Benign Flame: Saga of Love - 4
Continued from “Hapless Hope”
It was the night that Sathyam awaited in elation and Roopa approached with trepidation.
‘Guess what I’ve got for you,’ he said, reaching his bride reclining on the bedecked bed.
Bogged down with her own agenda, she wasn’t enthused to respond even though he repeated himself, and he tried to rationalize her indifference, ‘Well, she could be bridal-shy.’ Nevertheless, pressing closer to her, he persisted, “You’ve only three chances.”
How many times did he visualize, over the fortnight, the scene of their guessing game - a perplexed Roopa fudging, and he goading her to try again, and again! In his imagination, how charming Roopa was in her exasperation! He seemed disappointed with the reality his bride presented him instead. Unable to break the barrier of her sullenness at the threshold of their nuptial bed, he gave up in the end, and said instead, “Close your eyes.”
Downcast as her eyes were, any way, it took her no effort to oblige her husband. Then with one hand he took her hand and with the other he reached for the packet in his shirt pocket. As his touch sent waves of expectation all over her frame, she seemed to enjoy the resultant sensation. Having failed to respond whenever he laid hands on her during the ceremonies of the previous night, she was surprised at that strange feeling she was experiencing, and as her reservations about him seemed to dissolve in her anticipation, she found herself at ease.
When he withdrew his hand from hers to unpack the diamond nose-stud, he so fondly acquired for her. With eyes still closed, as her body missed his touch, her mind went into conjecture. After what appeared to be an eternity to her, he took her hand again, sharpening the sensation and enhancing her expectation.
“Open your eyes,” he said persuasively.
“Switch off the light,” she said coyly.
“How can you see then?” he said.
“I can still feel it,” she said mystically.
Her romantic anticipation made her indulge in blissful guessing about the gift of his love. She felt vulnerable and expected him to overwhelm her.
“I thought of it,” he said without stirring from his position, “the moment I’d seen you.”
He sounded joyously triumphant to his indulgently receptive bride. Imagining her instinctive response to his expected outrage, Roopa waited in anticipation. However, as Sathyam made no move in his preoccupation with unscrewing the nose-stud, she seemed puzzled and opened her eyes at length. As she found him fidgeting with the nose-stud, she felt that she was only flattered to be deceived.
“Believe me,” he said as if he had yet to reconcile himself to his good fortune, “‘I was not sure whether you would marry an office assistant like me when managers would have queued up for your hand. I was a nervous wreck by the time your father came to convey your consent. When he said ‘yes’, I jumped for joy.”
His sincere outpouring, coupled with his meek posturing, only helped dwarf his persona in her esteem shaped by the imagery of male élan. As he looked pygmean in her perception then, she felt as though she was rudely shaken from her daydream. All the reservations her intuition envisaged about him earlier that she recanted in her state of amorous anticipation seemed to return to the fore with renewed vigor. The implied compliment in his confounded state failed to flatter her, for it lacked forthrightness. What was worse, she construed his adoration as an admission of subjugation. All said and done, it was a let-down she wasn’t prepared for.
“How do you like it?” he enquired while thrusting it in her hand.
“It’s nice,” she said sincerely though lacking in excitement.
Her simple gesture thrilled him no end, as it was his first experience with a woman. As he narrated in detail all the trouble he took to acquire it, being bored, she stopped listening. Preoccupied as he was with his own sentiment, he failed to notice the jadedness his present left on her sensitivity as twirling the thing, she felt as if she were slighted by it. That it should have obsessed him so much, at a time when she was available for his possession hurt her sensuality.
‘If only he’s passionate,’ she thought dejectedly, ‘I wouldn’t be holding this cold thing.’ She felt as though the diamond edges of that nose-stud cruelly clipped the sprouting romantic wings her heart started airing by then.
“Let me see how it goes with you,” he said eagerly as he was impatient to espy her glamour adorned by his present.
“I always knew it would suit you,” he said with a relish, as she obliged him becomingly. “You know, I went from shop to shop for it.”
‘Oh,’ she felt irritated, ‘what’s the god-damn obsession with an inane thing,’, and the very thought of life in the offing with him depressed her no end. She even developed second thoughts about broaching her passion to study medicine.
‘But won’t life be dull idling at home,’ she reasoned in the end, ‘that too being his wife? Moreover, who knows, he might as well oblige. And if he does, won’t I end up loving him out of gratitude. Well, any way, I’ve nothing more to lose now.’
“I wanted to ask you…’
“Be assured, you’re the first woman in my life,” he declared solemnly and felt pleased for assuaging her perceived doubts about his own virginity.
‘Hardly surprising,’ she thought derisively only to end up feeling it was a sort of consolation. Thereby, without much ado, she revealed her ambition with animation, and appealed enticingly, “I know you love me enough to help me out.”
Though he sensed her passion, he was taken aback by her proposition.
“It’s impossible,” he said in all helplessness, “and impractical as well.”
“Where there’s a will there’s a way,” she said coyly. “If you want, I am sure, you could help.”
“No way,” he said nonplussed.
“It all depends,” she said by way of emotional blackmail, “on how much you love me.”
“It’s not about any lack of love,” he protested spiritedly. “I love you with all my heart but I’ve a father who doesn’t believe in woman’s graduation. Didn’t he make it clear to your dad that you shouldn’t press with your B. Com. And now you want to study medicine! He would shout us down and there’s no way we can bring him around.”
His revelation completed her humiliation that dragged him along to the depths of degradation in her esteem. She felt deceived by her father as well for not letting her get a wind of the old man’s whim.
‘But then,’ she thought, ‘how could he have guessed my game plan as I never revealed it to him.’
The sympathy she helped generate in her despondent heart for her father made her view her husband even more unsympathetically, and he felt that she would get over her disappointment by and by. When he took her into his arms to cajole her, her sense of obligation made her surrender to his advances, and soon enough, with the bed-lamp for a witness, nature took over to facilitate their conjugal union. However, while his tenderness in foreplay was perceived as timidity by her passionate heart, his eagerness to possess her in the end seemed bestiality to her uninvolved mind. Sadly for him, she perceived his passion in their coition as force on her frame and his fulfillment as a proof of his selfishness.
So with a feeling of being used, lying in her nuptial bed beside him with closed eyes, as though to further filter the dim light, she folded her hand over her forehead, and as it touched his present, she thought it was as cold as her heart.
‘It would forever symbolize my nadir,’ she thought in despair.
Finding her perturbed, he didn’t venture again, and thus left to herself she was struck by the contrast between the hope the wedding night held for her and the reality into which the nuptial night pushed her before sleep overpowered her weary self as if to save her soul from the exhaustion of thought.
Mid-day the next day, when Sandhya came to see Roopa, she saw her lay morose in her bed. By then, finding her truant to their taunts, her sisters, one by one, took to their heels.
“Got him right?” Sandhya cooed in Roopa’s ear.
“Well,” Roopa smiled wryly, holding Sandhya’s hand, “he’s a man.”
“You look fabulous,” said Sandhya to cheer her up.
“How I wish,” said Roopa holding Sandhya’s hand, “you were a man.”
‘You would have been my woman then,’ said Sandhya squeezing Roopa’s nose. ‘Oh, what a lovely present he gave!’
As Sandhya’s compliment symbolized the proverbial rope in the house of the hanged, Roopa could contain herself no more. She was in tears.
“Don’t tell me,” said Sandhya wiping Roopa’s tears, “that something is wrong.”
“Oh, I’m doomed,” said Roopa hugging Sandhya. “He’s a silly guy.”
“Calm down my dear,” said Sandhya, comfortingly sinking into Roopa’s endearing embrace. “Why, he might improve.”
While the thrill of her mate’s intimacy struck Roopa’s flustered mind, as the charm of their proximity captivated Sandhya’s empathic heart, she too enlaced her friend, making their embrace all the more intense. When Roopa found herself pressing closer for self-solace, as their bodies lay twined in an emotional deadlock, they felt as though their souls got entwined. What with the experience of the nuptial night having lent a sexual touch to Roopa’s flesh, Sandhya’s embrace tickled her innate lesbianism at its very core.
Even as the ardency of Roopa’s embrace stirred Sandhya’s sensuality, the warmth of Sandhya’s affection affected Roopa’s sexuality making her crave for that in her mate what she missed in her man. Struck by Sandhya’s nubility, Roopa, in her erotic mind-set got libidinally aroused, and driven by her lesbian love, Roopa was animated in Sandhya’s embrace. With Roopa turning eager to press for her sexual solace in their sensual embrace, Sandhya’s fascination for Roopa urged her into a surging closeness for emotional integration. As her own sensuality having been unleashed by her mate’s sexual collusion, Roopa turned eager to devour Sandhya’s breasts, bringing her lesbian leanings to the fore, and stirred by Roopa’s amorous assaults, Sandhya’s libido induced reciprocity in her own responses.
While the fascination Sandhya felt for Roopa’s frame imparted a sexual color to her friendly feeling as Roopa’s lesbian passion reached the threshold Sandhya’s ardor facilitated an erotic connivance to her own sexual siege. Espying the sensual delight Sandhya derived in their sexual excursion, Roopa turned enthusiastic to gratify her mate in their lesbian union with an oral go at the very roots of her mate’s femininity. And overwhelmed by Roopa’s unruly passion, Sandhya surrendered her soul as well to her mate who came to reign over her frame any way. However, as though to let Roopa have a measure of the joy she gave her mate, Sandhya turned the heat on Roopa’s erotic essence. As that furthered her own delight, Roopa’s well of womanliness whetted in reciprocity for Sandhya’s satiation. It was as if Roopa wished to let Sandhya have a measure of the oral bliss that she herself had bestowed upon her mate before. It was thus; their enticing union infused a sublime emotion in them that only women are capable of experiencing. That chance encounter, brought about by Roopa’s depressed psyche, forever transformed their friendship into bondage of lesbianism.
Sensing Roopa’s indifference the following night as well, Sathyam thought of honeymooning at Ooty. ‘Besides enlivening her mood, the thrill of the new environs might as well enthrall her mind,’ he thought hopefully. However, Pathrudu would have none of it. “One wouldn’t be taking his wife to hotels and all,” he said rather dismissively.
However, when the time to report for work neared, Sathyam was forced to leave Roopa behind. “I’ll be back soon after fixing a sweet home for us,” he said at their parting, as though to enthuse her.
After Sathyam’s departure to Hyderabad that day, to fix a sweet home for them, as he put it, undisturbed that night, Roopa had time to reflect on her time.
‘My past was steeped in hope but my future could be filled just by despair,’ she thought in disillusionment. ‘Am I destined to partner disappointment? What had gone wrong after all? Though a simpleton, yet he’s sincere, and what’s more, he seems to love me wholeheartedly.’ The thought that he loved her made her feel sympathetic towards him, ‘Oh, if only I could get excited about him. Is the excitement I’m craving for a mere illusion that no man could possibly induce in a woman?’
She fondly remembered her intimacy with Sandhya in that moment of their weakness and tried to relive the emotions of their romance and attempted to visualize the sensations of their union in all their vividness. While the vague fulfillment she derived from their encounter that came to the fore made her long even more for it, her fondness for her mate only helped increase her craving for the he-man of her daydreams, and in that state, her passion was like a landscape in the sky, ever altered by the passing current.
Next morning Roopa reached Sandhya’s place with mixed feelings and entering her bedroom dullish, she found her mate draping a Gadwal sari
“Why so late!” Sandhya said dropping the sari
“Blame my lethargy of anxiety,” said Roopa, having outstretched her hands in invitation.
“How I will miss you from now on,” said Sandhya, smug in Roopa’s embrace
“I would be the worst hit,” Roopa couldn’t hold back her tears.
“Our love should give us solace,” said Sandhya warmly, as her shoulder was warmed with Roopa’s tears.
“The thought of losing you frightens me,” said Roopa in between sobs.
“I swear I’ll always be yours,” said Sandhya as she tightened her hold on Roopa.
“But, what after you get married?” said Roopa. “It’s only time before you wed.”
“I won’t let my marriage come in the way of our affair,” Sandhya tried to assuage Roopa. “I love you and need you as well.”
“If I’ve a reason to live,” said Roopa wiping her own tears, “it’s for our love.”
“The hope of my life i but the product of your love, said Sandhya
“Let it be our sweet secret,” said Roopa mystically, reaching for Sandhya’s lips as though to seal them.
“It’s the charm of our life,” said Sandhya in surrender. “Isn’t it?”
When finally Roopa got up to leave, Sandhya wouldn’t let her get down from the bed. “Stay for a while,” she implored to her mate with a feeling of wanting.
“Given half a chance I would get glued to you,” said Roopa as she reluctantly weaned herself from Sandhya’s vice-like embrace, “but as he rents a house in Hyderabad, I’ve to move into for my sour home then.”
Continued to “Moorings of Marriage”