Please note that this story is purely a work of fiction and all names, characters, places, events and locales are either a product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictous manner. Any resemblance to any event and/or person living and/or dead is purely coincidental. We do not intend on offending any race, religion or community.
The girls arrived at Mrs. Narayani’s house just at the time of sunset. The house was actually a beautiful cottage and there was a small kitchen garden on the outside. There were green and red chillies growing all over along with some lemons and brinjals. Vividha put down the boxes and knocked at the door. Ragini stood there silently trying to stop her tears from washing over her face. She could not bear the thought of having to work at Ms. Manya’s house for even one more day.
A middle aged housemaid opened the door. By the look on her face it seemed that she was expecting them.
“Ms. Manya rang Mrs. Narayani this afternoon,” she said opening the door wide for them to walk in,” Are these her paintings?”
“Yes,” replied Vividha,” We have come to deliver these.”
“Thank you so much,” she said,” Peter will take them in.”
A middle aged man appeared at the door and picked up the boxes.
“Put them in Madam’s room,” said the lady,” And ask Mrinal to prepare some tea for these lovely girls.”
“O please do come in! Mrinal makes excellent herbal tea. It will warm you up.”
The girls quietly walked in. Ragini was still lost in her thoughts while Vividha was pleasantly surprised by such a warm welcome.
“She is the thief’s daughter.”
A sharp voice made Ragini freeze at the spot where she was standing. She looked around and saw Mrs. Narayani staring angrily at her.
“Her parents were thieves!” she yelled,” What is this girl doing in my house?”
“No one in the neighbourhood ever calls her that,” said Vividha,” Her name is Ragini and people here admire her so much. I assume you have no idea about our town at all.”
“Her parents…………..” began Mrs. Narayani.
“They left town years ago,” said Ragini,”Do you have any news about them?”
“No! Why would I even care!”
“Our work here is done,” said Vividha angrily,” We have delivered your paintings and I feel so sorry for you that none of them could sell. Well, better luck next time.”
“Tea is ready,” the housemaid said,”And I have invited them for tea.”
“But Mahira Di,” whispered Mrs. Narayani,” Her parents………”
“Left town years ago,” said Ms. Mahira,” I heard that too. Come dear, lets have tea together.”
“I am sorry,” said Vividha,” but we better get going.”
“O no,” said Ms. Mahira,” You must taste the delicious garlic cheese bread which Mrinal has prepared especially for you.”
“But why?” asked Ragini sounding confused,” Why such a warm welcome for a thief’s daughter?”
“Now Madam has spoiled the mood,” said Ms. Mahira,” Please dont mind her. She can be really bitter at times. Please do come in and Madam will have her tea in her room. Is that all right Madam?”
“Do as you wish,” said Mrs. Narayani walking away.
“So you are the one who will be designing oracle cards for The Healing Miracle store?”
“Yes,” replied Ragini,” but how do you know about this?”
“Mrinal told me. Mrinal works there too.”
“They are under such a heavy debt,” said Vividha,” How are they going to pay her?”
“O dear,” said Ms. Mahira,” Our beloved Goddess Lakshmi will take care of it. Mrs. Madhavi owns that place. She is a wonderful woman and wont ever break her promise. Now come in quick. Tea is almost ready.”