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Chai Banarasi Chapter 3

Vicky reached the girl’s apartment the next day to find that she had arranged canvas, paints and some really smelly things outside her apartment, next to the cement window of the hallway. With wind in the direction of stairs, he felt sorry for the unsuspecting people who came in range of the smells.

Vicky asked her why, she said that it was because she didn’t trust him enough to bring him inside his sanctuary. Which, he completely understood. That does not mean that it made things easier for him.

Vicky needed to be in her house to do what he was there for, to scout for chances and ways he could use her, but he guessed that was one of those things where it would be better to establish the foundation to make a strong building.

He had to make the girl trust him before she could be used at all.

Still did not explain what beef she had with her neighbours to make the entire hallway (at this point) to smell like cat poop.

If Vicky had any doubt in his mind that she was not actually a painter till now, it was completely removed. You have to have a serious level of commitment towards art to want to work with something like this.

Sometime after they both had sat down on their respective seats, in a casual tone, Anita asked him, “So, really, why did you kidnap me?”

“I think I’ve already told you why.”

Then they heard shuffling sounds from stairs. The bird waited till her neighbour was indoors before perking up again.

“You or your men could have just come to me and asked for information you wanted to know.”

“Yes, of course. And I am supposed to believe every word you say because everyone in this world speaks truth to directly asked questions.” Vicky said in the most monotonous voice he could muster.

That broke the ice, and both of them started laughing.

***

In the next session, Vicky asked her, “So, long will this painting take?”

“I use oil paints, they don’t dry for a long time. I’ll need you every day for a week to get a base down, then once a week till it is complete.”

“That sounds like a lot of work” for me.

“It is. It’s expensive too.” At his agreeing nod, she added, “If you agree and know this, then why are you expecting this painting from me for free?”

Vicky was surprised she thought that, “Hey, I don’t give people coming to my stalls free tea, because it costs to buy ingredients and work hours. I pay my workers. Why would I not pay you for your work hours and supplies?”

“The girl let out a frustrated sigh and said, “Sorry. It’s just,” she paused for a bit, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “it’s just that too many people want art for free. They are okay with paying for everything else in life. But when it comes to art, they want it for free. When I tell them that will have to pay to get a piece from me, I am either told that they will not pay me because art is a God-given talent, or because anyone can do it, they just don’t want to go out and buy the ingredients, or the best of them all, art should be free and I should be ashamed for charging people. Like bitch, national TV is free for all entertainment. Who is going to pay my bills? Your sugar daddy?”

Vicky was going to laugh, but that last sentence stopped him. It must have shown on his face, because the girl quieted and said a small I’m sorry.

“What is there to be sorry about?” Vicky asked.

She brought her eye to her hand, and said, “I, ugh, I know.”

“What do you know?” Vicky was tired of how people tip-toed around his mother’s unfortunate profession as if not speaking about it will make it go away.

Well, the bird hid behind her canvas and said, “I… I know about your birth and you know, the occupation your mother used to do.”

“It is pretty public information, stuff people tell each other to feel better about how much better they are compared to me, even if it has nothing to do with where they are born. But how did you find out about her death?”

“She is dead?” the girl said coming out from behind the canvas, looking even more in pain, somehow.

“Yes. She lived her life hoping her son would bring her out of poverty. Died of pneumonia hoping that. Four years before I managed to make it big.”

The bird bobbed her head before getting back to work.

***

Their relationship seemed to change after that incident. In the coming weeks, she told him about her family, dreams, etc., and he told her about the different people who worked under him and different cities he also operated small tea shops in.

All of it still remained in the hallway, however.

Then one day, Vicky told her that he will be out of the city to check up on his shops in other cities.

Anita said it was fine because the painting was almost done except for some final touches and that he could have after he returned back and gave him a locket for a safe journey.

It happened when he was in Jhansi.


Hello, everyone! If you liked this Short Story, do check out the related posts. Comment and like if you would like to read more similar works from the author. And don’t forget to share this on your social media channels.


Mili is pen name of Ankita Maurya. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics and is currently pursuing her master’s. She is one of those obnoxious people who prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artme.craftyou/

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCm3hgqLlG_0VoetD_iR2dMQ

Email: artmecraftyou@gmail.com


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