Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lady in Black - Part 3


Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't already!

Ramesh and Komal had always been very proud of their open mindedness and modern outlook towards life. Neither were extremely traditional nor did they hold any superstitious beliefs. They were a modern family and that was precisely the reason why both let the incident with Sonia slip by. It was but a random incident caused by tiredness and fatigue, they thought. The painting, they decided meant nothing more than an example of what a good adhesive could do and hence would continue to stay on the landing, with a lot of their family photographs to give it company.

The Sharmas finally settled into the new house and got busy with their daily schedules. Sonia had always been good at academics and extracurricular activities, so it didn’t take her long to adjust at her new school and start developing a friend circle. Komal was in Mumbai most of the week, it was a strenuous routine for her but she knew that would change once she entered her third trimester. Her boss had agreed to let her work from home then on. Ramesh had adapted as well, to the new office, the southern culture that dominated the workplace and had even begun to pick up Tamil in bits and pieces. They had also managed to get a domestic help through Ramesh’s office contacts. She came in everyday in the mornings to prepare their meals and clean the house. All seemed well and the initial hiccups they had were fast fading away. The painting too would have almost been forgotten had it not been for Mr. Subramanian, Ramesh’s office colleague who came home for dinner one weekend. 

It was after dinner, that Ramesh had insisted Mr. Subramanian see the house. After seeing the garden and admiring it, they had headed for the first floor but never managed to get there. On reaching the landing, Mr. Subramanian had stopped. He was rooted to the spot sporting a similar look to that of Sonia’s, the day she had broken the china. To Ramesh, it felt like a déjà vu. 

“Anything wrong Subbu?’ he asked.
“This painting… where did you get it?” questioned Mr. Subramanian.
“Well, it actually came with the house, we did try removing it but-“ 
Before Ramesh could complete his sentence, Mr. Subramanian interjected “You were not able to right? So the legend is true, it had to be true!” he exclaimed loudly.
Thoroughly confused, Ramesh asked him to explain what he meant by that. By then Komal and Sonia had also joined them, their curiosity roused by the loud voices they heard. 
“I think we better move to the living room, this might take some time” said Mr. Subramanian, leading the way back down.

Nursing a much needed drink in his hand, Mr. Subramanian began his tale.

“That painting might seem normal to an onlooker but there is a story hidden behind it. Around fifty years ago, there was a lady named Durgalakshmi who lived with her husband and his family in Chennai. She was a small time village girl who was married away to an educated city boy in exchange for a huge dowry, including a beautiful bungalow for them to live in. With money and the property being the sole criteria for her marriage, she was ill treated right from the beginning by both her husband and her in-laws. If that wasn't enough, her inability to expand the family tree made her endure more torment. Little did her in-laws know that their son never considered any relationship with her. After a year of suffering, she finally gave in to the pain and committed suicide. But before she did so, she left a note blaming her husband’s family for her plight. They were arrested the next day. The lady you see in black in the painting is Durga – painted by her brother, an artist from the post independence era. Once the house was empty, Durga’s parents put it up on sale; they did not want to have anything to do with it anymore. The house kept changing hands, but if there was one thing that always stayed with it, it was this painting. No one was ever able to remove it. The legend also says that some people have seen her around the house….” With that he stopped, looking at the three expectant faces that were completely focused on him during the narration.

“Oh, that is such a sad story, but you mean this house? This painting?...” said Komal.
“Yes, now after seeing the painting I can confidently say the legend is true. This is the house” said Mr. Subramanian.
“That’s all fine, we do not believe in such things” Ramesh began to brush it off.
“But, I am not done; do you know what the worst part is?”
“What?” Asked all three in unison.
With a hesitant look towards Sonia, he whispered “Durga was just fourteen when this happened to her”.

To be Continued

Read on for Part 4

37 comments:

  1. Oi, lady behind the keyboard - Yes, you! Where are you going with this? I suddenly feel a chill down my spine. And no, it has nothing to do with the air conditioned room that I'm sitting in !

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    1. :) So part 4 is out and I hope it does the same to you.. again :)

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  2. Oh my God! I concur with Sid about the chill down the spine! Waiting for the next part!

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  3. Freaky... The lights in the hall are off.. And I suddenly her the fridge door creak and I was startled as I read the lines of your work... Only to realise it was my sis outside.. Gal this is good!

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    1. Ok now I didn't ask for that but glad it gave the necessary effect :P

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  5. Going great! Can't wait for the next part

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  6. Seeta...i loved this :)
    I hope ramesh isnt the previous life husband of lady in black or Komal her previous life mother-in-law.....rising from its ashes ;)

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  7. Oh, that last line is quite ominous. Honestly I am not a big fan of these horror thriller genre, but for whatever reason your narrative style is so riveting that I simply cannot bring myself to stop reading this particular novella. Love where the story is heading ...

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    1. Danke! It means a lot to me you know, your comments and the shares.. thanks a ton :)

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  8. And if I'm not mistaken, Sonia is the same age, right?

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  9. Ah! The story is getting warmer. Expecting some fireworks in the next episode.

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    1. Just hope it doesnt take a turn to the worse :P

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  11. What a climax! Great job till now, Seeta!

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    1. Thanks :) Finishing it tomorrow!

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  12. I just read all the parts :) Eagerly waiting for the story to unravel :D

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    1. Just 2 more days to go for that :)

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  13. It is a spooky story giving a chill to the spine.spine. That the age of Durga and Sonia is 14 adds a creepy dimension.I am waiting with bated breath for the next part!

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    1. Thank you Sir, means a lot to me :)

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  14. Good going but you always manage to leave us wanting for more.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Thanks dear, that's precisely what I was hoping for!

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  15. What? I thought the wait to be over today. Not fair.

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    1. just 2 more days I promise... I thought I'll make the week entertaining for all :)

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  16. Good going... I know where this is going I guess..:)

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    1. Really? Let me in on it as well ;-)

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  17. Where did you find the painting, Seeta?!
    Heard a similar tale from granny or straight from your head!

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    1. hehehe, the pic was a lucky find! the story.. well from my pea sized head only man :P

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    2. Definitely not pea-sized! :)
      Capable of such great works, Ms.Humble! :)

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  18. Oohhh I cannot wait for the next part. Please tell me which is the last part and then I will wait and read all of them together. I could never keep a novel down halfway without thinking about it. The painting is indeed lovely. Reminds me of Ramabai Ranade serial - Uncha Maza Zoka. One of my rare n favorite TV serials

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    1. The painting was a damn lucky find :) Last part comes out on Friday!

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  19. I am now running to read part 4.

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