The microphone faced Padmaja as she bent a little in the front to address the crowd,
‘We have all gathered here to witness… a union of genius. The Genius, as it is known, rests with us. It does not truly belong to the arts of scientific reasoning, as one may argue. The True Genius Lies ten folds beneath our intellect, in the jiva, dwelling in our body. Science is the jnan of the brain, while the knowledge of our intellect…
Far from this all neo-political nonsense, the brain of Padmaja was currently in a whirlwind, whirlwind that caught her in the year 1992. It was fate. Fate was why she was here, in Nainital, far beyond all her demons. And it was fate, which intertwined her with Him—past tense, second person singular.
Padmaja was the head of “comparative religion” (a subject, mind you, in Nainital’s largest and most expensive university) and was giving a lecture to a bunch of pseudo- pundits. She smiled, as the cameras flashed on her gorgeous saree.
Padmaja was growing worried. Her son was at home, no doubt with her sister, but… the call she answered today had her glancing nervously throughout the room.
A news reporter was sitting in the front row seat. He was also the one who had covered her affair with the local political leader Bankim Dutta the previous year, but Padmaja did not know this. She was talking about “the conscience of our jiva pervades…” something very much like rocket science, while he, the reporter glanced around the room for some water. He had been hoping for something striking, but to his grave sensibilities, came the light of disappointment.
He set off to the entrance of the mahogany room, where he met Kali, one of his old associates with whom he had worked while covering a sensational story on Imran Khan.
‘Hey,’ He hoped for small talk as he had nothing to do.
‘Hi. Long time, no see. How are you?’ And Kali, as it seemed to him, was in for it as well.
‘Just fine… Pretty bored.’
‘My editor said don’t move from your seat. Honestly, I haven’t sat on my seat since I arrived. The corridor of this building on the second floor offers a view of the boy’s hostel. There were two guys smoking on a bench by a tree. Watching them was more interesting than staying here.’
‘I am just here as the heat is killing me. Free air-conditioning is like heaven, with all these religious people… so much like a god’s place.’
‘We are humans, though. Humans should stay on the ground.’
‘Down to earth.’
‘Did you hear? The chief minister wants this university to re-locate. His nephew wants to build a resort here.’
‘Worthless piece of information. The chief minister is nothing in comparison to Lokesh Sengupta. He can move the CM’s seat, and won’t even budge a penny for it.’
They paused, interested in hearing the story Padmaja had been narrating.
‘She looks a little nervous.’ Kali concluded after observing Padmaja’s nail digging on the podium.
‘I heard something much more interesting. Lokesh’s son was seen coming out of Padmaja’s home early in the morning at 5: 35 eighteen days ago.’
‘Oh, Padmaja! The infamous seductress of Nainital.’