Saturday, June 09, 2007

Passion Play ( A short story)

By Shevlin Sebastian

Very soon, after her marriage, Sundari Tandon began to regard her husband, Deepak, as a wimp. He walked, with his head tilted forward and the eyes, jutting out from behind thick-lensed black spectacles, were always focused on the ground. He had stooped shoulders, wore trousers whose ends scuffed the floor and seemed to be permanently chewing his lower lip. He always carried a faded black briefcase, and, with shuffling steps, he would head for the office. He worked as an accountant for a private transport company in Bowbazar in Calcutta and earned Rs. 12,000 a month. The owner, Purshottam Agarwal, trusted Deepak implicitly; he was honest and conscientious and had been working for the firm for thirty years.
Sundari, who came from the village of Tarn Tarn in the Punjab, realised quickly that she could bully her husband. He remained silent all the time. She had stopped studying when she failed her Class twelve exams and was married off by the time she was 24 to Deepak because her father, a poor farmer, felt that he was a nice man, who did not make any monetary demands.
Sundari, however, had plenty of misgivings because, at 50, Deepak was so much older, but she was afraid to go against her father’s wishes and agreed to the marriage. When Sundari came to Calcutta and saw how fashionable the women were, she abandoned her salwar kameez. She wore high black heels, and chiffon sarees and see-through blouses, with a very low neckline. Her only drawback was that she had a hoarse masculine voice but she compensated that with a powerful sexual drive that her husband could not satisfy.
Once, when he had his orgasm, his eyes blinking as if somebody had given him a slap, she said, “You have finished so quickly. And I haven’t even got into the mood!” Her husband got up silently, groped around for his slippers, and, with bumbling steps, walked to the bathroom.
She felt unfulfilled and frustrated. The gap between their ages was too much. Feeling a sense of emptiness, she would say, “I want Rs. 200 for a lipstick set,” and in her hoarse voice, it sounded like a command. Or she wanted high heels or a leather purse or anything else that struck her fancy during her weekly and, sometimes, bi-weekly trips to the New Market. Deepak tried to satisfy her wants but when a woman is sexually unfulfilled, no material thing can really satisfy her. In this state of grinding restlessness, five years passed by.
Deliverance was at hand when her nephew, an elder sister’s son, who stayed in Haryana wrote and said that he would like to do his B.Com from Calcutta University.
Sundari, without consulting Deepak, said yes. She merely told him that one of her nephews would be coming to stay with them. Since they had an extra bedroom, near the kitchen, in their second floor flat in Park Circus, there was no problem at all.
And when on a Monday morning, the nephew arrived, she was seeing him after ten years or so, she felt a wetness between her legs and her face reddened.
“Hi Aunty,” Jagjit said, putting down the scuffed blue VIP suitcase in the hallway, “the train was late by two hours.”
“You have grown so much,” Sundari said, staring with frank admiration at the thick biceps and the muscular chest, and the body, which was a chiseled V, made more elegant by a slim waist. “It’s been so long since I last saw you. How are your parents?”
“They are fine,” Jagjit said as Sundari took his suitcase and led him to the bedroom, on bare feet. Jagjit watched the smooth roll of her buttocks and the creamy flawless skin exposed by a blouse with a low back and he felt a sudden desire arise in him. He was surprised to see that his aunt was so sexy, made more so by the tinkling anklets that she wore.
“Let me get you a soap and a towel for your bath,” Sundari said, as she placed the suitcase, upended, near the wall.
It was a small, sparse room. The single bed, covered by a blue counterpane, was placed next to a wall and on the other side, there was a table, on which there was a small flower vase, with plastic red roses, and a chair. Jagjit went to the window and looked out through the iron grill. There were buildings on either side. Down below, he saw a gaunt rickshaw-puller, sitting on his haunches, on the leg rest of the vehicle and puffing away at a beedi.
Later, Sundari served Jagjit with roti and tarka and a mutton curry. Jagjit wore a t-shirt and Bermuda shorts, and his face, after his bath, gleamed with the vigour of youth. “So what is the news in Haryana?” Sundari asked, as she glanced surreptitiously at his hairy legs…
Within a week, Jagjit realised that Sundari called the shots in the house. Deepak rarely opened his mouth and when he was introduced to Jagjit, he held out a limp hand. Every night, Deepak and Sundari would have their dinner by 8 p.m. and he would go off to sleep. Jagjit ate alone since he preferred to eat at 9.30 p.m. Sundari would stay awake to serve him.
“My husband is a very boring man,” Sundari told Jagjit at dinner one night. “He has a fixed routine that never changes. And you know life can get very boring if there is no excitement.” She looked meaningfully at Jagjit when she said this.
Jagjit chewed his chicken silently.
“That’s why I haven’t hired a cook,” she continued, as she sat next on a chair next to him. “If I don’t have anything to do, I will go mad.”
Today, she was wearing a see-through nightie, which she had put on after Deepak had gone to sleep. Jagjit could clearly see the firm breasts with the pointed nipples and she had tied up her hair in a knot. An unbearable desire arose in him. She continued to talk but he did not reply. He just stared at her.
“What are you thinking?” Sundari asked. “You have been so quiet.”
“You are so sexy,” Jagjit said, shaking his head, to break out of his trance-like mood.
Sundari laughed, pleased by his praise.
“Are you getting excited?” she said, as she opened the top two buttons of her nightie. Jagjit was transfixed by the movement of her fingers on the pink buttons as she opened them all and bared her breasts. A half smile was playing on her face.
Jagjit leaned forward and kissed her. Her thick red lips quivered with excitement. Then she guided his mouth to the nipples and he sucked hard on them. She moaned and he began licking her heaving breasts.
“Wait,” Sundari managed to utter, “finish your dinner first.”
Later, they went to his bedroom and Sundari locked the door and, with one swift movement, she threw the nightie to the floor. She untied the knot and her hair fell in a smooth sheet down her back. Jagjit watched, his Adam’s apple going up and down like a cork in water, and Sundari laughed. She pulled down his Bermuda shorts.
“Oh dear nephew,” she said, licking her lips, “you are hotter than hell.”
Their bodies melted into each other and they kissed feverishly, but after a while, Jagjit asked, quickly looking at the door, “What about Deepak Bhaiyya?”
“Forget him, I want to fuck now baby,” Sundari said, pulling him closer.
But when Jagjit entered her, an unbearable excitement came over him and he came much too quickly. Sundari grimaced in displeasure.
“I am sorry Aunty,” he said, “I got too excited.”
“It’s all right,” she said, as she reached out to make it hard again, “after you get some experience, you will be all right.”
It did not take long for Deepak to realise what was happening, because Sundari was indiscreet. On mornings, when Jagjit did not go to college, she would sit with him in the bedroom, the door locked, and take Jagjit’s hard cock, with its curly tendrils of hair surrounding the testicles, into her mouth.
Sometimes, Deepak would come to the kitchen wanting to tell Sundari something and would not find her there. He would notice that behind Jagjit’s locked door, excited murmurs and the sound of laughter could be heard. He did not say a word of reproach. Instead, he went to the puja room, an alcove, which was on one side of the drawing room, and sit cross-legged on the floor, bare-bodied and in a white dhoti. He lit incense sticks and prayed to Lord Krishna for a child.
For some reason, Sundari had not conceived. She would not allow any tests to be done. Deepak felt that once Sundari became a mother, she would cease to be girlish and immature. Deepak prayed with a rising sense of despair. He was 55 now and time was running out. He prayed that good sense would prevail in Sundari although he could sense that she was in the coils of a deep passion.
One night Deepak uttered a loud, mournful groan. It seemed to come from deep within his soul. Sundari, lying sideways, her face buried in the armpit of Jagjit, woke up with a thudding heart. She hurriedly put on her nightie and rushed to the other bedroom.
She switched on the light and saw that her husband was perspiring profusely. His face was red and he was gasping for breath. Sundari felt a panic within her. She rushed to Jagjit’s room and awakened him. They ran out to call a doctor. It was a cold, chilly night, and thick fog hung heavily, almost smothering the street. They walked to the next road, where Sundari remembered there was a doctor.
Dr Dipak Malik was awakened and by the time he got dressed and came, half an hour had passed. Dr Malik, balding, with long, thick, sideburns, which went halfway down his cheeks, looked for Deepak’s pulse and there was none. Deepak looked peaceful in death and the doctor scratched his head and said, “Madam, I am sorry, it is too late. He is gone. It was a massive heart attack.”
Sundari burst out crying, her body wracked by sobs. The doctor left and Jagjit hugged her tightly. The next day, Deepak was cremated. The ashes were collected and Jagjit and a few colleagues from Deepak’s office went and immersed it in the river Hooghly.
Sundari went into a shell for a few days. She sat on a chair by the window and gazed down at the street. Jagjit spent the whole day roaming around aimlessly. He had liked Deepak because he was a decent man but now his death had come as a shock. As for Sundari, she was not really sad. In fact, she felt a little relieved. It was an unhappy marriage and now she was free. The only question was how much money had her husband saved up.
One morning, she wore an overcoat over her black saree and a muffler around her neck and went to the bank. The news was good: Rs 3 lakh in savings. She then went to the transport company in crowded Phears Lane and met Purshottam Agarwal. He folded his hands together and assured her that she had nothing to worry about. All the dues, including his Provident Fund and Gratuity, of his most loyal employee would be cleared within a month. So money would not really be a problem, although she had spent lavishly because Deepak had saved slowly and steadily. Sundari also had plenty of jewellery, so if things got very bad, she could always sell it off and get some money. But she realised that she would have to be careful on how she spent her money now. She would have to live off the interest and not touch the capital.
One day, Sundari fell ill. The temperature shot up to 105 degrees. The doctor was called. Jagjit placed cold compresses on her forehead throughout the night. She shivered and groaned. Her face became flushed and her eyes were bloodshot. There were dark shadows under her eyes. The fever took a week to subside. Jagjit was worn out.
Ratna Pathak, a neighbour, sometimes came and sat with Sundari. The house was in a mess. The dishes lay unwashed in the sink. Dust collected on the floor and on the window sills. Ratna told Sundari it was time that she hired a maidservant.
Around this time, Sundari’s thyroid gland started to malfunction. The doctor prescribed tablets. But within a month, Jagjit watched with horror and fascination, her steady increase in weight. She began to get fatter and fatter.
Sundari, who had prided herself on her fine, curvaceous figure, found that things were going out of control. A jowl of fat formed under her chin and on her stomach, thighs and buttocks. Her fingers became so thick, she could not insert her rings. She could not wear her blouses any more. They would get stuck at the elbows. She consulted, with a rising sense of desperation, several doctors and they prescribed all sorts of medicines, different coloured pills, of all shapes and sizes but nothing happened.
She continued to be fat.
She became tired quickly. If she walked a few yards, she would be drenched in perspiration. She weighed 110 kgs and people looked at her and laughed. The neighbours’ children laughed the loudest and shouted, “Hey fatty bum bum.” When she got into a taxi, it would seem as if the vehicle would not move.
And the men no longer drooled at her. Where, earlier, they would salivate with desire when they saw her beautiful figure, the saree always worn below her navel, allowing it to swing sexily from side to side as she walked, now they looked away and spat.
Jagjit was horrified by the way Sundari had changed. He felt a distaste, arising like bile, when he looked at her. He had lost all desire and now he would sit in the bedroom, the door locked and read his study books.
One night Sundari knocked and when Jagjit opened the door, she said, “I feel so lonely. Can I sit with you for a little while?”
Jagjit just stepped back. Sundari waddled into the room in a white housecoat and sat on the bed.
“I am in really bad shape,” she said. “What a fate it is. The doctors said it would be difficult to become thin again.”
Jagjit just stared at her. After a pause, she said, “Can we fuck Jagjit?”
“I am sorry,” he replied, looking at the floor. “I feel no desire for you. Please don’t blame me.”
“I don’t blame you,” Sundari said. “But how about one for old time’s sake? I gave you so much of pleasure.”
Jagjit shook his head and she opened her housecoat and bared her breasts.
“These are nice ones,” she said. “You used to suck my nipples with so much pleasure.”
Jagjit stared at the huge, drooping breasts and shook his head once again.
“You are being ungrateful,” she said. “I may be fat but that doesn’t mean I cannot fuck.”
“Sundari, you are ugly,” Jagjit said, as he stood up and paced the room. “Have you seen yourself in the mirror? I have no desire for you. God has taught you a lesson. You killed your husband with your affair with me.”
“You talk as if you are completely innocent,” Sundari said, her eyes flashing in anger. “You are equally guilty. It takes two hands to clap.”
“I agree,” Jagjit said, as he continued walking. “I was young and inexperienced and made a mistake. I feel sorry.”
She reached out to grab him and he stepped back and said, “Don’t touch me now. I am moving to a hostel. I cannot stay here anymore.”
Sundari buttoned up her housecoat and stood up. “You ungrateful bastard,” she said and walked out of the room.
Within a few days, Jagjit moved to a private hostel on Lower Circular Road. Now Sundari was all alone. She wandered around, in the silence, from Jagjit’s room, to the kitchen, to the bedroom, to the living room. Sometimes, she would sit on the sofa in the living room and stare at the opposite wall. But most of the time, she sat on the bed and watched Star TV or Zee or MTV. She would see all those sexy women in the music videos with their hourglass figures and a deep remorse would arise in her. She felt lonely and needed to converse with somebody. So she asked Ratna whether she could arrange for a maidservant. Ratna assured her she would get somebody.
Within a week, she brought Laxmi, a small built girl with coffee coloured skin and cup like breasts. Sundari was so desperate for some company that she hired her.
Time passed and the servant and the mistress grew close. Sundari listened intently to the maid’s story as she sat on a high wooden stool in the kitchen. Laxmi came from a very poor family in Bihar. Her father worked as a farmhand in the land of a rich landlord and earned a paltry six rupees a day. The family of three daughters and a mother had little to eat and, in desperation, Laxmi fled to Calcutta. She wandered around for days before she found shelter in a church. The priest arranged for her to work as a maidservant. She worked in the house of a bank manager for three years before the family got a transfer to Bangalore. The bank manager was a friend of the Pathaks and that was how she came to work at Sundari’s house. She told Sundari of how she met Jaggu Prasad in the vegetable market and fell in love and they had been married for a few months only.
“Tell me something about Jaggu,” Sundari said, as she cut onions on a small wooden board with a stainless steel knife.
“He works as a night durwan in a multi-storeyed building on Ritchie Road,” Laxmi said.
“That is not very far off from Park Circus,” Sundari said. “Why don’t you bring him home?”
“I will bring him tomorrow,” Laxmi said.
The next day, Laxmi brought Jaggu and Sundari liked him immediately. He wore a blue shirt and a white dhoti. He had a broad chest and close cropped hair that usually men of the Army sported. His small eyes darted from object to object in the bedroom.
“How old are you?” Sundari asked, as she sat on the bed, the television set blaring some western music.
“I am twenty-five Madam,” Jaggu replied, not looking at Sundari. He felt shy to be in the bedroom. He would have been more comfortable if he had spoken to Sundari on the street or at the door of the flat.
Sundari decided to go straight to the point.
“Would you like to earn hundred rupees?” Sundari said, looking at Laxmi, standing near the door.
“What do I have to do Memsaab?” Jaggu asked.
“Fuck me. Each fuck Rs 100,” Sundari said and grinned, showing teeth that had been stained red by the constant eating of betel leaf.
Jaggu and Laxmi went out into the hallway.
“What do you think?” he asked his wife.
“It’s up to you,” Laxmi said, tears in her eyes.
“The money will be good for us,” he said. “It’s not much work. We will be able to set up a house for ourselves.”
Laxmi did not reply. Instead, she fingered the glass bangles that she wore and looked at the floor.
“Come on Laxmi, say something,” Jaggu said. “She’s got money. Let’s take advantage of that.”
“Jaggu, it is up to you,” she said.
When Jaggu entered the bedroom, Sundari was almost sure that the answer was yes, “Call Laxmi. I will give her fifty rupees if she sucks my nipples at the same time.”
So Jaggu called Laxmi and they stood near the bed and dropped their clothes on the carpet as Sundari quickly took off her housecoat.
She grabbed Laxmi and kissed her violently on the mouth. When Jaggu saw that he got excited and enraged at the same time. Laxmi looked like a dark doll against Sundari’s fair skinned body. Jaggu climbed on to the bed, moved his wife to one side and plunged himself deep inside Sundari. She let out a gasp but the kissing between the women continued, as Jaggu began his piston-like movements.
“Aaah,” Sundari let out a deep moan, and she broke off from Laxmi, threw her head back, closed her eyes and pressed her heels against the small of Jaggu’s back, “Aah, aaah, this is good.”
Laxmi got up from the bed, picked up her saree and went to the kitchen. It was 1.30 and time to set the lunch. Half an hour later, Sundari called out to her. So she went to the bedroom.
Laxmi,” Sundari said, with a bright smile, “your husband is one of the best fuckers I have met. You are a lucky girl.”
She took out a deerskin purse from under her pillow and said, “Here’s one hundred and fifty as promised.”
Jaggu took the money and put it inside his shirt pocket.
“Can you come tomorrow at the same time?” Sundari asked.
“Yes Memsaab, I will be here,” he said.
Outside, Jaggu kissed Laxmi and said, “Don’t look so sad, darling. It’s good money and we need it.”
So, Jaggu became a regular visitor to Sundari’s house but Laxmi rarely joined in. Most of the time, she was in the kitchen cutting up onions and beans and feeling a pain because Jaggu was with Sundari. But the money was good and so she did not complain.
Meanwhile, Sundari got closer and closer to Jaggu. The Bihari sometimes sat with her on the bed, his arms around her, both nude, and watched television. But Jaggu, with his darting eyes, kept a sharp eye on everything. When Sundari opened the cupboard, he noticed that there were rows and rows of chiffon, polyester and silk sarees hanging on blue hangars. Sometimes, she opened the safe and from where he was sitting, he could see a few small square boxes.
When Sundari locked the cupboard, she lazily threw the keys under the pillow. Once Jaggu asked in a casual tone, “What is in those boxes?”
“Gold,” Sundari said, as she climbed on to the bed. The bed creaked as she sat down, and said, “It’s so hot. It’s time to install an air conditioner.”
“But Memsaab, this is winter. How can you feel so hot?” Jaggu said, smiling.
“I am hot in the head,” Sundari said and laughed out aloud.
Soon, Jaggu asked for an increase from Rs.100 to Rs. 150 for a fuck and Sundari opened her mouth in shock and said, “I don’t have that much of money. Hundred is already too much for me.” But Jaggu knew that she had plenty of money.
A month later, when Jaggu was inside her and Sundari had closed her eyes and started moaning, Laxmi crept in and gave Jaggu a foot long hammer. She crawled back out of the room.
Jaggu stopped his thrusting movement and swung the hammer at Sundari’s temple. Her eyes opened suddenly, she gave a loud cry of pain and fell unconscious. A small lump formed on the temple.
Jaggu dressed quickly and called out to Laxmi. She came running in with a long rope. They tied Sundari’s hands and legs together and Jaggu spread a thick, brown tape across her mouth. Laxmi ran to the kitchen and returned with a huge gunny sack. Jaggu unconnected the wires and put the TV set and the VCR into it. He took the keys from under the pillow and opened the cupboard.
Laxmi gasped when she saw the row after row of expensive sarees. She began hurriedly putting them in the sack. Jaggu opened the safe and took out the jewellery boxes. There was also a stack of currency notes and he threw the bundles inside. Laxmi rushed to the kitchen and gathered all the plates, the utensils, the knives, the spoons and the tumblers. They tied the sack with a rope and Jaggu wiped his forehead with a towel.
“Have you ever seen a woman like this?” he said, looking at the mass of flesh that was Sundari. “Come, let’s go.”
“Wait,” Laxmi said, as she jumped on to the bed and walked till she was astride Sundari’s breasts. Then she lifted her saree and urinated.
“The bitch,” she hissed, “no better than a whore,” as she watched the liquid flow down her breasts towards the base of her throat. Jaggu laughed and he also urinated on Sundari’s face.
“That’s the last time you are going to see my cock,” he said, but Sundari was unconscious. A part of her forehead had become bluish purple.
Jaggu lifted the sack and placed it on his back and they made good their escape. The police would not catch them because they would have reached Bihar and done the disappearing act.
Two days later, the milkman became suspicious. The milk bottles that he placed outside the door had not been collected. He alerted Ratna Pathak. Nobody had seen her for quite a while. Otherwise, she would go down the stairs once a day, to buy eggs or bread with a yellow plastic bag. The men in the building gathered together including a couple of policemen from the nearby Beniapukur station and broke down the door.
Sundari was lying on the bed, nude, her eyes wide open and frightened, the tape still across her mouth, the smell of urine pervading the room. And when the men saw her, this fat naked slob, they could not help but laugh. It was the funniest sight in their lives.
“I am sorry,” Mr. Pathak said, as he noticed the empty cupboard and safe. He tried very hard not to laugh by biting his lower lip.
Sundari has now lost her trust of men. The rumour is that she is using carrots these days. They are cheaper and they don’t betray you and cause a financial loss.
Carrots are a woman’s best friend.

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