Saturday, 11 August 2012

THAT NIGHT (part 8)

The eigth part of Professor Lakshmi Raj Sharama's acclaimed ghost story set in rural India. The previous 7 parts are still on my blog and can easily be found. Please share.
Lakshmi's collection of short stories on Indian life are on Amazon at


                                                                     THAT NIGHT (Part 8)

Sonali still gave Pran some attention. She was too smart to ignore him totally. She believed that by talking to him pleasantly she would be able to control him better. So whenever he came up to her with a query or a remark she gave that disarming smile and Pran would be virtually at her feet. But she equally knew that allowing him too much liberty could be harmful for her self-interest and so she decided to draw a line of how close she would let him come. Pran knew that she liked Manoj and he could see that he was gradually losing the race but he was persistent in his effort to get her goodwill. It slowly became a kind of game the two played, the dog and the cat.

With Manoj there was no game playing. He was getting into a serious affair. In the 1960s and 70s there were probably more serious love-affairs than there are today. The reason was that youngsters did not have to do as much to succeed in life. There was a smaller population and people knew which way they were heading. There were no TVs, no computers, no mobile phones, no iPads and so on. In order to keep the minds engaged people had to depend more on other people than on gadgets that helped to glorify their solitude. Instead of delving into the virtual world that technology has brought to our doorstep, the people of that time had to encounter the world of living reality. Today youngsters find much on the Internet to satisfy their curiosity; they experience everything there before getting to the actual experience of growing up. But in those days they had to grapple with actual people to taste these experiences. This was one of the reasons why parents spent more time with their children trying to equip them with the consequences of intermingling and with advice not to trust unknown people. 

Manoj Singh Rathore was now in the thick of a serious affair, an affair which had thrown his studies, his career and everything else to the winds. He was a man of property and he knew that he could afford to plunge into an affair that was like hibernation from the world of reality. It was a total leap into the dark, with no concern or care for the future; a total surrender to the calling of the heart. He only thought of two things; Sonali and football. Sonali could not have expected a more complete response from him. The two were dovetailing into each other’s lives with perfect adjustment. With each other they were be complete, without each other they would be in pieces.

If these two were the only ones is question, everything was right in their lives. But the problem was that there was a discordant other. Pran was getting charred from inside at the thought of the two getting into a more and more harmonious relationship. Every day he would plan out something to destroy their love for each other. He would either send Sonali a letter in another’s handwriting saying that Manoj was making a fool of her. Or he would write to Manoj in a similar fashion, that he had seen Sonali in Pran’s room. But these did not work. He then sent Sonali a letter, written in his own blood, in which he warned her of serious consequences if she did not consider transferring her feelings to him.

‘Dear Sonali,
By now you should have known that I cannot do without you. Life for me is life with Sonali. Without Sonali, everything else is like death. I need you Sonali, please try to understand. Others can live without you, I cannot.
If you do not pay heed to what I say, do that at your own risk. For I know not what I’ll do if I don't get you. I’ll probably pull down the skies or I'll burn up everything. How can there be life in this universe if my life has gone over to another’s world?
I write this with my own blood in the hope of drawing your attention towards myself.
Yours in hope.

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