- Engineering College? Nay! Cupid will sojourn in Pillory, just for a change
- Beauty: intoxication for a teetotaler
- Love is divine; there is nothing else worth doing in this world
- He had taken every decision “right” so far, now they say he’s in love
- Hope had been defeated in the dual between mind and heart
- Beauty, Brain and Business: A deadly combination
Engineering College? Nay! Cupid will sojourn in Pillory, just for a change
Nupur caught Aditya smoking in college campus and crooned the famous lyrics, “I’ve cigarette in my hand I felt like a man.” He turned and flirted, “When I’ve you in front of me I feel worth being a man.” She blushed and turned the topic, "Aren't you attending TOC class today?" He said, "Nope, I'm not in mood, you go." She insisted and urged in honey coated tone, "C'mon Aditya, tell me how many classes have you attended in this semester?" He replied firmly, "Nupur, please…, not in a mood." She wanted to attend the class with him but left from there.
She likes his company and wants to be with him most of the time. Both belong to same place, Pillory a small town and had done preparation for engineering entrance exam from the same coaching classes. He considers her a good friend and shares lots of personal thoughts however she has a soft corner for him and considers him “Mr. Special”.
She is a modern girl and likes to wear jeans. Apart from being sincere in her studies she is as good painter. She believes the equality of both sex in society isn't possible unless women become economical independent and confident however life of a woman can't be complete without love and support of her man.
He, on the contrary doesn't like sticking to the books rather likes playing chess, browsing web, gadgets and computer games. He is ulterior and strives to experience new things.
Rama Nath, his father used to run a grocery shop and he had taken retirement from his business due to old age. His elder son, Aditya's brother, Rohit is very soft spoken, simple and emotional man. He had learnt the intricacy of jewelry from his uncle Uma Nath, more than 10 years younger than Rama Nath. He also had a jewelry shop in the same lane but was famous due to his proven prowess in Jyotish and abilities to exorcise the evil.
Don't expect it to be the tale mixing heterogeneous topics including 8 semesters of engineering, complexity of “Theory of Computation” and “Compiler Design”, romance immersed in the college premises, innocent brains, cute faces, maple leaves floating in the air and stupid hormones of young engineers. Rather a trip to pillory will be much more interesting.
It was a usual evening; Sarafa Bazar lane of pillory was getting crowded. Shop keepers were switching on their lights. This lane had many big and small jewelry shops. “Gahna Jewelers” was owned by Rama Nath and his elder son Rohit was running it very well. He had earned the trust of people in a short period of time, almost 4-5 years. This shop was driving business of others as well, be it jewelry maker, jewelry designers, gem stone dealers and other small players. Simplicity and honest dealing is rare in this business and this virtue of Rohit had created a remarkable place for him as a goldsmith.
Moreover Rohit was first to introduce designer jewelry including Chokers, Cocktail rings and variety of gems such as Cubic Zirconia, Doublet, Garnet and Imitation in Pillory.
Ragghu Chaat Wala was the special attraction of Sarafa Bazar more because of having a herd of cute chicks every evening around his cart than the taste of his chaat. Rohit and Bhola, close aide of Uma Nath were standing in front of his shop and were discussing daily mundane issues such as the bad conditions of road, electricity problem and irresponsible MLA. Bhola was verbose and used to hang around in Rohit’s shop but Uma Nath never questioned his integrity. A gem stone dealer came and started convincing Rohit that his gems are of best quality in the market. He had wiped one emerald with clean cloth, hold it with his fingers and said showing it's transparency, "Look at the fine edges and transparency of this emerald. You won’t find blemish or feather in this piece." Bhola had offered gutkha to gem stone dealer, appreciated Rohit for being teetotaler and told that people in the “Vyapaar Mandal” admire this virtue of him a lot. While everybody was busy focusing their vision to the fine cuts, Rohit's eyes had got curves to focus on. She was fine collection of curves enjoying pani-puri at Ragghu's Chaat Cart. Having the boon of perfect vital stats she was wrapped in a simple light blue sari. The way she was carrying herself was ravishing. Rohit had forcefully taken his eyes off and asked the dealer to repeat however he didn’t miss to keep a watch on her within every few seconds. She was temptress and dopamine in Rohit’s brain was not letting him concentrate on anything else.
She paid Ragghu, crossed the road and went her way. Rohit's eyes chased her to the possible extent. God knows what all chemical reactions it had triggered in his brain. Men hormones disturb the vision as far as ability to judge the beauty of the opposite sex is concerned. The more the distance, the prettier she would look. Most of the times, the women’s beauty is inversely proportional to the distance from where men’s eyes are looking at her. Let’s call it inverse Doppler Effect of beauty.
Rohit got busy in his routine and the remaining day passed interacting with customers and others. He however couldn’t ban his brain from thinking about her. He kept on dreaming her whole the night. The girl had gone but it was pleasant for him being lost in her memories. Almost a week passed and he didn’t miss to stand in front of his shop almost at the same time and staring at Ragghu’s cart assuming that she will come again to have pani-puri.
“Rohit, Bhola had introduced tenants Manohar and his sister Maya and your Father had agreed to give them a portion in ground floor.” His mother, Sushila said while serving dinner. He asked, “OK, Does Bhola know them?” She replied, “They are his distant relative. Manohar is a ladies tailor and has a small shop in a parallel lane than that of Sarafa Bazar and his sister Maya is pursuing her graduation.” He said, “OK, Bhola is anyway a nice person.”
Rama Nath's house was a three storey building with a square shaped big verandah in the center. The design and construction of whole building was old and Rohit had got first floor renovated with floors and plumbing done as per the latest fad; family shifted to first floor. He got doors and windows wooden polished as he never liked the old color combination. There was one room on second floor where Aditya used to study before taking admission in Engineering College. There was one basil (tulsi) tree in the center of verandah which Sushila used to consider sacred and used to believe that this tree had offered all the opulence to her family. Uncle Uma Nath’s home was adjacent where he used to live alone as his wife had passed away and he had taken decision not to get married again.
Beauty: intoxication for a teetotaler
The next Morning after having his daily worship when Rohit went to roof to offer water to sun, he was astonished; the same girl whom he waited every evening was right there. Having had a shower she came to roof for hanging her washed clothes on sun. It was the moment of his life for Rohit. The wet locks covering half of her face and cotton sadi wrapped on slight wet body were making a mark. Droplets on her skin were reflecting more rays than the best quality diamond had ever done. It was a challenge for him to take his eyes off from scintillating Maya. He had always been a domestic creature and had never experienced this intoxication. She was bare feet on heated roof and was trying to finish her work quickly however she had noticed that for Rohit, she was more hot and adorable than sun today.
While having breakfast he asked his mother, "Mom, you said, new tenants are siblings but the girl is wearing sadi. Sadi is usually worn by married women, right?” She replied, “True values of an Indian girl; she must have got good teachings from her mother. Did you look at her face? She has got looks, isn’t she? I don’t know when I will get my daughter in law. I don’t ask for more, just a cute face with family having strong values and in the same caste as ours." Rohit said, "Oh mom, again!" and left for the shop. She said with stretching her voice, “Aren’t you reached to mature age? Most of our relatives have started asking for your marriage. Anyways, remember to send electrician today, this tube light has to be replaced. And have lunch at right time.”
It was the same busy day for him, interacting with so many people. The only difference was the amazing desire to reiterate whatever happened today and kept immersed in the beauty of the temptress. He didn’t fail to notice that his mother also discussed about her good values and beauty.
Aditya called and asked Rohit to deposit amount in his account as he want to have an advance mobile phone. Rohit interrogated, “I will deposit the amount but tell me what happened to the mobile, you already have?” Aditya replied, “Come on bhaiya, that handset is too old, same old Symbian, people are using android. Moreover, I want a handset with camera not less than 2.0 MP.” Rohit interrupted, “Oh my little brother, enough justification; you have all the rights to have the most advance handset available in the market. I’ll deposit amount, you can purchase Apple IPhone. After all you, people should understand you are Rohit’s little brother.”
Rama Nath used to come to shop daily after having his lunch and used to go to temple for evening Aarti at about 6 PM. These were the only two tasks in his daily routine; he used to pass rest of his time taking rest. There was a beautiful temple in the park less than a KM away from his home. Sushila also used to come to temple daily at the time of evening Aarti and then they used to return home together. This was a good routine the old couple had maintained and was being blessed with all the opulence by the almighty.
Rohit was restless that day and winded up for the day little early. Right from entering the home, getting his bike on stand in the lawn to stairs his eyes kept striving for a glimpse of Maya.
Sushila asked, “Rohit, you came so early from shop today?” He replied, “Nothing Mom, there was less customers so felt like closing it little early.” Rama Nath was watching news on TV while lending an ear to their conversation. She served the dinner and reminded him about the need to get the tube light changed. He finished his dinner and rushed to his bed as he was feeling like having the time alone with his love-lorn conscience and reminiscence of Maya.
It had been five days since he had not seen her again due to his long working hours in shop. He tried to match his time of offering water to sun with Maya’s post shower visit to roof top, but in vain. The desire to see her again was mounting and he decided to be in Aditya’s room at second floor to watch her again on Tuesday morning which was weekly off for Sarafa Bazar.
He kept waiting for half an hour before the mesmerizing moment had come and she came wrapped in light magenta sari. He didn’t forget to traverse her from head to toe as he kept planning for this moment for long. She was being measured and was being felt to the extent possible. His eyes caught on her slender waist but he didn’t gather courage to break the ice before she left the place. He was wondering that no other attire is sensuous than sari if it is wrapped in the body without pleats and Maya had mastered this art. Even his Mom had never questioned Maya for staying her home as a personified form of sensuality just because sensuality wrapped in sari is acceptable in Indian society.
“I could have said something, at least something which I feel for her. This was right time. Nobody was there. Nobody was watching us. But does she feel the same for me? What will happen if she complains? What will people think about me if she shares this with others? This act of mine could malign my reputation.” He was anxious that night lying on his bed.
The next day when he returned from shop, he had seen Maya sitting on chair and talking to his mother while she was preparing tea. Last conversation he could hear was, “In my village women used to do all the work and men pass their time talking about politics and feeling proud about their moustaches.” Sushila told him flashing a smile on Maya, “You know Rohit; Maya is scared of the Peepal tree at our main gate.” He said, “The tree is quite far from her portion.” Maya responded, “That tree can be seen through my window. Bhaiya will come late today so I came to have a good time with Aunty.”
Sushila was impressed with her sweet old stories which were making her reminiscent about her own village and childhood days. Childhood stories are always interesting. Sushila asked Rohit to accompany her till her room as it was dark in the stairs. He accompanied her but they didn’t talk with each other. His heart was pouncing heavily and tongue got tight to the palette. He wanted to say thousand words but the feelings which he wanted to communicate were beyond the words. The cow love in his heart was weaving so many fantasies for her. Not more than 100 steps from stairs to her room had become the first journey witnessing the togetherness of both. His heart beats were resonating with the symphony of her steps. Her feminine fragrance was ensuring the lasting effect to make these moments memorable for his entire life.
Rohit had a lot to take to his bed and embraced it tight whole the night. He didn’t want to come out of his dreams and signal his brain that the sweet feminine fragrance had gone.
It was the sun over the head in the Morning but his head was not ready to forget the memories of moony night. Dedication for his work was the virtue he had always known for, so today also he had reached his shop at the right time with loads of blue feelings.
Entire week had passed and he had not got even a glance of her. He many times felt like asking his mother about her. “So many days has passed; isn’t the Peepal tree spooky any more? Isn’t her brother getting late in his shop now a days?” Sushila interrupted him from his day dreaming, “Where have you lost? Do you remember we have to go to your Granny’s place tomorrow for Bablu’s engagement?” Bablu was the son of Rohit’s maternal uncle. He nodded positively. She again told him about the plan, “We all will go in the after noon and then in the evening you will return as somebody has to be there in the home in night. I and your dad will stay there in the night.” He again nodded.
Rohit had executed the plan well and returned home by 8 PM the next day. Suddenly Maya appeared and called, “Aunty, are you there?” Sensational Maya was right there and Rohit uttered holding his breath, “Mom has gone to her mother’s place. She wouldn’t return tonight.” Maya grabbed the lying chair quickly as if someone is chasing her.
Rohit: What happened?
Maya: Bhaiya will come late today and I am feeling scared.
Rohit: What is so scary there?
Maya: It appears as if someone is peeping through that Peepal tree when I see through my window.
Rohit: Its not spooky at all, we used to live in ground floor for years. Moreover you can read Hanuman Chalisa whenever you get this type of feelings.
Maya: My granny used to say, ghost consider Peepal tree as their home and stay on its branches.
She was looking very childish and innocent. Rohit smiled and didn’t say anything further in this regard. He however changed the topic and asked, “Would you like to have a cup of tea?” She replied with a seducing grin, “Yes, for anything with you.” He blushed and reciprocated the smile. He started preparing tea, she offered help saying, “would you mind if I come with you in kitchen? I want to see how you prepare tea or if you allow would I help you prepare tea?” He was feeling pampered and comfortable the way she was talking. He was getting drawn to her. She stood near kitchen’s door leaning herself to side wall.
He was happily getting tied with her words and was happy with whatever was happening. He had been thinking for so many days to start a conversation with her along with so many “Ifs and buts” and their repercussion.
Her curly locks were rolling on her face and claiming their rights against Rohit’s eyes. He was jealous today with the luck of cup which has just touched her half opened pulpy lips. He wanted to say, “There is nothing beautiful in this world but you. God might have created you to show case his ability and to prove that beauty is not an abstract thought, it can take shape and when it will, it would look like you.” She had felt his pulse and let him have some eye tonic. It’s very easy for girls to notice from where they are being watched and the hormones being secreted by brain of the person watching.
She left when Manohar returned from his shop. She went to her room leaving him out of his senses. He kept walking over the clouds and serenading her entire night.
In spite of absence of his Mom, she stayed there, had tea and the way she was talking were enough reasons to provoke Rohit to take a step ahead in the lane of love. He decided to propose her and request her to be with him and make every moment of his life worth living.
Rohit woke up late that morning with heart full of Maya’s gestures. He quickly got ready and left for the shop and got busy there as any other day. Rama Nath and Sushila returned in the after noon. Rohit didn’t forget to send electrician today, not only for replacing tube light but to get one more light fixed outside the window of Maya’s room, which he justified to his mother saying, “That portion gets quite dark in the evening when I return from the shop.” Maya had noticed this as a kind gesture of her land lord and wanted to thank him for being so nice.
Love is divine; there is nothing else worth doing in this world
Rohit was desperately seeking the opportunity to propose her. Long working hours for him were decreasing the probability for them to come across.
After 3-4 days in the evening when she came out from her room to throw vege-waste in dust bin, came across to Rohit who had just returned from shop. His heart started pouncing but he gathered courage and asked her to stay back as he had something important to say.
He said, “I’ve feelings for you much before you came here to stay. You might not have remembered the evening when you were enjoying pani-puri in Ragghu’s chaat. Maya, I don’t have any experience, how to do that what people usually call “to propose”. I don’t want anything from you but to remain the way you are. I just want to be with you till the eternity.”
Maya was mum and listening to him. She had quickly turned off the light above her window so that none can watch them talking. He resumed, “I’ve something for you showing an iron ring, please don’t mind; I could have given you a gold ring or even a diamond ring but none of those metal are believed to be good at protecting one from evil spirit. I just want to say, allow me to care you.” She whispered, “Bhaiya has come.” And ran to her room, she didn’t forget to take the ring with her. He had seen Manohar keeping his bicycle in the lawn.
She left Rohit thinking, what if she complains, what people will think about him and lots of terrible ideas about rupturing his reputation. But days passed and nobody raised even an eyebrow to him.
One fine morning the phone rang when Sushila was asking Rohit to take one more paratha, she received the phone, it was Aditya. Rohit could hear that he is not coming home in his semester break. She told after disconnecting the call, “His internal exams are about to finish in two days but he is planning to join some other classes in this semester break. Though I wanted him to come in his holidays but I didn’t ask him literally. Let him concentrate on his studies. Nupur is also joining the extra classes with him. She is quite a sincere girl. I don’t know how long will he take to come, it had already been 6 months, I had seen him.” He nodded.
He was thinking, "Why it becomes so easy for Aditya to be in company with a girl and people think nothing wrong in that, on the other hand why can't I admit same for Maya.
Adding to his extreme surprise Maya came to the shop to purchase Payal. Sales man, Rakesh had started entertaining her. Rohit was taking payments at the counter keeping an eye on her. Rakesh said, "Ma’am, I know you stay in Rohit bhaiya's home, I would help you make a fair deal." Rohit jumped on the opportunity once he heard about his name and said, "Rakesh, let her select the design and pack the piece. I'll take care of payments separately." and resumed his job of taking cash from customers. He noticed her sporting the iron ring given by him and felt cool about the thought of being accepted as well as acknowledged. Rakesh packed the Payal of her choice without even asking for payment. Maya left the shop with her Payal without paying even a rupee and still leaving Rohit obliged. She was aware that beauty can affect the way business is done.
This was an amazing day for him, his much desired and lovely flame had visited his place. He asked his dad to drop him to temple in his bike for evening Aarti since he is suffering from joints pain.
The evening was looking pleasant and vibrant as he was thinking that his act of proposal is not rejected for sure; Aarti had started the time they reached there. He didn’t have anything in his mind but Maya. He had asked for her love from almighty.
He returned to shop after attending Aarti and dropping dad home. Sharing desires with heart full of faith with God always satiates one's soul.
The acceptance of iron ring had strengthened the desire to get her and live in love with her by all means. He decided to talk to her again and started seeking for most suitable time and place.
In the middle of stairs he didn't hesitate even a moment to hold her hand when she was carrying a bucket filled with wet clothes. She abruptly got her wrist freed and then controlling her whispered in a husky voice, “what on earth do you want today? Sun is on our heads; don’t you have patience to wait till evening if you want to say something important and urgent?" With his eyes trying to capture her beauty he replied,” I don’t care about the position of sun as long as I can see my moon just before me; the only thing I want to say, be mine. Please understand I like you, I think my life will not carry meaning without having the opulence of your presence." Listening him carefully, Maya quickly taken two-three steps up stairs, turned back and said with a ‘worth dying for’ smile, "I just want to say thanks for getting light fixed on my wall. That light is enough to make me understand how nice as a person you are. It doesn’t require celestial bodies to be discussed. Thanks a lot. Thanks for being so kind." She had put her bucket on the roof and resumed her work. He with a glad heart got back to have his breakfast and left for shop.
On the way to his office he was recalling everything mom said while serving breakfast, "Aditya called yesterday and was saying it had been so long bhaiya didn't call. Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, Pushpa mausi was suggesting a girl, her distant relative. As per her opinion, she is damn cute and was asking for your choice." He reached his shop and became as busy as usual.
The moment his marriage matter was discussed it had stimulated a fear to lose Maya. They were definitely in a relationship however he had a long way to go for cementing it. Their conversations became frequent with the time and he never let any chance go. On the other hand she never failed to pour immense intoxication with her various styles.
The hardest metal diamond always helps to bind the most precious feelings with it when the Romeo is prosperous and Juliet is sensuous. The day of love had come and nobody but Aditya knew about valentine day till last year however this year Rohit also had plans to make it memorable.
He had taken a best quality diamond studded in gold ring from his shop and pondered about the way to gift her for this auspicious day. The auspiciousness of valentine day is subjective, the other festivals like Holi and Diwali are auspicious since the day you are born but valentine day becomes auspicious the day you are in love.
The winter night is best known for taking a deep slumber wrapping oneself well in the quilt embraced in sweet dreams. But it becomes a challenge to take a nap when somebody had stolen your heart and you are planning to convey this in your own and unique way. Rohit had passed whole night knitting the thoughts to meet Maya and tell her openly what he feels about her and his feelings will remain same as that of diamond, gifting her a diamond ring.
No matter what Rohit kept thinking that night, the day had nothing unusual for him. After having breakfast he left for shop and kept praying for an occurrence of pleasant chance to meet her. Pillory never witnessed valentine day celebration. It was only radio where the term was being discussed and heard. Rohit had dropped his father to temple for regular Aarti and returned to his shop. The day had passed without even a glimpse of his valentine though he didn't forget to ask for her in Aarti.
He was disappointed and didn't talk much to Mom at dinner and directly went to bed. Sushila was observing his changed behavior but didn't say anything.
Almost a week passed and his dried deserted heart felt like getting a mirage when he had seen Maya coming from the opposite direction on the linking road from temple to market. Rohit had asked her to stop and listen to him. She asked, “Oh, Rohit?” He said, “Maya, I was planning to celebrate valentine day, first time in my life so far; to my dismay I didn’t even get a glimpse of yours that day and I still didn’t know how to contact you when my heart desperately desires.” He had taken out the diamond studded ring from his pocket and given it to her. She blushed with her saucer eyes and taken the ring. He resumed, “Look, I’ve a lot to say; I want you to know the way I feel about you. I don’t find better time and place than Tuesday evening at 6 PM, Aditya’s room, the only room at second floor. I will wait for you, Maya.” She didn’t respond and left to her way.
Every time before her, he felt an emotional blow of heterogeneous feelings, satisfaction and desperation at the same time. He was desperately waiting for Tuesday evening. He didn’t leave a single moment uncounted till the time though he was not sure about her. He didn’t take rest that afternoon and reached there more than an hour before. His parents left for evening Aarti as usual but she didn’t come to decided venue, 15 minutes had already passed. He was looking himself in the mirror again and again to ensure looking his best and she came. The smasher was looking gorgeous in light pink sari wrapped in her most appealing style. They reciprocated the smiles and this time he felt more comfortable before her. The pleasures of secluded place in his own home as well as two-three earlier encounters were enough reasons for him to be in his comfort.
He thanked her for coming and said, “I was not sure whether you will come and I can’t exactly tell you how I am feeling now.” She interrupted and said, “I’m sorry but I have come to return the precious ring you have given to me. How can I accept so expensive gift?” He persuaded her not to evaluate the gifts given by him; he further said, “This is the token of my love and feelings for you, don’t you remember when I had given you that iron ring? The gifts are just the way to let you know about my feelings. I just want to accept today that I don’t feel any value in living my life devoid of you. I love you Maya, love you a lot.” She kept mum and didn’t respond. He came closer and asked holding her hand, “Tell me Maya, and tell me now. Don’t you love me?” She replied, “I never thought that way, I know you are a nice person and I respect your feelings for me, Rohit.” With an emotional blend he said, “I am not forcing you to make your feelings resonating with that of mine; it is OK with me if you want some time to figure out what exactly your heart wants.” She said, “I am sorry Rohit if I have hurt you with some of my words, I like you very much.” She came closer to the extent that they could feel the warmth of their breath. Mixed fragrance of her sweat with perfume was ultimate aphrodisiac. He had never felt the taste of love ever before. Temple bells were ringing and the young couple was close in arms of each other for the first time.
Love was now the only impetus for everything happening in this world for him. Seeking her attention, sharing the feelings and appreciating the possessiveness had become his routine. Life was good as desired by him.
Someone rightly said that there is no fun doing easy things. That means if there is fun it has to be difficult to do and the doer will have to face challenges. The smooth drive in their love lane didn’t last for long and one fine morning when Rohit woke up, he had seen Maya and Manohar were going somewhere carrying suitcases. He had asked his mother, “Mom, do you know where Manohar was going early morning with his suitcases?” She replied, “Oh, yes Maya did come to tell me that her Mom is admitted to hospital and they had to go.” Rohit nodded and kept worrying about the duration of Maya’s sojourn there in her village.
It had been hardly 3 months of their cozy feelings for each other and a long break had come. God has His own way of evaluating people for their feelings and perseverance. There was nothing charming in the entire world for him not even the rush of customers in his shop. Sushila was also observing his restless behavior and once during the breakfast, she had asked about the cause of his changed behavior. She had discussed with Aditya also when he called. Tuesday evenings were the most horrible for him to pass. He used to go to second floor room and was fully immersed in her reminiscences. Her fragrance was still there in the room as well as in his memories, fresh and intoxicating enough to remain him lost for hours.
Though Manohar had returned after few days, Rohit didn’t ask him for Maya. Winter breeze was not pleasant anymore. Shop keepers were involved in mundane conversation when Rakesh started telling his experience. He said, “Curves and feminism goes together; it’s just not about the physical ones, the way they move, the way they talk etc are very much curvy” and burst in to the laughter. He further added saying, “Rohit bhaiya, you know, who is responsible for inducing these thoughts?” He replied, “No, how would I?” Rakesh said,”It was the girl staying as your tenants with her brother.” Rohit became impatient and spontaneously interrupted, “It can’t be her; she has gone to her village to take care of her mother who is severely ill. Did she come?” Rakesh grinned and spoke trying to pull his leg, “Very good Rohit bhaiya, quite updated? Hmm. I have seen her in market today only.” Everybody present burst into laughter. Rohit clarified controlling his expressions, “I mean, Mom has told me this; I am not sure about her coming back.” Rakesh said with blinking one of his eyes and spitting gutkha outside the shop, “Bhaiya, register my apologies, but the girl is damsel; nothing less.” Rohit smiled controlling his anger over him and flashed a gesture asking him to focus on customers.
After dropping his father temple he didn’t waste even a moment and reached directly home to meet Maya rather than his shop. Mere the idea of having a glimpse of her was enough for making his world wonderful this evening. Cupid was in a mood to shower the love-luck; He had seen her caressing her locks at entrance of her room. Rohit wanted to narrate the agony she left for him, the long nights became darker, the winter was rather chilling and his stupid brain had blamed her absence responsible for all these unfair changes. His pulses were composing an elegy throughout the nights and warmth of breaths kept igniting the embers in the heart.
While Rohit had chorus of thoughts, she embraced him and started telling the severity of her mother’s illness having tears on her eyes. He was having a blow of sentiments. The couple was overwhelmed and gradually they moved inside the room embracing each other. The fusion of a sad soul with sentiments of love is always an exothermic reaction. Their breath became steamy and the desire to come closer kept mounting. Though he couldn’t tell about his days without her but now he wanted to get soaked in love till his inner self. She also wanted to be pampered and secured. They didn’t utter even a word; none had senses to be engaged in figuring out the words to translate the feelings. The craving to unfold the best kept secrets was trying to satiate the love-lorn souls.
No drive can be everlasting irrespective of the immense desire of driver and Florist had knocked the door and hurled inside a packet of fresh flowers for next day puja. Maya blushed with a smile; Rohit had taken two steps back and came out of her room. Temple bells were still ringing signaling the going on status of Aarti and Rohit told Maya that he had to leave for shop now since mom and dad will be here in next 15-20 minutes. While back to the shop he kept taking the drive back slowly in details of every moment spent with her.
He had taken every decision “right” so far, now they say he’s in love
Uncle was waiting for him in the shop and started asking, “Rohit, where were you stuck? I was waiting for you for an hour.” Rohit replied, “Nothing Uncle, one friend of mine had come across, tell me; was there something urgent?” Uncle replied,” Nothing, just wanted you to update your mom that Suman’s and yours kundali is perfect match.” Rohit was shocked and asked with the shaken voice, “Suman?” Uncle replied, “The same girl; a distant relative of your Pushpa mausi. I’ve heard about virtues of her from your mother.” Rohit was mum.
Rohit was pondering, “Would the span of his love life be too short? Is it possible for a girl to be better than Maya? What are those virtues which Suman possesses and Maya lacks? What will I do with those virtues at all? I would talk to mom and sort it out. After all it’s my life, and moreover mom had asked Uncle to check for match and didn’t even tell me.”
While having dinner he asked his mom,” Who is Suman? Why didn’t you tell me about her before asking uncle to check for a match?” Sushila replied with a convincing smile,”Oh, Uma had told you this; wasn’t he? I had told you about Pushpa mausi’s suggestion for you marriage, Suman is a nice girl.” He complained, “Mom, you didn’t tell me.” She interrogated, “do you listen me now days? I’ve already asked you about your changed behavior.” He replied, “I haven’t have changed even a bit. The only thing is that I don’t want to get married now.” She urged, “I just want you to meet her once.”
The other day Rohit had come home again and discussed this with Maya after dropping dad for Aarti. She had taken it in a light mood and asked him, “She must be a good girl; why are you not willing to even meet her?” He got irritated and said, “Maya, this is not a funny matter; you do know that I love you and can’t even think of my life without you.” She became sober and put her own concern,” What about bhaiya? Do you think he’ll accept this relationship?” He pissed off badly and asked, “If it is so, we are done; we will let that happen whatever others decide for us. Your bhaiya and my mom will never let us tie the nuptial knot. I don’t care; I’ll do whatever I feel right for my life.” Maya was observing a different Rohit.
The joy of being accepted and being in love was gradually vanishing and was getting converted into anxiety of losing her. All intoxications are injurious to health and so was this; the impact was worse on teetotaler.
He had always shared everything with Aditya even when that cute girl had borrowed science notes in eighth std. and he was existed to share that with Aditya the sooner possible. He was thinking, “Why is it so difficult now? Is it the fear of an encounter with a different opinion he may have? Is it because he might not understand the weight of my feelings for her?”
People were cheerfully engaged into usual conversations pulling legs of one another and cracking jokes. Bhola said describing the traffic of pillory’s most crowded lane, “It’s a tough task to cross this road in a vehicle, people almost refused to give the way and if you blew the horn they get assured that you are not drunk and would take care of them while moving forward. The only way is to keep moving…”.Rakesh interrupted, “How to keep moving? It’ll ascertain the collision.” Bhola reverted, “Let me complete…, keep moving “Slowly” and don’t blow the horn at all.” They burst in to laughter. Rakesh noticed a pale deadpan gesture of Rohit and asked, “Rohit bhaiya, is there any issue?”
Rohit nodded negatively. People are happy devoid of even a glimpse of Maya, he was thinking.
Hardly even a week passed, Pushpa mausi had arrived, of course for the same reason, Suman. The way she had described Suman several times with fine combination of words, Sushila also had got an inclination for Suman. Pushpa mausi had returned the same day and couldn’t wait for Rohit to come from the shop. She did leave Sushila as her agent to speak for her and Sushila couldn’t help but asked him to take some time and visit Suman’s place, probably coming Tuesday. She said, “We’ll all go.” He couldn’t control himself and shouted,” How many times I have denied having any intention of getting married now? And moreover I don’t want to meet a girl and reject her for none of her mistake.” She asked, “Why to reject? Why don’t you want to get married? Its right age, isn’t it?” Rohit had created a situation like hurricane when he said, “I want to tie knot with Maya.” She yelled, “Do you understand what you are saying? It’s not possible at all. We have never expected this from you Rohit. She is undoubtedly beautiful but a marriage is not about finding some beautiful person and tie the knot, it’s rather a relation of two families following same rituals, having same status and most important should belong to same caste.” These much expected words were hitting him hard deep inside his heart. He didn’t utter even a word and left for his room.
The other day when Sushila narrated his intentions to Rama Nath, he fumed and asked her to update Rohit, “It’s not at all possible till my last breath.” She urged him to calm down and assured that she’ll convince him.
Playing with her braid Maya asked Rohit to go and meet Suman and then reject her for some reasons. She talked on a funny note, “there are so many parameters; you might not like her nose, eyes or vital stats. Don’t indulge in arguments with your family rather play it tactfully and over rule the possibilities of Suman destroying our ongoing love life. Moreover you have done so much for your family. How can they oppose you now?” Rohit urged, “Maya, try to understand, mom might like her and then how will I oppose her opinion?” Maya got upset and said, “People lacking guts shouldn’t dare travel love lane, go and hide yourself in your mom’s lap. I was thinking to elope if situation demands but you don’t seem to have the required blue in your blood. I didn’t know you are such a lily-livered.” Rohit felt humiliated and left the place, he had never heard her speaking this tone.
Temple bells were ringing signaling the completion of Aarti, he was walking on the adjacent road with heavy heart.
Sushila updated Aditya the same day once he called. She didn’t forget to explain Suman’s virtues against Maya. Though he got only the status and caste is the matter of concern. She asked him to talk to Rohit and said, “You both share a great camaraderie, none but you can convince him.” He said, “It’ll take about a month to come home due to exams but don’t worry mom, I’ll talk to bhaiya.”
The other day as usual verbose Rakesh was broadcasting his views,”It has all the required facilities, Degree College, Hospital, Market; the only thing Pillory lacks is people haven’t started calling it a ‘City’.” Rohit was not in a mood to enjoy the discussion and asked him to concentrate on his work. Right that moment Aditya called and tried to understand the matter. Rohit however was committed to his love and retorted, “Maya and Suman are not the names of commodities that I’ll compare the features before choosing one. It’s about my feelings. So far as family values are concerned I’ve seen a lot changing during the time.” Aditya disconnected the call without concluding it.
Rohit was stressed to the grave and wanted to discuss it all with Maya. He waited till the time of Aarti and rushed. He was ready to give a thought to an idea suggested by Maya. He said, “I don’t think that I will be able to have consent of any of my family member so I’m pondering to elope with you.” She said sarcastically, “This the only way remaining, thanks to your conservative family. We’ll run away tomorrow it self and don’t forget to carry all the jewelries of your shop in a bag. We’ll need them badly.” He was shocked and shouted, “Why are you asking me to pack the jewelry? What role will it play when we’ll be tying our nuptial knot?” She tried to convince in a dramatically pleasant way, “Look Rohit, We’ll be shifting to some big city e.g. Delhi or Mumbai where people will not be stubborn and conservative. We will need money there for survival.” He couldn’t control his emotions and said, “I am not the only owner of the shop. It belongs to my family. I can’t betray my family. I don’t want my family to suffer because of any of my deeds.” She said,” You are not sure about your own priorities and you want me to face the repercussion of your ulterior shifts. You never cared about my feelings, did you? You are self-centered, your feelings, your family, your life, what about mine? What about my love? I’ll slay my desire to have life with you. But remember, you won’t be able to remain happy even for a moment. It was you who seeded that love in my heart and now you seem to be much concerned about your family. The only thing, I’ll always regret is, you have taken me wrongly, my love has been defeated. Were you assuming it a rapunzel? I’ve offered ‘Maya’ by all means and now you are asking me to live my life like a victim of love.” He was moved with the tears in his most favorite eyes and embraced her tight in his arms.
Though he was thinking that he has done so much for his family and didn’t ask any thing back but when Maya asked to leave them if they are not ready to sacrifice their clumsy proud of being upper caste and revered by that way, he was hurt. He could never fulfill her demand of carrying the jewelry even in his deadliest dream. Love for Maya and affection for his family was not a decision that he can take on a toss.
Hope had been defeated in the dual between mind and heart
He had stepped in to a planet having no gravity. The long dark tunnel of misery and then at the other end there was serene light, where there was no dual between mind and heart, no chorus, no impurity and no desire not even for a glimpse of Maya, the ultimate pleasure, the divinity. Rohit had taken sleeping pills to alleviate his stress for ever.
Aditya explained his mom over the call that people don’t consider caste etc in big cities. He further said, “If you think that Maya is good otherwise and bhaiya likes her, why don’t you leave all these centuries old futile customs that results nothing but agony? Where is bhaiya, call him, I want to talk to him”. “RRRRoooohit”, Sushila screamed. She rushed and shouted,” He is lying unconscious on the bed and foam is oozing from his mouth”. Aditya heard over phone and called Uma uncle immediately. He updated Nupur that he will not be taking the remaining two papers as he is going home due to some emergency. Uma had arrived with ambulance. Manohar and Maya rushed and started supporting Uma every possible bit. Sushila was mourning. Rama Nath had lost his senses and sat on the ground. Rohit was taken to the hospital.
Rama Nath, Sushila, Uma Nath, Maya, Manohar, Bhola and Rakesh all were there in the hospital. “Doctors have taken him to the emergency ward”, Uma uncle told Aditya the moment he reached hospital. Aditya consoled his parents, “Have faith, we haven’t done anything wrong for anybody. God will help us in this difficult situation. Rohit bhaiya will be well soon.” Aditya asked Uma uncle, “Shall we take bhaiya to city hospital?” Uma uncle suggested, “Nitin Agrawal is a good doctor, he himself will suggest us if he feels so.” Dr. Nitin came smiling and said, “Don’t worry, Rohit is out of danger, but nobody is permitted to meet him now.” Rama Nath leaned himself on Aditya as if he wanted to say that he doesn’t have enough stamina to carry his young son. Sushila said with choked throat, “Oh God, I can’t follow the customs of society at the cost of my son.”
Aditya hugged his parents and consoled, “Every thing will be OK.”
Aditya discussed the incident with Manohar, Bhola and Uma uncle. He asked the details of Manohar’s family and natives. He was thinking that he will make traditions take a turn for his family. Uma uncle had taken him separately and said, “I am getting vibes that Rohit will attempt suicide again. Medicines can cure only the visible problem. Let me do some analysis, it might be affect of some negative fields induced by somebody.” Uncle noticed disagreement on his face and justified, “There are many frequencies of sound and light which can’t be heard and seen by humans, your science accepts human limitations and existence of energy beyond human capability of observation.”
The other day Maya came across Aditya when he was smoking in stairs. She smiled and said, “Oh Er. Aditya, wild gesture! You look quite handsome. I love wild be it man or beast.” He reciprocated the smile thanking her for complement. He clicked a snap of her from his mobile and said, “You are undoubtedly beautiful. I am lucky to have bhabhi like you.” She replied, “I also feel lucky to have a smart man in this house. But I don’t understand why Rohit had taken pills.” Aditya asked, “Of course because he wants to marry you and family doesn’t allow that. Didn’t he share this with you?” She nodded in negation and turned the topic, “How is he now?” He said,” He will be OK in few days. I will try to convince mom and dad for you. I want to visit to your village also to have a concurrence from your family for this marriage.” She said, “I’ve Manohar bhaiya here. He is a ladies tailor and remains busy in measuring feminine vital states and thinking about the best design to clad them. He will take all important decisions for me.” He smiled and asked, “How frequently do you go to your village? I mean, when did you been to your village last time?” She said, “Almost a month ago when my mom was not well.” Aditya asked, “Is Manohar your real brother?” She said,” Yes, of-course?” He replied, “Because Manohar told me, he shifted from village to pillory when his mother died.” He smelled rat and asked her to tell about her family in detail. Maya grinned and said, “What else did Manohar bhaiya tell you?” She didn’t wait for his response and left the place.
Uma uncle told Aditya in hospital, “She is not only seducing with her beauty but also invoking evils. She performs voodoo on every Amavasya and you can watch it at mid night 2-3 AM. Remember, don’t dare disturb her. The process will snatch out the soul from body who will interrupt its completion. I’ll exorcise it my way.” Aditya asked, “How do you know this?” Uncle replied, “I’ve seen the shadow of that evil in Rohit’s eyes.” He asked, “Why would she do that?” Uncle replied, “Money!” He again asked, “When is Amavasya?” Uncle replied, “You’ll have to wait for 3 more days.”
Aditya decided to probe without telling the details to his parents. He couldn’t blink his eyes off when he had seen the taboo from ventilation. Scantily clad Maya and Manohar were sitting before the fire-alter. They were performing weird actions and offering some mixture to fire-altar. They were full of energy even in mid night. Maya was looking dangerously different. Sweat drops on her shining copper face and scattered silky locks were enough to lure evil. Aditya got scared with this bizarre scene and didn’t tell this to anybody.
Sushila asked Aditya to stay away from her and said, “Uma had told me everything.” She had faith on uncle’s calculations and predictions. She was scared and accepted everything whatever uncle told. She further said, “Uncle has suggested stopping medication once Rohit gets discharged, it won’t serve any purpose.” Aditya nodded, “Hmm.”
A mixed emotion of fear and anger was driving Aditya crazy. He was not able to decode the conspiracy in spite of pushing his brain day and night.
Nupur called and asked Aditya, “How is Rohit bhaiya? Dad has told me everything.” He said, “He is well now.” She suggested, “You can still come and take the remaining papers. There are still 2 days for next paper. It’s about your career.” He replied, “I won’t be able to… the man who got me admitted in engineering college got his own life un-engineered lying on bed.” She said, “I understand Aditya, what about your parents, do they agree for marriage now?” He briefed her about voodoo he had seen with a note not to share with anybody else. She got afraid and said,”Oh my God Aditya, this is too dangerous, I’ve heard in some voodoo they have cult to sacrifice young lads to their deity. Please ask your uncle to get that witch in his grip.”
While on the way to hospital Aditya stopped in a kiosk to smoke. He had seen Nandu playing cricket in the park. Nandu was 7 years old son of Bhola. He inculcated, “Bhola is the person who introduced these siblings to Mom.” He started conversation with Nandu, “Hey Nandu, How are you? See, I have new mobile set. It has camera also.” Nandu came happily and asked, “Show me Aditya bhaiya. You know Aditya bhaiya, my mom always says that I’ve to study hard and be an engineer like you.” Aditya smiled, clicked him and showed his photograph in handset.
Dr. Nitin had permitted family to meet Rohit and told, “He is well and will be discharged in few days.” Aditya, Rohit and their parents were all tears. Sushila said, “You don’t know, you both are my life.”
The next day Aditya directly went to Bhola, on the way he had seen Nandu playing cricket in the park. Bhola was pining with other shop keepers as usual. He called Bhola aside and told him that Maya had abducted Nandu to perform some voodoo. Bhola got aggressive and said, “What rubbish are you talking about Aditya? It’s not at all possible; she knows Nandu is my son.” Aditya reverted, “Wait a moment, Bhola. I’ll show you proof.” He had showed him Nandu’s photograph with Maya in his cell phone. Bhola fumed and started shouting, “Bitch, she has crossed her limits now. I will make her forget all the crap voodoo. I’ll see Uma Seth. He has done it all.” Aditya asked, “Uma uncle?” Bhola pushed him and said, “Let me go to save my kid” Aditya caught him and said, “Don’t worry, he is safe. Rakesh would be coming here with him. You tell me everything in detail.”
Beauty, Brain and Business: A deadly combination
Bhola narrated, “I’m sorry, I had told Uma seth that Rohit bhaiya seems to be attracted to Maya. Maya and Manohar are not siblings rather a married couple. They used to come to Uma seth for their desire to have wealth and luxurious life. Uma seth was jealous with Rohit’s outstanding growth in business. He always used to say that he was the number 1 player in the market before Rohit joined. This was true; his business kept derailing since “Gahna Jewelers” inaugurated. He had suggested them to perform voodoo every Amavasya in a house which has more than 20 years old basil tree. Then he himself told that there is only one house in Pillory, yours. Maya being a greedy lady was enjoying Rohit’s costly gifts and Manohar used to sell them in city. They were happy with whatever they were getting. It was Uma seth who asked Maya to force Rohit to carry all the jewelry with him while eloping and suggested Manohar to catch them red handed in the mid way, snatch all the jewelry, thrash him badly till he gets unconscious. Uma seth never wanted to get Rohit killed, because in that case it may trigger police investigation. Moreover he was confident that Rama seth would never allow Rohit bhaiya to marry Maya but when he had seen you all talking about possibilities of their marriage, he got worried and told you about voodoo with an intention to mislead. He knew Sushila ji trust him a lot and will do whatever he said.” Rakesh was coming with Nandu sitting in the carrier of his bicycle.
Aditya asked, “How many Amavasya, Uma uncle asked her to perform voodoo?”
Bhola replied, “Every Amavasya till her desire satiates. And he knew the desire of getting wealthy never satiates.” Bhola said with cracking voice, “I’m afraid, Uma seth will oust me.” Aditya convinced, “Don’t you realize I’ve rescued your son? Believe me nobody will ever come to know about this conversation. So far as your job is concerned, ‘Gahna Jewelers’ always has a vacancy for you.”
When Aditya told this to his family, they all were shocked, Rohit asked, “Had Maya really abducted Nandu? How did you get a snap of both together?” Aditya said with a wining smile, “You have got an engineer in your home, bhaiya. I have taken snaps of both separately and Nupur has a command in Photoshop. That was enough for Bhola. I know bhaiya you still won’t be able to believe; I am waiting for Amavasya to show you the drama.” Rohit was confused and was feeling jilted.
Aditya asked his family not to share this with anybody till Amavasya.
The much awaited night had come and everybody was shocked by weird activities of Maya and Manohar. Aditya had already informed police and they had detained both Maya and Manohar. Rohit slapped Maya and shouted, “You had played with my feelings.” After rigorous interrogation, police had detained Uma Nath also the next day. The entire day Pillory had only one topic to discuss. Well-wishers had visited Rohit at home.
This was a fine evening, Rama Nath was going to temple, Rohit was watching TV lying on his bed and Sushila was happily thinking about Suman. Rakesh and Bhola were entertaining customers in Gahna Jewelers. Aditya was talking over phone outside the shop. While narrating Nupur how he decoded the conspiracy he said, “The story was curled like your curly hair.” She blushed and replied, “I got them straightened, will show you once you return.” She asked, “His motive was to trap Rohit bhaiya and for that temptress Maya was enough. Why he asked Maya to perform voodoo?” Aditya replied, “Maya was mere a pawn in this game. He never told Maya about his hidden motives. Maya kept assuming that it was all for her desire to be wealthy and Rohit bhaiya was getting attracted to her due to effect of her voodoo. He knew that Maya is superstitious and he can make her stay in our home as long as he wishes. People have a tendency to utilize skills they are good at, for fulfilling their purpose; this could be other strong reason. The same way I also asked you to utilize software for decoying Bhola.” She interrogated, “Tell me one more thing; was she really irresistible beauty?” He replied, “Getting attracted to some one is a state of mind.” And the conversation continued.
- Amit Roop