May 06, 2015

The anniversary gift

Pradeep Verma was sleeping soundly on his side of the bed, when suddenly the alarm went off. Sleepily, he extended his hand and hit the snooze button. 
"Five more minutes," he thought, his eyes still tightly shut. The rays of the morning sun peeped from between the blinds. It had hardly been a week since the neighborhood had got the news of his wife's sad demise. 


Shubha had mysteriously disappeared on the day of her wedding anniversary. A distraught Mr Verma had searched everywhere, but in vain. Eventually, a missing complaint had been lodged. After ten days of thorough investigation, the Delhi police had discovered a decapitated body in a burlap sack drowning in an isolated lake, a hundred odd miles away from the Verma house. The body had been identified as Shubha's based on the clothes and bangles she had been wearing. Pradeep had been inconsolable.
The Delhi police were baffled. It was the perfect murder. There had been no trace of any kind of  evidence. It was probably that the face had been neatly carved out after the victim had stopped breathing---the planned work of an expert. Autopsy showed no drug consumption. The slightly raised carbon dioxide levels in the blood pointed towards asphyxiation, but this could be matched with other tell tale signs as the body had been decapitated. The cremation was carried out. Even the police felt sorry for Pradeep, who seemed in shock, and after a point, kept referring to Shubha as if she was still alive.
"Please have a cup of tea, Inspector. Shubha makes very good tea. She won't like it if you leave the house without eating anything," he said stone faced and expressionless. His relatives looked at each other sympathetically. The good man was losing his mind. After all, he loved his wife so much.


Pradeep turned on one side. He slowly opened his eyes to Shubha's side of the bed. At the head end, was a pillow on which  was placed something wrapped in cellophane. Pradeep smiled as he gazed at the frozen face. There was a putrid odour of formalin treated flesh in the cold and dark room. But Pradeep did not mind that. Her facial expressions had gone blank and rigid, the effects of rigor mortis. Her sharp features now seemed startled and stone cold. But it was still her...his Shubha.
He had practiced his move since the day he realized she was cheating on him. He had never liked her boss, Satish, but Shubha? How could she throw away five years of their marriage? He had loved her...trusted her.


"Happy anniversary, love," she had said.
As she hugged him that morning, a small tear had rolled down his cheek. She looked so beautiful in the yellow sari he had gifted her. The gold bangles glittered on her slender wrists.

"Do you want to tell me something?" he had still offered her another chance, as he pulled her playfully in bed with him.

She had nodded. "I want something from you," she puckered her lips.

"A divorce?" he had wondered. A vein started throbbing on the right side of his head.

"I want my face to be the first thing you see when you wake up every morning," she had giggled. Her cell phone with all of Satish's messages was lying by her side. Hadn't she texted him the same last night?
 The vein throbbed like it would burst. His anger surged. This woman was making a fool out of him.
He looked at her one last time...the face he had loved, the face that was cheating him.

"So be it then," he had screamed letting out all his anger in one go, as she gasped for breath under the pillow he forced tightly over her face...


...the same face that he would now wake up to, every morning...

"Good morning, sweetheart. Rise and shineeee," Pradeep chuckled like a lunatic. 
Holding the cellophane wrapped face in both his hands, he kissed it on the forehead...his perfect start to a beautiful day!


Maniparna said...

Oh! What a story...I was feeling sorry for the man but, at the end changed my mind. A cold-blooded murder it is... :-(

Great writing... (y)

Pooja Mahimkar said...

OMG! What a story!

Shikha Arya said...

That's definitely a good read!!

Pri said...

@ Maniparna
Thanks. I'm glad it caught your interest :D

Pri said...

@ Pooja
Thanks Pooja. If u haven't read my novel, 'Twists Of Fate', do give it a read...
It's not a horror story like this one. But I think it won't disappoint you :)

Pri said...

@ Shikha
Thanks Shikha. Maybe I should consider writing a horror story for my second novel ;)