Monday, June 30, 2014

A Chocolate Heart

                  He looked around. There was no one in sight. The only sounds were the whirring noises of the fans. He fast approached the desk he was aiming for. Making sure that there was no one sneaking upon him he placed the package on the desk and ran away.
                  2 hours later: Veena has just reached office. Today was the same. There was the parcel on her desk today also, a carefully wrapped box of heart shaped chocolates. She was surprised the first time it happened around a year ago but since then has tried to track down who was responsible for this. But all her efforts were in vain and the boxes keep appearing. They were really good chocolates and she had tried to find out the brand or the manufacturer but finally realized that they were homemade. The past few months she had given up trying to find out who her benefactor is and have enjoyed just eating them, those lovely little chocolate hearts.
                  He was watching her from a few cubicles away. He saw her smile when she found the box and his heart skipped a beat. She was lovely; the way her face brightens up when she breaks into a smile would lift his spirits in the darkest of days. He first saw her little over a year ago when he transferred to this location. She was the one in charge of introducing him to his new colleagues and it was love at first sight. He began talking to her, hanging out around her and in time they became very close friends. But he never had the courage to speak his mind to her, never got the proper words to convey his feelings for her. It was not just love, it was something really special. That was when he decided upon the idea of chocolates. Veena was a die-hard chocolate junkie, and there lay his chances. He began making small batches of chocolates; the little heart shaped ones and once he had become good at it, started leaving boxes of them at her desk. He had not hoped to continue doing this for so long, but he kept postponing his plans of telling her. She used to ask him at first whether he had seen anyone leave the boxes. Although it was painful to lie to her, he maintained a straight face and told her he didn’t. He even went as far as to make fun of her for having a secret admirer. Half hoping she would find out the truth, he had kept going for so long but was disappointed when she stopped searching. That is when he decided the time has come to finally tell her the truth. Tomorrow is as good a day as any. It is Valentine ’s Day, the day of love and he had been preparing for some time. This time he made a big chocolate heart, one of his best works and was planning on giving it to her tomorrow. The anticipation, the reaction he might get from her, all of it was having its effect on him. He was so out of it that he deliberately tried to keep out of her way.
                                    He managed to evade her till evening. His attempts were also helped by the fact that she had too much work to do. But as his day was ending, he got a message from her.  “Meet me urgently near the garden benches. It’s about my admirer ;)”. His heart stopped for a bit, then started beating faster. “Oh my God she found out. What will I tell her, how will I tell her?” He began panicking. The location also was un-nerving. The benches were hangouts for the couples in the company and in the evenings once can always find love blooming under the setting sun around those benches. Both of them have seen and laughed at the love struck couple there but now a meeting at the very same spot? He contemplated not going but then again it would not serve any purpose. Why postpone the inevitable? He replied “Ok” and walked ever so slowly to the benches. He saw her even before she saw him. The flowing hair, the graceful figure, the spot of sunshine on a darkening skyline. And then she saw him and her face lit up with a smile. He felt his heart beating faster, and was aware of a mild sheet of sweat on his brow. This is silly, he thought and went ahead to meet her. Even before he reached her, she ran forward and hugged him. He was taken aback. This is not what he expected. His heart felt like it had a life of its own and was beating hard as if to tear out of his chest. His body became tense, he started sweating. But within all this there was a feeling of relief, of a huge burden being lifted. Finally it is over, no more sneaking around office in the morning to drop the boxes off. No more staying up all night making the chocolates. It’s all over now. She took a couple of steps back and started talking. “I finally found the secret admirer.” Her eyes were wide and they looked happy, deep happy eyes. He finally understood what heaven feels like. He was lost in his own thoughts, when she shook him. “You heard what I said?” “What?” he broke out of his reverie with a start. “I said this is Vinod, my secret admirer.”
                  The scream of pain was inside his head. The heart that was beating so fast for her was shattered to a million pieces. I looked behind and saw Vinod approaching. “Hi Raju, Hey darling” “Hey” she crooned. He was speechless. The words seemed to come from far away. Veena was telling about how she found Vinod around her desk during the break and how he was acting a bit suspicious and how she had forced him into a corner and finally he breaking down and accepting that he is in fact the secret admirer and he made those chocolates himself. “You know Vinod , Raju was the first one to suggest that the chocolates would be from a secret admirer” “Is it? Wow man I thought I had gotten away with it too, if she hadn’t caught me today” They were still talking, completing sentences, how the chocolates were so good. He did not listen to any of this. The pain was unbearable. His eyes burned, but tears did not come. He felt empty, like his whole life, his being was sucked out. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak, it was all over. With supreme effort he made an excuse about some call and walked back. Did she call him back? He didn’t care, it was all over. The tears that he kept in check began flowing. And he ran and ran and ran. Tears did not stop; it was still flowing when he finally reached his place. The chocolate heart he made for her was on the table, staring at him like an ugly eye, a bitter reminder of how he lost. With an anguished cry he fell down on the floor.
The Times. February 14, 2013.
                  The body of Veena Sharma who was missing from yesterday night onwards have been found in the Central Park. An employee of xxx company for the last 3 years, she was reported missing by her parents when she failed to comeback from work. She was found by an early morning jogger today. On preliminary examination, it was found that she had been strangled. What made this scene gruesome was the fact that her heart had been cut out and replaced with a big chocolate heart. Upon collecting evidence from the scene of crime, the police have found an employee id belonging to one Mr.Raju Sundaram. They had traced the id to the home of the said individual. Receiving no response, the police broke down the door to find Raju in a catatonic stage sitting on the dining table with the missing heart of Veena and a bloody knife in front of him. Police have taken him into custody for further questioning although the police appointed psychiatrist is of the opinion that it was next to impossible to get anything out from him. This has become another one of those cases where a promising life of a young woman was cut short by a deranged individual. Veena’s parents were not available for comments after Raju’s arrest.
Special correspondent.
“Honey did you know this Veena woman?” asked Meena to her husband. “She works in the same company as you” “No, never seen her before in my life. Who is she? What happened?” asked Vinod. “No nothing, another woman murdered by a failed lover maybe. They should be hanged you know. So are you sure you are not coming?” “No Meena, I got to finish up on the laundry today or else there would not be anything to wear tomorrow.” “Ok then, see you soon” and Meena left for work. Vinod waited till her car was out of sight before taking out the garbage bag from the lowest drawer. “The jeans can be saved with washing, but the shirt is a goner. She fought like a tigress, but then she was never going to win. Should have waited a bit more before cutting out the heart though, it was too bloody this time; and it was my favorite shirt too.“ Vinod sighed. And then the smile came back “Thank you Raju, I just loved your chocolates”. With the smile still on his lips he walked out into the backyard to add the bag to the already burning pile of garbage there.

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