ensure that her friend's cubicle was indeed unoccupied.

What is this bast... up to now, Neena shuddered. She could sense something was brewing and she was getting restless by the minute. Should I call up Nikhil... she wondered. Damn, why did Namitha choose to take this day off, she sighed.

As she made her way to the cafeteria, Neena decided to take her ipod with her so she can avoid eye-contact as well as conversation with Rakesh in case he tries to join her. She sat facing the entrance so she can spot him and not get caught unawares.

Exactly 5 minutes after she started eating, she saw him walking towards her. She quickly pretended to focus on the iPod settings while her heart was beating too fast.

Her premonitions came true and she sensed that he had stopped near her.

She still avoided seeing him.

"Neena darling, you will be very interested in hearing what I have to say.. "

"Get lost", she said. "I'm not interested in talking to a crook like you.."

"Come on sweetheart, you can give me 5 minutes.. Listen, how would you like it if I were to share our little secret to your husband? Any newly married husband would not want to hear the words that I will be telling him. And you know I can complete the story in words what I failed to do that day in action..."

"And what if I didn't want you to tell my husband... Neena asked in a small voice"

"5L, just 5L to shut me up... "

"I don't have that kind of money with me... "

"Ok 4L or 3L whatever you have. You can pay the rest after a few months. After all, I am a very considerate guy, you know.."

"I don't have any money with me. It is all in a joint account.."

"No problem, honey...You can still pay me in kind...You don't even have to come after work. We can leave in the morning and I can drop you back before evening..."

"Is that a blackmail? Are you threatening me?"

"I don't care you want to call it. Pay up! Either in cash or kind. Oh, how I regret that I didn't complete what I set to do that day after all those days of planning..."

"Well, Rakesh, I've some news for you. It will help you to listen for a change, very carefully."

"Do you know what this is?”

"Your stupid iPod...."

"This stupid iPod can not only entertain me with nice music but can also record conversations."

"Listen, I will give you exactly 1 month from today to leave this company quietly. Whether you get yourself another job or not, I don't care. If you don't, exactly 1 month from now, I will be presenting this audio evidence to both HR and my manager. For a scheming and manipulating person like you, I don't think I need to elaborate on how Companies such as this treat threats and sexual assaults. When this Company is done with you, you will find it very difficult to find a job anywhere."

"Goodbye and I hope to never see you ever again!"

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Lola: iho, ako ay isinumpa, isa akong prinsesa, ngunit kung ako’y iyong gagahasain. Babalik ako sa maganda kong anyo at tuluyang mapuputol ang sumpa! ..makaraan ang ilang saglit… Lalaki: ayan, tapos na. bakit hindi ka pa nagpapalit ng anyo? Lola: ilang taon ka na iho? Lalaki: 30 na ho. Lola: iyang tanda mong iyan, naniniwala ka pa sa fairytale?