Chapter 1 – Judgement Day

Rachana’s office was located in the central plaza of the town. She worked as a junior assistant in an IT firm. As she was about to enter the multi-storeyed building that housed her office, she heard someone call her name.

“Rachana! Hi.”

Turning back, she saw Nandita, another young assistant who worked at her company, but from a different department. She smiled and waved. Nandita was getting down from an auto and gestured her to stop. Rachana waited until Nandita came up to her, a little breathless – both from walking fast and excitement. She was always in a state of excitement, being the office gossip. However, as she meant no harm, Rachana found it very hard to hold it against her. At present Nandita looked flushed and happy.

“Hi, Nandita. Any new piece? You look happy, which means, somebody must be in trouble.” Rachana teased her gently.

“I am in love.” Nandita declared.

“Oh dear. Who is it this time?” Nandita fell in and out of love on a fairly regular basis. They started to walk together towards the elevator  at the back of the lobby.

“I don’t think you will know him. I don’t know him either.”

“What?” Rachana laughed out aloud. “This is taking it a bit too far even for you.”

“Well, I see him at the Auto stand every day. He is tall and very handsome. I try to get him to talk to me, but …”

The elevator arrived. Both got inside.

“Well, yesterday, he was standing just behind me in the queue, you know. We sat beside each other the whole way, and when he was about to get down – his stop arrived before mine – he looked at me.”

“And so you fell in love? Just like that?”


“Well,” Rachana said, “I must leave you to your romance now. I get of here.” Rachana got off the elevator as her floor had arrived.

Shaking her head – for it was impossible to judge Nandita – and smiling a little to herself, Rachana headed for her own cubicle, from where she worked.

When she emerged from the office, it was still light. The sun had not quite gone down yet. Rachana thought briefly about having some lassi before queuing up for the auto, for it was a warm evening, but then she decided to head straight home instead. “I shall have something when I get home.”

Home was an old building downtown, which had been converted into small apartments and let out. Rachana lived with her parents and brother, renting three rooms, along with a small space for cooking.  Her father worked in the local Government office, while brother was studying in college. Rachana’s mother was   stay-at-home mom, whose life revolved around her two children.

“Mummy, I am home.” Rachana called out, changing her sandals for slippers at the entrance of their front room.  Her mother came out of the kitchen,  her hands full of batter.

“Where is Papa? And Sunil?” Rachana asked. Sunil was her brother. “Not yet back from college?”

“Papa is in the shower.  Sunil came back awhile ago, but went out again, saying he has some work.” Her mother replied.

“Work? The only work he should be having now is studying.” Rachana frowned.

“I will talk to him. Now you go, change. I am frying pakoras.”

Rachana laughed and went to her room. Once in there, she out down her purse and too out some home clothes from the closet. Then she went to the window and stood there for awhile. The cool breeze wafting from outside felt soothing, darkness was falling over the town. She could see the lights of the main road, with cars moving to and fro like  small dots of diamante across the streets. Children’s voice and laughter flowed from across the street below.

“Rachana! Papa is out. You can have your shower now.” Her mother called out. Rachana signed and went to take her shower. She felt content with life at present. Life was good and full of promises.

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