It was 8 in the evening. Harshit was making his assignment. He was determined to complete the assignment for submitting it tomorrow. Nothing can act as a deterrent, he repeated to himself.

Vijaylakshmi called Harshit on his cell.

“No, I’m fine. Thanks.”

“I pinged Shraddha. She told me that she thinks Ashish is again in a fix.”

Harshit said,” What? Yet again? ”

“That’s what she said. Rest you should ask her.”

“Oh okay.”

“If you need any help, feel free to call me up.”

“I will.”

“Till then, bye.”


He disconnected the call. Ashish again in some trouble, he thought. Then he saw his pending assignment. Should I call Shraddha and ask about the situation. Assignment or Ashish? As his mind went pass the stage of incubation, he decided to do his assignment.

Harshit became occupied with his assignment. Until Yogita entered his room and he could hear many voices speaking in a harsh tone.

“Ashish won’t spare you till your afterlife, it seems.”

Harshit smirked and asked,” What are you talking about?”

“Ashish’s mother and elder sister have come and putting up accusations on you.”

“What sort of accusations?”

A voice came.

“Harshit! Come here fast!!” His mother shouted with all her might.

Harshit got worried. He left his work and ran towards his mother. Ashish’s mother and sister were standing beside her, staring at Harshit with resentment. Harshit looked at them meekly.

“What happened, Mumma?” Harshit asked in a lowered voice, seeing the tumultuous atmosphere.

“Everytime this idiot comes and fights with me!” She rebuked and pointed her index finger to Ashish’s mother.

“Go on! Tell her that you have not put Ashish in trouble!”

Harshit was quiet.

“Aunty, as if you don’t know what has happened? Ashish was with Harshit today. And because of him, he got hurt.” Ashish’s sister Aastha added.

Harshit’s mother developed wrinkles over her forehead as she asked,” What are you talking about? I’m pretty sure about Harshit not causing any trouble to Ashish.” Then she turned towards Harshit,” Why are you quiet? Speak up and shut their mouth.”

Harshit did not know what to do. He turned to Yogita who gestured him to speak.

“Mom, they’re saying the truth. I was with Ashish few hours back.” Harshit hesitated.

Harshit’s mother was shocked. Aastha and her mother smiled at each other. Yogita hung down her head. Harshit’s mother saw this.

“The whole family knows it except for me! What on Earth is going on?” She exclaimed.

“But Mom, Harshit was with Ashish till 6. Right Bhai?”

“Just keep quiet, Yogita!” She directed her palm towards her.” And Harshit, tell me the truth otherwise I’ll tell Dad about it. Then he’ll teach you a lesson in his way.”

Harshit pleaded,” Yogita is right. I’ll tell you everything.” Then he told about the gift- how it was stolen and Ashish’s part wherein he had hidden the gift. Rest is history.


Shraddha was panting hard. She stopped and felt the cut on her face. Her mother had sent her to buy things from the market. She was afraid to face her parents. Dad must be home by now, she thought.

Her phone rang. It was Mrs. Sahni, her neighbour.

“Shraddha I told you about the lad whom we encountered? He is at our place and is asking for you.”

Shraddha was shocked,” What!!” Then she replied, “Just shoo him away from the house.”

“Beta, how can I do that? Meet him once at least.”

Shraddha’s dilemma increased more and she scoffed,” Alright I am coming.”

Shraddha tiptoed to Sahni’s house. Lest her parents saw her.

Mrs. Sahni received her at the door. In the dining table she saw Ashish sitting on one of the chairs, tensed. Mr. Sahni also came from his bedroom.

“Ashish! What on Earth are you doing here? Just leave this place immediately, I tell you. If my parents saw that you are here, they won’t spare you.”

Mr. Sahni said,” He ran into me when I was at the bus stop. And he was saying that some people are finding him to hurt him. That is why I brought him here.”

Ashish looked meekly at Shraddha. But it could not surpass the stern countenance of Shraddha. Then he noticed the cut on Shraddha’s face.

“Shraddha,” Mrs. Sahni asked. Shraddha turned towards her,”What has happened on your face?”

“My issues can be resolved later.” Shraddha replied sternly then she turned towards Ashish,” And you! Will you tell me what are you up to? ”

“See Shraddha,” Mr. Sahni interrupted,” I have known you since childhood and I know everything about this lad and your relations with him. Satish went on complaining about it, and all…”

Until the door bell rang.

Ashish got startled and as he trembled due to fear, he said,” Oh no! They’ve reached here!”

Mr. Sahni took Ashish to the storeroom. Ashish was apprehensive about it as you know, how storerooms are dirty and dingy. But they had lately got the storeroom cleaned up of dirt, so the ambush was not very suffocating. Shraddha hid in the cupboard in Mr. Sahni’s room.

When the ground was clear, Mrs. Sahni opened the door. It was a man wearing a blue tee on which “Ekart” was written on the right corner of the tee and wore a yellow cap.

“Does Rajiv Sahni live here?”

Mrs. Sahni sighed and laughed,” Your sport shoes have come, Mr. Sahni!”

All of them came out. Mrs. Sahni have her signatures and took the courier. The delivery guy was confused as everyone was so glad he came. He left after his work was done.

“Keep these in my room. I want to talk with these two.” He gave the box to his wife and she went to keep the box.

“So I was saying that,” He turned to Shraddha,” See I know it all. And Ashish, I don’t feel that he is a devil or anything that you’re running away from him. Right?” Then he turned towards Ashish,” Think of him. Imagine if someone treats you the way, you’re talking with him right now. Would you like it?”

“Uncle, I just don’t want him to be in my life again.” She rebuked.

“It was because of Ashish, I lost my confidence that I am not lovable at all! It was because of Ashish, I was dejected at the crucial time of my life at that time, my final exams and I performed poorly at my very first year!! I had to face scoldings from Dad, not just for my results but everytime I was seen chatting or roaming with him. I beared all those bitter words because I loved him and what did he give? Disappointment and a screwed up life!!”

Ashish grew morose.

“I never wanted your loss anyways Shraddha..”

“Just shut your fucking mouth!! And PLEASE get lost!! And show this concern for Sakshi!!”

Ashish had a trickle of tear on his eye as he left. Shraddha dropped on the ground and was crying,” Why did I say all this, I don’t know. What have I done?” Then she wiped off her tears and her hand went on the cut and she shrieked, ” Aah!”

“You did not tell us how this happened?” Mrs. Sahni asked, pointing towards the cut.

“I was coming back from the market..”

The bell rung again.

It was Shraddha’s father. He saw the cut on Shraddha’s face. He went towards Shraddha and asked,” How did this happen?”

“Actually Dad, I was afraid to face you after this,” She pointed to the cut.

“I was coming from the market. Till I encountered three guys who were coming on a bike. The bike overtook me. They were trying to steal my purse and when I tried to get off their hold, they did this with a knife.” Shraddha replied. “It’s paining a lot.”

“Did you see their face or anything about their appearance or anything?”

Shraddha thought and replied,” It was dark, their face was inconspicuous.”

“Tomorrow, we will go and file a police complaint. Henceforth, take care of yourself.”

Shraddha’s father thanked the Sahnis for taking care of their daughter and the two of them left. Before leaving, Shraddha whispered to Mr. Sahni,” Please don’t tell about Ashish to anyone. Dad will kill me.”

Shraddha called Harshit and told him the chain of incidents including the scene at her neighbour’s place.

“You should not have talked to Ashish like that.”

“I will handle that later. I am concerned about what is happening? Ashish was being chased and I was attacked.”

“Exactly. But at present, have some rest and take care.”

“Yeah, bye.”

She lied down on her bed and checked her WhatsApp. A message was there from an unknown number.

“Leave Harshit’s​ friendship. It will bring harm.”

Now what is this shit, Shraddha thought.