The Colour of Woman

By Pagadala Vijay Kumar


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6 mins

Chapter 2

The stock markets all over the world were sinking. Saan thought it was the right time to off-load some shares of her portfolio. Checked the prices and decided to sell a few shares. The shares she had been holding for long time. Noticed the markets falling as the stocks were overbought and needed a correction. Knew it’s the right time to get her returns appreciated. She has various accounts with reputed stock brokers and dialled a broking house, receptionist answered.
“Hi this is Saan, would you please connect me to,”
“Yes madam,”
“Good morning Mrs. Saan,”
“Good morning, how do you see the international markets?”
“Not good madam. Do you want to place an order?”
“Yeah, please,” and she gave a list of shares without stop loss and disconnected. Assuming, it would be a good return on her investment. She sold thirty percent of her holding; placed the piece of paper in her bag. She heard a knock on the door and saw Juar standing. She always liked and loved his style, he never enters without a knock or a smile, showed him a chair.
“Good morning Juar,”
“Good morning Saan,”
“Where are these markets up to Juar?” She asked him.
“Shanghai, India and Singapore are moving parallel and Wall Street on the move now.”
“Did you get the tip,” she enquired.
“Yes, but? I don’t think it's reliable,” he said.
“You guessed the correction?”
“Umm? So how many points to go down,”
“Can’t say? Still have to wait and watch. Dow-Jones, CAC, DAX, and FTSE are gaining. While the Nikki, Shanghai and Nifty stocks are sliding.”
“OK, what’s up?”
“Saan, figures didn’t tally, I need you to check, please.”
The figures, sheets and calculations had taken more than forty minutes. Saan received a call, and she left the office.

* * *

Ahahr was sleeping in his room when Saan came home early. She prepared tea and came into the living room, checked the mobile messages and walked up to her room. He’s snoring loud; she undressed and went to the washroom.

Ahin returned from college, threw his bag on the sofa and searched for snacks. Saw a used empty cup in the kitchen. Knew his mother was home, went into parent’s room. He saw his mother’s sari hanging on the chair. Came into the living room and switched the TV, settle for music channel and increased the volume. He lay on the sofa and adjusted a cushion as a pillow. Saan dabbed her face with a towel, applied the moisturiser and walked down the stairs.
“Mama, give me something to eat.” Ahin pulled his mother’s hand and made her sit on the sofa. He adjusted and placed his head in her lap.
“Ahin, you’re grown, but still you behave as a child, my sweet baby.” She said and stroked his long hair. Sat for two minutes, later she placed her sons head on the cushion and went into the kitchen. She returned with fries, bread sandwiches and sauce.

Meanwhile, Ahahr woke, dressed and came down, saw the mother and son. The cruel look in his eyes revealed that he’s neglected and ignored. Saan saw him and said “Ahr, have some I’ll get the coffee and sandwiches for you.” He walked to his son took the plate from his hand and threw it. The contents scattered over the floor and the plate rolled and settled after few rounds. The sound echoed the ache of an ill heart in the room. Mother and son were astonished and Saan was the first to react. “What the hell is this? Are you insane, your behaviour has become intolerable? Are you in your senses? We’re vexed with you, day by day.” She said. Ahahr was moving closer to her, she pushed him away. “Day by day, ah day by day . . . My existence and behaviour is intolerable, useless lady did you ever do me a favour I asked for? Did you ever cook by my choice? You did nothing, nothing, didn’t bother for my needs, clothes or shoes and I asked for . . .”

Saan opened the door and saw Ann standing before her.
“Ann! What a surprise? Please come in,” she’s excited.
“How’s your health?”
“I am fine, kicking and punching, in your words,” both laughed.
“Why didn’t you get your daughter, Ann?”
“She was asked to start early today as her father-in-law was ill. In fact, she wanted to meet and thank you personally. I convey regards and thanks on her behalf.”
“Do you have to say all that?”
“Yes Saan, I have to, for your kindness.”
“Oh! You insist and emphasise too much on the behaviour.” Saan said.

Later, both discussed about their families, regrets and excuses. The time they spent on the useless arguments, hard discussions, good and bad conclusion’s and finally obeyed the fate. Saan prepared tea as Ann prefers tea, and returned with two cups and cookies. Saan enquired about the health and medicines. She spoke about office, the meeting with new director and the bonus. She assured she will take care of her medical expenses and the leave.

Ann was to retire in few days. If her presence was needed, she never refuse, but attend and complete the work even on a holiday. She was the most efficient person in the office. A week later, Saan would be missing the good person and a best officemate with whom she spent a long time.

* * *

Ahahr came in at twenty minutes past six p.m. saw them, slammed the door and was going to his room. Ann wished him.
“Good evening Mr. Ahahr, how are you?” Ahahr thought ‘now this old bitch going to take a lengthy class about the family, wife and the children.’
“Good evening,” said with a forced smile.
“Ahr, get refreshed and I’ll get coffee,” Saan said.
“Is something important? If so come out quick, I have my friends waiting.”
“Mr. Ahahr, if you are in a hurry its better you carry on, I’d come some other time.” Ann replied politely.
“Ahr, please spare few minutes, she had come a long way,” Saan pleaded. He saw them both and said rudely. “I don’t want you to disturb me tomorrow again, and now, what is it?” He walked towards them. Saan got annoyed, went into the kitchen.
“Mr. Ahahr, I am sorry for the incident took place few days ago.” Ann stopped, read his feelings and continued “Mr. Juar shouldn’t have come between your family affair, and he is younger to us, he might have not thought of it before involving himself. Anyway, it happened and now, I ask you to forget and forgive that chap. It enlightens you besides, deserving an elder’s respect and I think it's wise in doing so.”

“Do you know? How hard that bastard hit me and insulted me in his . . . In my wife’s office and in her presence. I am waiting for the time to break his legs teach not to get into somebody’s family matters.” He said looking into the eyes of Ann. Saan brought a cup of hot coffee and placed before him on the table.
“I agree, Ahahr what he did was wrong.” She knew Juar was not at his fault. But to make him listen to her, Ann turned the conversation in favour Ahahr’s view. Saan’s surprised at Ann’s words.

“But with your permission, I would say about your behaviour too, you were drunk and I seek you not to visit office in that state again. Your beautiful wife is our respectable manager, we and as well you should respect her.” Ann was rudely interrupted “Hey! Hey! old lady whom you are teaching this, I go sober or drunk it's none of your business. And why didn’t anybody from your office stop that bastard when he tried to kill me? Ah.” He took a deep breath, lit a cigarette and blew the smoke.

“That’s why I ask you to excuse us all, and please take care of your health and your wife’s, her job never gives her few minutes to relax.” Ann was cool and felt he’s obliged.

When Saan reached, a nurse was waiting with the papers. She asked her to follow. Nurse uncovered the head. The patches of dried blood marks were on throat and the T-shirt stained with large patches of dried blood. She saw the motionless body and cried. A nurse approached and consoled her. Took bandaged head in her hands and was looking at his eyes, nose and mouth. The face gave no sign of struggle or suffering and she felt that he’s fast asleep and thought they might have mistakenly bandaged him while asleep. She placed her palm on his chest; it’s cold and beat less. Saan’s tears rolled down on his face; they could not wash away the dried young blood on his tender cheeks. A male staff came and asked her to take a seat, and pushed away the stretcher into the autopsy room. Saan was waiting at the reception for her husband to come and claim the body. Ahahr reached hospital. The moment she saw her husband she started weeping loud, he chided and made her sit on the visitors room and went in to see.

Attendant uncovered, Ahahr saw the bandaged face, did not believe his son’s dead. Appeared as though he was sleeping peacefully. Held the shoulders and shook, there was no movement, and felt the cold body. He did not bare the pain and cried. Later, came out and went to his bike took a bottle, emptied the remaining. Threw it aside, lit a cigarette and was staring at the darkness.

Saan came out, asked Ahahr to claim the body. He stared at her; she returned inside the hospital in frustration and signed the papers.

* * *

Saan’s sister and her family arrived morning. The residents of the colony gathered, Ahin’s friends and Saan’s office staff arrived to pay the last respect. Everyone remembered his smiling face, his childish talk and the mischievous acts and his love for his mother. One elder woman wished the death should have taken her instead, and cried as though she lost her son. Juar was careful and thinking not to face Ahahr, but it did not last long. Ahahr saw him, abused and pushed him away physically. Juar’s calm and speechless; Ann came to his rescue and calmed Ahahr. And asked Juar to stay away; for a while. He stood beyond the gate. The rituals performed; the body was ready for cremation, Juar helped with the arrangements. Ahahr came and pushed Juar out of the gate speaking in his usually language. Tears rolled down from Juar’s eye thinking of Ahin, for being helpless, and for not allowing him to share the grief. He smelled the stale alcohol in Ahahr’s breath and pitied him.

Juar walked a few steps and lit a cigarette. Saw Ann approaching him and walked towards her.
“I am sorry, I can’t help it. Ignore him, you can do a favour instead, Juar I want you to get some money.” She gave him Saan’s card and the password, and pleaded.

* * *

By three p.m. The flames of the pyre were reaching the sky; marking an end of a life. Yesterday’s youth was resting peacefully with nature. A heart melting heat-thinking about a young man’s innocent life put to an end by fate. ‘Was this only a mother’s loss? Were the sorrow and grief the assets, of a father and mother?’ Philosophical thoughts were running wild in Juar’s mind.

He was loved by all a dear loving child of his mother. A cool dude of his pals and everybody loved his presence; few of his girl friend’s are decided and were planning the future with him. ‘Life has a strict rule to accomplish. If it gives something, it immediately takes away some other thing in return. And the law can't be ignored? Was happiness timed to live short and pain to last long? Was the young life cursed, or for, the shadow that would never, ever leave until one’s dead? Will the memory strengthened with loss? Were tears watering the roots of memories? Are only human beings tested to endure the pain for living?’ Saan was thinking and her tears never stopped. She could not believe her son was no more, toy of her motherhood; her gullible baby mannequin’s silenced forever. Tomorrow, no one would answer if she calls him.

Ann and Juar want to see off Saan and were waiting in the hall. She came and hugged Ann and wept over her shoulder. After a minute, she turned to Juar, held his hand, thanked him and expressed her helplessness.

Ann and Juar wiped their tears and left. The remaining were a few residents and Ahin’s friends. The house existed with the memories of a sad mother and her son.



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