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The stolen Ring


Maya shuffled through her jewellery box for the umpteenth time. No the ring wasn’t there. She placed the box on the dressing table and cursed herself for being so careless. It was her husband’s first anniversary gift to her. She had kept it inside the box only a day before, since her finger was itching badly, and had forgot to replace it inside her locker. It was a gold ring with one spotless diamond on top. Her eyes filled with tears. It was one gift he had bought with so much care, he had so little money then…

“That wretched woman!’’ She cursed the ayah. Rupa, her ayah had been swapping things of late. Of late, small things like a dinner spoon, a table mat, a strainer, a hanger and a torch had been missing. She had warned her. The young girl denied vehemently. She didn’t look the type who would steal things. But how much can you gauge from looks? Those were inexpensive gifts and could be replaced. But not this! This was an irreplaceable gift and Rupa shouldn’t have stolen this. Now it was impossible for Mita to keep her any longer. Her kleptomaniac ways were now extending into her bedroom. Next she might steal something even more priceless.

Like Lulu!

She shivered at the thought and spoke to her husband that night at dinner.

“I am getting rid of Rupa. She is turning into a regular thief.’’

“What has she stolen now?’’

“Nothing…’’ She couldn’t bring herself to tell him the truth. “I mean, a… er… pen is missing.’’

“Come on, how do you know they are being stolen? You could have misplaced them.’’

“No, no. This is not the first time. You don’t realize, we are off to work. If we don’t stop her now she might steal bigger things.’’

“You give her a warning.’’

“I did. I told her that things were missing from my house and that she should be more careful.’’

“What did she say?’’

“She kept silent. What would she say?’’

“But then how would you do without her?’’ He chewed on his dinner.

“Let’s see. I have to take a few CL’s and find another person.’’

“You are sure?’’ Her husband wasn’t the interfering type.

“Yeah.’’ She finished her dinner in a hurry.

The next day was a Sunday and as soon as Rupa rang the bell, Maya handed over her dues to her and told her, “We have decided to keep Lulu in a crèche.’’

“Why ma’m?’’ The girl was in tears.

All false, crocodile ones, thought Maya. “No your Dada and I think that a crèche is best for her.’’

The girl left wiping away her tears. Maya felt bad. Maybe she shouldn’t have been so harsh. Maybe Rupa really liked her two-an-a-half year old daughter. Then she thought about the diamond ring. That wretched woman! She has my priceless ring and is now shedding tears? She slammed the door shut and felt happy to have taken out her revenge in some form.

She was in the middle of her cooking when she wanted some spices to be bought from the shop nearby. She thought of getting them herself as Raj, her husband was busy with the plants in the terrace of their one storied rented house. She went to take out some money from her purse. She looked on the table.

The purse was nowhere!

She remembered clearly that she had kept the purse on her table the night before. It contained almost three hundred rupees, her driving license, her keys to her cupboard and god knows what else!

“Raj! Raj!’’ She leapt up the stairs. “Raj, my purse! It’s stolen!’’

“What?’’ Raj looked up from the plants. “But you… you didn’t’ let her in today, did you?’’

“No. I saw her off from the door itself.’’

“You had the purse yesterday?’’

“Yes,’’ Maya was in tears. “Could she have lifted it out of the window…’’ Then she suddenly became scared. “Where’s Lulu?!!’’

“She’s playing with her pram. Over there.’’

“Lulu? Lulu?’’ The frantic mother wanted to be sure.

The toddler wearing just a vest and with no panty waddled to the scene of action, pushing her pram. “Two rupees! Two rupees…’’

“Lulu…’’ Maya rushed to her side to see if her baby was safe.

And then she noticed!

Her purse was hanging from the side of the pram. Inside the pram were neatly placed a number of things --- a torch, a strainer, a spoon, a Barbie doll, a dried up brinjal, two potatoes, a lipstick, a hanger and a tablemat.

Her diamond ring was positioned right in the center. Shining bright in the sunlight.
Published: 2009-05-28
Author: Kaberi Chatterjee

About the author or the publisher
I am a journalist/novelist who has had 15 years of experience inside the claustrophobia of a newsroom at night, and the freedom of flight to an imaginative world of creations, during the day. I have one collection of short stories published by Sampark, India. I have one short story filmed as an Indian movie. I have had hundreds of published works, both as a journalist and as a writer in various newspapers and magazines. I have three unpublished novels. I wish to continue as a writer/novelist.

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