Saru stared at the newcomer her father had discovered on his way back from his hunting trip. He was certainly younger than her but he emitted such vibes it was impossible to not feel arrested by his presence.
“Meet my daughter Saraswathi,” said Shankaran Nair, “and this is Chandrahasan, a great magician,” he said to Saraswathi.
“He has already been booked for quite a lot of programs in Nellur and so we will be seeing quite a bit of him in future” said Shankaran Nair.
Saraswathi smiled at the young man but eyed him carefully for there was something very mysterious about him. Soon bottles had been opened, a lot of laughter followed while Saru played the dutiful host until the early wee hours.
Meanwhile Chandrahasan had already made a few moves at her taking advantage of Shankaran Nair’s and O.G’s drunken states.
“I am happily married and have a son” she had replied turning pink with embarrassment.
“Well, you certainly don’t look like that. And whichever fool would leave a beauty like you at home in search of money. I know I wouldn’t” he said trying to flatter her.
Saru could not find words to reply so she gently shooed him away and went into her room, locking it carefully from inside, not trusting her own intentions. For her mental state at the point was delicate owing to the previous disheartening letter from Raman.
Chandrahasan’s advances however had not ceased with that night alone. He waited for her in the Bomanchery fields the next morning and followed her to the temple professing his undying love for her. He told her he would wait for in the fields at dusk but she flatly refused to come.
The same day after she had received the call from her husband informing of his postponement of plans of coming down to see her, she had shut herself in her room and cried for hours. In a fit of fury and frustration she decided to meet Chandrahasan, who she knew would be waiting for her in the fields as promised. Twilight had approached and he was waiting for her as he had said. He was singing a pome he had composed for her and had his magician’s cape on like a prince, his intentions being to humour her. But at that point she had been so fiercely attracted to him that she easily and wildly succumbed to him. What followed was the fusion of lust and fierce passion. It was her revenge upon Raman, her justice to her physical and mental frustrations.
From that day, Bomanchery fields became their lover’s nest at every twilight. She liked him in his magician’s cape as it gave a fairy tale touch to their affair. Sometimes he would come to Ullas Villa late after midnight and she would have left the door from her room to the veranda open for him.
The affair continued for weeks but Saru gradually began to feel guilty and uncomfortable about her infidelity. She felt that she was wronging not only her husband but also her son. She was ashamed of herself. She became paranoid and felt that everyone suspected her, the thampurattis, her mother, the servants; she had to put an end to it before it was too late. Also, the repeated rumours of Chandrahasan’s flirtatious nature made matters worse. The final jolt came when Raman called her up to inform that he had changed his mind and was coming after all.
“We have to end this” she said to Chandrahasan as they sat in the fields.
“No, I cannot, I love you, I need you” said Chandrahasan with a malicious tone.
“I am sorry but there is no other go. My husband is coming back” said Saru.
”So what, we can still meet here” suggested Chandrahasan.
“No, it’s wrong, it should have never happened in the first place, it’s all a mess now, it’s too late perhaps but I will not be a part of it anymore” said Saru.
“I don’t think you really want to end this” he said trying to lure her.
Saru knew if she stayed any longer he would lobby her into continuing this infidelity.
“No, I won’t come ever again. Its over” said Saru and began to walk off.
“No, you will come tomorrow as usual. If not, I’ll come to see you” called out Chandrahasan after her.
The next day Saru spent the whole day at a friend’s house and returned late in order to avoid meeting Chandrahasan. But finding him waiting for her at the kadavu she panicked.
He got into the boat with her and sat close behind her.
“You thought you could avoid me. It’s not that easy, I am coming home with you” he whispered into her ears.
Meanwhile Ayappan, who knew about Shankaran Nair’s injury, dutifully informed Saru about the mishap.
“Amma, your father has been taken to the vaidyan’s house. He took a bad fall. Your mother and O.G Thampuran have gone with him. I did not inform the boys not wanting to upset them.”
Saraswathi turned pale on hearing the news. She hoped the boys were fine and at least Janu was at home taking care of them.
“Heard that, no one is at home. What could be more perfect?” whispered Chandrahasan. Saru felt like she had fallen into a deep trap and realized that Chandrahasan was more evil than she had imagined.
Chandrahasan could not believe his luck. With no one at home he could easily have his way with Saru. The boys wouldn’t be a problem.
It had begun to rain heavily when they reached Ipparakadavu. Saru pulled her sari over her head as she ran to Ullas Villa. Chandrahasan had also covered his head with his cape, which made him look viler. He ran closely behind Saru and caught her from behind as she was trying to open the door to her room.
“There’s no one around. Let’s go inside together” he said.
“No, please let me go” she cried trying to break free from his grip.
“Why, don’t you like me? See I have the cape on, I am your prince” he said as he pushed her into the room that was open now.
Saru was trying hard to get away but Chandrahasan had pinned her down to the floor and was trying to kiss her. The lights suddenly went off to make matters worse. All of a sudden there was a distinct gunshot, hearing which Chandrahasan got up and ran outside.
Fear flooded her mind as she sensed something was really wrong. Where had the shot come from? She lit a candle and walked forward into the entrance hall. There on the floor she could make out something small lying in a pool of blood. Straight ahead stood Kannan, holding a revolver in his hand, his whole body shaking and eyes gaping in horror. She lowered the candle to look at the figure on the floor, her whole body became numb as she recognized it – it was Chinnan, her son had just killed Chinnan.
“Mother, I did not mean to. I was only trying to save you from that thing, he came accidentally in between” cried Kannan as he began to back himself to a corner in the room.
Saraswathi took her son and hugged him to calm him down while tears poured down her eyes.
“What is going to happen?” asked Kannan in desperation and fear.
“I don’t know son, I don’t know.” she said.