Gossip queen, Sarita rolled her pupils like a laddle swirling a gravy, no sooner than Mythili answered the doorbell.
“Didn’t you hear any screams in the morning from our new neighbour’s house?” She asked without as much as a preamble.
The befuddled look on Mythili’s face seemed to have irritated her.
“I just saw Jia with burn marks all over her body and face, being dragged by Sheila into an autorickshaw.” Sarita almost bawled.
“Oh is that so? However, everything sounded peaceful in their house.” Mythili hurried in to switch off the gas.
“This is the problem with you younger generation,” Sarita, who was hardly six years older than Mythili, avered. “You don’t see the underlying issues. She must have threatened the girl with more dire consequences if she opened her mouth.”
In a subdued voice, Sarita continued “Sheila’s husband went in an Uber with a suitcase yesterday. Trust me this lady has taken advantage of the absence of the father. A premonition is ringing in my mind. I think she has tried to swipe the girl from the scene for good. I am not sure if the eight-year-old girl would survive the burns. They looked bad.”
“Why would a mother do such a horrendous thing to her daughter?” Mythili looked dazed.
“Oh, God!!! Your grey cells are rotting faster than mine.” Sarita chided. “Isn’t it obvious that she is not the biological mother of the kid and has inflicted burns on the child at a time conducive to her?”
Mythili looked shocked.
Both the ladies decided to take Mrs. Sharma, the eldest one in the premises, into confidence, and decide further course of action.
Should they inform the secretary of the building or contact Sheila’s husband?
Mrs. Sharma was an extremely prudent lady and wouldn’t buy stories at face value but she was jolted by the kind of description Sarita gave about the burns on the little girl’s face and body.
What irked her was according to Sarita, Sheila had neither wrapped the girl in a blanket nor had called for the ambulance.
‘How did she subdue the girl’s agonizing screams? Had she gagged her mouth?‘ Mrs. Sharma was perplexed.
“Come let us first talk to the security at the gate before we talk to the secretary,” she suggested.
The trio went to Ramsingh the security guy in their building and enquired whether he knew about Sheila dragging Jia with burn marks.
As if he had heard an extremely humourous joke, Ramsingh almost rolled in laughter.
Just then an autorickshaw entered the premises and out jumped Jia still with the burn marks but with also a trophy in hand. Sheila beamed at the ladies.
“My daughter bagged the first prize in a fancy dress competition at the zonal level. I am glad I made her pose as a burn victim. It took me two hours to put on those burn marks, but my darling child was so cooperative. She well deserved this award.”
The trio sheepishly congratulated her.
Connect with Penmancy:
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!