“My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I'm going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.”
- Audre Lorde
Rohan Batra was among the most looked upon fashion consultants in the city, born in a middle class family, he was the golden boy of Bombay’s emerging off contemporary fashion taste and had made his way right from the bottom. Owner of several stylist firms, he was also a painter, a social speaker, a close associate of various NGO’s as well as celeb designers. After dating a series of high profile names, Married to an ex Femina runner up, he had a beautiful cute little daughter. Even after a visibly transparent public life, he had his own set of secrets that he shared with none. Very few knew about his high sexual drive and his secret therapies for it that took place in Italy, whenever he went there for some show.
It had been a hectic day at work, a high profile life in a place like Bombay, had its own set of toll taking lows and as usual he decided to take a stop before driving home at Belches’ the high profile restaurant and Bar on the other side of town.
“1 Large peg, Antiquity, John”
“There you go sir” The barman replied promptly.
He gulped it at once, and then a few more, by the time he had realized it, he was drunk.
He was eyeing his way into the crowd when his view stuck at the girl right across his chair.
“Excuse me”. He waved a finger to the waitress.
She walked to him, swiftly and with composure, belled by practice.
“Yes sir… What can I get you?” Devika said, in her husky voice.
“I am feeling alone, have a drink with me” he smiled, drunk.
“My shift is on sir, I have work” she smiled, in a manner that was easy enough to encourage someone as drunk as him.
He held her by her hand. “John, Call the manager, say RB Sir is asking for a favor”
The barman smiled and nodded.
They were in his car. He was driving her back home. “You are a very strange girl you know….”
“My Name is Devika Sir”
“Don’t call me sir… call me by my name”
“I am afraid; I don’t know your name”
“Don’t tell me! I thought, you agreed for the drinks and the drive with me, because you had recognized me” he giggled “and please don’t lie”
“I agreed because you said you were alone and I know what loneliness is” she said in a very sad tone, staring at the windscreen. He glanced from the driving wheel to look in her eyes, he knew, she was not lying.
They were at her place, frantically taking off each other’s clothes. She was like a fire on bed, tempting, asking for so less and giving so much more. They made love like two hungry souls on a feast over each other’s body. It was strange, she left him bewildered and confused, their lust lasted till dawn. It was exhausting and refreshing at the same time.
He woke up with the thought, either she is very stupid or very sultry. She sat on the chair, waiting for him to wake up. Their eyes met, she smiled and kissed him good morning. Baffled by her whole composure, He decided to make the first practical move; He took a few five hundred rupee notes and kept them on the bedside, and walked to the washroom. She watched him with a smile as he did that. Ok done. She is just another slut, he concluded. He came out, dressed. Their eyes met, he failed to read her mind, and she was calm and expressionless but there was still a composed smile on her lips. They kissed and he left. Half way to his workplace while driving, he noticed a pile of five hundred rupee notes on the dashboard and a small piece of paper that read “I am not for sale, and I still don’t know your name, but I did had a great time with you, Thanks”
The day at office was dull; Rahul could just not set his mind on work. The family dinner at a relative’s wedding was even more boring. That night he made love with his wife and after she had slipped, he decided to take a small walk in the lobby. He felt detached to the things around him, he thought, what he had just done with his wife, was carnal and mechanic, just like it had always been and what happened between him and Devika, the other night, was no less than divinity. It was sensual and the whole mystery around that girl, made it all the more interesting.
It another stuffed day at work. He decided to leave office early again. He made way to Belches’ again. He enquired about her while catching a few drinks, and was told that she was there for the weekend job only. He tried to get her number but all efforts went in vain and he could not get one. He left for home, his wife opened the door and looked stunningly beautiful, he kissed her on door, and they rubbed past against hallway walls to the bed room and had a highly warm love making session. He woke up in the middle of the night, and his head was paining. He saw his wife sleeping right next, he was taken aback, It’s not Devika, and I had been imagining her to be, whole of the night, he thought to himself, with a sadistic smile on his face. “I need to get that bitch again” he whispered and went on to make love with her wife, 2 more times, that same night, carrying the same fantasy in mind.
“Report” she said.
Detective Chaddha cleared his throat and began “Salman is currently in Nasik, traveling with his family for a holiday. He is due to leave country to work for some Arab private airline provider for the 6 months to follow from the next one.”
“Is that it?”
She tossed a few hundred rupee notes and left.
“Keep the leaks coming” he heard her say as her enigma disappeared in the stairway.
She was working as a helper backstage for the event where a lifestyle channel was organizing a talent hunt reality show to search for next top model. She noticed that among the judges, one of them was a familiar face when Rahul Batra was introduced in the huge roar of fans and followers. She was told by event volunteer to fix some Mic issue at the judge desk and pass the wireless mic from backstage to that point. She did as said. Their eyes met. He passed a smile, and she did not replied back with the same gesture. The show shoot started and Rahul found it hard to concentrate. He was experiencing extreme set of emotions, at first he was surprised by the sudden happiness he felt after seeing her, then he was hurt a lot by noticing that she might have not recognized her. He was thinking numerous possibilities all at once. The shoot lasted an hour and he walked backstage and found her collecting pay check to leave.
“Hi, Remember me?” he said, with a wide smile.
“Sorry?” she whispered and looked at him with a glance.
“We met last weekend, that night, at Belches’”
“I meet people very often due to changing workplaces; it’s hard to remember them all”
He said and walked past him. He felt as if he had been slapped and stood there for a few minutes, like a fool.
She was walking back to her place, when Rahul’s car cornered her. The window came down and he asked her, if she wanted a lift back to her place. She said no thanks, and kept walking. His car zoomed, past her “The fuckin Bitch, What does he thinks of herself, I am Rahul Batra, I date super models, Who the fuck does she think she is” He yelled at her, in his car alone. His phone rang “Sir, I am Taneja, speaking from the event firm, I have got hold on the number of that girl… Its…. Hello?? Sir?? Do you want it??”
“Yes I very well want it” he heard himself say.
“Hi Devika, This is Rahul. I was wondering if I can buy you dinner tonight, in case you are free”. He was calling for the fifth successive night. At first night, he had introduced himself again, and made her remember their first meeting. She had recalled it but to his shock, he had received a very dry response to that too. Since then, it had been a one sided effort to built friendship. “I am sorry Rahul, I will be eating at the workplace, shall be working till late tonight again” she said and kept the phone down.
There is something so addictive about rejection, people who are so used to acceptance, find it like an aphrodisiac, to prove the person rejecting him that they deserve her attention somehow or the other. She knew, that her rudeness, rejection and not-falling-in-his-arms-easily have left him baffled, confused and irritated. He was on a mission to win her and she knew that she has to plan her moves carefully, to cash on this momentum of need that had built around him, in the chain of events.
Her door bell ring. Dr. Tarun was standing with flowers in his hand.
“These are for you. Ready for dinner?”
“Yes I am.”