Well, this is my first fictional work on this blog, would genuinely appreciate feedback from the readers.
As she saw the Limousine pull up in the driveway , Aruna called out from her balcony ”The cab is here, Hun”. Aruna and Ajay had moved into this first floor apartment just a week ago. It was there second rental place in Limassol within a year of coming to Cyprus from India. They had started looking out for another home around a month ago, when their apartment on the Ommonia Avenue had become too noisy in the summers from the late night biker stunts on the main road. They were looking for a quite location and when their estate agent had shown them this property in Zakaki, they were more than delighted to discover a gem at this price and had not taken more than an hour to sign the lease with the landlord who lived on the ground floor of this one storey house. This was the first of the four houses in this block, faced by a huge Church right opposite the road with an orange orchard next to it. It was just the perfect quiet setting and Aruna and Ajay weren’t surprised to see the amazement in their friends’ eyes when they had organised a little house warming get together the very next day of moving in.
Ajay came out of the master bedroom on the rear end of the floor with the luggage and stood in the hall way trying to mentally check the list of things that he would require for the trip. This was his first business trip after their wedding, although a little hesitant to leave Aruna all alone for a week, he was also excited for his first trip to Australia.
Passport? Aruna asked
Check! Ajay said while grabbing his cabin baggage from the sofa
Tickets & Papers?
They were down the stairs now and out on the drive way and while Ajay helped the cab driver put his luggage in the boot, Aruna was pulling up all her courage not to shed a tear. Ajay hugged her “You are strong girl and its only a matter of a week, Anyway, you have to clear up a lot of things from above and given that cleaning up is above all world for you, seven days would go by really easy”, Aruna smiled and gave him a good luck kiss. Off went the cab. Aruna stood in the drive way and stared at the Limousine until it was out of her sight. Then came a tear as she turned back and looked up, took a deep breath and started walking towards the stairs. Just then, she saw an old lady standing behind the glass door of her landlords house on the ground floor. She was medium height, probably in her early 60s and looked Greek. She had small, unmade hair and a round face that looked sad. If one looked closely at her dress, sleepers and face, they would know that she hadn’t been out in months. Aruna gave her a smile, guessing that it might be Momma landlord. A smile was returned and Aruna kept walking towards the stairs not wanting to pile on with her overflowing emotional burst on anyone that she was meeting for the first time.
As she reached upstairs, locked the door behind her, she knew seven days were simply nothing looking at the mess and the amount of things she had to clear up in order to settle her stuff in to this place. The landlord had said that this house belonged to his sister, brother in law and their two year old kid, who had to move to Greece recently due to some important business issues. What had seemed strange to Aruna and Ajay was that why hadn’t they bothered to move their stuff along with them. May be the furniture was too big a liability, but what about the kids toys and crib. The house was in full working condition and the only thing that Aruna and Ajay had moved in with was their clothes, which were just too many, their big screen TV, too many books, too many gadgets that Ajay was fond of and a few items that are a must for and only found in an Indian kitchen. Everything else that would be required to settle in was already there, from furniture to white goods, even smaller accessories like fridge magnets. And it was all of the best quality available. Aruna and Ajay had thought they had hit a jackpot to have got this beautiful and luxurious apartment on such a reasonable rent. It was even close to work for both of them. It was all they had ever wanted.
Aruna started cleaning up. She had to pack up all the stuff that they didn’t need, like the kids toys, crib, DVDs in the rack since they were in Greek etc and drop it in landlord’s driveway, as he had asked. The landlord, Nikos, appeared to be quite nice when they were signing the lease. He had also asked them to let him know if they needed something to be fixed in this house and that he would be happy to help them settle in. He had sent a cleaning lady on the day they had moved in. But Aruna and Ajay hadn’t quite seen him after that day. They only saw his mini truck parked in his driveway a few nights ago and had long gone when they came out in the morning to go to work. His house was all glass from the front and as one could see inside in the day time, not very well kept. Apart from a big home theatre system, standing out somewhere in between the numerous piles of clothes and rubbish here and there, one could tell he was not married and that no lady took care of this house. In the evenings, the light was never on, perhaps he stayed more towards the rear side of the house, Aruna and Ajay had thought. Of one week that they had stayed in the house, Aruna and Ajay hadn’t heard anything ever from the house down the stairs. But while packing up today, Aruna was wondering what did the old lady do all day in that silent house. She remembered that she had to remind the landlord for a missing blind on the right window of the second bedroom. She could have called the landlord on his cell phone, but then, her social self made her decide to go downstairs herself, and have a word or two with the landlord’s mom. She anyway had to go to drop off the box of useless things.
She rung the doorbell and put down the box to the side of the door. No one answered. She rung again and again, because something in her mind said that it cant be that the old lady had gone away, this morning when she had seen her, she didn’t look like an outgoing type person. She looked more of a stay at home mum. A thought came to Aruna, may be she’s deaf or hears hardly, so she tried to peep in through the glass walls, but there was no one in sight that Aruna could sign signal to open the door. She might be in the washroom, Aruna thought and left the box there thinking to come back sometime later.
When she reached upstairs again, in a few minutes she got so involved in opening her suitcases and boxes and putting everything at the right place, she didn’t even realise that it was evening already and that she hadn’t had her lunch yet. By the time she sat on the couch in the living room with her big bowl of maggi noodles, it had started raining heavily. The asbestos sheet on the roof of the mezzanine floor had been creating enough noise from the rain drops to give her a headache. Thanks to her undisturbed concentration, her house was now all set, all their dresses hanging nicely in the closets, all things placed at the expected places and the house was sparkling clean. Proud of her work, she took a deep sigh and turned on the TV, turned in the DVD of her favourite music and stepped back to sit on her couch again when she saw the old lady standing outside her glass door. Aruna smiled and welcomed her in, saying Hello. The old lady nodded and Aruna directed her to have a seat. Aruna asked if she would like a coffee in this cold weather, but the lady replied in No with a gesture, Probably she was not very good at English, Aruna thought. The lady then said something in Greek, in a slow tone, which Aruna tried her best to understand with what little knowledge of the language she had. Probably she was saying thanks for returning her grand child’s things in a box this morning, Aruna guessed and smiled. And then just as Aruna was trying to start a conversation with the easiest English words, The old lady started saying things quite rapidly in Greek and Aruna lost complete track of the words. The old lady, by the time had finished her animated speech in Greek, had tears in her eyes. Not sure as to how to react to this unexpected outburst by this unknown lady, Aruna stood up to sit near to the old lady to give her a comforting hand, but the old lady stood up and walked to the door.
As the old lady went downstairs, Aruna stood near her sofa, staring at her now cold maggi noodles, thinking about what just happened, did she behave properly or should she have been more comforting, why was the old lady so sad, what did she actually say or what was she trying to say…Just then her phone rang, It was Ajay from transit in Dubai and while talking to him, Aruna completely forgot about her encounter with the strange old lady. She prepared a fresh hot soup for herself when she hung up, had her soup in bed and didn’t even realise when she was far into her dreams.
To be continued…