Benign Flame: Saga of Love - 18
Continued from “Tentative Moves”
After siesta that evening, Sandhya proposed a walk on the Tank Bund that they agreed to. ‘Let’s walk down,’ said Roopa as they came out. In time, as they reached there, Raja Rao noticed many life- size statues lined at intervals and wished to see them all at close quarters. While they walked past a long row of imposing bronzes of renowned Andhras, installed on granite pedestals, as he read the inspiring inscriptions in gold on them, he marveled, ‘A great idea.’
‘Controversial though,’ said Roopa.
‘How?’ he looked surprised.
‘There was a minor row,’ explained Roopa, ‘raked up in the local press about the advisability of spending millions on them, bringing the schemes for the poor to a grinding halt.’
‘It must be the handiwork of the politicians out of power who itch for mischief,’ articulated Raja Rao, ‘Even if one kid who sees them were to be inspired by the deeds of any of these greats, then the value of that life for the country would countervail the cost of all the statues put together. But why don’t I find Srinatha.’
‘I too find it odd,’ said Roopa, ‘that our kavisarvabhowma is left out.’
‘When Thyagaiah is rightly accorded the pride of place,’ said Sandhya in agreement, ‘ignoring the most romantic of Telugu poets is indeed heartless.’ In time, as they reached the statue of Sir Arthur Cotton, Raja Rao said, ‘It’s a thoughtful gesture to treat this Englishman as our own.’
After a go around as they relaxed on the lawns near the Nannaya’s, the topic turned to culture and literature. ‘The hallmark of greatness is the ability to appreciate the virtues of other peoples and their cultures’,’ said Raja Rao. ‘Are you aware of what Appaiah Dikshitar, the Tamil poet saint said of us Andhras? He felt that to be born an Andhra and to be able to speak Telugu is a boon, which cannot be achieved without much penance. But normally bigotry makes people imagine they are superior to the rest of the peoples put together.’
As it started drizzling by then, they thought of leaving.
‘I like getting drenched,’ said Roopa
‘Me too,’ said Sandhya.
‘It should be exciting,’ said Raja Rao, looking at Roopa.
While they were caught in the pouring rain, they got wet to their roots, and falling behind on purpose, Raja Rao went on devouring Roopa’s figure at its back. In her wet sari that tightly hugged her body, as though to squeeze itself dry, her provocative figure evoked passion in his groins. Her splendid back of tan exposed by the seeming dissolution of her brownish blouse induced in him a craving for kissing her there. Her narrow waist, left uncovered by her dress, enabled him to envision the carnal character of her frame. The slit of her seat, discernible at every step, stepped up his urge for a novel possession of her. As she hitched her sari artfully to part-bare her wondrous legs, their enticing shape enveloped his eyes. And whenever she turned at the street corners, the sight of her heavy breasts wetted by the Act of God whetted his appetite.
At length, as he instinctively turned his gaze towards Sandhya for an unintended comparison, he found her talking to Roopa animatedly. He felt the smooth contours of Sandhya’s delectable frame gave waviness to the sari she wore. It seemed to him that his wife’s rosy face glowed even more by the radiance of the lightning. The delicacy of her demeanor made him envision the evocative charm of a bunch of seedless grapes in the midst of the season.
‘Individually they picture contrasting charms but together they symbolize beauty itself,’ he analyzed his own state of mind. ‘My cup of life would be half empty till I have Roopa as well. Oh, what a marvel of a woman! And imagine she’s infatuated with me! Nevertheless, how painfully sweet love is in anxiety. That’s the charm of it, isn’t it? But as the urge surges, so would the pain for possession in the pangs of passion. Only her soothing embrace can bring solace to my troubled soul. Well, even if she were attracted, would she be inclined to bestow her final favor on me? In spite of her proclivities, won’t it be a big hurdle for her to cross, to enter into a liaison with her friend’s husband?’
‘Why am I allowing myself to be distracted by her charms when my bride herself is so fresh?’ he thought in wonderment. ‘Isn’t it said that love increases in proportion to the possibility of possession. That way, Tara is no mean a charmer either; any man would gladly put his soul on the line to win her favors. Oh, how these sexy women move me! Anyway, is there a way I can possess Tara? But for that who knows I might have been daydreaming about her. Thankfully, it’s all different with Roopa for her friendship with Sandhya might as well usher in our love affair.’
Even as he felt hopeful of possessing Roopa one day, her enamored eyes and suggestive gestures he reminisced, had only fuelled his passion for her possession. ‘Possession, to be meaningful, should be timely,’ he reasoned, as he increased his pace to come closer to the women. ‘When we would meet next time around, who knows, she could be carrying. Won’t it then turn out into a regimen of seeing a bloated Roopa belatedly? Then, with nothing left to inspire possession, and having gained to make it difficult, won’t she leave me pondering over her past contours in her rotund presence? Well, holding her child in my lap, won’t I be left wondering as to what it would have been like had I possessed her before? Wouldn’t the hoped-for possession on a grand scale passion end up a damp squib in a platonic fashion? It would for sure and sadly at that.’
‘Won’t it be sexy possessing her now when her figure is at its curvy best,’ it crossed him as they turned the corner to reach home. ‘Moreover, going by her hungry looks, she seems to be inclined towards me. What if I go to her on the sly after Sandhya falls asleep? Surely, she wouldn’t be pushing me out were she to fail to invite me into her arms. But won’t that be the cue for me to find ways and means to press ahead for her heart and soul encased in her sexy frame? Surely, that would begin a lifelong affair with her, won’t it?
‘But all that would have made sense if I were put up here,’ he thought dejectedly. ‘In a one-night stand, I might barely taste her flavor to savor which I would need the possession of a lifetime. Maybe the romance of a night might meet the demands of our urge but only the life long union could fulfill our craving souls. On the other hand, if I were to seduce her now into submission that might lead her astray in the end. Having had a fling with me, won’t she, in my absence, succumb to the advances of an ogler? Should that happen, instead of giving her the solace of love, I would be the cause of her depravity.’
As he shuddered to imagine her fall, he resolved, ‘It is better that we moved in here before I begin wooing her.’
When they reached home, in that wet setting, Roopa goaded Sandhya to go in for a shower.
‘Have you seen Pakeezah?’ Roopa asked him, once Sandhya was gone.
‘I liked it,’ he said sensing some inference from that love story, ‘What about you?’
‘I found the movie moving and the songs memorable,’ she said, giving an impression that she left something unsaid.
‘Especially that one, ‘yuhi koyi,’ he said, as though he understood what was unsaid, ‘about a chancy meeting and thereafter.’
‘Do you think,’ she began, as though to convey more than she enquired, ‘marriages are made in heaven?’
‘Maybe,’ he said, as if he was clarifying their position, ‘but why on earth shouldn’t one fall in love?’
‘I agree,’ she said after a pause, during which she conveyed her approval with her gaze.
When Sandhya came out from bath, Roopa tried to goad him into the bathroom, but as he insisted that he would be the last to go, she went in there disappointed. However, after her bath-of-dreams, about to clear the clothesline, she changed her mind and left her dirty linen behind. ‘Surely, he would scan my lingerie,’ she pondered romantically over the possibility. ‘That could be the reason why he insisted that I go in before him. Oh, what a clever chap. As he would pick up my brassiere to note the size, won’t he smell it as well for my body odor?’
At that, the thought of his fetishism involving her bra created a sensation in her body, which made her shiver expectantly. ‘Why not confirm by noting the arrangement,’ she thought mischievously and arranged her lingerie meticulously.
Thereafter, as he went for bath, she kept time. While she visualized him handling her brassiere, she felt as though he were squeezing her breasts, and when she anticipated him to smell the thing, she felt as though his breath had warmed her breasts but above all the idea that he would be toying with her panty pulsated her frame.
Lying in wait, she rushed into the bathroom as he came out of it, only to return with a satisfied smile much later.
When it was time to stop for the day, Roopa addressed Raja Rao, ‘I hope you don’t mind using the bedroom.’
‘Why bother?’ he said embarrassedly. ‘The hall should do for me.’
‘I would rather insist that you use the bedroom,’ said Roopa. ‘Though we’re fine otherwise, it takes us a little to accommodate our guests.’
‘The need of any family could be a couple of chairs besides a cot or two,’ he said as if to make them grasp the underlying irony of status. ‘The odd guest could be accommodated on some spare bed. However, the paraphernalia we acquire is meant more to announce our arrival on the social stage than to serve our needs. Having put them in place at great cost, and with much compromise even, we won’t rest till we show off to our acquaintances. Well, a house is where we take shelter as we live and vacate as we die.’
‘You make me feel at home,’ said Roopa to Raja Rao, ‘in my own house.’
‘It’s the best compliment,’ he said, ‘I’ve ever received from any host.’
‘Don’t hesitate to feel at home,’ she said in undertone as Sandhya went in to have some water.
‘I’d love to,’ he whispered to her.
Calling it a day, Sandhya followed her husband, however after winking at her friend.
‘It’s a little embarrassing, isn’t it?’ said Raja Rao as Sandhya bolted the door.
‘Never mind, I’ll join her later,’ said Sandhya fondly caressing his chest.
As she lay beside Raja Rao, Sandhya felt that he seemed fonder than ever for Roopa too was fond of him. For his part, as Raja Rao took Sandhya into his arms, he found himself fantasizing Roopa’s presence as well and while he made love to his wife, he found himself craving his beloved’s body too. Even though he got ecstatic in the climax, he nevertheless felt wanting in his fulfillment.
‘Won’t I need them both for my fulfillment?’ he contemplated as Sandhya left him to join Roopa. ‘Though my emotions for each are discernible, my love for them seems indivisible. But, how do they fit in our love triangle? Well, won’t they adore each other? And that might ensure they are not averse to the idea. Just the same, I need to prod them a little to help them overcome their inhibitions. But once drawn into the love triangle, won’t they find it fascinating to envision each other making love to me? Sandhya might feel fulfilled seeing the woman she adores gratifying the man they love. In turn, finding the man she admires at coitus with the woman she loves, Roopa could indeed feel fascinated. Having been fulfilled thus, won’t Roopa enlace Sandhya in all empathy as if to share her joy? And if only Freud got it right, won’t their latent leanings gather momentum to open the lesbian front to feast my eyes?’
Soon in her daydreams, Raja Rao sank into a deep sleep.
By the time Sandhya went up to her, Roopa was in luscious wait in her makeshift bed. Dropping her lingerie readily, Sandhya ardently merged with Roopa’s nudity. As she felt ecstatic fondling Roopa’s body after having been devoured by her man, Sandhya could discern the duality of her passion on a differing plane. She felt that while lesbianism ennobled her sublime femininity, union with her man gave her the measure of her womanliness. Thus, enjoying the emollient variation of her weakness, she began to savor Roopa’s body, having comprehended its true value to her life. Having been satiated by Raja’s masculine passion, in her state of equity, Sandhya set out to satisfy Roopa with her feminine ardor even as Roopa turned delirious on Sandhya’s frame with an urge to satiate herself where her lover felt fulfilled
The very thought that her lover copulated with her mate sharpened Roopa’s sensuality, and that made her imagine she smelled him through his wife’s medium. Even as she caressed Sandhya’s frame, Roopa could feel Raja’s masculinity in their feminine embrace and in Sandhya’s deep kissing, Roopa felt as if she tasted her lover’s saliva in her mate’s mouth. Visualizing Raja’s manhood in motion, while Roopa went oral at the source of its lubrication in her mate’s frame, Sandhya went into raptures craving for her man’s presence, even as her mate, as though to taste him, savored her where he mounted.
With the mutual solace their lovemaking afforded them, as they lay languid in their arms, said Roopa, ‘Now kiss and tell what’s it like with him.’
After whispering her reminiscences of her honeymoon for Roopa’s ears, Sandhya said, ‘Well, even the vigor of his virility can’t subdue my urge for our union. Oh, how I wish you could come along with us.’
‘I think my luck and love are poles apart,’ said Roopa melancholically. ‘If only I were single, I would have begged you to take me along with you as your co-wife. But what’s worse for me, you would be so far away, increasing my misery even more.’
‘Now I too feel,’ said Sandhya moved herself, ‘we would have been better off living together as co-wives.’
‘I could divorce Sathyam for the Act-1,’ said Roopa in half jest. ‘But for the Act-2, having a wife like you, would your husband suffer me?’
‘Shall I’ll ask him then,’ Sandhya got up, in mock seriousness.
‘When needed,’ said Roopa, as she pulled Sandhya back into her arms, ‘I’ll ask him myself.’
‘Have you told him about us?’ Roopa asked, fondling Sandhya.
‘Not yet, though I was thinking about it all the while,’ said Sandhya dreamily. ‘In a way, our love doesn’t take anything away from him as our amour is not hampering my ardor for him. Yet, I find the associated emotions so different. I see no conflict and I don’t feel any contradiction either. After all, my love to you and him are nursed on different planes. But how come you never talked about it to Sathyam?’
‘As I don’t feel for him much,’ said Roopa dryly, ‘there’s no emotional hitch as such.’
‘But now,’ said Sandhya, ‘it looks like you’re okay with him.’
‘Well, don’t I’ve a duty to perform as wife?’ said Roopa looking vacantly. ‘I thought I’ve no right to make him feel wanting due to my disillusionment. Somehow, I feel it could be risky to reveal it to your husband even, as he might not like it. It would be the death of me if he weans you away from my embrace.’
‘I love you for the way you feel,’ said Sandhya, kissing Roopa. ‘Even if I tell Raja, I know he’ll understand. Nevertheless, I would wait. Imagine, I told him about my escapade in the city bus.’
‘What was his reaction?’ Roopa sat up, as if to watch her Raja’s feelings in Sandhya’s face.
‘He made light of it,’ said Sandhya, ‘as no more than a small pleasure.’
‘I’m happy,’ Roopa kissed Sandhya as if the gesture was meant for him, ‘that you’ve got a confident man.’
‘Good night,’ Sandhya whispered kissing Roopa. ‘Let me see if he got up, you’ve made me need him all again.’
‘Good night,’ said Roopa winking at Sandhya, ‘Wish you the best of both.’
‘Why is life hard on some while being soft on others?’ Roopa contemplated after Sandhya had left. ‘The sastras would have us believe that it’s all owing to karma, while the philosophers stress that life is conditioned by a combination of circumstances. It could be true either way, but how does that help me anyway. For all that, does life play favorites? But that’s unlikely, for after all, why should life be partial to some when all bear its own patent. Yet, some like me get condemned, all the time, don’t they? But why is that so?’
‘It’s as though life has an obligation for itself as a whole and not to the beings that make up that whole,’ she tried to probe into the proclivities of life as though to solve the puzzle of her state. ‘It would appear as if life feels a monotonous regimen would bore people to death, bringing the creation to an unintended end. Therefore, for the larger good of itself, life could have found it expedient to take recourse to individual inequities to keep the general interest in it alive for all. Wonder how life prepares the black list for the fate to act upon! As all are dear to it, were it possible that blindfolded, it would go in for random selection with a sinking heart! Once fate takes over the earmarked, won’t weddings come in handy for it to impart misery in many wrong permutations and provide bliss in a few right combinations! Then is there nothing left for me to do than to regret my fate, all my life?’
As though her pain infected nature itself, it opened the skies to shed its tears, and closing the windows to avoid the spatter, she felt melancholic, ‘So that’s how I’ve got the rough end of the married stick then. But why not grab the silken glove of liaison that is dangling before me now? Won’t that meet life’s need for variety as well? As it had imposed a husband of its choice on me, now let me choose the lover after my heart.’
When it stopped raining as though on cue, opening the windows, Roopa felt nature too desired her turbulence to end in Raja Rao’s arms.
‘Would it be fair to Sathyam?’ she tried to analyze as she was consumed by self-doubts all over again. ‘But then, what could be done when fidelity forces a loveless life on me? What’s this infidelity all about? Isn’t it man’s idea to negate woman’s amour. While male-female attraction is the cornerstone of creation, man seeks to blindfold woman with marital fidelity. Leaving that aside, what does a wife ought to give her man? Of course, she should keep an amiable home for him to recreate and procreate. As for love, woman needs it as much as man, doesn’t she? Is love something of a recipe that a woman could prepare at her husband’s bidding?
‘How can I help when he doesn’t inspire love in my heart,’ she wailed at her plight. ‘After all, was it not said that love is but a part of man’s life while it is a woman’s whole existence? Oh, it’s every bit true! Sathyam is merry in marriage, enjoying all that goes with it, while I’m miserable, despairing for love. I can’t be happy without Raja, that’s clear by now, isn’t it? After all, I owe something to my life, don’t I? What’s the contradiction, if while leading my love life with Raja, I look after Sathyam’s marital needs as well? It seems to be the only sensible way to go about life than feel deprived all my life.’
Having resolved to have Raja Rao for her lover, she was at peace with herself, ‘Of course, it would be unfair for woman to let the paramour father her child. Why, perhaps it’s the only thing unethical about adultery, isn’t it? A woman ought to take care that things don’t be mixed up at that end. I would need Raja for my fulfillment and Sathyam can have his child if he could.’ Having resolved on a liaison with her lover, Roopa slumbered in expectation.
Continued to “Curtain of Courtesy”