Behind every smile there is a cunning face (part 1)
Avika opened her bleary eyes when the cat, all seven pounds of squirming flesh, climbed onto her belly. Squinting into the sunlight streaming in from the open window, she discovered that she was now the weary possessor of a pounding headache, and at some point, had managed to lose both a tooth and a spouse. She got up slowly from her bed pushing her cat down on the floor. She went into the kitchen and made herself a large cup of tea (her bloodline whenever she was down and out). She slowly sipped her tea with her head in her hands. That headache of hers was really taking a toll on her.
‘Where is Abhishek? What happened last night? I can’t remember a thing.’ she thought
“Hello…?” she called her friend Navdeep after she finished her tea
“Hey, you’re finally up. It’s about time” he said looking at his watch which showed 2 o’ clock
“What happened last night? Did you come over?” she asked still dazed
“Yes, I came over and all three of us had a blast. But, I didn’t know you drank that much. I was shocked to see you like that” he confessed
“Can you come over right now? I don’t feel so good” she said throwing the phone on the couch and running towards the bathroom. Within a few minutes, Navdeep rang the bell and Avika let him in.
“Where is Abhishek?” asked Navdeep
“I don’t know, I’ve been trying his phone for an hour.”
“What’s wrong with you? Come, let me take you to a doctor” he said and took her to the residents’ society doctor. The doctor diagnosed that she had been drugged and that’s why couldn’t remember the happenings of last night. He gave her some medicines and sent her home. Navdeep stayed with her till the evening when she woke up.
“What happened after I left? Did you guys have an argument?” he asked her
“Maybe…” she said slowly
“Try and remember. What was it about? Are you guys having monetary issues? Abhishek mentioned something last night”
“Well yeah, we had a huge argument and it happens when you lose everything just like that” she answered
“What do you mean?” he asked
“My husband lost all his money, his property, all his assets in gambling” she admitted
“Whoa…what?” shocked, he said
“And, to top it up, we have to vacate this house in a few days. Where are we going to live? God! He’s crazy, doesn’t know good from bad” she screamed
“Oh my, it’s that bad huh?” he said and Avika gave him a stare.
“Let’s wait for him till the end of the day, if he shows up, otherwise we’ll go to the police” said Navdeep putting a hand on her shoulder
At nightfall, there was still no sign of Abhishek and his phone was not reachable. Avika grew worried and decided to go to the cops. She along with Navdeep filed a missing persons’ report at the nearby police station. While waiting for their turn, weird thoughts crossed her mind, maybe someone killed him. The worst part could’ve been that there was no demand for ransom, so, no way to know what might happen to him. A chill ran down her spine and she held onto Navdeep’s hand firmly.
The next few days were excruciating for her. Since, Abhishek was missing she had to face the creditors and return the money he had borrowed. She sold her jewelry, her and Abhishek’s holiday home, a massive house in the outskirts of the city, and Abhishek’s office. Now, the only thing left with her was her home which she had to sell eventually but for now she got a months’ relief. The creditors were liberal enough to give her time to look for alternative accommodation.
Things were looking bad no doubt but she didn’t leave hope that Abhishek would return. Everybody in her circle had predicted that he’s fled the country and would never return, and that he would marry somebody else eventually and settle abroad. That’s the kind of mentality is around here when something like this happens. If she were a guy, her family would’ve started looking for somebody else for her by now.
Time flew by and six months later, Avika was living alone. She had sold off her home to pay the creditors. Her life changed drastically and she became a workaholic, she didn’t want to mingle with anyone or go out or just let herself free. She became paranoid that somebody was after her, so she used to be alone and in one corner doing her work. Her only point of contact was Navdeep, he was the only one she trusted and let him in her house.
The police called her in for identification. They had found a body matching the description of her husband. She went with Navdeep to the morgue. The body was not identifiable as it had been under the water for a few days. Avika wasn’t sure it was Abhishek, so, the police had sent the dentures in for identification. Her heart sank thinking what if it was Abhishek and she couldn’t even recognize him. Navdeep tried to console her but she was crying profusely. He took her home and let her sleep it out.
One fine day, she got a call from a random number. In her current state of mind, she didn’t answer the call. A few minutes later, she got the call again and she disconnected it. The third time, she mucked up the courage and answered the call. It was Abhishek.
“Oh my God, where the hell are you Abhishek?” she asked in a shocking tone
“How are you Avika? I’ve missed you greatly” he answered
“What have you done? Where have you been for all this time?” she asked again
“I’m all right. I can’t tell you where I am. Please just know I did this for us” he said
“What have you done Abhishek?” she almost screamed at him but by then the phone had been disconnected. She thanked God that she was alone, in her room, at that moment.
She didn’t have any more contact with Abhishek for three months again. He called her again and told her to meet him at an empty plot near her new abode. It was 10 ‘o clock at night when he showed up. She was furious with him. She started beating his chest with her bare hands. And he didn’t stop her.
“What were you thinking?” she finally asked
“I…I just wanted the best for the both of us. The best life with all the comforts and luxuries. I was only thinking of you my love” he confessed and leaned in to kiss her. She brushed him aside.
“Oh, come on” he said and she showed him the hand.
“First tell me, what the rest of the plan is?”
“I’ve got one word…life insurance” he explained
“Smart, but how?” she asked
“You’ll know when the time is right” he said and started to leave but she held his hand and hugged him tightly.
“It’s going to be alright baby, trust me” he said and quickly left the scene. She went home deep in thought. She was up all night thinking about Abhishek’s plan.
To be continued…