To the Traveler, the village was a painting embroidered on the vast canvas of the black sky. The starry night blazed on the traveler as he sat on his jaunts atop a hill and examined the chalk colored homes. The streets were deserted but well lit with electricity flowing through the street lamps.
Although the Traveler couldn’t see any light coming through the homes, so he got up and moved to scour the little village for any Good Samaritan to take him in at this late hour of the night but the traveler couldn’t find anyone.
He did not want to disturb anyone’s deep slumber. Still not disheartened but afraid that he might have to spend the night on the streets; he moved towards the border of the village. He could see a lonely house atop the hill with no lights on. Sad; he turned around to return to the lighted streets of the chalky village.
A dim light escaped through the window and the traveler turned to look at the silhouette of the women looking straight at him. The Traveler turned his steps and ran with a gleaming hope towards the door and rang the bell twice before knocking on the door in eagerness.
After few long moments the door opened and a lady stood on the other side of the door. She was wearing a red sari and her face was covered with a ‘pallu’ but he could make out the almond shaped eyes through the translucent cloth.
She held a lamp high to get a good look on the travelers face and questioned
“Are you lost?” asked the lady in a mellow sweet voice.
The clear sky turned crimson red with clouds roaring above the travelers head
“Yes.” The Traveler said hopefully.
“Perhaps you are in luck. There is a spare room in my house, where you can sleep.” The Woman said and cleared the way for the Traveler to come in the house. The Traveler heard a loud bang of thunder and the starry night became a hazy memory and was replaced by dark clouds which held the stars captive.
The Traveler moved in the house before the first drops of the rain could hit the ground. The house was big from inside, A staircase running parallel to the hall which was illuminated by the non-incandescent light of bulbs that draped the floor in yellow.
There was a peach colored sofa, and a mismatched chair along with a center table in the name of furniture and a big window to accompany the hall.
“You must be tired, I can make you tea..!” offered the lady
“No, No it’s not necessary.” said the traveler.
“It is not a problem. Really, you take a seat. “said the Woman in red sari and went off to the kitchen before the Traveler could have said anything, the traveler nodded and found his steps tracing towards the sofa and sat on it; the old furniture creaked due to the traveler’s weight.
After few moments of solitude, the silence started to bite in his anxiety as he mildly started to tap his foot in restlessness. He noticed a spider crawl close to the light bulb and cast a large shadow on the opposite wall.
Traveler started to scan all the walls, his attention was grabbed by the portrait of a man wearing the classic Indian attire and a sword in hand hang on the backdrop of a grey wall. He heard the thunder strike and turned his attention towards the window and tried to look into the dark abyss outside but instead found himself sitting in the dark in complete silence intermittently broken by the loud pangs of thunder.
“Miss… Miss is that you?” The Traveler reacted to the sound of footsteps, no reaction came.
“Misses…” he said again this time with a little effort to prevent his voice from choking.
No reply came but the footsteps got louder so was the Traveler’s heartbeat. He closed his eyes and was too afraid to loud bursts of thunder added to his confinement. A tap on the shoulder and he jumped off the sofa and fell on the ground.
A sickening burst of laughter followed and he slowly opened his eyes to see himself humiliated in front of the mistress of the house. She was standing with a tray and two cups of hot tea, her ‘pallu’ covering her face. The Traveler stood up and strangely the light was back on and laughed at his stupidity.
They sat on the sofa for a round of tea and an awkward silence. The traveler first broke the ice.
“Do you live alone?”
“Yes, my husband has gone out for work.” said the Lady; trying to suppress the sadness in her voice.
“What does your husband do.?” Ask the inquisitive Traveler.
“He is in the military.” She replied.
“Oh… you must be proud of him.” The Traveler said trying to make small talk.
“Why? I am not he is always out and I am lonely.” The lady in the red Sari came closer to the Traveler.
The traveler found himself in an uncomfortable position.
“But he is doing a service to the nation.” objected the traveler.
“What good is the service to the nation; if you cannot take care of your wife and your children?” The Woman was on the verge of crying.
“So you have children?” asked the Traveler acting on the new found knowledge.
“Had; two little boys, but like their father they also left me to pursue higher studies.” The woman started to sob.
The Traveler came near to the Woman.
“I am sorry; I didn’t mean to hurt you.” The Traveler said apologetically.
“It is fine, anyways after long time someone has visited Me.” said the Woman and the thunder struck loud and she removed her ‘pallu’.
The Traveler looked at her, she was beautiful, had curly hairs and almond eyes. The Traveler felt attracted to her and got up before anything could happen.
“Can I ask you one more thing?” The Traveler requested.
“When did you last saw your husband?” The Traveler asked.
“It has been seven months since I saw him, a war broke out and he has to leave abruptly.” The Woman said.
The Traveler turned around “What war?” He asked in confusion.
“You don’t know about the War. The Chinese attacked and my husband is serving in the army to defeat them.” The Woman said shell shocked about how ignorant the Man was.
The Traveler looked at her youthful face and asked another question “What year is it?”
“You fool you don’t even know the year, it is 1962.” A loud pang of Thunder followed.
The Traveler ran towards the door and makes a dash out of it as soon as possible and ran for half a mile when he fell short of breath. He turned around to look at the House. It was a wreck with a broken roof and weed growing at its entrance.
The white chalky houses turned into white chalky tombstones and he realized that he was standing in a cemetery.