It is a warm February night in Hyderabad. All the lights in the town are switched on – except the lights in this flat. Naresh sits in the dark, thinking about the light in his life that was suddenly extinguished eight months ago. He no longer has the desire to live. He does not eat at proper times and skips meals quite often. Today he has given dinner a miss again. Since his sister knows that he doesn’t cook, she always calls him over. Her house is just a five minute walk, but today he lied that he is going to a colleague’s place.
He does not feel like going to his office. He still does go though, just to try and keep his mind busy. But then at the end of the day, he loathes the idea of returning to a flat which is empty & lonely now.

He does not answer his cell-phone most of the time. He hates cell-phones now, although there was a time when he thought that it was the next best invention of mankind, after electricity. This is the same person whom you could always find with either the cell-phone stuck to his ear or else talking non-stop into his Blue-tooth ear-piece. He used to attend conference calls with his colleagues in the US, while he drove home in the evenings. Naresh liked to make good use of the hours he spent in driving – by calling and catching up with long-lost college friends, or by calling the architect, to discuss details about the large house that he was having built on the outskirts of town.

That house was Sunita’s dream home. Sunita had so many plans … about decorating, about the colours for each room, about the setup in the huge living-room, about the mini garden on the terrace. At that time, the house was going to be ready in another five months – which would have been exactly a month before their first child was due to enter this world.

All those dreams were shattered in a matter of seconds. That week, eight months in the past, Naresh was out of town on work. Since he could not make it this time, Sunita had gone by herself for the Doctor’s monthly check-up. After all the clinic was just a few streets away. On her way home, Sunita stopped near the road-side vegetable market. It would be nice to surprise him with some Gajar-ka-Halwa, when he got back the next day. She was standing on the narrow footpath, next to the street-light, and bargaining with the vegetable-lady.

Mr. Govardhan, the owner of the big electronic-goods store down the road, was driving home. And he was speaking on his mobile phone, instructing the distributor about the delivery of more 29″ TV sets. In a flash, the flower-selling boy’s bicycle came right in front of his car.

With one hand still holding the phone, Govardhan tried to swerve a little to the left to avoid hitting the cycle. His single-handed pull on the steering turned the vehicle far too much than he would have liked.

The car went crashing toward a street-light pole on the footpath. The vegetable-vendor, who had setup shop right next to the light, had a very lucky escape.

It all happened so fast that the lady in the cream coloured salwar-kameez, buying carrots, did not even see the car coming !!!

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