The Mask of Formalities

The Mask of Formalities

Mr. Srinivasan or Srini owned a garment business  and was very rich . Beautiful women, mostly young and aspiring models, swooned over his good looks.

His secretary Naina, secretly loved him and wanted to marry him. His polite and courteous behaviour impressed her.

Often he went abroad on business trips  accompanied by beautiful ladies. After coming back from the trips , the women would gush over his behaviour and exclaim, “He knows how to treat his women. He took me to the best restaurant and bought me so many gifts .”

Others would flaunt, ” Once when we were alone in the lounge of that hotel  he almost kissed me, but the receptionist appeared from nowhere and spoiled our mood.”

Naina boiled with jealousy and envy.  How she wished, he took her in his strong arms and kiss her pink lips, until she fell unconscious.

Apart from foreign trips, every month Srini went to Kerala religiously, all alone .

May be he was visiting his parents or some temple, Nisha would think in her mind. He was a bachelor, who stayed alone in his bungalow, with few servants .

One day Nisha got a call from Srini, “Nisha! I am rushing to Kerala and will be back by a fortnight . You’ll have to manage the show all alone. I am sorry, I am expecting too much from you. I can’t trust anybody else. Is it ok dear?” His voice sounded slightly different and sober.

‘Perhaps some emergency has cropped up. Otherwise he was never this serious.’ Naina said to herself.

Exactly after a fortnight Srini came back . Naina’s heart skipped a beat. He looked so grave and vulnerable and she wanted to hug him. But she controlled her emotions and gave a friendly smile.

He was his unusual self. Suddenly he took her hands and said, “Tomorrow I want you to come home . Is that okay with you?”

Naina was in cloud nine. But she just gave him a nonchalant look and mumbled “Sure.”

Next day she wore her best stylish attire and waited for him. He gave her an admiring look and drove her to his bungalow. It was a palatial mansion and Naina was dumb folded with surprise. His old maid smiled at both of them and brought some juice and savouries. After finishing the juice, Srini took her to his sprawling bedroom.

Naina was in a shock and her whole body trembled. On his bed was kept a new saree, a matching blouse and petticoat.

Looking at her Srini said, “Naina, You look exactly like my elder sister, who passed away a fortnight ago. She was in a coma. After the death of my parents she brought me up like her son. She never married because of me. Unfortunately she met with an accident and went into coma.”

Naina’s heart broke even before she could reveal her feelings for Srini. She had decided to tearing away her invisible mask of formality and politeness. But that was not to be. Life was indeed strange.


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