Benign Flame: Saga of Love - 17
Continued from “Tidings of Love”
By the time they came out of the Railway Station, the auto-stand wore a deserted look. So, moving away from them to locate an auto, Roopa hailed at a passing driver, who drove the vehicle between her and the couple. It was as if he wanted to form a wedge between them to show her, her place in the love triangle. However, as Roopa got in from the right side, Raja Rao stepped in from the left to place the luggage in the space behind, and even as he was about to step out to let Sandhya get in, he found himself pushed in by her, unmindful of the protocol. Soon, as Sandhya nudged him for more space for herself, he was pushed closer to Roopa that filled her heart and thrilled his senses.
Having thus posited between his wife he loved and the woman he enamored, as Raja Rao realized that his sex life would be dull without bedding the latter as well, the jerks of the journey thereon that jostled him closer to them only sharpened Sandhya’s sensuality and deepened Roopa’s desire. It’s thus, when the auto finally reached her place, reluctantly getting down from it; Roopa thought endearingly, ‘If a mere thirty-minute ride with him could be so exciting how exhilarating a lifelong journey could be?’
However, once they got into her penthouse, as Raja Rao went straight into the toilet, she pulled Sandhya into her embrace and crooned in her ears, ‘how’s that?’ Saying, ‘wait until dark’, as Sandhya reached for her lips, Roopa engaged them in a prolonged kiss that was before the new bride rose to show her marriage album to her old mate.
“I may be mistaken as photo-crazy,” said Roopa finding herself in every other picture therein.
“We thought you’re a value addition,” said Sandhya, affectionately leaning on Roopa’s shoulder.
“Who else?” said Roopa, sensing Raja Rao’s coming.
“Can’t you guess?” said Sandhya pointing to her man with her gaze.
“It appears that ma’am kept watch on me,” he said, making Roopa blush to the roots.
“I was measuring my mate’s fortune in the making,” said Roopa, composing herself readily.
“What a compliment!” he said, thrilled at that.
“Your gesture truly complements,” said Roopa.
“Wonder why it’s said that beauty and brains won’t coexist in the feminine frames for you both seem to have appropriated the most of both,” said a pleased Raja Rao.
“Thank you, but stop this ma’am thing, you know she has a beautiful name,” said Sandhya thrilled to the core.
“She may feel that sounds familiar,” he said, looking at Roopa.
“Roopa,” said Roopa, matching his gaze.
“Roopa,” he repeated, thrilling her senses.
“I’ll have a bath,” said Sandhya, and left.
“Roopa,” he said as she was savouring his picture in that album.
However, as the ardency in his tone signaled a note of urgency, she shifted her loving gaze from the groom in the pictures onto him in her very presence.
“Roopa,” he repeated
“We’ll be leaving tomorrow,” he said with a feeling of disappointment that she grasped in the tenor of his tone.
“I know,” she murmured, constrained to express the desire of her heart, ‘how I wish you would take me too.’
Thereafter, she kept quiet, and staring at her in disappointment, he thought,
‘She could’ve easily said, ‘you could’ve stayed for a day or more’, without compromising herself that is and that would’ve enabled me to open my heart to her, inducing her to pour out in reciprocity. Isn’t it apparent that she’s attracted to me, there is no mistaking that. Won’t her heavy manner belie the burden of her love for me?’
The feeling that she loved him pleased him even more for her very presence.
However, finding him truant, she realized that she goofed up her chance, and thought,
‘Any commonplace comment could’ve kept the dialogue going, and who knows, what it would have unraveled. But why won’t he realise that it’s a mere slip between my cup of emotion and the lip of my expression?’
However, as blaming him didn’t appeal to her mind, she tried to rationalize his lack of forthrightness,
‘In his position, he can’t but be tentative, for the fear of offending my sensitivity.’
Thus, even though their lips were sealed in apprehension, their eyes continued their conversation without any inhibition.
Sandhya, meanwhile, felt refreshed while freshening herself in her bath thinking excitedly,
‘She likes my man. But then, won’t women find him fascinating if they happen to get acquainted with him? That way, he too turned fond of her, why not; can any man ever ignore her either? How lucky I’m to have a friend like her and a man like him!’
Soon, sailing to them on cloud nine and finding them both immersed in their own thoughts, she said in jest,
“Being sworn friends, why you are sitting like strangers?”
“Being a gentleman, your hubby believes in ladies being first,” said Roopa smilingly, as she left for her bath.
While Sandhya laughed at the remark, Raja Rao was pleased with her innuendo.
When Roopa entered the bathroom, the very thought that he had his bath there earlier thrilled her sensuality, and as she undressed herself, she recalled his searching gaze that insensibly made her imagine him in that setting, which in turn, has induced pulsations in her frame that furthered her craving for his possession. So, showering herself leisurely and sighing for him longingly, at length, she reached for her soap, but seeing theirs, she was drawn to it impulsively. Thereafter, in her bath of fantasy, the soap became a fetish that freshened as well as excited her in equal measure.
Later, as they gossiped after breakfast, the topic of children cropped up in time.
“What’s your reading on her children?” said Sandhya placing Roopa’s hand in his.
“It would be a pleasure to speculate about the prospect,” he said, grabbing what was on offer.
“Mind you, don’t turn it into a farce,” said Sandhya reminiscently, pulling Roopa’s hand from his in jest.
‘What a lovely hand!’ he thought as he took it back, ‘Isn’t it a classic psychic hand with those shapely fingers in their full flow? How have I failed to notice the beauty of her hands all this while?’
Thus, espying her hand in wonderment, he found himself fondling it, more to communicate his love to her than to envision her future, seemingly in a trance. However, as the spasms of her frame woke him up to the realities of her allure, he felt,
‘Apparently enamored of the character of her main attributes, I became oblivious to the charms of her remaining features.’
Then, driven by the desire to espy her features, he mapped her feet with his caressing looks.
‘Oh, what an attractive lass she is! What a female form in such a fascinating frame? Won’t that make her deadly in lovemaking? What a woman she is really; could there be a better one than her to have?’ as he thought, so he gripped her hand ardently, further fuelling her passion.
“What are the indications?” said Sandhya, growing in impatience.
“It’s not clear as yet; as I told you, the lines are alterable,” he said, still holding Roopa’s hand.
“I’ve heard the lines here indicate offspring,” said Sandhya pointing at a sideline below Roopa’s little finger.
“They indicative of one’s affections for the opposite sex, as Roopa has only one line, she’s likely to have one deep affection in her life,” he predicted with hope.
“What about her?” asked Roopa, reluctantly withdrawing her hand.
“Do you mean affections or children?” he said naughtily.
“I know from her nature as well as her hand that she would’ve only one such affection in her life, I want to know about her children,” said Roopa indulgently.
“She could have two children,” he said.
“You mean, you would’ve two kids,” Roopa suggested correction.
“You see her hand indicates the prospects of her maternity and not the source of its paternity,” he said smilingly.
“Now I know how devilishly mischievous you could be,” said Roopa coyly.
“So, you can figure out my lot with him,” said Sandhya joining in the mirth.
Soon after lunch, as Sandhya proposed a game of caroms, and even as he offered to sit out to watch the friends at play, Tara came around.
“Here’s the godsend,” said Roopa enthusiastically.
Introductions over, Roopa asked Tara to join them to complete the quorum for a carom.
“It’s my pleasure, but someone is going to be sore,” said Tara.
“Who shall partner whom?” Sandhya thought aloud.
“Let it be the couple versus the neighbors,” suggested Tara.
“Ma’am, you seem to be a sound strategist; knowing that a man and his wife won’t see eye to eye, you want to pair us for your easy pickings,” retorted Raja Rao.
“Roopa, you better partner him, if I say that we might pair, his tongue would wag yet another way,” said Sandhya amusedly even as Roopa and Tara laughed heartily.
As Roopa turned out to be a novice and Tara being quite adept at the game, not to speak of Sandhya, Raja Rao sensed that there was a drubbing in the offing, and as feared, he and Roopa fared poorly in the first board.
“We’ve lost because of me,” said Roopa apologetically.
“Surely, we’ll make it in the end,” he seemed to assure her in more ways than one.
“I suppose playing caroms is not as easy as wagging the tongue,” Sandhya teased him.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating, what do you say Roopa?” he said heartily.
“How I wish I had a better hand to lend you but I know that you’ll make them run for their money all on your own,” said Roopa.
While the game progressed, as he began to regain his touch, he was seized by a desire to let Roopa savor the thrill of winning, and in the euphoria of her praises, he played like a man possessed.
“I haven’t seen you play half as well at Kothalanka,” said Sandhya, watching him in wonderment as he went on a pocketing spree.
“It’s all about inspiration,” he said and added, “moreover, can I let Roopa down.”
Roopa got scared for once and looked at her mate in apprehension.
“Man, I don’t fault you on both the counts,” said Sandhya to Roopa’s immense relief
Wrapping up the game in time, when he involuntarily extended his hand to Roopa that she shook in excitation, feeling sorry for Tara, Sandhya shook his hand in admiration. However, when Tara too shook hands with him in congratulation, Roopa watched his demeanor in contemplation. ‘Is he enjoying her touch?’ she looked for signs of his crush on Tara, and seeing none, she felt relieved, but thought nevertheless, ‘Why this possessiveness for a man who’s not mine even! But how could it ever be love unless it is accompanied by jealousy?’
When Sandhya wanted a challenger, Roopa was not a game for it as she preferred to preserve the memory of that triumph lest they should lose the challenger, and instead proposed a round of rummy, Tara talked about the stakes.
“You spell it,” said Raja Rao.
“Ten a count,” stated Tara.
“I feel it’s high,” said Sandhya.
“Not for an architect’s wife,” Tara brushed aside the objection.
As dame luck teamed up with the members of her gender, as if to show where her sympathies lie, Tara said to Raja Rao,
“It seems you’ve no way with the dame luck today.”
“I’m hopeful that she might favour me in time,” he said, steadily picking up his cards and stealthily looking at Roopa.
Finding Roopa gazing at him, as though expecting some such comment, he knew that she was playing the ball with him, and even as she admired his audacity, nevertheless, she was troubled lest Sandhya should take note of their flirtations, but at the same time, she was thrilled that Raja Rao’s fascination for her was unfolding before Tara’s eyes.
‘She seems to be in love with him to a fault, though she can’t be faulted for that,’ Roopa thought as she scooted the next deal. ‘It’s as though some magnetic force would draw women to him! Isn’t Tara, the veteran of many a fill, coy to him as if she were a virgin? It looks like he appreciates Tara’s undeniable charms but he doesn’t seem to be enamoured of her. Without a roving eye, won’t he make a steady lover? Maybe, had I not stopped him in his tracks, daredevil that he is, he could’ve declared his love for me then and there, oh, how stupid of me. Surely, I won’t miss the next chance as and when it presents itself. What a lover to have, if ever I could have him.’
“Sorry for robbing the hosts,” said Tara, taking leave of them after tea.
“We’ll make it even next time,” said Roopa smilingly.
“I wish you get even,” said Tara to Roopa in undertone.
After Tara had left, fearing a possible misunderstanding, innovated Roopa,
“She wants me to take up a job.”
“It’s not a bad idea,” said Sandhya.
“What’s the hesitation?” said Raja Rao to Roopa, finding her unresponsive.
“Don’t you know that I’m not even a graduate? I wonder who would employ me, and for what,” said Roopa
“As I told you, Roopa was our topper before she dropped out,” said Sandhya to Raja Rao.
‘How does that help me now for its all bygones,’ said Roopa.
“Roopa, nothing is really over till the very end,” he said persuasively. “Even after death, there would still be that last journey to the cemetery. I know that you craved to become a doctor to serve the sick but there are other ways for you to do the same. You know besides doctors and the ayahs, health-care needs administrators as well and if only you work for it, who knows, you might run your own clinic one day.”
“Honestly, I haven’t thought on those lines. Thanks for opening up my mind,” said Roopa visibly impressed.
“Who knows, one day you might as well design her clinic,” said Sandhya joyously.
“Won’t I put all my heart into that to make it soulful for her,” he said heartily.
“It’s like you’re rekindling my ambition,” said Roopa extending her hands to them.
“Meanwhile improve your academics through some correspondence course and enlarge your vision by observation. Thus when the opportunity knocks, you would’ve been equipped to acquit yourself well,” he said holding on to her hand.
“I shall,” Roopa said as though in a trance.
“I know you would,” he said animatedly, and she pressed his hand warmly.
“You can always count on us,” said Sandhya, embracing a visibly moved Roopa.
At that, infected more by their euphoric love than his carnal desire, Raja Rao was impelled to fold them together in his arms for a fleeting moment that seemed eternity to Roopa.
Continued to “Fetishes of Fantasy”