The phone rang, light went off and then, there was this knock at the door. These things happened one after another so fast as if they happened simultaneously. Rita was a little confused as to what to attend to first. Of course she could see the phone blinking. It was her husband.
“Hello Nick, wait a moment. There is someone at the door.”
Supporting her cellphone glued to her left ear with her left hand, she opened the door with the right. Electric connection was restored and the corridor of her apartment was lit up as she opened the door. It was a boy with a bouquet.
“It is for you Ma’m”
The boy handed over the bouquet and ran away without waiting to hear Rita shouting at the back
She tried to follow him down the steps of her second floor, but the boy had vanished. Is he from this apartment complex? How come, I have never seen him. She was so much perplexed by the sudden turn of events, after an hour of a boring monotonous evening that she thought it better to talk to her husband later.
“Wait Nick, I will call you after some time.” she told and cut off even as he was shouting at the other end, “Tell me, what happened”.
She sat down on the drawing room sofa and gazed at the bouquet which was so heavy that she had struggled to hold it with her right hand. It was a gorgeous bouquet with an assortment of roses and chrysanthemums. She was lost in the bouquet for some moments when she realized she had a mystery to solve. Of course she had to call his husband first. She put away the bouquet on a side table. She called her husband just to justify how busy she was at the moment and promised to call him after dinner.
Rita had moved to Bangalore two months back to join her new job while her husband and two school going sons stayed in Delhi. She held a senior position in a multinational company. Her husband was a senior bureaucrat posted in one of the influential ministries.
First she tried to recall if she had forgotten that day’s association with any important event in her life. No, there was nothing like that. Or was it that rascal colleague who, from the day one of her joining, had been trying to be so friendly with her that she felt irritated each time she thought of him. Of course there was a small secret consolation. Even at this age someone took the risk to befriend her in an uncomfortable way. She was almost fifty and had begun to put on weight of late. She smiled at herself and almost forgave that uncouth scoundrel.
“Then, what about the boy? He may be just a pawn in the game”, she thought.
“Or, is it a case of mistaken delivery?”
She got up and went out to inquire in her neighborhood whether anybody had any occasion that warranted a bouquet to be delivered. But, none of her neighbors had any such occasion.
“I think I have seen that boy”. She felt embarrassed that she was talking to herself so loudly. She felt further embarrassed as there was no one beside herself.
Then she remembered. It was the maid’s son. Her face lit up with the prospect that she could now nail the culprit.
She went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. While the water was boiling, she boiled inside with excitement.
Pouring tea into the cup she pondered, “What if it is the same scoundrel? Should I warn him?”
“What if he is not?” As the thought crossed her mind she was touched with a mild touch of melancholy.
As she sat down with the cup of tea, she caressed the flowers with her fingers and decided to stop further probe once and for all.