Benign Flame: Saga of Love (Enriched Edition) (Part 6, page 1 of 8)

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Part 6

On a tip-off from a friend, Sathyam contacted Kantha Rao, the owner of a house situated at the dead end of a by- lane in Domalaguda.

“Are you a vegetarian?” enquired Kantha Rao, on the wrong side of the fifties.

As Sathyam answered in the affirmative, the interrogation continued.

“Are you married?” he asked.

As Sathyam certified his marital status, chimed in Lalitha, the childless woman of the house,

“See, we don’t let out to bachelors, forced or otherwise.”

Thereafter, he was shown the place by the couple, however, only after getting convinced about his other credentials. That first floor penthouse, thought Sathyam, would immensely interest Roopa. Moreover, he didn’t find it wanting for privacy either.

“The rent would be a thousand rupees; the electricity is to your account, metered by the sub-meter and the water bill is to be shared pro-rata,” Kantha Rao went about acquainting his prospect, as if he were delivering his maiden budget speech in the parliament.

“Sir, it’s very much on the higher side for a hall and a room!” protested Sathyam earnestly.

“Boy, you don’t seem to count the kitchen and the storeroom with a loft large enough to hide an elephant, if you please. Besides, you can’t fail to take into account the excellent amenities, the western toilet, cupboards all over, the wash-basins, and all others that lend comfort. Above all, it’s a penthouse that provides privacy as soul would ever get an inkling of the twining inside,” smiled Kantha Rao meaningfully.

A bargain ensued, and to the discomfiture of the couple, Sathyam appeared adept at it.

As both didn’t want to lose the other, they compromised for a rent of eight-fifty. At the end while Sathyam was excited that he could so easily fix an appropriate accommodation, Kantha Rao was pleased that the couple, without an entourage, wouldn’t strain the scarce water-bed during the summers.

So, post-haste, Sathyam reached Kakinada to fetch Roopa, and Pathrudu picked up the Pedda Purnaiah’s almanac for the auspicious date for the journey. Meanwhile, arrangements were made on a war footing to transport the household goods through SRMT.

That evening, accompanied by their kith and kin, the newlyweds reached the Town Railway Station to the announcement that the link train to Godavari Express was expected shortly. And as the train did indeed arrive shortly thereafter from the Port Station, there was pell-mell at that Town Platform.

While the Sathyams were taking leave of those present, Pathrudu helped the porter posit the luggage beneath the lower berth in a first class coupe even as Sathyam made it to the bogie, followed by Roopa and Sandhya. Standing by the entrance, as Sandhya and Roopa were seen whispering to each other mirthfully, staring at them, Sathyam thought,

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