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SWARAGINI (The Next Man in Kolkata) CHAPTER 1 (PART 2)

Hi Guys This is Sowmya Johnson Aka Berdilla.

Sid called over his shoulder. I’m cleaning up and going to town. You want to come? There’s always a meat special at Kolkata’s on Friday night, then we’re playing cricket from nine to two.

No, thanks. I’ve got—-

Work to do, Sid finished for him. You work too hard.

We all do.
We all did.

It’s not over yet. Mayank shrugged away the feeling that nothing was going to be the same again. They’d waited a long time for this summer to arrive. In a few weeks—-exactly two weeks from today—–everything would change. For the better. The relief almost made him dizzy. The anticipation was sometimes too much to bear.

It’s All Over But the Shouting, Sid said.

Is that the name of your latest song?

Yep I wrote it last night. Gonna try it out on the crowd during the second set before everyone’s too drunk to know what they’re listening to.

Sounds like a plan.

Hell yes Sid agreed you should come down, have a beer hear the band, We’ve got some new songs.

Mayank shrugged, yeah maybe he said but he knew he wouldn’t.

Well think about it Sid said moving away. He whistled as he led the horse down the road to the largest farm on the place.

Mayank turned away and headed towards the house. He could taste the dust, but that was nothing new. Just part of the job. He’d been running this farm for so long that he’d gotten so he almost liked the taste. Mayank tried to whistle, but his mouth was too dry to come up with anything but a pity harsh sound. He didn’t know how Sid did it, but that boy could make music in the middle of a dust storm.

Padma Gupta (Played by Shilpa Tulaskar) Padma sat fanning herself on the back porch. Lord, it’s hot, she said, Too hot for june.

It’s always hot in june. He pushed his hat off his forehead and leaned against one of the posts. I smell something good.

The old woman fanned herself with her apron and shrugged. I would cook you something that smelled bad?

Mayank smiled at the familiar question. No, Padma, in twenty years you have never cooked anything that smelled bad Kept for that time you burned the—

Oh hush your teasing.

What are you going to do when you retire, Padma?

The old woman gave him a dark look. I don’t like that word. And I’m not going to discuss it with a dirty, sweaty cowboy.

He bent over and brushed some of the dust from his jeans Better?

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She nodded. You’ve got company. In the living room.

Who?

Padma smiled. Mayank figured she was fifty easy, Maybe closer sixty. I don’t know. I’m just an old cook who burn things.

Mayank sighed and walked past her. You and Sid are in good moods today. The two of you get more work done if you weren’t looking for ways to tease people all the time.

She muttered something, but didn’t leave her seat on the porch. Mayank went into the kitchen and peered into the pot on the stove. Ah His favorite. Next to the oven, a stack of freshly made fish sat under a cotton cloth. He turned away from the food and walked down the hall to the large room that ran the length of the house. He stopped when he reached the doorway and saw a slim young woman standing in front of the fireplace. She was looking at the framed photographs that lined wooden mantel, but when his boots clicked on the tiled floor, she turned around.

Hello, he said removing his hat, What can I do for you miss? Gray eyes studied him. She didn’t smile at first, but then a rose-tinted pair of lips turned upward and she moved forward, holding out her hand. He didn’t recognize her, and wondered if he should. She could be one of old bill lawyers, but he knew he hadn’t seen her before. He would have remembered.

Hi. I’m Ragini Bhushan.

Not a lawyer, or she would have said so. He took her hand as gently as he could and released it quickly. He didn’t want to get her dirty. Mayank Sharma.

She nodded. Yes that’s what i thought.

You did?

Absolutely. I’m sorry to come here with no warning, but i tried to call from Bhubaneswar. The line was busy.

Padma takes it off the hook when she’s fixing dinner. Her expression clouded. Oh, Your wife. I hadn’t thought of that.

Hadn’t thought of what? He ignored the mention of a wife and gestured at the brown leather couch. Would you like to sit down? He hoped she would. The woman this Ragini Bhushan, had a fragile look about her. Maybe it was the flowered sundress or the way her chestnut hair brushed her bare shoulders, or the white sandals that encased her tiny feet. She was pale and slender, the kind of woman who didn’t spend much time outdoors and made a man feel hot and sweaty just to look at her.

I’m sorry she said again. I’m just realizing how complicated this could be and I can’t Believe i didn’t think of it sooner.

To be Continued…….

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