blog post of Akshata Shanbhag

THE NECKLACE

 

THE NECKLACE

 

This is a story about Shanty who marries her childhood friend Rajiv. But when Shanty stumbles upon Sanjay, sparks fly between them. Both the couples have a story of their own to narrate.  Situations further complicate their lives. Will they be able to get through it? 

To know more, do read this four-part series and find out what happens next. 

 

Part-1

 

Shanty and Rajiv were newly married. Their parents were childhood friends. They wanted to change their relationship status from just being good friends to family. Hence the two families had decided that they would get their children married and make the bond stronger.

 

Shanty and Rajiv were different from each other – their interests and personalities. Rajiv was outgoing whereas Shanty was an introvert. Since both the families were staying in different cities, they would often spend time jointly during school holidays. When they would go on a  vacation together, they would often discuss that when Shanty and Rajiv grow up, they would get them married. They would imagine the entire set-up and celebrations and raise a toast.

 

Shanty and Rajiv were friends but not that intimate like their parents. They were aware of what their parents wanted but they had thought that with time, it would fade away. Years had gone by and when it was an appropriate age for Shanty to get married, her parents had approached Rajiv’s family. Both the families were excited. Shanty had no choice. She had never voiced her opinion. She had agreed upon what her parents had thought was right for her. On the other hand, Rajiv was reluctant because he had felt that Shanty was in no way a match to him. They never had anything in common. But then a little bit of emotional drama had kicked in and his parents had managed to convince him that things would change after marriage. 

 

Finally, the two had got married to each other. Families had seemed to be very happy. Shanty and Rajiv had also thought that maybe things would eventually fall in place.

 

After Shanty had completed her studies, she had worked for a couple of years as a teacher. Rajiv had insisted that she should continue working after their marriage and hence she had kept her job. But when they had to move to a different location, she had decided that she would take a hiatus from work. 

 

When they had moved, both were new to the locality. The reason behind them shifting was that Rajiv had ventured into a new business – landscaping. He wanted to stay close to his workplace and therefore found a house near the office.

 

Shanty was an able cook. In her spare time, she would put her culinary skills to use and make flavoursome food. She did not have many friends in and around the area. As the business was new and it needed time to establish, Rajiv would spend more time in the office and come home late.

 

To keep herself entertained and fit, Shanty had decided that she would join dance class and gym. Rajiv had no objections to anything that Shanty had decided to do. He had expected the same from Shanty. Their relationship was platonic.

 

Shanty had slowly started making new friends. That way she had stayed occupied. As Rajiv’s business had picked up, he had become busier and he would be on frequent business trips. Shanty had felt desolated. She was longing for companionship. Shanty had never divulged her state of mind to her parents or inlaws. Even her friends had thought that all was hunky-dory between the two as they had known each other since their childhood.

 

Shanty had one day bumped into Sanjay in the gym who was working out on the treadmill next to her. Sanjay had an attractive personality. Sooner they had become good gym buddies and had started working out together. Both had many common interests and they had liked each other’s company.

 

Sanjay had a publishing house. He had inherited that from his father. They were making a profitable business. His wife Tara was into banking and they had been married for seven years. Their son Shiv was four years old. Sanjay and Tara had met through a common friend at a party and soon the two were smitten with each other. Their parents had opposed their marriage because of the difference in caste but still, Sanjay and Tara had gone ahead and tied the knot. Everything was going great between the two. After the birth of their son Shiv, the two families were on talking terms. 

 

As time had elapsed, Sanjay and Tara were going through a  rough patch due to constant indifferences and brawling in their relationship.  But it was for Shiv they had remained as a couple. 

 

Shanty and Sanjay had started spending time together more often. Sanjay would take time out of his busy schedule to meet Shanty. Shopping, movies, coffee, lunch. All was going on smoothly. Shanty had never been this happy earlier. Sanjay too had felt the same after a long time. Shanty had also started inviting Sanjay home when Rajiv would go out on official trips. Shanty would cook meals for both of them. What had started as a friendship initially between the two, their relationship had advanced. 

 

On one such occasion, when Rajiv was out on a business trip, Shanty had invited Sanjay home for lunch when they had met at the gym. 

” Sanjay, come home for lunch tomorrow.

Rajiv has left this morning. He will be back after two days. 

I will make your favourite Dum Biryani. ” 

” Oh wow. That sounds interesting. 

It had been days since I had it and you are cooking it.

My mouth is watering already. 

I will see you at 1 pm tomorrow. ” 

” Sure. I will be waiting. 

By Sanjay. Love you. ” 

” Love you too darling.” 

They both hugged each other and went back to their respective homes. 

 

Shanty wanted to make falooda which was Sanjay’s favourite for lunch the next day. Hence in the evening,  she had stepped out to buy the essential ingredients. While shopping she had thought to herself that if even one per cent of love and affection if Rajiv had showered on her, things would have been different. She knew from within that her relationship with Sanjay was not right but she could not help herself. While all these thoughts were running in her head she had reached the cash counter- 

” Excuse me ma’am – cash or card? 

Hello, ma’am cash or card? ” 

The cashier had tapped on the table. 

It was like a wake-up call for Shanty.

” Oh, I am sorry.

What did you just say ?” 

” Ma’am I asked cash or card?

Please hurry up. People are waiting behind you .” 

Shanty turned around to see the queue. She had apologized to the man standing behind her. 

 

After coming home, she had kept things ready for the next day. Shanty had her meal and went to sleep. Shanty was all energised in the morning. She had woken up early and begun the preparations. It seemed like she was celebrating an occasion. She was humming and dancing while she was cooking. After she had prepared the meal, she had decorated the table and went to take a shower. It was almost 1 pm and she was waiting for Sanjay. 

 

The doorbell rang and Shanty ran towards the door to open –

” Welcome, Sanjay.” 

” Hi Shanty, you seem delighted and I love to see you this way.”

Saying this, Sanjay had hugged Shanty.

” Hmmm….you smell good Shanty.” 

Shanty smiled.  

” Come inside Sanjay. The lunch is ready. ” 

” What is the hurry to have lunch so quickly. 

Let’s spend time talking. 

We don’t have to worry or hide from anyone. No one is watching us today.”

 

Shanty and Sanjay chatted for some time. 

” Okay, Sanjay before the food gets cold let’s have. ” 

” Sure. Let’s start. I am starving. I have a good appetite. 

I haven’t eaten much since morning. Saved it for lunch. ” 

Shanty and Sanjay started laughing. They both walked towards the dining table. Sanjay had taken his seat. Just when Shanty was about to sit, she had heard the doorbell.  

 

Part -2

 

Shanty looked at Sanjay in surprise. 

” Were you expecting someone Shanty?” 

” Of course not Sanjay. Why do you think I will invite anyone else when you are here ?” 

The doorbell rang again. 

” Hold on let me check. 

You please be seated here .” 

Shanty quickly ran towards the door before another bell could ring. She saw through the door peephole. Shanty was shocked to see Rajiv. She could not believe it was him. She peeped again to confirm. This time, the doorbell had started ringing continuously. 

 

Shanty ran to Sanjay.

” What happened Shanty? Why are you panting? 

Take a deep breath and tell me what it is? 

Please sit down. ” 

” There is no time to sit Sanjay.”

” What is the matter? Who is it? 

Why is the bell ringing that hard?

Let me go check.” 

Shanty held Sanjay’s hand. 

” Please stop. It is Rajiv .” 

“Rajiv?

But you weren’t expecting him until the day after? ” 

” Yes. I know. I don’t know why he is here? 

Does he know about us? ” 

” Shanty relax. Go open the door. ” 

” You hide Sanjay. You hide. ” 

Shanty was continuously muttering. Some of it had made no sense. She had become restless. 

Rajiv was furious. It was almost ten minutes. He knew that Shanty was at home since the car and bike both were parked in the house. He also knew that at this hour she would not go out. He had failed to understand as to what was taking her so long to open the door. Rajiv usually carries his set of keys with him but then on this occasion, he had forgotten to carry them. It seemed like luck had favoured Shanty. 

 

Rajiv took out his phone and dialled Shanty. Her phone was on vibration. The phone was on the dining table. When she had heard it vibrate, she stared at the phone and went closer to see who was calling her. She slowly walked towards the phone and saw Rajiv’s name on it. 

” Sanjay, it is Rajiv. He is calling. ” 

” Answer the phone Shanty. Calm down and answer. 

Put it on speaker. ” 

Shanty had grabbed her phone and held it tight. Shanty was trembling. Sanjay had made gestures and asked Shanty to speak. 

” Ha. Hello..” 

” Shanty, where are you? I am standing at the door for the past 10 minutes. Aren’t you at home? ” 

” Yes, I am at home Rajiv. I am sorry I was in the bathroom. ” 

” Can you please come and open the door now?” 

” Yes, yes. Give me five minutes. ” 

 

Shanty had disconnected the call. She did not know what to do. 

” Sanjay, you go to the guest room. Rajiv will go directly into his room.

You stay in there without making any noise. At the right time, I will let you out. 

Go, go please go. ” 

She pushed Sanjay towards the guest room. 

” Okay fine I am going Shanty. Go open the door.

Stay calm. ” 

After Sanjay had gone into the room, she went to open the door. She saw Sanjay’s car keys placed on the corner stand near the door. She quickly grabbed it and hid it below the newspaper. She calmed herself and opened the door with a smile.

” What is this Shanty? I have been at the door for the past…

I told you I will be at home in the noon. You knew I wasn’t well and still, you kept me waiting.” 

Shanty was surprised. 

” You had informed me? When Rajiv? 

I don’t remember. ” 

” Check your phone Shanty. I had called you in the morning. 

You did not answer. 

Later I left you a message as well telling since I am not keeping well, I will cut short my trip and be back today by noon.” 

Shanty walked quickly towards her phone and checked. She saw Rajiv’s missed calls and had read his message. 

” Oh, I am extremely sorry Rajiv. 

My phone has been on vibration mode and hence I had missed the call. 

For the same reason, I did not read your message as well. 

Sorry to keep you waiting. 

I was bathing and I did not hear the ring. ” 

Shanty went on to give a further explanation but then Rajiv had stopped her.

” That is fine Shanty. I will go get some rest. ” 

 

Rajiv had wondered that Shanty had not bothered to ask him about his health. Shanty was lost in her thoughts. She was thinking about how to let Sanjay outside without Rajiv noticing him. Rajiv was going to the bedroom to get fresh and get some rest. Shanty was desperately waiting for him to go inside. Rajiv stopped and looked at Shanty- 

” What is it Rajiv ?” 

” Had you invited someone over for lunch? You were expecting someone weren’t you ?” 

Shanty was shocked to hear. She did not know what to say. 

” Wh…Why why do you say so ?” Her voice was trembling. 

” Relax Shanty. Why are you getting upset? 

You are behaving like I have caught you doing something wrong.

Why are you sweating ?” 

” No, no nothing like that.  It’s hot. ” 

” Hot? The AC is on. 

Never mind I asked so because there are two plates kept on the table and cutlery too. 

Have you made biryani? I can tell from the aroma” 

Shanty smiled and thought for a second before she could answer his question.

” Yes. Yes. I had invited my dance class friend Sheela home. 

She had been nagging me. Hence I had invited her. 

I was busy in the preparations.” 

” That is okay Shanty. You can invite your friends home. 

You know I don’t have a problem with that. ” 

Rajiv walked towards the room. Shanty called out for him – 

” Rajiv …” 

He turned back and paused. 

” What is it? “

” I am sorry about today? 

What happened? What will have for lunch? ” 

” I have body pain and fever. Guess it’s because of long hours of continuous work. 

I will get some rest. 

Should be fine in a day or two. 

Tomato soup would be fine. ” 

” Sure. I will make that right away. ” 

You make it later Shanty. I will get some sleep now. I feel tired. ” 

Shanty nodded her head. 

” I will call Sheela and make plans some other time. 

I will pack this food and ask her to send her driver. ” 

” No. No. You carry on. I will be inside. 

I don’t have a problem with it. 

By the way, is your friend Sheela good looking and hot?? Then you should not cancel. ” 

Rajiv started laughing. Shanty smiled. 

” That is okay Rajiv. You get some rest.

She has a big mouth. Talks a lot you see. It’s going to disturb you. 

And yes, Rajiv she is hot. 

So that is another reason for not calling her home this time. 

You see next time around when you are not at home, I will invite her again. 

Both had burst out laughing. Rajiv went to the room to get some rest. 

 

It was a sigh of relief for Shanty. She quickly packed some food for Sanjay. She went to the room to check on Rajiv. He was sleeping.  Shanty grabbed Sanjay’s car keys.  She went running towards the guest room and opened the door. She whispered – 

” Sanjay, Sanjay.” 

Sanjay was hiding inside the closet. When he had heard Shanty’s voice, he had slowly come out.

” Where is Rajiv?” He softly asked Shanty.

” He is sleeping. You quickly go out from the back door.

Here are your keys. I have packed food too. 

I will call you later. ” 

Shanty handed the car keys and food to Rajiv.

” Wait here Sanjay. I will check once again. ” 

Shanty tiptoed towards the bedroom. She once again checked on Rajiv. He was fast asleep. She signalled Sanjay to come outside who was standing at the door. Shanty pointed towards the back door and told him to exit from there. After he had left, she looked at the door and peeped through the window. Sanjay had gone. It was a great relief for Shanty. She sat and ate the food alone. Shanty had imagined a lot of things this afternoon about the lunch but she had no inkling that it would turn out to be like this. She had prepared the soup, cleaned the kitchen and went to get some rest.

 

Part-3

 

After two days, Shanty and Sanjay met in the gym. After they had finished their workout the two sat to have coffee together- 

” How is Rajiv doing now ?” 

” He is better. He has a meeting today. Rajiv said he would finish that and come back home soon. ” 

” The other day, you could have told Rajiv that you had invited me. ” 

” Are you out of your mind Sanjay ?” 

” You only told Shanty that Rajiv does not object you .” 

” Yes, that is right Sanjay. But something like this will arise suspicion.” 

” Anyway Shanty your relationship with him …” 

Shanty did not speak a word. She was silent. After a while – 

” Tell me something Sanjay, your relationship with Tara has hit rock bottom. 

Would you invite me home alone for lunch when she is around? ” 

Sanjay did not answer. 

” It’s easy to say Sanjay .” 

” I am sorry Shanty. I did not mean to hurt you. 

Say something Shanty .” 

Shanty looked at Sanjay. 

” What is it Shanty? 

Please say something.” 

” I have to go Sanjay. Rajiv will be home soon. 

I have to cook lunch.

I will see you tomorrow. ” 

Shanty had grabbed her bag and walked away. Sanjay had failed to understand her behaviour. Sanjay sat until he had finished his coffee and left after that. 

 

Shanty’s behaviour towards Sanjay had changed after that incident. Sanjay had felt that she was trying to avoid him.

” Shanty I have been observing you. Are you trying to avoid me ?? “

” No Sanjay. I am not. 

I was shaken by the incident. I needed some time to digest it. 

I am wondering how long are things going to be like this between us? 

We love each other but yet can’t be together. ” 

” What do you want me to do Shanty? Tell me? Leave Tara? ” 

” I did not say that Sanjay. But our relationship is complicated. Don’t you think so? ” 

” I know it is. But we knew it from the very beginning, right? ” 

Shanty nodded her head. 

” Don’t worry Shanty. Everything is going to be alright. 

We will do something about it. 

Now please smile. ” 

Shanty smiled and hugged Sanjay. 

 

” Shanty can we meet for lunch tomorrow?” 

“Lunch and tomorrow ?” 

” Do you have other plans Shanty ?” 

” I am not sure Sanjay. It depends on Rajiv. ” 

” Okay if not lunch, can we meet in the evening for coffee? 

It won’t take long. I just need to show you a new design.” 

” New design? Why don’t you show it to me now ?” 

” Oh no. It’s not ready yet. I want to show it to you in person. ” 

” What is it about Sanjay? ” 

” Ummm….well a book. ” 

” But just now you said design.” 

” Hmmm…yes yes. Design of a new book.” 

” What are you trying to say Sanjay. I am not able to understand. ” 

” Well don’t break your head. I will show it to you tomorrow. 

Let me know in the morning if we are meeting for lunch or coffee.” 

” Sure. Bye. See you tomorrow Sanjay. ” 

 

It was Shanty’s birthday the next day. Shanty was expecting that Rajiv would ask her out for lunch or dinner. But as always Rajiv was occupied with his work. He had left to work early that day as he had back to back meetings and told Shanty that he would be late and to wait for him. 

 

Shanty had called up Sanjay and told him that she would meet him for lunch and he could show her the new designs. Shanty and Sanjay had met for lunch that afternoon.

” So Sanjay, show me the designs. 

You had seemed excited yesterday. ” 

Sanjay looked at Shanty and smiled. 

” Yeah sure. First, close your eyes.” 

” I have to close my eyes. ” 

She had raised her eyebrows. 

” Yes, Shanty close your eyes. ” 

” Fine. I am closing my eyes.” 

There was silence for few seconds. 

” Sanjay are you here? What is happening?” 

” Patience darling. Don’t open your eyes.

Just hold on a second.” 

After few seconds- 

” Okay. Now you can open your eyes.” 

 

Sanjay had gifted Shanty an elegant diamond necklace. When Shanty had seen the necklace, her jaws had dropped. 

” Wow. Sanjay, this is so beautiful. 

I have fallen short of words to describe. ” 

” Happy Birthday Shanty.

This is my gift to you. ” 

Shanty had loved the necklace and she was touched by his gesture. Her eyes were bedewed with tears. Half a day had gone by and Rajiv had even forgotten to wish Shanty. 

 

” What happened Shanty? 

Why those tears? ” 

” Nothing Sanjay. Thank you. No one has ever gifted me something this expensive. ” 

Sanjay had insisted Shanty wear the necklace. She had worn it in front of him but was worried about Rajiv. Shanty wanted to return it to Sanjay but then since it would have hurt his feelings, she had accepted it. 

 

After she had returned home, Shanty had removed the necklace and had kept it in her wardrobe. She had thought all night about it. Shanty did not know what to tell Rajiv. If she had told him that her parents had gifted, then she had feared that he might ask them about it and also she had to explain to her parents about the necklace. 

 

Shanty had carefully hidden the necklace in her wardrobe beneath her clothes such that Rajiv could not find it. Whenever she had thought about the necklace, in Rajiv’s absence Shanty would remove it from the wardrobe and wear it. Shanty would look at herself in the mirror and smile. Then she would carefully place it back safely inside out of Rajiv’s reach.

 

This went for days. She had thought that it cannot go on like this. She wanted to wear the necklace without any fear. Shanty wanted to flaunt it. Show it to her friends, wear it to parties. She had thought hard as to how she could make it happen. Shanty was so lost in her thoughts that she did not see the stairs in front of her. By the time she had realised, she had lost her balance and toppled over. 

 

Shanty had hurt her ankle and she was in a lot of pain. The doctor had advised her to take bed rest for a couple of days. Rajiv had taken good care of her.  She was surprised to see this gesture of Rajiv towards her.  Rajiv had even taken a couple of days off from work to be by her side. Rajiv had even tried to put his culinary skills to use. Though he wasn’t a good cook, with the help of Shanty he had managed the show. 

 

On one of the days, Shanty had found an opportunity to tell Rajiv about the necklace. She had thought hard about it. While they were having breakfast in the morning, she had told Rajiv that she had a call and that she had won first place in the cookery competition she had participated in while Rajiv was away.  The price was a diamond necklace. Rajiv was surprised that she hadn’t told him about it. But Shanty had managed to get away by knitting a story. 

” A diamond necklace? Are you sure Shanty? 

Who gives a diamond necklace as a price for a cooking competition?” 

” Yes, Rajiv I am very sure. I have heard it right. 

It was an international competition. People from different parts of the world had participated.” 

On hearing this, Rajiv had started laughing. 

” Why are you laughing Rajiv? What is so funny? 

The judges had gone to different parts of the world where the competition was taking place. 

The results were compiled and then the panel had decided the winner. ” 

” So you are the winner, is it? How come I haven’t heard about it anywhere? 

No media coverage – social media? Nothing at all? 

What did you cook? Dum Biryani?” 

“What is your problem Rajiv? ” 

” It is hard to believe Shanty. ” 

” Fine. Then don’t believe Rajiv.

I will tell you the address and the time /date. Please go and fetch it for me. 

Then you will believe it.” 

 

Before Shanty had narrated this story to Rajiv, she had explained her dilemma about the necklace to Sanjay and she had come up with this idea and had requested Sanjay to take the necklace and keep it in the same store where he bought it from and would tell Rajiv to fetch it. 

 

It had taken almost 20 days for Shanty to recover completely and get back on her feet. Rajiv had resumed working. Since she had started feeling better, Shanty had started going to the gym again.  She had handed over the necklace to Sanjay.

 

” How are you doing Shanty? 

It’s so nice to see you after so long.  

I tried hard to stop myself from coming and meeting you but since Rajiv was at home…

I am happy that he was with you .” 

” Yes, Sanjay. I am happy too that he was by my side. 

Else it would have been really hard for me to do everything by myself. 

Regarding the necklace, please do as I have told you.

There is a small get together at Sheela’s.

I need to wear it then. I am excited. 

I finally get to wear it. 

Please don’t mind. But I hope you get it. ” 

“Shanty but why do you have to tell Rajiv to get it?

You can simply show it to him and tell him about your competition.

Why complicate it?”

” Sanjay, please do as I say. I want Rajiv to get it for me.

This way he will believe it.” 

Sanjay had nodded his head and agreed to do what Shanty had asked him to.

 

Part-4 

 

After the gym when Shanty had returned home, she was tired as it had been a while since she had visited the gym.  Shanty went to the bedroom to get some rest.  While she was lying on the bed,  she had thought of the time she had spent with Rajiv. She seemed to have been missing those days.  Shanty had felt that maybe she was developing a fondness for Rajiv. She wasn’t sure what that feeling was as she had never felt that way earlier for Rajiv. On the flip side there was Sanjay whom she loved and if she did love Sanjay, then what was that affection she was building towards Rajiv. Shanty was confused.

 

Shanty wanted to understand the kind of emotions she was going through. After giving it a thought, she had concluded that since Rajiv wasn’t giving her enough time she was looking for love and affection outside of the relationship. But if Rajiv had given her that care, love and affection she would not have betrayed him.

 

Shanty wanted to give her marriage a second chance. She wanted to make it work. She had thought that since she had never expressed her feelings and desires to Rajiv, he had not realised it and he must have perceived that Shanty was okay with how things were going. Shanty had believed that if she had expressed how she had felt then Rajiv might understand and things might change. She also did not want to be the reason to ruin Sanjay’s marriage as Sanjay had mentioned to Shanty at the gym that Tara wanted to reconcile but Sanjay wasn’t sure about it. Her decision would save two families from shattering.

 

The next day, Sanjay had called Shanty and informed her that he had returned the necklace to the store and had explained it to the manager. Since the manager was Sanjay’s friend, he had obliged. 

” Hello Shanty, you told me that you had to go to Sheela’s house tomorrow for the party. ” 

” Yes, I do Sanjay. I could have gone and collected the necklace myself but…” 

” Shanty if you had to collect it yourself, why in the first place you asked me to return it? 

You could have simply shown the necklace to Rajiv and told him that this is what you have won.

How would he know about it that you had gone and collected it or it was given by me or…

I don’t know what to say.

I had told you about it in the gym too but then you said you wanted Rajiv to believe it.

What is going on with you Shanty?” 

” The plan was something else Sanjay. Now it is something else.” 

” What plan? What something else?” 

” I need to tell you something. Not now. When we meet next, we will talk.”

” Okay Shanty. Suit yourself. Do what you think is best for you. 

Take care. See you soon. ” 

 

After Shanty had finished her conversation with Sanjay, she had decided that she would give the necklace back to Sanjay and end the relationship with him. She wanted to start fresh with Rajiv. Shanty was confident that things will be in her favour and everything is going to be alright. When Rajiv came back home that night, Shanty told had told Rajiv about the necklace. Rajiv told her that he would collect it from the store tomorrow as it was on his way to work. Shanty had agreed.  Shanty was in no mood to wear the necklace to the party. 

 

The next morning after Rajiv had collected the necklace, he had called Shanty to tell him about it. 

” Shanty, I have collected your necklace and just reached the office. 

I must tell you the necklace…..” Rajiv had started laughing. 

Shanty had failed to understand why Rajiv was laughing so hard.

” Why are you laughing Rajiv? ” 

” You see it for yourself then you will understand as to why I am laughing.

Okay, I need to go something urgent has come up. 

I will bring it to you in the evening.” 

Shanty had expected that Rajiv would tell her that the necklace was beautiful, it would look good on you and so forth but then she had thought that it did not matter now because she was going to return the necklace.

 

After some time Rajiv had called Shanty again and told her that he had to travel urgently for two days.

” Shanty, please pack my clothes. I will tell you which one.

Something very urgent has come up and I am leaving in another two hours.

I could have come myself but I can’t. I am stuck up here. 

Please bring the bag to my office and also those files which I have kept on my study table.

The blue and the black files. 

I will be in a meeting when you come and hence I cannot meet you. Sorry.

Collect your necklace too. I will leave it with my Secretary Ravina.

Please make it soon. ” 

” Can’t you send someone Rajiv? ” 

” Okay wait let me check Shanty. You keep it ready. I will call you back.” 

” Rajiv, wait… it’s okay I will come myself.” 

” Thank you, Shanty.”

“After you come back, I have something important to tell you Rajiv. ” 

” Important?” Rajiv thought what Shanty wanted to tell him.

” That can wait until you are back Rajiv.” 

” Okay then. Take care. Bye.

Call me if there is anything.”

 

Shanty had reached the office and had handed over the bag and files to the Secretary. 

” Hello Ma’am, Rajiv Sir had told me that you will be coming.

He is in a meeting.” 

” Yes. Rajiv told me about it. ” 

” Ma’am Sir asked me to give this to you.” 

Ravina removed the necklace from the drawer and handed it over to Shanty.

Shanty smiled and collected it. While she collected the necklace, she had thought that there was a time when she was so excited about it and wanted to wear it without any apprehensions and flaunt it but now…Shanty had never expected that she would go through this phase.

 

Shanty had opened the box to see the necklace. Shanty was surprised when she had seen what was inside the box. It wasn’t the same necklace that Sanjay had gifted her. It was indeed a simple gold chain that had a small diamond pendant. She was amazed. Shanty had thought that maybe the store manager had fooled Rajiv and taken the original necklace or did Rajiv bring the wrong box. There must have been some kind of misunderstanding or miscommunication.

 

” Ma’am is everything okay?” asked Ravina.

” Ravina, are you sure that Rajiv asked you to give this box to me? Is there any other box?” 

” No ma’am I am sure. He asked me to give you this box and there is nothing else in here.

He only gave me one box.” 

While talking, Shanty had accidentally touched the pen which was on the desk and it rolled and fell.

” Oh, I am sorry.” 

” No problem, ma’am I shall take it.” 

Ravina stepped aside and bent to take it. As she had bent, Shanty was blown away by what she had just seen. The secretary had worn the same necklace which Sanjay had gifted her. Shanty had not observed it earlier since the scarf was covering it and also Shanty was lost in her thoughts. Plus she did not have a clue that something like this would happen. Shanty had stood there like a statue helpless staring at the necklace while Ravina was busy adjusting her scarf.

 

Stunned Shanty did not know what to say. Shanty had put away the jewellery box in her bag and silently walked back home. 

 

**********

THE END

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