Dawn: The Charioteer (IV)


Continued from Dawn: The Charioteer (III) 




She emerged from the kitchen bearing two vases jammed full of flowers. In the middle of the hall locking the front door behind him, stood Chetan. If you were standing at the now closed front door, this is what you would have seen:

– Woman almost hidden behind two vases of white and red flowers walks in from back left of the stage.

– Man at the front door his back to her; sundry pieces of luggage behind him.

– To her left, in the middle of the hall, the fountain burbling away merrily.

– Woman screams and drops the vases. They burst to pieces in a loud, musical tinkle of fine crystal.

– Man jumps up two feet, curses and spins around.

– Woman stares at the man saucer eyed, poised for flight like a deer that espies a lion.

– Man glowers at the woman, looking more like a peeved lion than a man, thus completing the circle.


From my vantage point above their heads, I held my aching sides and guffawed helplessly. Though I was amused, I was also bristling with anxious curiosity to see what Chetan’s reaction would be. Did I ever say I was a simple house? I can have complex emotions too, right?

Both of them stood frozen, glaring at each other across the luggage. Don’t tell me I am letting my imagination run away with me, but I distinctly sensed Chetan drawing a sword. Maybe I felt that way because there was an imperceptible change in his stance. I am not too sure. But I am sure of this: he was ready to shoot-first-and-talk-later. Are you surprised? I’m not.

She moved back a pace instinctively and the story moved forward all by its own-some, so to speak.

She stepped on the flowers lying in a pool of water, pieces of glass under the wreckage. Her foot slipped and she fell forward. Her scream of pain rent the air as a vicious shard of the shattered vase impaled her palm. Blood gushed out and mingled with the watery mess on the floor. On her knees, her right hand gripping her left wrist, she looked at him in mute appeal. There was a two-inch piece of vase sticking out from the middle of her left palm. Blood dripped off her fingers sluggishly into the pool of water below.

In a trice he reached her, helped her up, and all but carried her to the washroom. With set teeth and no warning to her, he pulled the sharp piece out of her hand with a jerk. She screamed again and pushed him away with all her strength, glaring at him with hatred. He caught her wrist and shoved it under the running tap, letting the cool water run over it. In minutes her hand was neatly bandaged with blood still oozing and spreading under the bandage. Chetan fished a pail killer out of the medicine box and went to fetch her a glass of water. Silently, she gulped it down and he put the first aid box back in the medicine cabinet.

The whole thing was over in seven minutes flat- start to finish- and nary a word spoken. Between absolute strangers mind you, to say nothing of the weird situation. Don’t tell me there are no unknown forces at work in the universe. Unknown to humans I mean, of course. If this is not strange, I’d like to hear you define strange.

She lay sprawled on a chair by the window, her eyes closed. Through a chink in the curtains, a stray ray of sunshine frolicked on her forehead. He looked down at her for a moment and then turned on his heel and walked out. He cleared up the bloodied mess in the hall before bringing in his luggage. She was still in the same position. Her mouth etched out the shape of pain, her nostrils pinched and white.

She heard him come in and opened her eyes. I wonder if she had any idea how she looked then. She looked at him as if she had met him already, which in a way, she had. I am not really surprised by that. What surprised me was Chetan’s ease. I had expected him to begin a rapid fire inquisition. I had even expected him to start chewing her out now that she looked a little relaxed. I had wondered what I’d do if he showed an inclination to kick her out summarily. But he showed no such inclination. I need not have been concerned. His ‘peeved lion’ routine was conspicuously absent from the scene. On the contrary, he seemed almost benign. Moreover, I got the impression that even if Chetan had tried to act up, the girl would have been able to deal with him.

There was a familiarity in her glance. Though she was wary, she was not afraid. It was as if a decision had already been made and she was just abiding by it, trusting in it, knowing it was for her best. Her face, expressive as ever, spoke volumes. It really was fascinating to watch. There is no way a woman as open faced as hers would ever be able to hide anything; she would be incapable of subterfuge. I am sure it was the hint of imperious anger in her eyes that made Chetan smile. One sees his point. I mean, for her to be in the position she was in and then to show her temper…!

I wonder if anyone had ever told Chetan his face transformed when he smiled. It did. That too was amazing to watch.

I could see the anger fading from her eyes. She didn’t smile back, but her dimples deepened and her smoke grey eyes widened and glowed.

“Hi”, he said. “I am Chetan.”

“Hi”, she said softly, mellifluously. “I am Damini.”


I knew that was the moment when Chetan fell in love with her.







To be continued….








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4 thoughts on “Dawn: The Charioteer (IV)”

  1. your expressions and style are always my delight .In previous parts I can quote a number of graphic,vivid expressions and this one took me in arms to that Mills and Boon world.For me MB still hold that magic so a very big thanks Dagny.

    What to talk of Chetan ,I am also falling heals over head for your Damini.What a beauty have u created .best of all that quiet strength in that petite frame.A perfect woman.


    1. I am so thrilled to ‘see’ you here Namita. 🙂

      Your comment has brought a pleased grin to my face. I did want my readers to fall for Damini. I am glad I am succeeding.

      MB ambiance is it…? How strange that is! I have tried to read two M&B’s in my life… but alas… they failed to grip me. Perhaps the ones I picked were bad ones. Hmmm… this is an interesting POV. 😀

      More comin’ up… stay tuned. Thanks… 🙂

  2. Dear Dagny,

    Please note that I have been reading all your posts….only haven’t had time to organize my thoughts and post them here. That at a later date…..
    For now, I shall just say two things. One, it is so easy to make you happy. For you seem to take pleasure in the simplest of joys in life…..something as simple as an interaction with a fellow human being 🙂 Two, I realize that writing is a very serious affair for you. Into that medium, you pour in all your recreations of the world around….and when someone else can see what you see…see the beauty and joy in it, you revel in that oneness.
    Please keep writing….In the middle of the hectic schedule that I have these days, I absolutely love reading you. Especially since I rarely get the opportunity to write! Also, I was hoping from the start that there would be an element of ‘love’ coming into this series soon….and here it comes 🙂

    Waiting for the next post….


    1. Dear Vidya,

      I have indeed noticed that you have read all of my posts. As for how easy it is to please me and the consequent feeling of oneness with someone who revels in the simple pleasures of life, in uncomplicated joys and fulsome serendipity of my interaction with you, surely you are not surprised? We have been like this always… you and I.

      Writing is indeed a serious affair for me. I speak through my characters… a voice that remains silent otherwise. Somehow, it suits me, this mode of communication. This is the form of interaction that is most pleasant for me… giving me the freedom to move forward or remain still. Isn’t that so liberating?

      Love is all around us. It has to make its presence felt. Even Anuru is driven by love. 😀

      You fill my heart with pleasure… thank you for reading.


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