Vijay came in front of the door and waited for a while there, even though Rajesh was continuously knocking on the door. First he restored his breath and reset his hairs back to as usual and then opened the door.
After the door was opened, Rajesh angrily asked, ‘Why do you take such a long time to open the door?’.
Vijay replied, ‘No! The power supply is cut!’.
‘Even I can see that!. There are no lights glowing on the street. I just missed from colliding with somebody on the road!’, Rajesh replied while entering from the door.
Vijay remained silent on this.
‘Where has Priya gone?’, Rajesh asked.
‘She has gone inside to get a candle!’, Vijay replied.
Rajesh could notice that Vijay was replying only what was necessary. But he did not show that. In the mean time, Priya fetched the candle from inside and came there with it.
‘The electricity supply has stopped for a long time now!. Did it went off here just recently?’, Rajesh asked to Priya.
Priya could easily diagnose the intent of Rajesh behind this question.
‘No! Not that!. Even here also the electricity supply was cut long time ago but for a long time I was unable to fetch a candle due to the darkness!’, Priya replied.
Even Priya was replying what was necessary and he was feeling surprised why none of them seemed to be curious about why Rajesh reached there so late. Moreover, Rajesh could also notice that the entire dialogue between them was not happening in the same normal and free style as usually it would happen. He could even a mysterious tension there among them. But even this he avoided being over-inquisitive about it.
‘How shall we study now?’, Rajesh asked.
‘Of course, by using the candle only! What else is the alternative?’, Vijay replied as though he was now trying to get relaxed and free.
Rajesh could even sense Vijay’s conscious effort to make himself feel relaxed.
‘Why are you talking today like the memorized dialogues in a play?’, finally Rajesh could not restrain from asking a sensitive question.
‘Don’t talk like a fool!’, Vijay had now truly turned angry.
‘Fine! Fine! If not like a theatrical play but like the dialogues in a film! But what is there in this to be so much angry about? Isn’t it Priya?’, Rajesh asked.
‘What rubbish are you talking?. If at all I am angry then that is because of this damn electric failure!. Why should you feel any hurt about it?’, Vijay asked.
‘Why should I feel hurt?. All I am just trying to put is that your behavior today is appearing to be rather different than normal everyday behavior. If you don’t believe in me then you can ask Priya whether am I not right?’, Rajesh replied.
Vijay avoided passing any comment about this and lifted his book to begin trying to study in the dim candle light. Thinking slightly afraid that Rajesh might now turn his attention to Priya and start asking questions to her, especially now since Vijay was keeping quiet, Priya started going inside.
‘Now where are you going?’, Rajesh asked her as expected.
‘No! I will just check whether I can fetch one more candle or at least an oil lamp because probably only one candle will not be sufficient for us!’, Priya said.
‘I think, till such time the electricity supply is not restored, shall we do chatting instead of trying to do studies?’, Rajesh proposed.
Priya stopped there as though she was confused what to say over this.
‘Examination is scheduled and there is hardly any time left for us to prepare but this gentleman is proposing to chat!’, Vijay passed a taunt.
‘Chatting means only pertaining to our studies. It may help us clarify our doubts’, Rajesh argued.
‘Doubts?’, Vijay remarked to crack a joke in order to fill some jovial mood in the atmosphere, ‘Doubts exist only when there is any study done!. One thing is quite right that no study means no doubts!’.
Rajesh had even sensed that also. Vijay was desperately trying to normalize the atmosphere because all his efforts in this context were appearing to be very artificial. And instantly then, electricity supply was restored.
Light spread everywhere, inside homes and through the streets also and the cheerful voices of people for this positive happening were being heard.
‘Yes! Yes! The power supply has started again!’, Rajesh joyously shouted but neither Vijay nor Priya expressed any remark over this.
‘Have you quarreled before I came?’, Rajesh could not restrain himself from asking this question.
‘No! Not the least!’, Priya replied without staring straight at Rajesh and appeared eager to get inside the home.
‘Are we any tiny kids to quarrel between ourselves?. In fact, we felt that you yourself quarreled with your brother and got late to reach here!’, Vijay replied.
‘But one minute! Priya, can you look at me?’, Rajesh stopped Priya and asked, ‘Why is your face looking so much full of red?’.
Now Vijay was feeling extremely angry toward Rajesh but he was helpless from divulging it to him frankly.
‘You know, she fell down in the kitchen while searching for the candle!’, Vijay clarified and immediately Priya took the opportunity to get inside the home.
‘But how is falling and face turning red…….?’, Rajesh suddenly stopped, because given the quickness with which Priya had preferred to vanish from there, had convinced Rajesh of what must have happened there.
Vijay went into a corner of the room and started reading his study book. Now Rajesh went near him and mischievously asked, ‘And why even your face is looking so much red?’.
‘What are you asking me?’, Vijay pretended to be confused.
‘What I mean is that have even you fallen somewhere here?’, Rajesh was not willing to give up. Now he had become all the more curious.
‘Enough of your curiosities!. Keep quiet and start studying. Examination has approached and not too many days are remaining now in our hand!’, Vijay continued pretending being angry.
‘All I just wanted to know whether did I come here at a wrong time?’, Rajesh now thought of cornering Vijay fully.
‘Are you not going to keep quiet now? Enough of your mischief!’, Vijay lifted his book as though he was to hit it on Rajesh while smiling at Rajesh’s question.
‘How nice to hear this! It is you who commits a mischief in my absence and blame me for the same!’, Rajesh retorted.
Now Priya came out of the room and she appeared much more calm and steady. She had even had a wash and cleaned her face using water.
‘Shall we have a cup of tea?’, Priya asked.
‘I have no issues!. Ask Vijay whether he wants!’, Rajesh said.
Priya looked at Vijay and for a moment both of them stared at each other. Instantly they turned their faces elsewhere.
‘No! I don’t want it!’, Vijay immediately said and got deeply engrossed in the book or at least started pretending like that.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)