On my way to work, I cross this small shopping square, with two roads intersecting at one of its corners. Yesterday I saw two people walking towards the square, completely unrelated and possibly unaware of each other’s presence. One was a man with bloodshot eyes, dirty matted hair, rolled up pants covered in grease and grime and mud-coated bare feet. He was carrying a handsaw. The other was an old man, in his mid-seventies, carrying a bouquet with beautiful baby pink flowers. The hair on his head was completely white and he walked with a slow gait. The twisted juices in my right-brain created two stories about these two individuals. I fervently hope that both are not true.
Story 1: The man had wild and bloodshot eyes – wild with hunger, bloodshot with sleeplessness and cheap alcohol. He knew people were eying him with mistrust. He knew that an old lady lived in a house behind the shopping square. She had some jewellery around her neck and wrists. Perhaps…
Luck was on his side; he saw the old lady’s husband leave the house sometime back. His friend, the carpenter was not yet up, but there was an old handsaw next to his window. He snatched it and walked in the direction of the shopping square.
It was the fifty-third wedding anniversary of the old couple that lived behind the shopping square. The husband decided to surprise his wife with a bouquet of flowers. Her favorite color was baby pink. He got roses and orchids wrapped in silver and white ribbons and made his way slowly towards the square. It was very noisy around him. The morning traffic seemed worse than usual. But he smiled to himself as he imagined his wife’s reaction.
He reached the door of his house. His eyesight had become weak and he did not notice the little droplets of blood that seemed to form a trail outside the door. Nor did he notice that the doorknob seemed a little wet. He opened the door. He saw his beloved wife lying in a pool of blood. A handsaw was next to her body – the blood on its blade belying the innocence with which it lay there.
Story 2: The carpenter was proud of his sister. She had worked really hard during her academic years and had secured a good job in an IT company and had even been promoted recently. It was more than anyone in their family had ever accomplished. Even he – the “son” of the typical Indian family – was earning less than her. He wanted to gift her something special to celebrate her promotion. Perhaps he could go to work early and make a little bookcase for her. He walked towards his carpentry shop, behind the little shopping square.
The old man was annoyed with his life lately. Over the years, he had had a string of mistresses. His wealth had ensured that he was never lonely, even after retirement. He had seen the uncaring type and the clingy type, but every type bored him after a little while. This new one was particularly clingy. Like a leech. Serves me right for getting involved with those with such economically backward upbringing, he thought. He looked at the bouquet of flowers in his hand. It concealed the sharp knife. He walked towards her house.
Later that morning, the carpenter walked into his sister’s house. He found it odd that the door was unlocked. As he entered, he found her on her couch, with a knife thrust deep into her chest, pink flowers all around her, painted a patchy red with her blood
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