Benign Flame: Saga of Love - 23
Continued from “Villainy of Life”
In the mid-January that sankranthi, the exhibition ground in Hyderabad came alive as the fair curious of all ages swamped the premises. While some sauntered in and out of the assorted pavilions, others flocked to the eateries, but, it’s the garment shops that took the cake at the annual fare. All the same, the really curious, so it seemed, stood rooted at the vantage points to ogle the bevy of beauties that made it to the annual fair.
In the pavilion of the Austral Industries, its young executive director, ostensibly reviewing the sales figures, was figuring out the vital statistics of the female visitors. What was of particular interest to him was the impression the air-conditioners, their new product, made on the potential buyers. Satisfied with the bottom line, he came out into the open to ascertain the proclivities of the passing women, abounded by then.
‘Almost every dame in her youth is beddable,’ he thought, lighting his India King. ‘While some may be repeatable, rarely are they keepable. But, each of them is obtainable, though with some of them; it may take some time, and even a little effort. Yet, it’s the quick-fire affair that affords man ego satisfaction as well as ready gratification; besides, won’t that make it easy for him to bring the curtains down, when it suits him, though women tend to hang on to the illicit stage that much longer.’
‘But should any lass resist long enough, then it would be a different ball game for the adventurer,’ he continued with his soliloquy. ‘Her reluctance to give in would only enhance her appeal by the day, deepening his desire by the night, which makes it difficult for him to rescind, and what’s worse, he might need the nuptial knots to loosen her shackles of passion. And when it comes to the married man, courting maidens could be a hindrance, for they harp on his divorcing the spouse as a prerequisite for their favours. But luckily for men, the hard nuts to crack are few and far between, and strangely, the harder the struggle to win women over, the sweeter would be the pleasure in having them, isn’t it?’
‘But with their ripen wares, aren’t married women truly mouthwatering?’ he continued to delve into the proclivities of the fair sex. ‘Thankfully, they are ready-made for liaisons, though some of them may need a man’s helping hand to cross the threshold of fidelity for them to indulge in their raunchy beds. By the way, what else draws man to a woman than his desire to access her persona specifics; and once drawn, won’t she bare her veiled assets for her fancied man to dabble with her private accounts? But then, after a few of his jaunts to her favoured joint, what else would be left in her for her lover to explore and for her to offer? Thus, thereafter, how could she cater to his need for variety and what else she could conjure up to sustain her enticement? Oh, the poor thing, seeing his interest in her wane, won’t she turn more so eager to keep him in good humor? But then, the more she gives him; even more she satiates him, and its only time before she finds her paramour bypass her favours for lesser flavours. That’s the woman’s bother, anyway, why should I bother?’
Noticing a pretty lass of twenty pass him by, he thought, ‘Doesn’t she swing her seat as though to suggest that there’s a way right up there? Why, won’t the heaving boobs and a bulging bottom with something passable for a waist in between sum up woman for man? Didn’t La Rochefoucauld say that man is the sum total of all the women he had ever loved; probably what he meant was that the measure of a man’s worth is the aggregate sum of the vital statistics of the women he laid. Why not I maintain a record of them all, at least from now on, to know my net worth at the time of my death, why shouldn’t I?’
‘Not a bad idea,’ he felt amused, and pursued his course in the applied sex. ‘Nature made me a ladies’ man and fortune gave me the means to lure them. Oh, how the cupid fellow thought it fit to endow women with an ear for flattery as if to help his own ilk worm their way into their arms. Why wouldn’t a push with praise and a prod with gift make the babes bare their boobs? Besides, aren’t women blessed with a weakness for the successful men? How money bestows status upon men that entails power over women, enabling the well-heeled to pick up their fancied dames, so to say, at the drop of a hat at that! Didn’t I taste the amorous flavours of countless randies in assorted ways; it’s as if every dame is ready for a lay, well, but on the sly. Isn’t snaring women into bed as easy as luring the greedy into a bad bargain, with the right tactics? But when it comes to women, man also needs the requisite tools to handle those fleshy wares in their horny frames. Then, won’t it be a case of quick fixing them in wanton liaisons?’
‘But access makes all the difference between the conquest and failure, isn’t it?’ he felt as he thought about his insatiate passions. ‘If not for the lack of it, wouldn’t I’ve laid every woman I’d ever fancied? Given half a chance, won’t women want to explore their passions in their paramours’ private parts, but it’s their men, who invariably turn out to be the spoilers by throwing a spanner in the cupid’s works-in-progress. Why, one needs only to show a passing interest in the wife, and the husband can be expected to do the rest to put paid to it; not content with shrouding his wife, he cold-shoulders the trespasser as if to nip his passion in the bud. It’s as though men are prone to policing their wives than husbanding them; so, as though to celebrate the poetic justice to their predicament, won’t women turn gleeful whenever they cuckold their caretakers?’
‘But working women come on a different platter altogether, don’t they?’ he seemed to sum up the essence of philandering. ‘Courted by the flirting colleagues, aren’t they clearly cut out for liaisons what with the alibis their workplaces provide them to cover up their flings? And luckily for the resourceful, it’s their fancy to dress well that makes the vain among them to seek paramours to fill their bare wardrobes. How many of them undress in the adulterous arena to cut a figure for themselves in the public view; haven’t I come across many such. It’s their short-term needs that make those jaunts so lively with them, and the welcome thing about them is that, when the time comes to hang up the boots, there won’t be any hangovers. Oh, it’s as if all the pleasures of life are packed in the female frames for the favored to savour them!’
Seeing a shapely woman get into his pavilion, he followed her instinctively and approached her readily.
“Have you tried our kitchen items, designed for women like you,” he said enticingly.
“I find your mixer-grinder quite handy,” she said, looking flattered.
“Part of the credit goes to you for its intelligent use,” he said looking into her eyes.
“Thank you,” she said, and tickled by her vanity, she blushed to the roots.
“Why not try our air-conditioner, I mean in the guest room,” he said enticingly.
“We don’t need one, at least, for now,” she said in embarrassment.
“If you please, I’ll get one installed free of charge,” he said tantalizingly.
“But why?” she said, looking puzzled.
“I’m looking for a testimonial from a pretty woman like you,” he said suggestively.
“Let me think it over,” she said, as she couldn’t refuse being unequal to his flattery.
“Your address for my reminders,” he pushed a pad and a pen into her hand
“I appreciate your customer care,” she said as she scribbled.
“What are your convenient timings to receive,” he said.
“I’m a housewife,” she said overwhelmed by his advances.
“It’s a pleasure meeting you Mrs. Vanaja,” he said extending his hand.
“Good night, Mr...’
Having tentatively withdrawn her hand from his, and amusedly confused, she left him to his thoughts.
‘Isn’t she a pretty prospect, won’t some follow-up help? Let her in the meantime ponder over the tempting proposal besides playing a guessing game with my name. Having been sourced in her anatomy itself isn’t mystery the key to open woman’s heart to man’s thought?’ he surmised, pleased with himself.
As he came out to watch her figure from behind, lighting his cigarette, he felt, ‘Why not I go to The Nizam Club for a change? Who knows, I may come across a new prospect there.’
When the playboy executive was about to move out of the ground, seeing a woman of about twenty come nearby, he stopped in his tracks.
‘Oh God, a real stunner here!’ he ogled at her greedily. ‘What a flowing figure! Had my roving eye ever caught hold of a more desirable dame than this? Dream stuff she is, dreamier than any in my wildest of dreams! It’s as if she’s shaped for sex, isn’t she? She’s the dame to be laid, and there’s no mistaking it. How surprising that she carries a divine visage and a voluptuous form on the same frame? Won’t that make her the Goddess of Sex in the pantheon, if there’s one? But is she a resident or here on an outing? Whatever, she is too good to be lost. If only she goes into our pavilion, and even otherwise, I shall follow her to her doorstep, be it at the other end of the world. I must ensure that I do not lose sight of her in this god-damn rush, and when I get her that would be the jackpot of my life. And I shall get her, whatever it might take.’
While he went towards her, as if in a trance, what with the fag burning his fingers, he came to his senses and saw a man joining her with two cones of popcorn. As the incomer bore a familiar look - won’t his nose give him away in a million - he readily realized that it was Sathyam, his long lost friend, and rushed to him excitedly.
“Hi buddy, do you get me?” he asked Sathyam tentatively.
“Oh, Prasad!” said Sathyam.
“Glad we’ve met at last,” said Prasad extending his hand to him.
“Heard you’re a bigwig now,” said Sathyam taking the hand after handing one cone to Roopa.
“Don’t go by hearsays but tell me about you,” said Prasad.
“She’s my better half,” said Sathyam and extended the other cone towards Prasad. “This is our half.”
“You’ve become witty but lost your wits,” said Prasad picking up some popcorn.
“What do you mean by that?” protested Sathyam in jest.
“You haven’t introduced the newcomer to the old-timer,” said Prasad smilingly.
“Oh, sorry, she’s my Roopa,” said Sathyam.
“How do you do ma’am,” Prasad greeted Roopa.
“Fine sir, thank you,” said Roopa.
“Now, tell me all about you,” said Sathyam to Prasad.
‘I’ve to play my cards carefully,’ thought Prasad, affecting hiccups. ‘It’s all so sudden, isn’t it? It pays to play down my success before I get into the winning position, and till then I should mildly impress Roopa without unduly alarming Sathyam. Unless he sees the present to be an extension of our modest past, he may not be too keen to renew our old friendship, and that would be that.’
“Do you want to call it quits here itself? I thought we’ve met not to part again,” said Prasad at length.
“Won’t I drag you all the way to my place,” said Sathyam taking Prasad’s hand.
“Then, allow me to wind up,” Prasad pulled Sathyam into the pavilion as Roopa followed them.
“You don’t know how I used to wish that we met,” said Sathyam in continuation.
“Same is the case with me, and thank Roopa Devi for our reunion,” said Prasad.
“Roopa would do sir; but how am I responsible for your chance meeting?” she said embarrassedly.
“But for women, would men ever venture out on their own?” said Prasad half in jest.
“I agree, we owe all this to her,” said Sathyam.
“Just give me a few minutes as our manager takes you around,” said Prasad.
‘Good that she turned out to be Sathyam’s wife!’ thought Prasad in excitement as he went into his makeshift cabin. ‘What a welcome development it is! But how on earth did he land up with such a lass; maybe, owing to my destiny to have her, who knows? Whatever, won’t his friendship prove to be a thoroughfare for her favours? Yet, won’t she need some wooing as well? I might as well dazzle her by flaunting my credentials, but that would only push Sathyam into a shell straight away. Won’t that hinder my endeavour, and what’s worse, sensing trouble, he might erect checkposts all the way to her bedchamber. Even if I were to muster Senna’s skills and Sorkar’s stealth, looks like the Formula One won’t do for her final favour as Sathyam would ensure that I end up in the pit on my way to the putt, why won’t he? Given that an overt courting would be unyielding, I better sneak into her bed under the cover of his camaraderie. Going by his confidence quotient, he shouldn’t have made much in his career; so, the winning formula is to downplay my success to develop a sustainable equation with him. Then, won’t his goodwill issue me the visa to land in his wife’s lap, and that should be fine with me.’
‘But what about Roopa?’ he tried to analyze her proclivities. ‘Doesn’t she wear that disinterested look I’m so familiar with in women; maidens embrace it when they are lovesick, and in the married, it’s proof enough that their pudding has turned stale. Isn’t it clear that she’s unexcited about her marital state? Won’t that make her a candidate for conquest? But yet that subtle awkwardness discernible in women, when attracted to men, is missing in her, isn’t it? Making it worse, she doesn’t seem to be vainglorious to flatter my way to her favours. Won’t that call for a change of tactics? As it appears, it needs some sustained effort, and a lot many seductive tactics to trick her into an affair. But for all that, it appears to be a conditional access, after all. Thou art so near and yet so far, oh, Roopa dear!’
‘But, how to go about it?’ he tried to analyze his moves to checkmate Roopa in her own den. ‘What could be the path of least resistance to possess her voluptuous frame? Won’t the first few steps decide the outcome of this ticklish tangle? While cultivating her man’s confidence, I must undermine her own defenses as well. But with a stunning wife like that, any man would be on guard to see through the motives of all comers. Why not I vouch a sisterly feeling for her to keep him off guard? Won’t that cut both ways in our triangle for I can get closer to her as brother and then worm my way into her bed as paramour. What a great idea to get closer to a woman without alerting her man, indeed it is.’
Carried by his brainwave, a hearty Prasad reached the Sathyams with great expectations.
“I’m at your service now,” said Prasad.
“Let’s go to our place,” said Sathyam.
“If you haven’t brought your car, I’ll hire an auto,” said Prasad
“Good that I’ve left my Lambretta at home but I thought you must be moving around in limousines,” said Sathyam unable to hide his surprise.
“I use the office Ambassador that’s in the garage now,” said Prasad, who by then had instructed his chauffeur to report for duty the next day.
“You haven’t changed a wee bit Prasad; Roopa, he’s always been an adjusting type,” said Sathyam in apparent admiration for his friend.
“Now tell me,” said Sathyam as they walked towards an exit gate.
“Since I’ve spotted you, I’ll have the first ear too,” said Prasad in jest.
“After graduation, I joined the State Government, and have been working ever since at the Secretariat. Now I’m a Senior Assistant, waiting to become a Section Officer. In a nutshell, that’s all there is to my life,” said Sathyam.
“But you’ve missed the essence of it all; when did you get married?” said Prasad.
“We’re two years old,” said Sathyam smilingly.
“So, your wit is unceasing, love marriage, I suppose,” said Prasad.
“It’s love at first sight, but in pellichupulu but I’ve heard yours is a love match,” said Sathyam.
“Yes and no,” said Prasad as they got into an auto.
Soon reaching Domalaguda, they got into the Sathyams’ penthouse.
“If I won’t inconvenience my sister, I would like to have my dinner here; ever since Rani has been to Delhi, I’ve been eating junk, and it’s been a week now,” said Prasad as they settled.
“You’re welcome sir,” Roopa smiled her invitation.
“It’s sisterly,” said Prasad heartily.
“Now tell me all,” said Sathyam.
“Let my sister serve some water first to quench my thirst,” said Prasad.
“Won’t you like to hear his story?” said Sathyam, as Roopa turned back after giving them some water.
“Buddy, I’m afraid you’re giving an impression to my sister that there is a great deal of interest attached to my life,” said Prasad, “but for matrimony, my life is as ordinary as any. Rani was my classmate in Delhi and we happened to like each other though I didn’t dare daydream our marriage for her dad is quite a big shot there. But without my knowledge, as she pressured him for my hand, his fondness for her and my eligibility, otherwise, made us man and wife in the end. Now I’m here tending a sick unit that he took over only last year, and at home, we’ve Gaurav and Omathi to engage my family time. That’s about it all.”
“Surely your wife is a remarkable person,” said Sathyam.
“No denying that but you’re better off for my sister,” said Prasad, patting Sathyam while looking at Roopa.
“I’ve to see Rani to concur with you,” said Sathyam.
“Rani is dear to me as wife and Roopa endears me as sister, so you can rely upon my judgment, can’t you?” said Prasad.
“I’m lucky that way,” said Sathyam looking at Roopa in admiration.
While the friends continued to reminisce about their childhood days, Roopa was engaged in preparing the dinner.
‘How lucky is Rani to have married a handsome man like him whom she loves as well,’ Roopa contemplated. ‘But why does he refer to me as sister at every turn? How odd that a handsome young man should keep calling me sister. Why, even Ramu, being so close, doesn’t address me that way. It’s as if the sisterly reference takes something away from my persona, or to be honest, it hurts my vanity. To tell the truth, maybe it’s a bit of both; what if I too start addressing him as brother to make him feel sissy? It’s no more than a mere form and any way; this guy is my husband’s friend and just another interesting character, no more and no less. That’s all there’s to it, isn’t it?’
However, at the dining table, Prasad was even more effusive in his praises, and as if icing his seductive cake, he said in the end, ‘it’s like an annaprasana for me, tasting food for the first time in my life.’
“You exaggerate a great deal sir,” said a visibly embarrassed Roopa.
“You’ll know how I feel if only you could taste your preparations with my palate. How I wish Sathyam will invent an empirical formula of relativity of palates to prove me right. Don’t you know how good he is at maths?” said Prasad in pursuit of his game-plan.
“Why don’t you stay back tonight,” suggested an apparently flattered Sathyam.
“I would have loved to, but I’ve got to go now,” said Prasad, wanting to create the impression that he was not the one to take undue advantage of his friend’s generosity.
“Till Rani’s return, do join us at our dining table,” said Sathyam.
“It’s worth going miles to savour her preparations and enjoy your company; but why trouble my sister,” said Prasad.
“You’re always welcome,” said Roopa in spite of herself.
“I’m no fool to miss out on the fare; thank you and good night to both of you,” said Prasad heartily.
Though Prasad said that he would go on his own, Sathyam insisted on seeing him off at the street corner; and returning home, he said to Roopa,
“Thanks to the small world, we’ve met again. I hope you liked your new brother.”
“Looks like he’s an interesting fellow,” said Roopa.
“It goes to his credit that there’s no change in his attitude, in spite of his elevation. Don’t we see people putting on airs though they wouldn’t get to spell the ‘S’ of success? But how it’s rumoured that a businessman roped him in for his plain daughter! What a pity their love match is dubbed as a mercenary marriage; well if seen with jealous eyes, all that is seen is green, isn’t it? I’m sure we’ll pick up the threads from where we had left them,” said Sathyam in an apparent satisfaction that only childhood friends could afford one.
However, Roopa, struggling to catch up with the elusive sleep that night, took to contemplation, ‘If only Raja were to be in this man’s place, what a different time it would have been! What would be he doing now? Does he recall me at all, leave alone craving for me. But what separates these two remarkably handsome men? Whereas Prasad’s demeanor is demanding, Raja’s persona is compelling, isn’t it? True, Prasad exudes self-confidence but Raja personifies self-worth itself. No denying that Prasad is handsome, but oh, Raja has that exquisite sex appeal, rare in men. No doubt, Prasad is an interesting person, but is not Raja a lovable persona. Prasad could be a ladies’ man but Raja is a romantic hero, a rare breed at that. And above all, Raja is the he-man, and more so my dream man, there’s no mistaking that.’
It’s as though it is in the nature of woman to value herself by the worth of her man more than her own self-worth.
Continued to “Scheming the Theme”