It was the same chilling Chandigarh morning, as always. Raj was reading the paper, with a cup of coffee. This was his favourite way to start the day. Raima, you make the best coffee, he said. Raima came out of the kitchen to peep in the balcony. A strand of hair with the touch of corn flour fell across her forehead. She was looking as pretty as a lotus with a drop of water on it. Pink colour saree draped beautifully around her thin fine waist, making it look like someone has caught hold of the moon in a knot. And that blouse, with hooks at the back, pulled her breasts upward; making them as perky and proud as two warriors standing after winning the battle of Troy; her bow shaped lips, naturally coloured like a lotus, as if a painter created a shade just for them; and a fine line of kajal ? the only make-up that she wore, made her eyes look beautiful and watery.
The moment Raj looked at her he pulled her in his arms and made her sit in his lap and said, Do you know how difficult those six months were without you and your coffee? Every morning on the ship I used to miss you so much, and think that you must be having coffee alone and missing me all the more. I always tell you Raima, you are so beautiful; when Im on the ship, away from you, Im always worried about you. You are so pretty. God forbid if something happens to you then?
Raima did not reply. She just sat quietly. Raj continued. Why dont you go to Calcutta to your parents place; staying alone here, its not safe. Look at this paper, so many rape and murder cases. Read this, a 26 year old woman brutally raped at her home by four men after which she committed suicide. When I tell you this to you, you always say that you enjoy staying here in peace. You have no friends, just this balcony keeps you engaged. How do you pass your day? Why dont you enroll yourself in some course? Why dont you do something which keeps you busy?
Raima still did not reply. Rajs infuriation was reaching its peak now. This time Im not going to listen to you. I am calling your dad and let him only explain to you.
Raj pushed her hips a little, and took out his mobile phone to call Devajit uncle, his father in law. Hello Uncle. Can you please explain to Raima that she should come and stay in Calcutta with you all when I am away. I dont like to leave her alone like this. She has no friends no life; why dont you explain it to her that she should do something rather than just stare out of the balcony the whole day.
Beta, you need rest. Sleep for some time, said Devajit uncle and hung up the phone. This was followed by a dull, rhythmatic beep.
Raj sat down in the chair. He glanced at the newspaper again, and read beyond the headline about the 26 year old woman being raped. It said Raima Banerjee, 26 after being raped by four men in absence of her husband, who is a navy officer, jumped out of her home balcony and committed suicide. Raj looked up at Raima after reading this, but there was no one.