‘I have a hot news to share with you people.’ Latha rushed into Geeth’s house. Latha, Geeth and Anchal lived in the same colony and met almost every weekday after the office crowd leaves the building. They watched daily soaps, prepared lunch together now and then, drank coffees and teas and most importantly spoke, discussed, argued and gossiped about everything under the sky.
‘What’s that?’ asked Anchal locking her house door that was opposite to Geeth’s.
‘If I tell that to you guys, you will not even believe me.’ Said Latha.
‘Come on. We trust you. First tell us what it is.’ Geeth said as the three settled down in front of the television on the couch.
‘It’s about that crazy girl, who stays next door…’ Latha was interrupted by Geeth, who asked ‘Which crazy girl?’
‘There is a girl, who has shifted to the house next to Latha’s. The flat that was locked for a long time after that suicide. This girl is so weird. She looks good and she wears shorts and sleeveless all the time. She has short hair, long legs, fair skinned and always roams with so much pride. She sits in the corners of the garden with her laptop and talks to herself animatedly.’ Anchal explained.
‘What’s it about her?’ Anchal added looking at Latha curiously.
‘Yesterday night my husband came home later, around mid-night. I let my husband in and went out to place the milk bag. I saw her fiddling with a bunch of keys, trying one after the other. As she hurriedly shifted from key to key her bag toppled on the ground. She dumped everything that fell on the ground, hurriedly, into her bag. The last thing that was on the floor was..’ She paused.
‘What was it?’ Geeth asked.
Latha walked to the door to close it and settled down again to finish her sentence saying ‘…a condom.’
‘What? Isn’t she staying alone in the house? I don’t think she is married.’ Anchal said.
‘She isn’t. I was also shocked. She smiled at me sheepishly and shut the door as fast as she could. I was so curious. After my husband went to sleep I again went to her door and pressed my ears against it. I heard weird noises. I think it was some guy.’ Latha said.
‘Disgusting. How can these girls do all that before marriage.’ Geeth said as she wrinkled her nose.
Their conversation then shifted to pre marital sex, abortions, orphanages and finally ended with how cruel in-laws in tv soaps were.
A week later, the three gathered at Latha’s place.
‘Did you see her?’ Latha asked as a girl passed by on the corridor.
‘Who is that?’ Geeth asked.
‘That girl.’ Anchal said lowering her voice as she rose to peep through the window.
‘Which girl?’ Geeth asked again.
‘The girl with the “C”. How do you forget such interesting characters?’ Latha said as she joined Anchal at the window.
They hid themselves behind the curtain and peeped through the window to monitor what this girl-with-the-c was doing. This girl looked around, then picked a huge stone from her handbag and broke open the lock that was hanging on to her door. She then went in and shut it behind her.
‘What is happening here? She doesn’t seem to work, behaves in a weird way, holds several keys and breaks open into her own house. On top of it carries condom, reaches home late night and have sex with men before marriage. What kind of a person we live with in this apartment?’ Geeth said.
‘Shu…Wait wait.’ Anchal said as she was still looking at the house of the girl-with-the-c. She locked the house and walked towards their house. Anchal, quickly, cautioned the other two to remain seated. The door bell rang. Latha opened the door, terrified. They thought that them watching at this girl was noted by her and that she was there to fight.
‘Hello. I am Smritha and I live next door. I kept the key inside and locked it by mistake this morning. Can you have the duplicate key with you for emergencies like today?’ she asked.
Latha froze. Anchal pitched in saying ‘Sure’ and got hold of the key. The three watched Smritha leave the floor.
‘Idiot, why did you get they key from her?’ Geeth scolded Anchal.
Latha and Anchal exchanged a notorious smile and said ‘Come, let’s do it.’ Unanimously.
‘What are we going to do?’ Geeth asked.
‘Just shut up and come with us.’ They said and dragged her along.
‘What’s happening?’ Geeth kept asking them.
Anchal placed her hand over Geeth’s mouth and said ‘IF we miss this chance we will never be able to uncover the secret about this girl. Just come with us. Stay calm.’ Geeth followed them like a child.
They opened the house and shut the door behind as quickly as they could, before someone could notice them getting into Smritha’s apartment. The flat was pitch dark and extremely silent. Anchal switched on the light. They screamed in unison. The hall looked so horrid. It was a huge empty hall with blood stains all over the walls. One of the walls had a huge pin board where a calendar that was marked with words like ‘First murder’, ‘Rape’, ‘Marriage’, ‘Robbery’ on different dates. It also had sketches that were marked as suspect, victim, father, rapist and a lot more. There was a condoms that were stretched as much as possible before it could tear on the floor. They heard someone unlocking the door. They quickly got into the kitchen and locked the kitchen door. The kitchen was empty as well. It had several pizza boxes lying on the floor.
The three remained quiet and even dreaded to breathe. The kitchen door unlocked and Smritha pointed a gun at them. They screamed.
‘This room is sound proof and you won’t even be heard out even if I click the gun on your forehead, so better be silent. Why did you come in?’ Smritha asked with anger brimming her tone.
‘We…we..’ their tongue stuck to their mouth and they turned dumb out of fear.
‘What is it? Will you tell me now or shall I trigger the buller?’ Smrithi raised her voice placing the gun over Anchal’s forehead.
‘Latha saw you entering with a condom and then heard weird noises from your house. You behaved very differently. So we wanted to know the secret about you and your weird behavior.’ Anchal said all in one breathe.
Smritha laughed and triggered the gun. The three ladies screamed at the top of their voice. But the gun did not fire. They were confused. Smritha commanded the to sit down and she sat herself down with them.
‘You guys want to know the secret about me and my behavior right? Let me tell it myself. I am a killer.’ Smritha said and observed their reaction.
‘Stop getting tensed.’ Smritha laughed.
‘I am a writer. I experiment on various things and write novels. Condom was one such experiment. I had got it to know more about it so that I describe it perfectly in my book. The noises you heard were made by me. I get into the story, become the character as I write. That’s why you would have found me weird to sit in corners and talk to myself. This house has blood stains and a horror set up to get me into the feel of writing thrillers. I have rented this house just to write, which is my passion. Even the sketches on the board are my character sketches and events in my book. It’s interesting that you mistook me and got curious to know more about me.’ Smritha said moving her gun up and down as she spoke.
‘What about the gun?’ Latha asked gaining some courage from the way Smritha spoke.
‘This is also to do some experiment to make a scene come out well.’
‘You writers go to such extends to write is it? I am surprised.’ Geeth exclaimed.
‘Writing is my passion. I will do anything for it.’ Smritha said with a serious tone.
‘You are single. You can do what you want unlike us. I too had a passion; I too had dreams. I got married and everything got washed away with the tide of time.’ Latha said.
‘I am not single. I am married and I still hold on to my passion.’
‘Maybe you are rich to follow your dreams and your husband’s family is nice enough to let you do what you want and help you afford it.’ Anchal said.
‘I am not rich. I have a full time job that pays me well. I bear the expense for renting this place. Yes, my in laws are nice but they expect the same as everyone else. But I hold on to my passion and dreams.’ Smritha said stressing on the last few words.
‘I was a school topper.’ Anchal said.
‘I had won awards at national level singing contests.’ Geeth said.
‘Now we are all house wives and nothing more. We have responsibilities. We have kids to take care of.’ Latha said.
‘If you are really passionate about something you can somehow find a way to reach wherever you want. I have two children. I lead a normal life otherwise. I come here for a few hours before work, after I drop my kids at school. I write and then reach office at 1:00 pm. I work till 8:30. Just if I have some experiments to perform for my writing I come here else I go home, feed my kids and then put them to sleep. My husband takes care of my kids in the night if I am here and in laws cook in the night.’ Smritha said.
‘I am surprised that you do so much. I am at home all day and I do nothing. I have a passion for singing but I hardly even listen to songs these days. I always think I have no time.’ Geeth said.
‘Very true. I have so much time in the afternoon. I could find time to do something I like to do if I want to. But I also think that I have no time.’ Anchal added.
‘But I know nothing other than cooking. I even forgot how to dream.’ Latha said
‘Who asked you to stop dreaming? When you got married did people force you not to dream? Not to push yourself to reach there? Even if you are not allowed to do what you want to do by your family there will always be a way to do it within the allowed limits. For example, I wanted to become a writer in the cinema world. I was denied of entering cinema even to ask for a chance. It pained. I was deeply hurt that I was denied of following my dreams. But I did not give up and stop dreaming. I dreamed big. I found a way to reach cinema without going out asking for chances to write. I started writing books. I gave it my best, I went to all extents possible, I made time for it and today I have signed contract to film two of my books. Excuses will always be there, readily available, but a road to your dream wont. You will have to clear the bush and create a path to walk to your dream.’ Smritha said.
‘I should have met you so many years ago. Now it’s too late to get the courage to dream. All I know is to cook and nothing else.’ Latha said with tears edging her eyes.
‘Even now it’s not too late. You can start a food blog. You can create new, interesting recipes and share it with the world, sitting in your home.’
‘Really?’ LAtha asked.
‘Yes. IF you think and look around there is always a way to do something useful for yourself and for the world outside your home.’
‘Thanks a lot Smritha. You have changed the way we look at the world.’ Anchal said.
The four had tea at Smritha’s and left to continue with their evening routines in their respective homes.
The three ladies did not see Smritha after that day. They heard that Smritha had even vacated that house she had rented in the colony.
A few days later, in a different colony, entered a weird woman, Smritha, with a head shave. She dropped her bag, dumped all that belonged to the bad and finally picked a packet of condom when a group of home makers looked at her. They started talking about this girl-with-the-c and Smritha had planned her next mission.