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It was just another Sunday morning for Sneha. The last one week had given her no respite from work stress and incessant rains just didn’t help her moods. Yes, Sneha didn’t like the rains. Neither did she like being drenched, messing up her frizzy hair nor did she ever find anything romantic about the first showers of monsoon. But the sun god had really made it sure that it was his very day. It was a bright Sunday morning and Sneha was enjoying her cup of coffee standing by her bedroom window when her cell phone beeped.
“HIi Sneha. How are you??” ,read the SMS.
The sender was unknown. Could it be any of her colleagues? Well, she almost had all of their numbers. So could it be a male admirer? Even though her striking persona hidden under layers of casual flair turned a few heads on the street, yet she couldn’t remember anyone with whom she had interacted enough to give out her name and number of late.
“I am fine. Who’s this?”, Sneha replied back to that unknown sender.
She waited for a few minutes but there was no response from the other end. Just then the doorbell rang.”The dhobi”, she thought and ran to open the door. She left the phone on her bed.
The next few moments, Sneha was busy arguing with the middle-aged dhobi over a certain white shirt. “What did you do to this? There wasn’t this stain when I gave it to you”, she shrieked pointing at the little brown spot at the bottom end of the white cotton shirt.
“Memsaab, trust me, it was there when you gave it for washing. I tried hard but the stain is so stubborn. Won’t go”, the poor man tried hard to convince her.
“Oh please, now you don’t tell me it was I who did this to my favorite white shirt. You people are useless. Can’t do a single thing with sincerity. Go. I will wash it myself”
“Okay memsaab. Thirty rupees it is”, said the dhobi in quite an unperturbed manner, probably used to seeing his customers flying into a feat of rage for reasons they are themselves responsible for. He belongs to that class of the society which has no apparent right to question but to bear the burden of others’ faults along with the one big fault of their own-being poor.
Sneha paid him the money and closed the door. She kept the stack of neatly ironed clothes on the table in the living room and tossed the white shirt on top of the washing machine. “I will wash it in the afternoon”, she thought and moved towards her bedroom.
Sneha looked outside through her bedroom window." The city appears much quieter today",she felt. It had been almost 3 months since Sneha moved to Kolkata and had bought a flat there. Her career graph had seen a steep progress over the past two years and there was not much that she could complain about. She had followed her dream of working in the advertising world and her chosen path had pampered her with well-deserved returns. She stayed all by herself but was too busy to ever feel lonely. Since college, Sneha never had a boyfriend though she went on those one-off dates but nothing ever materialized into anything serious.
Sneha checked her phone. There was a message from that unknown number again.
“Well, I know it’s a bit awkward. But I have to talk to you. I am Madhav. You will surely recognize me if you see me. Can we meet?”
“WHAT? Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t doubt your intentions” -Sneha replied back to that stranger, who now she knew from the name, was a MAN, the treacherous, lustful and much dreaded species.
There was no reply from the other end for quite a while and then Sneha’s phone beeped again.
“See, it’s no use giving you a call as I can’t speak because of a medical condition. But it’s really important to meet you. I will be waiting for you at CCD, City Center, Salt Lake at 5pm today. Take a chance”
The last three words rang a bell in Sneha’s head. “So the guy is dumb? Still he wants to meet me? Well, he says that I know him too. At least for curiosity’s sake, if not for anything else, should I take a chance?”, Sneha’s mind was full of such thoughts and her gaze fixed on her mobile’s screen. Ruining a much awaited Sunday by meeting a total jerk was the last thing she wanted.
Her hesitant thumb moved on the QWERTY keypad of her phone as she typed the two letters-
“Great. Ask for Madhav Ranjan at the counter”- was the immediate reply.
Sneha looked at the time display on her phone. It showed 11:25 AM
TO BE CONTINUED…