A HARSH PUNISHMENT A SHORT STORY BY ME.
I hate badmouthing others, but my idiot neighbour forced me to enhance my knowledge of choice swear words. Mr.and Mrs. Verma set a bad example for the rest of the neighborhood. They would dump their garbage outside the gates of their house. They would let their pet dogs at my backyard for peeing and pooping. I asked my husband, Anup, to convene a meeting with our neighbors barring the Vermas.
Our neighbours assembled at a playground near our house on Sunday. It was 8 AM. I offered coffee and biscuits to everyone. Mr. Pradhan, a senior citizen, opened the meeting with his short speech, ” Dear friends, I am grateful to Anup and his wife, Radha, for convening this meeting. The Vermas are up to no good. Their children, Natasha and Ryan, lack manners and are reckless. A couple of days ago, Natasha tossed out her old sandals from the lawn in front of their house and hit me on the head. She laughed shamelessly and felt no remorse over her action. Her brother also made fun of me. I refrained myself from using unparliamentary words.”
Mrs. Joshi launched into a verbal tirade saying, ” I was on my home after buying some groceries when I overheard Natasha calling me an old hag and imitating my walk. Her mother was hovering nearby, but she didn’t bother to scold her daughter for her nasty remarks.” She was almost in tears as I handed her a cup of coffee and a tissue. I told them about their children letting their dogs into my backyard for doggy business. They would sneak in when all of us were busy and get away before we could apprehend them.
Everyone present in the meeting had a bone of contention to pick with the Vermas. We decided to come up with a plan to teach them a lesson. Fate had already started planning ahead of us. I saw Mrs. Verma gossiping with her friend on the road. She was wearing an expensive gold necklace with an intricate design. She was on her way home after shopping with her friend. A youth wearing a helmet snatched her chain on his motorcycle and sped away. Her friend immediately took leave of her and went away without turning back. I watched her moaning in self-pity as she went home. Unfortunately, she forgot to close the gate again.
A couple of hours later, I heard a commotion outside her house. Her dogs were missing. She wailed like a banshee. She marched right into my house to confront me and asked,” What have you done to my babies?” I was amused instead of getting angry at her and answered, ” I am sure you are living inside your smartphone. Did you forget that your children are at school? ” ” I am not talking about my children, ” she yelled, ” I can’t believe that I lost my necklace as well as my pets today. Didn’t you notice anything weird?” “I shook my head.
“What is the use of having a neighbor who can’t keep a watch on what’s happening next door? ” I lost my temper and retorted, ” I am sorry for your loss. However, you are the one to be blamed. I have warned you numerous times to be careful and always close the gates after your entry or exit. You chose to ignore my advice. How dare you accuse me of negligence? I am simply following your suggestion of minding my own business. None of us in this street are your guardians. You should have listened to most of our neighbors. Please don’t expect sympathy from any of us for your foolishness.”
Mrs. Verma hung her head in shame and looked so downcast that I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her. I invited her for a cup of tea. She looked grateful and followed me to the living room. I entered the kitchen to prepare tea after offering her a seat on the couch. I had a sudden thought. Our neighbor, Mr. Ahuja, living across the road, had a CCTV camera installed outside his bungalow. I suggested that we should request Mr. Ahuja for the CCTV video footage. Mrs.Verma felt pleased and accompanied me.
Mr. Ahuja had recently retired from The Indian Army. He was a bachelor with a big heart. He welcomed us and immediately complied with our request. The video was appalling as well as quite horrifying. Mrs. Verma nearly fainted after watching the video. Mr. Ahuja and I were too stunned to utter a single word. Poor Mrs. Verma!
The video recording showed her dogs, Cocoa, and Tommy( German Shepherds), rushing out of the open gates. They chased a speeding motorcycle. The bikers skidded off the road and had a nasty fall. Cocoa and Tommy bared their teeth. One of the guys retrieved a butcher’s knife from his jacket and immediately stabbed Cocoa to death after it pounced upon him. Tommy also died getting stabbed. The duo dug up graves for Cocoa and Tommy at Mrs. Verma’s backyard. A glittering necklace fell out of the shirt pocket of the pillion rider. They buried the carcasses and refilled the holes with plenty of mud.
Mrs. Verma was crying hysterically. We consoled her and called Mr. Verma. The couple went to the hospital while Mr. Ahuja took care of their children.
The family mourned over the loss of their beloved pets. They finally learned their lesson. The silver lining in the cloud was my backyard no longer served as a public toilet for the dogs. We should never take life for granted.
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