Sunday, 21 July 2019

Part 8: How to Kill your Husband

The widow's her hair swept in a tight neat bun, looks frail and frightened in the dock. Padma's lawyer has briefed a judge about the case,

The prosecutor for the crown objects forcibly. "This women intended to profit from her husband's death my lord. She is not a women who would morn from his passing. On the contrary, she intended to celebrate it." The prosecutor spat, shining bald by worry. His acne scars clawed on his face making him an obvious hindrance to any romantic aspirations. No wonder he thought Padma was a gold digger, caught up in the web of crime.



"There is no doubt a crime has been committed. The happy family holiday was a sham. For years Padma Gupta was kept under Mr. Shashank Gupta's thumb. Ever since she was married, her life was dominated by her husband and after all these years of devotion, Shashank gupta cheats on his wife. Now desperate broken hearted house wife couldn't think of anything to cure her pained heart. The only thing she could think of was revenge! What better revenge there could be than murdering your husband and throwing his body in the sea."

Uh-oh riddhima thought biting her nails. Now the prosecutor will bring all the witnesses which will testify against her mum's "wifely humour". 

The judge throws a disapproving look at Padma who was scarlet letter by now. Riddhima wanted to shout that actually it's her mum who nearly died of an overdose of wedlock and that her husband has been exploiting the prostitutes, but as I am not even supposed to be here, bite my tongue.

"My lord." Richa chaudhry stands up and adopt a pose of a royal footman. "This is a missing person's case. Police in Australia have launched an enquiry to try to find Mr. Gupta. There is no evidence of any crime, only a word of a convicted felon"

Padma whimpers and mops her nose with a hanky.

The prosecutor with oozing sarcasm reminds the judge that no one is ever more apparently grief stricken than the widow. "So grief stricken that within hours of his disappearance she was asking about his insurance policy and pension death-benefits payout."

"Can I speak?" Padma asks and without waiting for a reply from the bench. "The grief that my husband might have drowned had to faced so that I could help my daughters. They have to get on with their lives-"

"Can I remind you to put your defence in the right time?" the jugde tries to silence her with his heavy accent. "And through your lawyer." He reminds. But Padma ignores him. This is the women who has beared a lot in life. It was now or never!

"Although I have to learn to accept the truth- the possible death of my husband- I will not allow grief to ruin the life of my daughters. If you put me in jail, then I can't comfort them"

"Please be quiet!" the judge roars like a sea lion in labour. Riddhima feels sorry for her mother; she has thrown herself on the mercy of court and gone splat.

The prosecutor blames Padma for all kinds of things riddhima was not even aware off. For example, riddhima had no idea that her mum has given her dad the wrong malaria tablets and exposing him to parasite infection. She did that?! Man no one tells me anything in this house!!. "More evidence of her ruthlessness my lord."

Padma chocks a sob in her throat. "But that was a genuine mistake-" but the only thing that could move the judge are his bowels. He looks at Padma in a cold way as if she's just a specimen under a microscope. Riddhima shivers in fright. Things were going out of hands. The ship was sinking and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. But just when it looks like her mum's future was teetering, a court usher bustles up to the prosecutor with a faxed page. Speed reading, his facial expression changes with amazement.

"My lord word has just come from South Australian Police that the torso of Shashank Gupta has been found in the belly of a Great White Shark. The fisheries office has been hunting Great Whites because of a rise in attacks." He reads out aloud. "The man eater containing the torso which is now identified as Mr. Shashank Gupta's was as wide as a car. It is impossible to say what caused the attack. The victim was in the water at dusk, the most dangerous time. Sharks can also detect the most minute amount of blood and a used tampon has been found in the back pocket of the victim's shorts."

A sharp cry pierced the thick silence, and riddhima look across to see Padma fallen down in a dead faint.



There are many advantages of being a female. One is that if you're dumb, some people find it cute. Another is that if you're a lousy athlete, you don't have to question your worth as a human being. And the third is that you can scare male bosses, policemen or aged judges with a mysterious gynaecological disorder or the mere mention of the word 'tampon'.

The judge's curiosity overrides his embarrassment and he ask Padma, who had been crying quietly in the dock after a half an hour recesss to cope with the news of her husband's death, for an explanation regarding the 'feminine hygiene product'.

"It's proof, that's what is it! Proof of just how well Shashank and I had been getting on." Padma whimpers and riddhima winces predicting just what's going to come next. "We were around the shallow water by the rocks. Shashank wanted to have sex. I had my period. And well, I didn't wanted to leave my tampon in the ocean. I mean it could have been picked up by a wave hit some poor swimmer on the face. So shashank kindly offered to put it in the back pocket of his shorts. That's how intimate and loving we were, my lord. Afterwards I was tired and wanted to swim back. shashank said he'd join me later in the evening for cocktails but while I was showering I think he swam out beyond the headland where we'd been warned not to go. He was like that- so fearless. And well you know the rest."

The entire courtroom stares at her and riddhima's eyes are ready to pop out any minute. Riddhima couldn't believe that extreme sports enthusiasts, otherwise known as 'Organ Donors' haven't take up 'Used Tampon In Pocket Whilst Swimming in Shark Infested Waters' as an ultimate risk-taking thrill.

"We're Indians." Padma suddenly cries out. "We didn't know that shark feed at dusk. We also didn't know that they detect the most minute amount of blood."

She breaks down again. Tissues are provided and glass of water fetched.

Riddhima glances at Richa chaudhry. She's not sure whether this new revelation has has helped her case or not. Till now Padma was only arrested in attempted murder, thanks to Cherry's bitchiness. Now there's a body involved, has this increased or decreased the chances of padma's freedom?

Richa chaudhry walks into the courtroom with impatient stride. "My lord, I've been just approached by the witness who wants to withdraw and has been advised to go the police to verify this. As the prosecutor's witness named Cherry has been proved unreliable and withdrawn her statement and the remaining evidence is being hearsay and speculation. I'm sure you agree that the crown prosecution must drop all charges"

Padma looks in riddhima's direction. She gaze back. All riddhima can think of is HOW ON EARTH CHERRY WITHDREW FROM THE CASE? how did this miracle happen?

An hour passes and riddhima waits by the cell and the prison to confirm that Padma is not in custody on any other charges. When she finally signs her release forms, she appears. Both just collapse into eachother's arms, laughing and crying simultaneously. Relief rains over them.

"Thanks for putting up the bail money and the lawyer's fees riddhima. You're a great daughter" Padma sniff back her tears.

"Anytime mum. What are daughters for after all" riddhima says proudly, her heard swelling in pride and happiness.

On the way out, Richa chaudhry takes riddhima's arm and pulls her in the corner. "I believe you owe your husband a kind word."

"Who-Armaan?"

"Yes, I accidentally let him know about cherry's testimony against Padma and apparently he paid her a little visit- along with a Doberman, a Great Dane, a jar of venomous spiders and a bag full of pythons"

"WHERE THE f**k DID HE GET ALL THOSE...ANIMALS FROM?" Riddhima screeches unbelievably.

"He said he borrowed them off his vet friend."

"Armaan did that?" astonishment written all over riddhima's face. Did my low down rotten kamina husband transform into a Knight in Shining Armani?

"It's amazing what these deadly animals can do to you...in our case, give us victory"

************************************************************************

Riddhima's car stops with a screeching halt just outside her house door. She runs inside the house, climb the steps two at a time and barges in the room. No armaan! She looks at the watch and realise that he'd still be in the office. She was about to rush to the office as well when suddenly armaan's word rings in her mind. "You.Are.Fired. what part of that your sarcastic brain doesn't understand?" They hit her like a sharp blow. Her minds mentally balances armaan's achai and armaan's burai. She couldn't come up with a conclusion. Screw it! He must have helped me to lesson his guilt...only if he has any!

Later that night when Armaan walks in the house loosening up his tie and throws his briefcase on the sofa. Suddenly he stops dead in his tracks as he sees the 8th wonder of the world right in his kitchen. He must be dreaming for that to happen. He pinches himself but no! The image still stays intact right in front of his eyes. There was riddhima, his kam chor wife baking a cake. SOMEONE WAKE HIM UP!!!

Riddhima comes up to him with a piece of chocolate cake and give it to him. He suspiciously stares down at the cake. A little warning rings in his ears.

"Thank you for dealing with Cherry. Mum won the case as suddenly the prime witness withdraws from the case. Richa chaudhry told me it was you who went to her house with all those...things"

Armaan takes the cake from her. "Well I just thought of helping you. I mean after what happened that day, it was the least I could do" he reluctantly takes a bite of the cake which miraculously tastes like a chocolate cake, not like a rock painted brown which he'd thought would taste like. He takes a big bite and gobbles down the whole piece.

Riddhima ignores him. The last thing she'd wanted to do right now was discuss about 'that' day. "I have mixed furniture polish in your cake which won't kill you, just  give you a bad stomach...but then I thought why not show gratitude with all my heart and warn you before hand, so later in life time I won't feel guilty." riddhima finished with a tight forceful smile and armaan chocked on his cake, spitting the contents out.

"RIDDHIMAAA!!!" Armaan moans and runs towards the kitchen washing his mouth and gargling. Riddhima huffs and marches in the kitchen.

"Don't 'Riddhima' me. I atleast told to beforehand as I was feeling guilty. Huh bhalayi ka to zamana hi nahi raha."

"Why are you so weird? Oh god. Why did I eat that dodgy cake? Tumhara to kuch bharosa nahi riddhima'" armaan could feel something turning in his stomach. He ran to the nearest toilet and vomited out everything. For the rest of the night, he sat with his face in the toilet puking out remnants of riddhima's cake! And whereas madam was sprawled out on their king sized bed on her own having fun! Why is life so unfair? No actually it was rather his fault. Riddhima pre warned him about her mixing dodgy things in his food before as well and still he ate the chocolate cake as if he'd never tasted one before!

Armaan woke up with the noise of someone gargling. Huh? He opened his eyes to notice that he slept in the bathroom leaning on the shower stall and riddhima was brushing her teeth merrily. She washed her mouth for the last time and turns to face him while wiping her face.

"Ab uthoge bhi ya bathroom mein hi bas jana hai? Kaho to yaha par ek bed lagwa du" she said sassily while filling up the bathtub and then added all kinds of bath gels and salts. The aroma of lavender was already spreading around the bathroom. She takes a long breath and sighs contently. Nice smell man. "C'mon get your ass out of the bathroom. I am having a long deserved bath" riddhima said while checking the water temperature and making form bubbles with the bath gel.

Armaan gives her one evil look and goes to the bedroom. "Ah my darling, my love, my coochi cu. Did you miss me last night? I missed you a lot my dear" armaan said slumping on his bed and kissing his pillow. He dozes off.

**********************************************************************

"I think now that everything is sorted out, we should hold a grand reception. What say riddhima?" Billy Mallik brings out the reception topic on breakfast table, which both newlyweds had been avoiding since weeks.

Riddhima drinks water in order to get some time to think of a nice answer to avoid reception. Who wants to have a reception right now? The bride and the groom aren't even on talking terms right now "Errr...I don't think it's a good time Mr. Mallik."

"This is the best time anyone could ever get riddhima" Billy enforced and riddhima kicks armaan under the table to get his attention. Armaan who at the moment was dozing off at the breakfast table.

"HUH WHAT?" armaan jerks up from his semi sleep state.

"Armaan why don't you tell Mr. Mallik that reception will not be a good idea" riddhima pinches his arm to wake him up and armaan mutters a small "oww" as he rubs his arm.

"Why won't it be a good idea? I think it will be a great idea, after all it's time to celebrate my marriage. And let's just hope mine's won't end up like my parents. You know what happened riddhima?" armaan asked her acidly while looking at his dad with venom in his eyes. Billy Mallik played with his breakfast. "In the first year of marriage, husband spoke and wife listened. In the second year of marriage, wife spoke and husband listened. In the third year of marriage, they both spoke and the neighbourhood listened"

Riddhima made a huge effort not to let a chuckle out. Seeing Billy mallik's grim expression, she made a straight face.

"You know what happened in the fourth year riddhima?" armaan ask riddhima and without waiting for a reply, he continues, "The divorce lawyer spoke and I listened! And the fun thing is when those scary looking lawyers ask a small child whether he wants to stay with his mum or dad? And when he chooses his mum, his dad used his power and money to prove that he can be a better dad any day but clearly that didn't happen" armaan spat out poison and Riddhima played with her breakfast in awkwardness.

Billy Mallik pushed behind his chair, getting up as he announced. "Two days later, I am keeping a reception. Be there". He left the table after taking a long frustrated sigh and for the first time, riddhima felt pity for Billy Mallik. Armaan is just being an ass hole!

As they both made their way to their bedroom armaan said suddenly, "Riddhima I want you to join our company back again...please"

Riddhima ignored him and took her handbag out of the wardrobe. She slung a cheetah print Prada handbag on her shoulder and looked at armaan with a smirk. "How can I join the company again?" she asks armaan. "When I haven't left it in the first place?"

Armaan looked at her with confusion. Brows wiggled. "But I fired you that day-"

"I can't remember you hiring me in Mallik empires. So who gave you the friggin' right to fire me? I was on 2 week leave" She said winking at her shocked armaan, his mouth opened slightly. Why does he always mistake riddhima for a typical girl? Who would've thought...

*********************************************************************

Riddhima's heels clicked on the shining marble floor as she passed the reception. He pressed for the lift and the door pinged open. She checked her appearance in the lift mirror. Clad in black boot cut trousers and purple blouse, she looked all business along with her glossy black hair, pin straightened with her GHD. Her eyes were thinly outlined with eye liner and lashes curved and volumized with mascara. Aah she always had this thing for eye make ups. She think with an amused expression as she takes out her plum coloured lip gloss sweeping it on her lips.

As the door pings open again she steps out in the corridor looking at armaan's cabin with a smirk. Oh how she was famous in this office for making people's life hell and oh how she will love using her talent on her new boss.

"May I come in Sir?" She asks and before armaan could answer, she barges into his cabin holding a cup of starbucks coffee.

"How come I can't remember saying come in?!" armaan snaps. "What are you doing here? Don't you have anything else to do?" he glares at her.

"These are the Seths file which needs your urgent attention and then later sign these cheques" she stopped suddenly totally ignoring him. "Unless you've got some mysterious problem with the sight of cheques" she taunted him airily.

"Keep them here. I'll take a look later and Mrs. Riddhima Mallik why don't you bring me a cup of hot steaming coffee and we'll discuss my problem with the sight of 'unknown cheques given to my wife by my biggest rival' later." Armaan said authoritatively and riddhima winced. "If you ask me a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to listen"

***

Riddhima was having her lunch while going through her appointments and emails on her Blackberry.

"Riddhima man. You're always known for you snappy tongue in office. Please help me." one of riddhima's colleague Nikhil came and sat opposite her. She looked up from her phone half listening to him.

"Whaaa?"

"Yaar meri madad kar. Meri fiance aur mere beech larai hui thi. She's such a bitch I tell you." Nikhil goes on bitching about his fiance and riddhima gives a frustrated sigh. Ab office mein bhi chain nahi!

"Bata kya kaha teri churel fiance ne ab?"

"She said women are way better than men. And she gave me this list saying why it is better to be women than men. I could hardly think of anything. C'mon man please tell me why it is better to be man than a women?" Nikhil pleads and riddhima opens her mouth to protest.

"Pagal hai kya? Why would I say that it's better to be a man when am a woman myself?" just then armaan comes in and join them with a coffee cup in his hand.

"I'll tell you Nikhil, after all after living with riddhima for so many days I've got the experience mate" armaan said cheekily while hitting Nikhil playfully and riddhima mutters, "haan haan isse pucho, isne to in baato mein PHD kar rakhi hai!"

Armaan smiles seeing riddhima fume and continue. "1.)Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat"

Riddhima's mind snap back to life. "Well taxis stop for us."

Armaan smile cheekily as he say. "Queues for the toilet are 90% shorter."

"Atleast we don't have to worry about the person at the next toilet looking at our genitals." Riddhima retorts smirking.

"Your butt is never a factor in a job interview."

"Well we can always sue for sexual harassment and not get made fun of." She rolls her tongue in her mouth and armaan appreciates her witty comebacks.

He sips his coffee. "You don't have to go to the bathroom without a support group."

"If we go to the bathroom in pairs or groups, no one thinks we're gay."

"When your work is criticized, you don't have to panic that everyone secretly hates you." Nikhil Hi-fives armaan as they both laugh.

"A woman can never be sent to jail for slapping her husband." She narrows her eyes and armaan raises his brows.

"Three pairs of shoes will last you a life time" armaan says as a matter of fact.

"We can wear platforms - which is why there is no such thing as a 'short woman's complex'" she replies calmly

 "If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend." He sniggers while taking another gulp of his hot coffee, enjoying the banter with riddhima. It's been agesss since he had a proper talk with her. He suddenly realised how much he missed it. Missed her... the realisation shook him, causing his guards to go up automatically. Since when armaan started missing girls? A little voice in his mind hovered around him.

"If you get into a fight your friends will help you." Riddhima points out.

 "None of your co-workers have the power to make you cry."

"We can cry and get away with a lot of things" armaan suddenly remember the morning when he saw tears in riddhima's eyes. True they can cry and move mountains. In his case, she moved his emotions.

 "Shall I tell more? Or these will enough to shut your fiancee's mouth for now?" armaan looks at riddhima while talking to Nikhil with a smirk.

 "What are the two reasons why armaan can't mind his own business?" riddhima ask Nikhil who shift uncomfortably in his seat. Are they really a married? The love match of the year?

"err I don't know" he laughs nervously and even armaan listen with an amused expression.

"1.) No mind. 2.) No business" riddhima snaps back and armaan shakes his head while rolling his eyes. "But I think another good thing about being a man is that you can sort your laundry out very effectively. Ask how?" riddhima ask sassily.

 Armaan felt the corners of his lips kick up in a smile. "Ab bata bhi dee jiye riddhima jee"

"'Filthy' and 'Filthy but wearable'"

 Nikhil coughs and tries to lighten up the conversation. "Hey riddhima tell me how come a sworn bachelor like armaan married a smart girl like you?" Nikhil teases the married couple. A big mistake.

"Opposites attract" riddhima winks at her husband and gets up from her chair excusing herself.

saniya

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