There was a festive commotion in the Singh household in New Delhi. Luxury cars lined the street housing the sprawling bungalow. Inside, the atmosphere was charged with raucous laughter and incessant chatter. The fragrance of expensive perfumes mixed with the sweet, heady smell of roses, lilies and tuberoses.
Well groomed visitors carrying fresh flower bouquets and boxes of expensive sweets poured into the brightly lit, spacious living room. Servants in navy blue uniforms and white gloves were scurrying around with silver trays laden with food and drinks.
It was a beautifully decorated home that reflected the affluence of its owner. The bungalow was located in one of the posh localities of the city where the rich and powerful bigwigs – politicians, bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries, business tycoons and so on hobnobbed with each other at golf courses or at evening soirees held in five-star hotels.
Mr. Lakhbir Singh (Lucky to his friends) and his son, Rajdeep (Raj for short), stood in the middle of the room greeting and accepting felicitations from their friends and acquaintances. They had come from far and near to express their solidarity with the Singh family. After a cumbersome legal ordeal, the court verdict had finally come out in Raj’s favor. This was the reason for the grand celebration.
“Daisy, come here and join us,” Lucky commanded his wife. He loved to show his authority over his wife and son in public.
Mrs. Daisy Singh reluctantly left her secluded spot in the corner of the room and obediently took her place beside her husband. Her public image as a dutiful and demure wife was not a created one. That she should always present herself as such in public as well as in private was drilled into her psyche since the day of her marriage to Mr. Singh.
Daisy had always been very uncomfortable with this vulgar and audacious display of wealth and power, something her husband excelled at. This evening, she was particularly edgy. "You have invited so many people," she remarked to her husband, trying to sound casual.
“Of course! It is important that everyone knows that Raj is completely innocent. He has been duly acquitted in the court of law and absolved of any wrongdoing,” Lucky Singh told his wife with conviction.
Daisy looked at her son who refused to meet her eyes. Raj was the proverbial spoilt rich kid with good looks and oodles of charm. At twenty two, he had met Jessica at a party. She was the pretty and vivacious barmaid who had attracted everyone’s eye. They had started dating soon after and had eventually fallen in love. Jessica’s station in life was way below that of the Singh family and that had irked Lucky immensely.
And then one fine morning, Jessica was found murdered in her tiny apartment after spending the night partying with Raj. Raj was accused of, tried for and finally acquitted of, Jessica’s murder.
Though he had won in the court of law, Raj knew his mother’s verdict – GUILTY!!
Writing order: Anonymous, Sameer Nagarajan (Sri Lanka), Joe Labrum (USA), Rosemary Wakelin (Aus), Hemali Ajmera (Ind), Donna McTavish(NZ), danaesidh (Aus), Hemali Ajmera (Ind), Suraya Dewing (NZ), Hemali Ajmera (India)