It is on the Monday that Dick died. It is not as though Indra has been particularly close to his father, not at any rate for nearly twenty years, but they have come to pass the time of day satisfactorily enough whenever they met. Besides, the circumstances under which Dick met his end would be shattering enough, even to someone less sensitive than Indra or more distant from his father. In an obscure way he wonders whether he could not have been kinder to his father, more intimate, whether he might not have moved more closely with him and encouraged confidences, so that Dick would not have found himself alone and defenceless amidst the dangers that his recent activities have precipitated.
Matthew’s broadcast serves only to accentuate these feelings as far as Dick is concerned. The references to him are too obscure and too indirect for Indra to give any serious credence to the notion that Dick had been in any culpable sense responsible for the catastrophe. It is rather the manner in which Matthew speaks that evokes complex responses in Indra’s mind, even before the climax is reached.
That, sudden as it is, has the result of making Indra suddenly turn pale, which Diana notices as she sits beside him. She herself feels that Matthew has gone too far, as the boys on the screen reveal their nakedness. She glances instinctively at Indra and hurriedly asks him what the matter is.
‘It’s just,’ Indra pauses for a moment and then his hand reaches across and takes hold of Diana’s. ‘It’s just that I recognize those boys. I met them about six months ago. It was when I went with Shiva to his house by the sea. You stayed behind.’ Diana says nothing. Complex thoughts strike her too, but she merely increases the pressure of her fingers on Indra’s. ‘One of them I knew quite well.’
There is a silence which Diana feels she must disturb. ‘Do you think Matthew knows anything about that?’
I don’t know.’ Indra moves across the sofa close up to Diana. Krishna, who has been sitting at his feet, looks up, his eyes still wide with amazement at what he has seen on the screen. ‘I don’t know.’ Indra says again. Diana puts her arm around him ‘It’s hard to be sure. He never liked Shiva, you know that. But I still can’t believe he could do something like this deliberately.’ Continue reading