Kismet Connection 

 Subodh panted his way to ‘Blue House’, the secret joint exclusively for the city’s elite. It had taken two years of greasing palms and hefty donations to get an invite. The structure stood like an oasis in the chaotic amalgamation of Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi. His generous Christian Dior redolence didn’t put a dent in the reeking mephitis engulfing him.  The reception area was a cramped place, intrinsically plangent with broken electric fixtures, begrimed mirrors, and an array of hanging webs that had wrapped him in their gossamers once upon a time. The place doubled up as a one-spot employment agency. Years ago, he had been one of them assembling here daily in hopes of better opportunities. Then Sethji found him and his life changed. Everything turned in his favor when his issueless, handicapped Sethji willed all his assets to Subodh…  Subodh sighed. He had to wait till he got the ‘call’ and an adjoining door would open. Subodh knew that beyond the iron portal lay the cul-de-sac of ecstasy, and his spent heart paced faster. Wanting to rest his aching legs he saw the only unbroken bench in a corner. He coughed as he dusted the wooden structure. Before sitting, he looked at the familiar painting on the adjacent cracked wall. Now faded and stained, it had always been there. The model’s blue-green eyes always intrigued him so did the title, ‘meet your destiny’. Chuckling he sat and his hand touched a piece of paper stuck underneath. He strained to read it. DON’T LEAVE Impulsively, he looked up into those mesmerizing blue-green orbs. Suddenly there was a flash of blinding light and a deafening roar and he blacked out. He woke up in his bungalow, the one he had acquired for himself deceitfully. Sethji had signed the final paper, just hours before having Subodh’s fatal cup of tea.  Today, on his favorite rocking chair sat an older version of Subodh reading his newspaper. The wall-mounted calendar read September 2032.  The older Subodh was paralyzed waist below just like Sethji in his last days. With trembling hands, the older man picked up the cup, the identical white ceramic with blue lilies, in which Subodh had served Sethji that last time. Everything had fallen according to his sinister planning then and Sethji was history. “NO, DON’T DRINK THAT…” Subodh tried screaming, but his voice lodged in his throat.  Within a couple of gulps, the older man clutched his chest and collapsed, the newspaper flying all over the place. A younger version of Subodh walked into the room with a smirk on his face and stood watching the old man gasp and then lay grotesquely inanimate. What kind of a déjà vu was this?  Suddenly the light flashed and sound boomed once again. Subodh woke up with a start. When did he lie on the muddy bench? His trembling hand still touched the paper. He saw there was another fold and opened it. There was something else typed. KARMA IS A BITCH…   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!