Bibiji was fond of telling everyone that Bansi came as part of her trousseau and had lasted the longest while everything else from her trousseau had perished. She proudly pointed out to a framed photo, sitting among the many on the mantelpiece, taken on their Golden Jubilee celebrations 4 years ago, with she and her husband sitting on a sofa and Bansi, in all his finery, standing awkwardly behind them.
Bansi never failed to remark that she and Babuji had looked so fine on their 50th Wedding Anniversary that the guests had cast an evil eye on them, because of which Babuji slipped and fell in the bathroom and his broken hip never fully recovered from the fall even after 4 years of the best treatment. The doctors said porous bones were the cause but Bansi believed otherwise. Bibiji laughed off Bansi’s assumptions and reminded him that as long as he was in charge of taking care of her husband she had no worries.
And this trust is what pricked at Bansi’s conscience whenever he flicked a note here and there from Babuji’s ever present bundle of currency tucked away beneath his pillow. Babuji didn’t believe in banks, he thought they were bloody thieves who wanted his money, and the only person he trusted after his wife was his daughter-in-law Renu.
Renu was married to Babuji’s elder son Arun and their match was that of a hippo and butterfly, notwithstanding which Renu had managed to make her relationship a good one and she and Arun were often touted as examples for a successful marriage. Arun’s younger brother, Bittu, was a good looking Casanova and all mothers of young and single daughters had their eye on him.
Everybody loved Renu Bhabhi. Renu had changed everything in the house after she became part of it post marriage. Uniforms and health insurances for the staff, a lick of paint, repairs and new furniture for the house and a healthy and delicious menu for all. Renu also readmitted Bansi’s daughter to school and insisted she complete her education.
This memory too pinched Bansi as his hand reached out for yet another note as Babuji snored. But he had picked up a habit of gambling, and a steadily increasing debt along with it, and had no idea how to repay it. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but the temptation and his helplessness was too much. He dreaded the day he would be caught. But right now his only concern was that something would have to change soon, as he needed to repay a big chunk of the amount he owed if he needed to avoid seeing his debtors at Babuji’s door, which they had threatened him with.
Bansi pocketed yet another note and walked out, shutting the door of Babuji’s room softly behind him. Walking along the passage towards the kitchen he heard a rustle coming from the direction of the store room. He shrugged and continued walking, when he heard it again, louder this time. The sound made him stop, turn and softly pad towards the store room. The door was shut, but the sounds from within continued.
Bansi circled the room, and walked towards the storeroom’s only window facing the backyard. The window was shut but as he turned to leave, Bansi realised it was open a tiny crack. He pried it open a little more and peeped in. His eyes took a moment or two to adjust to the feeble light before they widened in shock to see a disrobed and debauched Renu Bhabhi and her brother-in-law Bittu Bhaiyya wrapped up around each other in the theores of passion. Everybody loved Renu Bhabhi, but Bittu Bhaiyya seemed to love her the most it seemed, chuckled Bansi as he whipped out his mobile phone and began filming.