“Amma, don’t you think something is smelling in the whole house?” I asked my mother-in-law.

Since I am very sensitive to smells, I doubted if it is any silly thing I am making an issue of. So I wanted to confirm. And she was like, “I think it is smelling from last night.” (Seriously!!!!!)

After some time we came to a conclusion that there is a dead rat somewhere in the house and we need to figure it out. Everyone in the house started searching for the rat’s body. We searched and researched but found nothing. It was already afternoon by then. For the time being, we sprayed air freshener in the whole house and had our lunch.

In the evening , the opposite house lady came saying it is smelling foul everywhere outside. People of the locality gathered one by one. Everyone made their own guesses. When there were no more guesses to be made, someone in the group said ” almost every one is here. only Raja is left out. will it be from his house?”

Rajaram is a middle aged man living in the room let out for rent by us. That room is attached to our house with a different opening. He is staying there for over 10 years. He had no family. He lived alone.

Suddenly Sanjay said, ” Raja has gone to his home town it seems. He did not come for work from 3 days.” Sanjay and Rajaram worked at same place.

Appu, a neighbour lady’s 10 year old son supported the statement saying ” Raja uncle did not give me chocolate from last three days.

That made us think over the matter. Whenever Rajaram went to his hometown, he informed us and used to hand over the room key. Also every evening he would ask for that day’s newspaper and return us next morning before he left for work. From last three days neither he came for the newspaper nor he gave us the room key. Something felt fishy.

We knocked at his door several times. There was no response Tried ringing his phone, it was switched off. The smell was at its peak when we stood at his door. Finally it was decided to break the lock. What we saw inside was unexplainable……………………… “It has been over three days”. said someone.

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