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SWARAGINI (The Next Man in Kolkata) CHAPTER 1 (PART 3)

Hi Guys This is Sowmya Johnson Aka Berdilla.

Complicated? He could think of other words to describe having a beautiful stranger sitting in his living room on a Friday evening.

She waved her hand toward the overstuffed chair that sat by the window. This is Abhi. I brought him as soon as I could.

Mayank’s gaze dropped to the floor, where a chubby baby sat nestled in one of those thick plastic car seats. His eyes were closed, and his head was tilted at angle that looked anything but comfortable.

Abhi looks tired was the only thing he could think to say. Maybe Ragini was one of the Sid’s friends, though she didn’t look like the type to hang out in cowboy bars.

We’ve come from Chennai today, she explained. I thought it was best that I bring him to you right away. Before I got too attached to him.

Excuse me he said moving toward the couch again. He waited for her to sit down before he sat in the rocking chair across from her. You’re saying you brought this baby here? Why?

Gunjan Mehra passed away three days ago. Of cancer. She cleared her throat and hestitated, almost as if she expected him to say something. Before she died she asked me to make sure that Abhi got to his father. She didn’t want him to end up in foster care.

He waited for her to continue, but she just looked at him. And? he prompted.

Gunjan Mehra. You don’t remember her?

I’m sorry but i don’t think i know anyone named Mehra. Maybe you have the wrong place. Or the wrong man.

No, I don’t think so. I looked in the phone book and yours was Sharma listed. She flushed. I’m really afraid I’ve done this the wrong way, but hiring a lawyer seemed so cold and impersonal, and I wanted to see for myself that Abhi would be all right with his father.

Mayank leaned forward. He dreaded the answer to his next question, but it had to be asked. And answered. And exactly who on this farm is supposed to be his father?

You, of course.

He couldn’t say anything for long seconds. Then he drew in a deep breath and prayed for patience. Lady, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

You’re saying you didn’t know about him?

If I were a father, I’d think I’d know it.

Ragini gulped and reached for a large tote bag. She reached in and pulled out a piece of paper, then leaned forward to hand it to him. All this time I thought you knew. Here, I think this explains it, she said her voice soft, It’s Abhi’s birth certificate.

Mayank took the paper and examined it. Mother : Gunjan Mehra, Birth Date August 23, 2000. Place of Birth Badi, Kolkata. Father: M. Sharma. Place of Birth: Hooghly, Kolkata. No birth date for the father, which sure as hell complicated things. He didn’t know if this was a fraud or not. He didn’t know which brother to tar and feather. Are sure about this?

As sure as I can be. It’s the only record I have. Gunjan didn’t leave much else.

He held it up to the light. Sure enough the damn thing had a seal pressed in the corner. Though that didn’t make the information on it 100 per cent accurate, either. Mind if I make a copy?

No of course not.

Mayank stood up. He was going to make several copies and present them to each of his brothers before daybreak tomorrow. I’ll be right back. I have a copy machine in the office.

Ragini stood too. Do you mind if I come with you? That’s an original.

Of course not. He didn’t blame her for being careful, but he had no intention of destroying the damn thing and making a bad situation worse. She bent over and picked up the sleeping baby plastic seat and all, and followed him down the hall to the office.

It’ll take a minute to warm up, he said switching the button on. He took the baby seat and all from her and sat him on top of the papers on his desk. How old is he?

Almost six months.

To be Continued……

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