By Neel Anil Panicker

Residence of the Deputy Collector, Cochin Metropolitan City:

Half an hour has gone by and IAS Officer has shown no sign of slowing down. He’s  pacing the full length of the large badminton court on the far right corner of his Deputy Collector’s Bungalow.

His mind goes back to the happenings of the last one week. Undoubtedly, they have been one of the worse days of his life. His plans, earlier thought of as perfect to a T were now in danger of falling apart. The ground beneath his feet seemed to be slipping with the passing of every single moment. The murders, much needed though, had not been done smoothly. For the first in his life, he felt things slipping out of his hands. He needed to do something. Something very fast.

A thought struck his mind. He picked up his IPhone and stabbed a few digits.

“I hope it is safe to call on this number, DGP. I need a small favour from you”.

Seconds later, his face broke into a smile and suddenly he felt as if a massive weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

A shuffling of feet broke his reverie.

 “Sir, what would you like for dinner. Fish curry and rice. Or, would you like something North Indian. How about Aloo Pranthas? There’s also boiled tapioca if you wish.”

Rajesh looked at Chacko, his 60 year old servant, only one of many that served him in three different shifts__some as house boys, gardeners, washers, general house keeping and three as cooks. Chacko was the chief cook and had served under served food for four other IAS officers before him.

‘No, that would be fine. Dinner will be from outside. I am going out. Will come very late tonight. You can leave for the night, Chacko.’

The old man, though momentarily taken aback, managed to hide his emotions, bowed and turned back.

Less than a minute late, at exactly seven, as promised, a white Maruti Dzire arrived and parked itself outside the General Post Office building.

A message flashed on his mobile phone. Alerted by the beep Rajesh checked his phone and made his way towards the front gate.

Crossing the road, he spotted the car outside “Saravana Stores’ and soon slipped into its back seat.

Seconds later as the car picked up speed, he turned around and greeted his co passenger with a soft ‘Hi’.

In response, a hand moved in the dark and gently squeezed his extended palm.

“Same place, isn’t it? Or, do you have something else in your mind, Raj?”

Rajesh turned around and peered through the dark at his co passenger.

Even in the semi darkness of the night, he could spot her dimples, one on either cheek that shone bright as two evening stars showering its brilliance on the earth.

His heart surged with an unbridled wave of emotional love and he leaned forward and kissed her on the cheeks.

“Your wish is my command, sweetheart”.

She smiled in return, a dazzling curve that brought alive his entire being wiping off all the tensions that had accumulated at the end of a typical working day.

The two spent the next half an hour catching up and filling one another on their respective day time activities.

At exactly eight, the car screeched to a halt outside the front portico of the swanky Hotel Malabar Palace, the one and only Five Star hotel in all of temple town Aluva.

“Let’s go. I am dying for you know what”.

‘Same here’, she replied as the two stepped off the lift and literally ran towards Room No. 707.



To read earlier episodes click here:


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