Chinmay returned home for the summer holidays after an eventful academic year. The wimpy lad in him was replaced by a Brawny and witty punster.
On the contrary(also much to Chinmay’s surprise), nothing peculiar had changed in the surroundings of his house at the peaceful countryside except for the fact that a small portion of the house on the upper storey had been rented out to an old lady.Resentment upon this was displayed in every action by him. He had always loved spending time alone in those rooms upstairs.
“What’s with this lady turning up here?” he asked Sanchita, his younger sister.
“Oh you mean Miss Solanki? She is Uncle’s family friend- a retired professor- enjoying her retired life etc etc, that’s all i know” She replied.
A few days passed and Chinmay used to casually glance into that room during his trips to the rooftop. The lady was apparently in her fifties with considerable greying hair. Most of the times she would be off for a stroll into the lush green village outskirts lined with trees and a nearby river bank, leaving her room wide open. In the front room, a desk had been arranged and many things lay littered on it. But the thing that always caught Chinmay’s eye was her diary which stood distinct. From childhood, Chinmay had a fascination of sneaking peeks at diaries. He loved the thrill of breaking into people’s secrets. On several occasions he was reprimanded for doing so, but his obsession hadn’t faded. A wild thought of sneaking this lady’s diary crossed his mind.
He voiced his thoughts to Sanchita- a perfect partner in all their childly crimes. She was a bright girl, quite inquisitive in nature, but at the same time her eyes sparkled with every opportunity of mischief. The family had faced this duo’s pranks for long before Chinmay was sent off for better studies. But whenever Chinmay returned, they proved to be a notorious combo.
“Chinu, are you out of your mind? You’re never gonna give up on that bad habit, are you?” She scowled at him.
“No more lectures from you upon that manners thing, okay? Look, i just can’t resist it. And c’mon, you’ve always enjoyed reading funny excerpts and secrets from diaries with me earlier. It’ll be fun. Don’t be a spoiler” he argued.
Finally she gave in. “What’s the plan?” She asked with a devilish grin.
So, it was decided between these two marauders that the very next day they would sneak into that room and pick up the diary when Miss Solanki was off for her evening stroll and then head straight for the rooftop to read it. They would then place it back as soon as she could be seen returning.
“Seems like she is on the move” Chinmay beamed as she was seen descending the stairs right outside their front door.
“Let’s go” he said as her back turned.
Instantly they hurried upstairs to her room, making sure she hadn’t noticed them going upstairs. As expected, she had left it open. They went straight to the desk for her diary and as soon as they laid their hands on it, a pleasant voice greeted them.“Ooh, i have some guests visiting me today”
Both of them quickly spun around and froze, white faced. Miss Solanki was standing at the door smiling delightfully. Except her greying hair, everything else belied her age. Her skin too didn’t show any signs of the creases which usually ought to develop with age.
Her twinkling eyes, at first lingered upon them and then fell upon the diary which Chinmay had dropped on the floor in terror of the coming consequences.She raised her eyebrows in surprise at the sight of her diary.
“Ah.. Curiosity-” she chuckled “It’s not a sin my dear. But yes, we must always excercise great caution while dealing with our curiosities”
Chinmay was sweating profusely. And Sanchita too was panic stricken. One thing was for sure, that the moment Miss Solanki would choose to complaint about this, the whole family would come down heavily upon them. Sanchita glanced at Chinmay with a “I had warned you look” and he in turn showed signs of terrible fear of the evident thrashing he would be recieving.
To be continued……