“Another mail from him?” asked Raman in disbelief. “How is that even possible?”
“That is what I don’t understand Dada. How can Shyam come back? I hope someone is not playing a dirty joke on us.” said Alok shaking his head.
“Read out the mail to me,” said Baba, pulling a chair for himself and settling down in front of the desktop. His eyes betrayed any expression that he so stoically hid underneath the cloak of his wrinkled face.
“Adarniya Baba and Mai,
I hope you got my previous mail. I was eagerly waiting for your reply but I was disappointed to see that you had not replied. Have you forgotten your Shyam, Baba? You always told me I was your favourite son, haven’t you? You always gave me everything I ever asked for. You have always loved me more than both my brothers. These years of separation have been a pain and I long to be with you all again. Does Mai still make my favorite puranpoli on my birthday? Can’t wait to see you all again.
Pranam to you both,
A lone tear escaped unseen from Baba’s eyes as he saw Mai wipe hers with the end of her Navari saree.
“I want to meet this boy, call him home tomorrow” said Baba.
Ever since the first mail had arrived, the Joshi family had been in a state of shock and disbelief. Now with the second mail, Baba’s sons were under suspicion. ‘Who was playing this trick on the family? What could be their intentions?’
“ Alok, could it be Shyam? Is he really back?” Raman looked lost.
“Dada, how could you say such things, I can understand Mai and Baba being emotional, but you know Shyam is dead, don’t you? We have lit his pyre with our own hands. The dead don’t come back Dada.”
“The language is just like our Shyam’s…the mail id is Shyam’s…. the incidents he has been writing about are all true…it is unmistakable. It has to be Shyam.”
“Hacking someone’s mail id is not a difficult job, dada, and who knows, maybe it is the work of someone close to our family and who knows all of us quite well.”
“But why now, after 15 years?”
Alok had no answer this time. That is what he had been trying to figure out, why would someone try to come back to the family as Shyam after 15 years?
“I have no idea, dada, that is what I am trying to figure out. Anyway, I’ll do as baba has asked me to. Let us meet him first.”
He replied to the mail, hands trembling as he typed Shyam’s name, an eerie feeling creeping over him.
Come home tomorrow at 11am. We all want to meet you.”
He couldn’t bring himself to write, Dear Shyam or sign his name at the end. ‘Let me see who this fake Shyam is’ he thought.
read part 2 here.
read part 2 here.
Dada- elder brother
Puranpoli- sweet pancakes
Navari- nine yard saree