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“Why don’t you tell her that we are not living together, that you have ruined my life, that I cannot be your wife?” demanded Maya. “Fine this time, I will,” said Rohan.
The flight landed at Dabolim Airport! A paradise on earth, Goa is a tiny emerald on the west coast of India, place of sandy beaches & parties, lush greenery, sparkling waterfalls, and the calm countryside is the face of Goa. It has the beauty of the crystal clear water on the beautiful canvas of Mother Nature, being a former Portuguese’s colony, the culture in Goa is considered more liberal as compared to the other parts of the country.
Two years ago, Rohan and Maya’s marriage was fixed by their family – Maya’s sister was married into the same family. As the marriage was fixed within the family, Maya was not insecure of her future; she was confident enough that Rohan would take care of her. The love she had been searching for years will be showered on her by Rohan.
Maya had always looked forward to having a loving and loyal husband who would shower her with love. When the family met Rohan for the first time, they felt he was good looking, smart, suave and cultured, and they were also impressed that he ran a restaurant in Goa.
But once they were in Goa, she realised that he was leading a different life, and was aggressive, arrogant, impulsive & intolerant in nature. This troubled Maya, was soft spoken, beautiful, kind hearted and she was loved by everyone who knew her. She sensed that she was not his choice, and had married her under family pressure.
One day, finally Maya confronted him. Why had he married her when he had a girlfriend? She was stunned by his answers.
“Maya, wives are for the house, they take care of the family. But girlfriends are for enjoyment, they cannot be compared with by a wife. My parents wanted you as their daughter in law. I obeyed by marrying you, but you are not my choice. In fact I never wanted to get married. I want a free life. I want to spend my life without any disturbance. I am happy in the company of my friends. You had better keep away from me, and most importantly don’t dare to disturb my life. I have given you a house, you can take as much money as you want, but keep your mouth shut, and live your own life. You can take whatever you want, but don’t expect me & my time.”
Rohan sat by the window to light a cigarette, and dialled a call to Disha. The rate was fixed – Rs1000 per hour. Disha was tall, attractive, with a curvy figure. She was punctual, and she knew her job very well. How to attract customers, where to take them & if a customer is not ready to pay her, then she knows how to & what to do with him.
One day Maya met Kabir. Maya was on a walk in her neighborhood park, when he introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Kabir. I’ve recently shifted to Goa. I am a painter. And you?”
“I’m a homemaker.” There was a silence for few seconds. “Would you like to have a coffee?” he asked. “Some other time…”
After a few days, when Maya was crossing a street, the name plate on a house attracted her attention: KABIR. On an impulse, she opened the main gate and entered the courtyard. A dim light was on inside. She rang the bell.
“Who is this?”
Kabir opened the door and offered her a seat. The room was full of colours, canvases and paint brush. She could smell the paints.
“Please be seated…”
Maya was engrossed in the paintings made by Kabir… she was trying to figure out what he had painted. She can felt as if the paintings were ready to speak to her. She turned towards Kabir. “Fabulous work!”
Kabir smiled. “Please make yourself comfortable. Coffee?” “Yes.”
Kabir sensed that Maya was under some strong emotion, and that she was not all that she was pretending to be on the outside. Her face, eyes, and body language conveyed different things.
There was silence for few seconds in the room, both seemingly engrossed in the cup of coffee. Kabir was searching for words to speak, and Maya was looking at the paintings.
“Are these paintings for sale? Or you paint on order?”
“Do you want to buy? Or you want me to paint you?”
“I would love to buy one.”
Maya pointed towards one of the paintings. The painting was in deep red colour, depicting the desire of a woman.
“Red is the color of blood, roses, and hot chillis. It’s a very passionate color. Red can mean anger or desire,” said Kabir. He was quiet for a few seconds, and then asked, “What is your desire?”
“I just liked the color, the brightness. It is striking; it has a power to attract you. In fact, all the paintings are bright, colourful & full of life!” remarked Maya.
As they spoke, both Kabir and Maya were conscious of an unknown thing between them, a desire that pulled them to each other. Suddenly, Maya got up.
“It’s getting late, I have to go…”
“When we will be meeting again? For the painting, that you wanted to buy?”
“I’ll visit again…”
Rohan’s restaurant had always done a brisk business…there was never a dull moment in business, as Goa never experienced an off season. He was always strict with his employees. He was hot headed, and never compromised on his work. His manager was always on his toes.
One day, when Rohan reached office, he saw his manager having a heated argument with one of the chefs. On enquiring, it was found that the chef was not preparing the dishes according to the recipes provided to him. There were complaints from the customers that the dishes were not upto the mark. The manager told Rohan that two customers had refused to pay, as they had not got what they had expected.
Furious, Rohan immediately fired the chef, with a warning to the manager, who was expected to pay the bills of the customers who had not paid, as he was the one who had not reported the matter immediately. Why had he not taken action against the chef, and why had he waited for so many days?
Maya & Rohan were living under one roof, but the house was divided in two parts, each living in a different part, not interested in what was going on in the other’s life. Whenever Rohan or Maya’s family visited, they behaved like a couple and shared the bedroom.
“Ma wants us to join for Diwali,” said Rohan. “Why don’t you tell her that we are not living together, that you have ruined my life, that I cannot be your wife?” demanded Maya.
“Fine this time, I will,” said Rohan. “But tell me one thing, it’s been two years, why didn’t you inform your family or sister about me or my behavior towards you? Why didn’t you inform them that we are not living as couple? What has stopped you??” he shouted, as he left the room in anger & slammed the door.
Maya was in tears. She did not want to hurt her family, nor did she want to ruin the life of her sister. Her father was diabetic & on medication. She desperately wanted to come out of this mess, but unable to find a way. She knew that her sister will not spare Rohan; she has raised her, has treated like her own daughter. She always wanted that Maya should marry within her family, so that she could be near her.
Diwali was celebrated with full enthusiasm, as both families’ members got together. Maya & Rohan were pretending to be the hot couple. No one could sense what was going on in their life. Everyone was talking about the fact that it was two years for their marriage. “When will we get to see our grandchild?” asked her in-laws.
No one in the family knew that Maya was still a virgin, and that she would never be a mother of Rohan’s child. She wanted to come out with it, but held back due to the love that they showed her, and she did not want to hurt them.
After dinner, Maya went to her room. For the past few days she had been thinking about Kabir, his paintings, and his passion towards his work. She wanted to speak to him. Shall I call him? She was in double mind.
“What brought you to Goa?” Maya asked Kabir as they sat sipping coffee in a cafe, meeting after a long time.
“I was always fascinated by the beauty of Goa,” replied Kabir. “Many times I have visited, sometimes for work, and sometimes for a vacation. Goa is always on my mind. When I decided to take painting as my full time profession, I was clear it had to be Goa. You tell me, how did you come here? How do you like the place? For how many years have you been here? Tell me something about yourself, as we hardly know each other.”
“I am married to Rohan. We are both living a separate life… I am not supposed to disturb his life. He is running a restaurant, and I am a wedded maid of his house. I have hardly explored the place…”
Kabir was reading her expression. He saw the tears in her eyes, which she hid gracefully. He interrupted, “Would you like to explore with me?”
“Some other time.”
“You wanted to buy a painting?”
“Yup, tell me what will be the cost…?”
“I’ll let you know, when we will meet again.” Maya and Kabir often spoke on the phone after that meeting. Kabir wanted to meet her, but she always avoided it.
Disha was always on the list of guests in parties hosted by Rohan. Today, the music was on full volume, drinks were flowing, and all were in full masti, dancing, singing…
Maya was in another room. She never attended these parties; in fact Rohan did not want her to attend. It was almost midnight and she was trying to sleep, but was unable to, because of the loud noise. She dialled Rohan’s phone, that he should lower the volume of the noise, or the neighbours will call the police, but he did not pick up. The party continued till the wee hours, still in full blast.
Early morning, Maya was in an uneasy sleep, when she was woken by the sound of police sirens. She got out of bed and rushed to the hall where the party was being held. She saw that the entire area was sealed, and police was not allowing any one to enter the area. Neighbours were gathered outside the house.
At around 2:00 am, Maya’s sleep was disturbed by voices coming from the drawing room. She got up and went there, where Rohan, Disha & his manager were arguing with each other. Maya was unable to hear the words, but she was sure that the argument was regarding money. From her hiding place behind the door, she saw a man entering from the side of the drawing room. It was the chef who had been fired just the day before.
Rohan was furious on seeing the man. The chef was carrying a kitchen knife. The manager and Disha fled the scene after seeing the chef with the kitchen knife. Rohan tried to protect himself. He he tried to run, but he did not have a chance to do. There was a short scuffle, and then suddenly Rohan fell to the ground. He was stabbed by the chef. He left, leaving the knife behind. She saw that Rohan was in severe pain, blood oozing out from the thigh were the knife was.
Maya rushed towards him. At first, she thought of calling an ambulance, but changed her mind. She put on the kitchen gloves, pulled out the knife, and stabbed Rohan in his abdomen & chest.
She then messaged Kabir, her desire.
Image source: Flickr, for representational purposes only.