Mr and Mrs. Chopra lived in the bungalow, four houses left from us. Their pink bougainvillea hedge was always meticulously cut and the lawn was always free from dog turd. Mr Chopra was a stock broker, a rich one if the neighborhood aunties were to be believed. Mrs. Chopra was a daughter of an affluent business man and had never forgotten that.
I had always thought of Mr. Chopra as an underdog. Maybe it was his hunched shoulders, or his continuously shifting eyes which never really met yours, but whatever it was , the first impression was of a nervous temperament.
Most of this story revolves around a park. A park, you say? Yes, a park.
There was nothing extra-ordinary about that park. In fact, the likes of it can still be seen all around the city. The up keeping was financed by the local politician (who happened to live right next to it) and no dogs were allowed. Aunties could be seen jogging in the morning, with their flabby arms and thunder thighs , and the youth of the neighborhood, the rich and the servant's children, all played blissfully together.
That summer things had been particularly tensed at home. I was a single child and slightly eccentric,if I may say so, and the park had been my refuge. It was directly in front of the Chopra's, and Ashish( the Chopra's son) and I had spent many hours in it. Back then, Ashish did not chase any short skirt that came his way and I was not a loner but one of the cool ones.
Anyways,(cause this story is getting slightly out of track), it all started with Rita's arrival.
And who is this Rita?
Allow me to explain.
Rita was a distant cousin, as most Indian relatives are, but my mother apparently owed something to her mother so we were obliged to be respectful and...
... middle of paper ...
...ent to the park and sure enough, Rita was there.
Just as I had crossed the street I saw Mr. Chopra emerging out of his house. He was wearing a three-piece suit in the humidity, with a bouquet of red roses in his hands. My curiosity was piqued. He looked my way and I instinctively ducked behind a neighbor's car. Thankfully, he didn't notice me and there was no one in sight. As if emboldened, he started walking towards the park. I followed at a safe distance.
Mr. Chopra stopped suddenly and with a snort of disgust, threw down the bouquet, turned around and went back home.
As soon as he was gone I ran to the park entrance. The sight stopped me. Rita was in the arms of a well-built man, laughing and smiling as if there was no tomorrow. The man then released her and cupped her face with his hands. He turned suddenly, and recognition struck crystal clear.
It was Ashish.
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