Monday, March 17, 2014

Lady in Black - Part 1

Source: Sareedreams.com
The Sharma family was on the move again. After three years of stationary life in Mumbai, Ramesh Sharma had been promoted to become the Vice President of Bajaj Metal Holdings, the company he worked for. The promotion not only meant a hefty raise in pay but also a move to Chennai to take charge of the company’s Head Quarters in the south. It was a big move, what with his wife Komal having to fly to Mumbai every week for work and Sonia, his fourteen year old daughter having to change school just as the new academic year commenced. It would have still been fine had Ramesh and Komal not been expecting their second child. It had been a few weeks since they had got to know the good news and this move would mean a lot of adjustments on the personal front. A child after fourteen years was an important event in their lives, one that both had been eagerly looking forward to. This move was indeed momentous in more than one way.

A move in June from the thundering yet refreshing south west monsoons to the sweltering heat of Chennai was never going to be easy. To help smoothen out the change, Ramesh had done some research before their move and found a real estate agent in Porur, which was a comfortable distance from their plant and the school which they had identified for Sonia to continue her academics. The agent was going to help them find a house as soon as they landed in Chennai.

Ramesh shuttled between Chennai and Mumbai for a few weeks till they wound up all affairs and were finally ready to move down south. They flew to Chennai and checked into a hotel close to Porur. Their first impression of the city was that of hesitant surprise. Having never lived in the South, the sudden change in atmosphere, the temple architecture, signboard and bus numbers written in Tamil, the constant smell of “malipu” mixed with coconut oil… everything was strange to them. Esp. for Komal and Sonia who had never been there; not even for a visit. The weather did little to add to their comfort with the southern Sun scorching their skin to a lovely shade of roasted brown. Feeling hot and humid, they headed out to meet the real estate agent and begin their house hunt. They were extremely particular about living in an independent house and had shared their requirements with the agent in advance.

And a hunt it was. They saw numerous houses but none seemed to satisfy their requirement. If the yard was the right size, the rooms were too small. If the rooms seemed roomy, the kitchen was dingy, they lamented. Finally the list was exhausted and there was not a single house left to see. 
Dejected Ramesh turned to the agent and asked,
“Lalitha, isn't there any house that meets the requirements we gave you?”
Lalitha thought for a while, “Well, there is one that I haven’t shown you but…”
“But what?” asked Ramesh sensing the hesitation in her voice.
“Well, nothing really, but many have found the house to be a bit umm… cold you know?” She threw the words out as if her mouth was on fire. 
“Oh, is that all?” laughed a relieved Ramesh. “That’s perfectly fine, we can see it and then decide how cold or hot we feel it is” said he, laughing loudly at his own joke. 

The setting sun was spreading vibrant hues of orange and red across the sky when they reached the house. Slightly isolated from the rest of the neighbourhood; It was a beautiful bungalow with terracotta tiled roofs lending it a rustic look. A gorgeous garden skirted the house with shrubs of Roses, Hibiscus, Marigolds and Frangipanis falling out from everywhere. A sturdy white picket fence ran along the edge of the garden complementing the earthiness of the roof with its pristine whiteness. Right by the entrance was a tiny pond with sparkling blue, gurgling water that sent out ripples each time the tiny white duckling broke into a dance, flapping its little wings and sending out showers of water all around. The cobbled pathway that led up to the house was draped with a sheet of Mogra from the majestic tree that stood guard near the main door.

Feeling immensely satisfied with the exterior, they entered the house and stared with their mouth wide open. It was probably the most beautiful house they had ever seen. French Windows opening into the garden ran across two walls of the living room with the third wall opening a door into a well thought out library with never ending book shelves. The rest of the floor comprised of a modern state-of-the-art modular island kitchen with a cozy cove laced by corner windows for a dining area, and a spare bedroom. With the living room and library on the left and the bedroom and kitchen sitting pretty on the right, the corridor in between ended in a regal wooden staircase that led the way to the floor above, into four spacious bedrooms, a storage room and a big sprawling terrace. Ramesh,Komal and Sonia looked at each other instinctively, their expressions said it all. They had fallen in love.

“We’ll take it” said Ramesh, turning towards Lalitha who was hovering near the main door. She had been reluctant to walk in, something the Sharmas had failed to notice, busy as they were admiring the place.

“Sure, I’ll draw up the papers and you can come in tomorrow to sign and collect them” said Lalitha, “You can move in anytime, here are the keys” she threw the bunch into Ramesh’s hands and made a quick exit. The Sharmas again hardly noticed.

Once outside, Lalitha let out the breath she had been holding all the while. She knew she had behaved rather strangely for a Real Estate agent, giving them the keys without having the papers ready. But she was just glad she had managed getting the house off her hands; her nerves had also been on the edge all the time, making her justify her behavior. Putting it all behind, she stepped into her car and instantly pulled out of the garage, wanting to get away as fast as possible. The house had always felt cold, she wondered how the Sharma’s hadn't noticed it but then they hadn't noticed the painting on the floor landing either. Should she have told them about the Lady in Black? She wondered; pushing the thought as quickly out of her mind as it had appeared.

To Be Continued...

Read on for Part 2
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50 comments:

  1. Creativity and intense thinking . Nice share.

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    1. Thanks Karan, lets hope I am able to sustain it over the next week :)

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  2. And here I was, pretty happy at having written a cliff hanger. You, my lady, are a brilliant writer and can't wait for the next part. I like ..I like...and I superlike. I bow to you, oh magnificent writer.

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    1. You are the inspiration Sid to give this a try! :) Was busy attending to domestic chores, have you shared Part 3 of Simon..? will check :)

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    2. Just finalising it :) Should be online shortly. Hoping it wont be a damp squib !

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  3. Nice start. Felt so vivid and real. Is this going to be a paranormal story?

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    1. Coming from you thats a lot for me :) Wait and watch what it will be :)

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  4. Intriguing, I want to read more. And that picture at the top is so beautiful. I wonder if you will turn her into a ghost :D

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    1. Come tomorrow, I should have the next installment ready :) You know what, i liked the lady quite a bit too, she has me in a delimna I tell you :P

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  5. Incredible visual appeal. Flows effortlessly. Is the house haunted? We'll have to wait and see.

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    1. Thanks Alka.. hopefully tomorrow I should have part 2 ready :)

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  6. Now, that is a beautiful beginning to a story, if ever there was one. You leave the readers hanging in the balance with the brief yet important mention of the Lady in Black, don't you !!! Eagerly looking forward to the subsequent parts of the story...

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    1. That was precisely the intent Jairam and I am so glad I could manage it to some extent :)

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  7. I am intrigued!! Can't wait for the next installment :) and you described the house so beautifully I could picture it myself...

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    1. Somehow that's how I have always pictured an independent house esp. the exterior part :)

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  8. You built up the story nicely. Seems spooky for sure! The house does seem too good to be true. And that is the perfect setting to make things go horribly wrong.

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    1. Thanks Rachna and you are right a picture perfect house doesn't always turn out as it should be..

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  9. Wow...I was left in awe by this tale..you have written so well...wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Naba :). lets hope you guys feel the same when the next parts come out..

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  10. Seems like a horror story :) Very well written !!

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    1. hehehe keep guessing what it could be!

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  11. Deliciously sinister. The last para sent a shiver down my spine. Drooling in anticipation of Part II

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    1. If I could do that to you, I have attained Nirvana to say the least :)

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  12. liked d way the tension slowly builds up...
    reminded me of Ghost House Inn...:)
    U wrote dis between ur chores...well dats just nice...
    hope to have a hilarious twist towards d end... ;-)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by.. right now even I have no clue how it will twist in the end, let's both wait and watch :)

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  13. liked d way the tension slowly builds up...
    reminded me of Ghost House Inn...:)
    U wrote dis between ur chores...well dats just nice...
    hope to have a hilarious twist towards d end... ;-)

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  14. Awesome seets! Waiting for part 2

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    1. I am too :D, coming up very soooon!

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  15. Awesome seets! Waiting for part 2

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  16. Superb narration and intriguingly poised at the end

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    1. I will say the same thing I said to Fool.. coming from you guys it means a hell lot to me :)

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  17. Superb! You have piqued my interest...waiting for part 2.

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    1. Wont wait you make too long promise!

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  18. Great writing Seeta....something is going to happen..something eerie..I can sense it.. :-P

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    1. Is something going to happen?? or maybe not??? we'll know today :)

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  19. I guess I know where this is going. :)
    Good story. I hope there is an unexpected twist... in part 2.

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    1. Please tell me too where its going.. I am rather clueless right now on where to take it :P Thanks for stopping by...

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  20. I am curious.... and happy to know from the above comment n reply that even you are clueless :D ... adds to the mystery... waiting eagerly

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    1. For now your I am not, part 2 is out :)

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  21. Is it a Ghost house? I can sense something coming..:)

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  22. This is top class writing. You have me hooked. Cant wait for next part !

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    1. Thanks Ruchira :) Part 2 is out... 3 should get churned out some time tomorrow.

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  23. Vivid description, Seeta! Ghost-story, eh? Reminded me of Bhootnath story! :)

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    1. Does it? let's see what this one will remind you off in a few days time :)

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  24. Mystery awaits the Sharma family as well as me....off to read the remaining parts. I was waiting for you to complete the story and read them all at once. :-)

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  25. what a storytelling! Cannot wait to find out what happens!

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    1. Hope you got a chance to read all parts :)

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