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Exploring the dark side of love; Vinaya wins a Rs.300 gift voucher from our sponsor, Zaarga for her entry to our Love Story writing theme.
Vinaya Bhagat, in her own words: An IT Professional and a mother of an over active toddler. The hectic pace of work and family commitments leaves very little time for leisure. Writing is an old passion and I make most of the little time I get to lose myself in the lives of imaginary characters.
The old couple begs her. They are writhing on the floor as if possessed by unseen demons.
Once again they beg her for the pitcher of water she is holding. She cannot bear to see the sight of her aunt and uncle thrashing around in agony. She wants to go to them, give them the life saving water, but something is holding her back; someone with a tight grip on her heart.
Rajjo wakes up drenched in sweat, in a mass of tangled sheets and blankets. The water pitcher is on the table at its usual place. The burnished copper of the pitcher glows in the dawn sunlight shimmering through the window. Her mouth is dry, her tongue a lethargic mass sticking to the roof of her mouth with her glutinous saliva. Thirst is burning her throat, yet she cannot bring herself to touch the water pitcher.
The house is slumbering. Ghostly gray shadows are everywhere, like wild animals lying in wait of a prey. She runs into the kitchen and hurriedly switches on the light, banishing the shadows outside the pool of harsh yellow light that floods around her. She lets the tap run as she washes the glass again and again trying to rid it of invisible traces of poison. She gulps down two glasses of water and then busies herself with breakfast preparations. Today is the day of the karela juice. Its bitter taste was the cover Jeevan has asked her to seek.
“They will never know the difference.” Jeevan had said last night caressing the bare skin below her blouse. “Then once it is over, once they are gone, all this will be ours”, he had said pointing to the big house with cars and cupboards full of money and jewelry she has seen with her own eyes.
“We will load the car with whatever we want and then fly away like free birds. No one will ever find us.”
“Can’t we just take what we want when they go out?” she had beseeched him.
“And have them inform the Police and throw us in jail?” No, he had been very persuasive. He had convinced her that unless her aunt and nncle died there was no hope for them. For their love to survive the old couple had to die.
He had promised her a prosperous life filled with love in the big city. In the darkness of the night those promises had seduced her like the glowing lights of the big city. But now those promises seem cheap and tawdry, like the yellow and green plastic bottle in the loft with the poison he has asked her to add to the karela juice. She climbs on a stool and gets down the bottle. It is heavier than she remembers from last night. She must finish before her aunt and uncle wake up. But instead of going to the dining table where the breakfast is all laid out, she heads in the opposite direction out of the kitchen door to the backyard. She pours the contents of the bottle down the toilet and hurriedly rinses it before throwing it over the boundary wall on the rubbish heap behind the house. She washes her hands again and again but she is still unsure whether they are clean.
“What is the matter Rajjo rani?” Her uncle wants to know when he comes into the kitchen and sees her standing near the table staring into space.
“I think the karela is very bitter today”, she says.
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*Photo credit: .zaim.
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Well written story. Highlights nicely the attempts of how men use strings of relationships to tug at emotional chords within the women in their control. It is these emotions that make puppets out of women, mostly, yet I am glad that the protagonist’s reason, here, got the better of her emotions eventually.
“Jeevan tried to persuade Rajjo while caressing the skin beneath her blouse” – Very well depicted. Afterall, all the sensitivity of a woman lies at different levels beneath her blouse; getting more sensitive, the deeper you go.
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