Raising the Curtain – Short Story

Raising the Curtain – Short Story

I know it is cliché to say he smiled with his eyes; but, he smiled with his eyes. Unfortunately, the rest of him was saying, “I have had enough. I just can’t take it anymore.” He was confessing his misdeeds and their consequences to Ayan, his best friend in a restaurant.

Srijan was now exhausted of all the games being played by Tia lately. The culprit was now behaving like the victim. Yes, Srijan himself was the one blamed for all the hustle-bustle he was going through. He had thought of preying on Tia who looked like a delicate girl to him. But he was mistaken. Now, Tia was all set to teach him a lesson. She had just begun with exposing his true self to his friends. He could see what was coming next and hence was fearful.

“Coming!” Srijan’s parents were taking a good Sunday afternoon nap when they heard someone knock on the entrance door. It was his mother who had responded to the call as she woke up.

“Namaste, Aunty. I’m Tia. You might have heard my name from Srijan some time. May I come in?” Tia tried to say everything with calm and composure while actually, she was fuming on the inside.

“Sure, beta. Come, come. Yes, I have heard your name from him till sometime back. These days he is running busy building a career, no. He rarely gets the time to chitchat with us about anything.” Srijan’s mother said, signaling Tia to have a seat and putting the window curtains to the sides. “What would you like to have?” She asked Tia while serving water to her.

“Nothing, thanks, Aunty. I need to have a word with you. Could you spare a few minutes to sit and talk to me, please?” Tia said after drinking water. By that time, Srijan’s father also came and joined them.

Tia started describing her woes given by Srijan to his parents, saying, “It would have been great if he would be focusing on his career, but that doesn’t seem the case. I request you both to listen to some curtain-raiser audios I have in his voice. Here I go.” And she played a couple of recordings on her phone one-by-one. Captured by their mutual friends, the recordings exposed his bad intentions of fooling around with Tia, with her body as well as money, and plans of leaving her mid-way then.

Srijan’s parents couldn’t easily believe their son was up to something like that. But Tia convinced them by repeating the audios as many times as they wanted till they didn’t believe. They asked Tia to leave and called up Srijan to reach home asap.

“Tia has cheated on me. I can’t hold on, I can’t let go. I don’t know what to do.” Srijan continued.

After listening to the cooked-up story by Srijan, Ayan said, “Is that all? Or you have more to say?” 

“I don’t know. I.. I just don’t know what else to say.”

“Good. Now stop pretending and tell me what actually you were up to.” Ayan interrogated.

“Up to? What do you mean?” Srijan enquired. The next moment, his phone rang. His parents were calling. They told him about Tia’s visit and asked him to reach home quickly. By the time he hung up, he had understood the plan executed on him by Tia, mutual friends and his own best friend Ayan. So, he looked up at Ayan with a pale face and a blank mind. 

Ayan knew the matter and hence said, “So, Tia has cheated on you, right?”

“No. I mean yes. I mean no. Damn!” Srijan knew he was badly stuck. He pulled his hair in disgust and then covered his face with palms on the table.

“Stop pretending now and come with me. You have fooled everyone around. It’s time you got your life-lessons.” Ayan said while pulling Srijan’s hand and taking him along.

“But, but you are my best friend. How could Tia take you in her favour! I expect you my side.”

“Side and all? Now your parents will explain all this to you, don’t worry. If you call me your best friend, you would be aware that I am never in favour of an unjust person. I wanted to listen to your side of the story and you lied to me all through.”

“Who told you that?” Srijan was taken aback.

“Your eyes! I’m working in the police department, buddy. Why do you forget that? I can sense your lies merely by looking at you. And your biggest misconception was that you could take me into confidence for doing all this. Now you are gone.”

Nevertheless, Tia, mutual friends, Srijan’s parents or Ayan didn’t need to take any action on Srijan, as such. Just surrounding him from all corners, reminding him of his bad acts and plans while warning him strictly was enough. Srijan completely transformed after that. He finally focused on his career now. Tia came out as a smart and brave girl who didn’t fall victimized by his bad intentions.

Short Story By: Neha Sharma, The Literature Times

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