O.G had returned from the vaidyan’s place as soon as he heard about the tragedy. He was at a loss of words when he saw Lakshmi clutching her little son’s dead body and crying incessantly. Kannan had huddled himself in a corner, his head buried between his knees. Finding a pale and worried Saraswathi crying in her room, he went inside to pacify her. Seeing O.G she broke down as she said, “Uncle, please help my son, I don’t know what to do.”
“I’ll get a good lawyer” he assured her.
“I still don’t understand why the boy used the revolver” he said deeply disturbed by Kannan’s act.
“I need to tell you something uncle” confided Saraswathi.
Sensing the need for confidentiality, he closed the room and returned to her. He placed his hand on her head to give her the strength to come out and say whatever that was bothering her.
Gathering up her guts, she confessed the happenings of that night and the role of her shameless infidelity in it.
O.G listened without making any comments and then went into a deep thought after which he said, “Don’t tell the police or anyone about Chandrahasan.”
“But then my son will have to go to jail” shrieked Saraswathi shocked at the suggestion.
“Try to understand Saru. I promise to get a good lawyer but Kannan cannot avoid reform school anyhow, considering that he has killed someone. It doesn’t change anything if you talk about Chandrahasan. Instead if you come out and tell everyone about him, they would call your son not just a murderer but the son of a tramp. The former is easier to erase with time, they might even believe it as an accident, but the latter will survive till you and the rest of you generations go to the grave. Most importantly, do you think Raman will accept you after all this?” reasoned O.G.
“Let him leave me and let them call me a tramp but I am not going to make my son look like a murderer” insisted Saru stubbornly.
“Easier said than done, dear. Be practical at this point. Your father will soon require an operation. He has debts all over the town. I may be able to help you to some extent but after that…….you need Raman not just for financial support but to be there as a family when Kannan returns home. You don’t want him to return to a broken house, do you?” O.G explained.
“But my son, he will hate me, he will think I have betrayed him” said Saru in despair.
“And how do you think he is going to feel when people call you a tramp? He’s a small boy; he may believe that it was his imagination after all. It’s cruel but it is in the best interests of everyone. Some day we may have to tell him the truth but not now as it cannot help you in any way.” assured O.G.
Saru was still unsure of what to do.
“Kannan will need all the support he can get when he comes home. The picture would not be complete without Raman. Think about it.”
And that’s what she did, she thought hard, she bled deeply as she thought about the mental suffering she was about to inflict upon her son, she cried all her tears till she had no more to shed, and then she opened the door.