It was June. Summer was at its peak.
Dharampal was sleeping with his grandchildren on either side. Sleeping on the floor with bed sheets spread evenly on the floor was his favourite and he did not like sleeping on bed. This was in the genes of his grandchildren also.
He saw Shraboni entering room of his son with sari border covering her head. She almost ran inside the room and locked the room from inside.
Dharampal heard some noise and then lost in the thoughts of Kanta.
Dharampal and Kanta used to go on the roof where Dharampal would smoke hookah and Kanta would prepare Lassi for him. Dharma would bring Chole Kulche for his wife and Kanta would eat it.
Everyday Kanta would do the same thing and Dharampal would be happy. Both then lie down and see the stars and talk to one another before going to sleep. Both were aged and would tell stories of brave and humorous acts done in their young days.
Kanta had full trust in Dharmapaji. Kanta would say Dharmapaji, you are a great man. I know you never had affair with any girl except me.
Kailash along with his family had gone out in summer holidays at his in laws house for about a week.
Kailash along with his family returned from his in-laws house in the morning in the last week of June.
He immediately left for his shop so that he could see if everything was in order in the departmental store. The departmental store was a big one and almost everything was available in the store.
He looked at his watch. It was 6.00 in the evening and this was the time when he would be on his way from departmental store to his home.
Kailash reached home at 6.45.
There was no one in the house. Generally there used to be noise in the evening. Children would cry, they would snatch one another’s things or Kanta would shout at them whenever one would slap another sibling.
He felt uneasy and started calling each member.
Shraboni where are you? Shyam where are you?
Geeta where have you gone? Maji, Pitaji where are you?
Still no answer.
He went upstairs and reached the roof. He was shocked to see everyone weeping. He asked everyone but no one replied.
He saw Kanta and kept on staring her. He regained consciousness soon and said Maji what happened to you?
She was lying there with no body movement.
Pitaji was crying. He said I never told a lie to Kanta. Today only I thought of pulling her leg.
It was afternoon and sun was setting. I started laughing and asked for a glass of water from Kanta.
She asked what happened Dharama.
Dharma said “nothing much dear”. You remember Sumitra. The beautiful woman in her early twenties with dove eyes and silky black long hair and perfect figure. She was no match with any woman at that time.
Expressions on Kanta’s face changed and she became somewhat furious.
Her tone changed and said now I understand why you would go late in the evening everyday and would be happy with shine in the eyes when you would return. So you were with her all those evenings and made me a fool.
He came near her and held her hands. He could not believe. Kanta’s body was very hot and was almost boiling.
Kanta loved her husband very much and they never had any disagreement throughout their lives. He was worried. He started cursing himself. He should not have said this to his wife, even if this was true. He should have thought about this earlier.
Kanta’s face twisted after listening his story of young days. After few minutes she almost became still.
Dharma took water from the jug and sprinkled it over her face. She moved a bit and then suddenly her face dropped down with her back supporting on the leg of Dharma. His both hands were trying to shake her body.
But it was very late.
He recoiled and said you cannot leave me like this. We have been together all these years both in joys and sorrows of life. I just wanted to enjoy and hence told you the story of Sumitra. You should have at least listened to other part of the story.
They were on the same spot where they had slept together last time.
Dharma threw the glass of water on the floor and shouted you old lady I will not cremate you.