Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Deal Unto Death - Part VII

Ravi knew that her anger might be due to his extra interest in her private life and not much more.He was a little ashamed for being a bit too expressive about his surprise over her love life. But he quickly gathered himself to carry on with the job at hand.
"Oh...so ..your brother had a tussle with the guy??"
After a bit of a silence Pooja started. It looked as if she was framing her words in her mind to get it right.
"this happened some one month back. My parents had started looking for a guy for my marriage when I told about Rishi to my parents and bhaiya. I had to."
Ravi raised his eyebrow.
"Rishi is the name of my boyfriend"she added coldly as she noticed it and continued on.
"Bhaiya wasn't very happy with him right from the beginning and wanted to meet him,talk to him.So I gave him Rishi's number.I do not know what they talked but it didn't go very well. The next weekend bhaiya came home from Bangalore and went out to meet Rishi. He had not told me about the meeting and even Rishi hadn't told me about it and I knew about it only when he came back that day. There had been some problem during their meeting and in the end they had come to blows and had to be separated by people around them. After coming home, Bhaiya was walking around the house like an injured lion and repeatedly told me to forget Rishi. I didn't argue much as I could see that he was pretty angry.He said Rishi was not the right person but he refused to say what went wrong. Rishi does not want to talk about it and he gets furious whenever I ask about this and just tells me 'your bhaiya is an idiot'.Upon this I get angry and we stop talking."
"where was Rishi and what was he doing when you brother was dead??"questioned Ravi.
That added fuel to the already fuming eyes of Pooja.
"He was in Mumbai only at that time.Listen!!! there is absolutely no connection between my boy friend and my brother's death. Iam dead sure about that. Agreed there were a few problems but Iam sure he wouldn't have done anything to hurt my brother" the words came out like a bullet. It was clearly evident that she was upset and also fairly angry over the turn of events. She was breathing heavily and in the end she looked away as if she was disgusted with Ravi and didn't want to talk to him anymore. It looked as if she would slowly end up crying.
Rahul wasn't very happy to see his daughter getting upset. He stroked her hair with his trembling old hands as he said" cool down beti.Iam sure Ravi is not going to doubt Rishi"
Then he let out a deep sigh and said "I don't know who laid the vicious eyes of jealousy on our happy family. This place used to echo with fun and laughter. Now it is sounding like a graveyard filled with the sound of wails and weeping. Things had never been the same ever since that demon entered lives and left with trails of confusion and tears."
Now Ravi was really listening to each and every word of what the old man said.
"You mean..."he queried
There was another deep sigh from the old man."That's a very long story young man.".he said and then he rearranged his seating position to make himself comfortable and continued.
"This happened fair amount of time back,Vilas was in final year of his college when the neighboring lady told my wife that she spotted Vilas with some girl in a movie theatre. At first we didn't believe her. We never thought our kid could do such a thing but the lady was adamant so we decided to ask him.
"That evening when he came home we confronted him with the question.Though he denied at first he agreed after we asked him repeatedly. He said her name was Keerthana and he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. We couldn't believe it. Nothing like that had ever happened in our family,on top of that the girl was not the same caste as ours. How can a guy's mind go so crazy. We were livid and made it absolutely clear that we would have none of it but he was adamant and was not ready to let go of her. This continued on for a fairly long time and he used to roam around with her until he got the job in the IT company.When we knew he had to go to Bangalore, we were sad about having to part with our beloved son,but we were happy over the fact that the separation will help him forget that girl and get back to his senses.
"He was aware of that fact and fought with us day and night in the last days before his travel, to somehow make us agree to his affair. We just couldn't do it. Even if we were to agree for him,what would the world say?? I have a daughter to be married to someone.How will she get a groom if the world come to know that her brother is married to someone from another caste. That was the main reason that prevented us from agreeing right till the end .We told him very clearly that we cant agree and that's the final decision.Then he went to Bangalore.He never talked about this issue after that. Life was never the same again. He was not the same old laughing and childish Vilas. He was always very moody and talked as if he had no interest in life. We thought its just the initial reaction for having separated from the girl and he will slowly get back to normal.
"But before things can get to that this girl broke another story of love and all that crazy stuff.I simply cant understand whats wrong with the youngsters these days! It's the love that wreaking havoc in people's lives." The old man ranted on until he was stopped by a dry cough.
"Papa." Pooja attended to her old dad and brought water from the dining table.
"So you never contacted that girl...uh..that keerthana anytime"Ravi asked
"No no why would we ever do such things?? We never encouraged him to meet her too.Just that he never listened to us.Now his sister is also following the tradition and is not listening to us ,though we have been telling her not to meet that Rishi" the old man replied.Upon this Pooja leant back in her seat and folded her hands as a clear sign of defiance."
"Hmmmmmm..Do you think your son might have killed himself due to the heartbreak??" Ravi had to ask this question.
"Chi Chi!!Bhaiya would never do such a thing.He is a very level headed and courageous man. I cant even believe that he could have even commited suicide.If at all he committed suicide for her,why would he do that 6 months after he left her??" Pooja replied as the old man started coughing again.
"Excuse me ,but I think my dad would need some rest now.He has been having pretty rough days lately"so saying she stood up to help her dad get up.
"Oh ya.I probably should be moving now too..I am really really thankful..by the way,Miss.Pooja,I would like to get some contacts from you"
"Oh ok,Please wait,I shall lay my dad to rest and be back" she said as the old man got up.
"Take care young man..and spare no means to find out the mystery behind my son's death"the old man mumbled as he got up.
"I assure you I will do my best Sir"Ravi stood up in respect and watched the old go back to his room,guided by Pooja.
Pooja came back after a few minutes.
"Miss.Pooja would you be able to get that Keerthana's number"
She raised her eyebrows and said "Why do you want you reopen closed stories !!..Hmm I think I saw her number somewhere in bhaiya's old phone book.hang on"
She went in and returned with a number.He noted it down.
"And..uh.......can I have your boy friend's number??" Ravi was half afraid that she would yell at him when he said that.
"Would you leave him out of this???Iam sure he has nothing to do with this"
"If you are so sure that he is not part of this ,then you shouldn't be worried about me having a small chat with him" he replied assertively ,yet politely.
She stared him real hard as she pulled out her mobile from her bag and dictated the number to him.Ravi noted down the number and got up.
"Thank you so much Miss.Pooja,I really appreciate the help"so saying he moved towards the door.
"hmm!" was all the sound,that came from Pooja. No smile,no greeting,no other acknowledgement of any kind.
Ravi stepped out of the door and said "Good bye Miss.Pooja"
"Take care Mr.Ravi"she replied without a smile with the same cold voice and glare intact.
He climbed down the stairs as he heard the noise of the door closing behind him. He wasn't sure how to proceed in the case and was getting more and more confused as he recalled the meeting scene by scene.As he reached the hotel he had decided to give a call to Keerthana and carry on depending on how the call goes. He wasn't even a trifle sure as to whether he was proceeding in the right direction.

.....to be continued.

Deal Unto Death – Part IX

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