Pooja was walking fast, though thirty-two years she didn’t look a day older than

twenty. Well dressed, carrying a small bouquet, a box of sweets and her handbag.

She didn’t need a big bag to hide what she was carrying inside.

For the first time she was visiting his house. HIS house that HE had set up with his



How many times she had had coffee with Archit, how many times they had laughed,

shared jokes and sorrows, work gossip, office picnics. Life was one big dream or so

she thought.


HE was the reason she would go to office, well dressed always, some even

commented that if ever there was a competition for the most well-dressed person in

the office, she would win. She was good at her work too. Vivacious and warm

Pooja was popular among friends and colleagues.


She lived on hope and dreams, that one day he would ask, there were so many

indications........ she had already planned how her married life would be, though

she had never met his parents, that was the last thing on her mind. . She had plans

of getting them on her side. All the hours she had spent on watching Hindi television

shows had given her sufficient ammunition.


She fancied that it was destined by the gods or why would they be named so?

Pooja – Archit, yes, they were fated to be together.


She had refused a job abroad for his sake, though she hadn’t told him nor anyone

else this. This flood of memories kept her company on the way, as she walked.

Then the catastrophe!! He was absent from work for two days...... he was going

to Mysuru for his engagement......her dreamworld had come crumbling down, to her

the whole situation was unfathomable


Before she could realise, three months had passed and Archit was a married man.

How dare he do this to her! There was a grand reception in Bengaluru. She had

attended it wearing her Sunday best.... “Be the smiling flower but be the serpent

beneath it” Lady Macbeth’s voice was telling her.

She knew what she had to do. No planning was required. It surprised her how

natural, calm and collected she was, how the plan fell into place.

Now she was at his doorstep. Only a slight quickening of the heart beat before she

rang the doorbell. Everything would be over in ten minutes.


The door was opened by a frail old man, she hadn’t expected this, think fast Pooja,

she had never thought of a plan B. Mechanically she walked in, sat where the kind

old man asked her to sit, he seemed to know that she was expected. Her mind was

numb. Soon Archit walked in, followed by his wife, how beautiful she looked even

without make up. But she was holding someone’s hand and bringing her to the hall.


Archit  introduced his parents, how had she missed them at the reception?? Anuja,

his wife was explaining how she had opted to work from home as she was keen to

look after her blind mother- in -law, blah, blah..... tea was served, more pleasant

conversation followed. Her guilt probably did not allow her to be normal; she felt

numb, did he notice? She wanted to get away as fast as possible.


Finally pleasant good byes were said, she rushed home threw her bag on the sofa,

and cried herself to sleep.


The next morning Krishnappa, the garbage collector was surprised to see no bag

outside her door. He rang the bell, when she came out, he asked “Akka, nothing



“Just one small thing.” She handed him the neatly packed, unused bottle of acid.

Closing the door, she began to hum her favourite tune.

AUTHOR : Shobha Rao 

 Teacher and Learner