Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams

 

Sarahah handle: Priya1980.Sarahah.com

 

“Priya, my Priya you are a wonderful writer. I am yet to find someone who writes better erotica than you. The way you write about sexuality, orgasm, nudity I don’t think anyone else can do it. Many times, I am really turned on by your words, they make me hungry for more. I hope you continue to write such thoughts and drench my thirst for your words. Sometimes I feel like spending some alone time with you where we both read your most erotic poems. I want to make love with you while at it. So that you can write poems on it. I want us to have an orgasm together. I want you to have an orgasm which you find difficult to describe. I am your huge admirer. I hope you don’t feel bad about this message.”

 

***

I have just alighted from the local. I am heading towards 12th Khetwadi Road as I have taken up a job in a shop who are dealers in Stainless Steel material. Though I hated this job of making vouchers, handling cash and listening to smutty comments of the owner, but then again it is his shop and he has full right on what he wants from his employee. Though he is younger to me, he cared least on how I felt about his deportments. He provides me two cups of tea, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon so that I don’t get sleepy. At one in the afternoon, he provides me fifteen minutes break for lunch. He has a small in house washroom and is quite proud that none in that area enjoyed this privilege. But the fact is otherwise. It never had water. Goddamnit! And last but not the least a four figure salary in the month end.

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It is summer and in Mumbai summers are hot and humid. But I am born different. The tropical climate fuels up my passion, rendering my internal blaze into an overdrive. Ah, summer you are a subtle song, a lullaby to me and I don’t care of the clamors of rock and roll. May be that’s the reason I had purchased an expensive mobile. May be that’s the reason I have made over thousand friends on Facebook. May be that’s the reason I have started chatting with strangers, sometimes as their sister, sometimes as their friend, sometimes as their…. I don’t know.  May be for that I don’t know reason I have installed the application Sarahah where one can send messages anonymously on my phone.

 

I suddenly get excited thinking how I cheat the shop owner by being on all these applications for quite a few hours every day. And why not? What does he pay me? Peanuts. And what about the entire day when I sit shutting my bladder, holding my urine? I don’t care. Bonk to your CCTV cameras. You keep selling your stuff, I will keep selling my stuff. I want to be a writer. I want to be famous. I want stardom and I will do it come whatever may.

 

I was about to press the lift button when my phone beeped. There is a message in Sarahah. I enter the lift. The networks in my mobile get immobile and I reach the destination. The lift opens its jaws and the network get restored on my mobile again. Hmm! Now I can check my messages.

 

“What time you gotted down the train?” my illiterate but be claims to be an MBA boss Kanu Mehta asks me.

 

Gotted, ho hum, idiot!

 

“But I am on time. I am even early by five minutes”, I reply. I was unaware I was huffing puffing holding my dupatta in my hands rather than wearing it.

 

With eyes feasting on my breasts he says, “Okay, you will has a busy din today.”

 

Busy din, rum and jinn, fool!

Will has, you an ass, oh how cool!

 

Poems just pour out from me. In that way my talent and speed can take an upper hand anywhere.

 

I climb up the mezzanine floor, reach my cabin, I hung the dupatta on the camera and settle down on my half broken chair. Now that I am not wearing a dupatta I know he can’t say anything at this moment. But I am loyal. I will remove and wear it once I finish checking my messages. As usual the AC has not been fixed and I feel like those cakes getting baked in an oven.

 

With that I login to Sarahah and I read that vulgar message. It took me couple of minutes to decrypt the message. What will I call it, praise or disgrace? I want to be a writer and this is what I have started getting almost every day on my app. I posted the text on Facebook. There is an uproar to take down the message except for one veteran writer who writes to me that it is my wall and I can paste whatever I like. I thought for a while. While he is a doyen, I am a newbie and I want to be a writer. This text might backfire. I took it down. I took down the dupatta as well. I have to cover my dignity.

 

I take a sip of my tea.

 

“Kanubhai its not tea, its coffee”

 

“Today tea wala aspent, you drink this, I have gotted it from far specially for you.”

 

Especially for me? I am dumbstruck. He is never that kind on me, I recall the dirty washroom. I recall my overtimes. He never pays me for them.

 

So is he the culprit? Nah! Can’t be, this man cannot speak a sentence properly let alone type out one thirty eight words. But I also cannot rule out the option of taking help of someone and send me this text. No he is not that cheap. He is happy with small things, like watching me through the CCTV camera and sometimes watching nudes on his tab. Duh! And I call him not cheap. Well we walk on different paths so let me not think of him. I need to start my work.

 

“Thanks Kanubhai, the coffee is good.”

 

“I told you na, he makes the goodest coffee.”

 

We have intercoms which we hardly use. We scream and talk. Sometimes he does use the intercom but his voice is louder. I have told that to him several times, but he says I am the louder one.

 

All of a sudden I recall the lewd messages that I have started getting on Sarahah almost every day.  Kanubhai’s ogling and those nudes on his phone. I feel swamped. I don’t feel like working anymore. May be it’s just my premenstrual phase that I start getting these stabs of depression.

 

I let out a sigh and take down my dupatta.

 

***

I was neck deep in work when my phone beeped. It’s already noon. It is from my brother Arko. He is enquiring me if I had my lunch. I replied “Shortly.”

 

Arko is elder to me by five years. He worshipped me. He is been the only one in my house persuading me to leave my job and start a small business instead. He always cared about my health more than my parents did. While he is fair, I have a skin tone modest in melanin content. He has brown eyes and mine is plain black. He stays fit and I do not even bother about my chest and waist line. May be I am even on the heavier side, who knows, who cares? But when I go to a lingerie shop, almost every time I wear and confirm the number of my brassieres and panties before purchasing them. My weight fluctuates and I blame my thyroid problem behind it. Arko doesn’t have any medical problem except that he smoked a lot, no he didn’t drink but had one negative trait. He couldn’t hold any job more than a year. He blamed his bosses of ill-treating him. I am sure that is the reason he always asked me to leave my job and us starting a business, but I never listened. I had doubts he would close down the business within a year. He had a temper problem and in business one needs to keep the head cool. I had heard from Ma, as a little boy he suffered from ADHD but he got cured. I have my doubts though.

 

My father is a pensioner, mother a housewife, Arko has no steady income and I who worked for thirteen hours a day and brought home a four figure salary every month. Arko is an engineer and I am a commerce graduate. While Arko has in him all the good traits there was nothing extraordinary with me.  But there was one thing I was proud of – it was my hair. Thick and velvety my curls would adorn like a storm – whipped ocean. At home I left them loose but at work Arko insisted I tie them and also wear a headscarf and I would laugh loudly and tell him, “Are you going to do this even after your marriage? You will make our bhabhi jealous.” We both have reached our marriageable age. My parents were of the opinion to get me married before Arko. And the search for the groom was on. I wondered how would they manage the household without me, and marriage expenses – what about that? Next comes, dowry and I am sure my father will spend his entire provident fund money on my marriage.

 

Today is Thursday and a family is scheduled to come and see me this Sunday. My parents asked me not to make any plans and Arko said he would wash my tresses. He has even purchased a Dove Shampoo with conditioner. Sometimes I thought, how will I live without this brother of mine? I always prayed he settles down in life and get a good partner for him. Given to his good looks I had tried to probe if he had anyone in his life and he would smile and say a “Yes”. “Who is she?  Bring her home,” I would yell and he would quickly cover my mouth with his palm lest my parents hear us.

 

I was lost in thoughts and was having my lunch when I opened Facebook. A new friend request – Agni. What a weird name but I don’t have any reservations on woman. I quickly accepted her request. The messenger beeped.

 

“Hi”

 

“I am at work, will chat later.” I shut my net.

 

***

It was four in the afternoon and I was sipping my coffee. I was contemplating about my writing career. I have been writing blogs, poems for various magazines who never paid me. I want to write a book now, enough of these blogs and essays. Will my husband allow me to write and publish my book? Back at home my parents were unaware of this hobby though as a child I brought home several awards when it came to a writing or story telling competition. I always topped the list. The only person who knew about my passion was Arko and he had discarded it with a wave of his hand.

 

“No one will read you.”

 

“Why, won’t you read me?”

 

“The day you get out of this mirage, I will read you.”

 

Full Stop.

 

“Priya, bouchers are leaving, also come down, some work.”

 

Bouchers are leaving, crows are singing, idiot! Must have seen me sipping coffee leisurely through that goddamn camera.

 

Why he has to speak in English when he can’t? I can make out what he meant but what about the next girl who will replace me after my marriage. This time I genuinely prayed I get married and get rid of this Kanubhai.

 

It was eight in the evening when I left office. Though I was supposed to leave at six, “bouchers are leaving” kept me occupied. Kanubhai loved these dirty tricks. He could have given this work in the morning itself but instead he chose five in the evening.

 

I boarded the local from Charni Road station. That new connect has sent me a video. Today being a valentine’s day may be she has sent me a lovely card.

 

I almost collapsed. It’s a faceless man masturbating whispering my name “Priya, Priya, Priya take it in you”. I quickly looked around. No, no one has seen it, I guess.

 

It was ten in the night when I reached home. I think I was having a break down that night. While Ma pressed me to have dinner I refused. Late in the night Arko came with a bowl full of freshly chopped watermelons and fed me. I cried to him and told about the incident. He was shocked and looked concerned.

 

“Dada, what shall I do? Shall I deactivate all my applications?”

 

“That won’t serve the purpose. Ma and baba will get you a groom soon. And then the recruiters – or do you want to stick to that Kanubhai?”

 

“But they can always speak to me on my cell. No dada I am deactivating all these applications.”

 

“As you wish.”

 

He fed me those melons, patted me. I held his hands telling stories of Kanubhai, my train friends, that I need a new pair of shoes. I was surprised when he said he had a girlfriend.

 

“Dada, are you serious?”

 

He smiled and left.

 

That night I again prayed Arko gets a stable job and marries his girlfriend. After all he will be alone once I get married off. Ma will have no one to help her in her kitchen chores. Bhabi can be Ma’s friend and confidante just the same way I am with my mother.

 

Those tawdry messages kept coming and then on Friday late in the evening I uninstalled all the applications. I felt cheated that I could no longer see the virtual world. But these messages were impacting my mental health in a negative way. I was unable to write that book, my dream book which Arko had said no one will read. I will prove him wrong.

 

***

Sunday

 

Ma gave me her Peacock Blue Kanchivaram Sari which lay neatly folded in her wardrobe. I had taken an off on Saturday and had groomed myself. I knew I was dusky but I have a face which can light up the darkness around. The salon girls have done Arabic Mehandi in my hands. I got my tresses washed at the salon which threw Arko in a frenzy. But I knew to blackmail him. The moment I said I will spill the beans about his girlfriend he left the room.

 

The family – the parents and the son reached at eleven. They had brought sweets and flowers for us. Soon both the families were chatting. Me and the prospective groom, Ashok were sent to the other room to know each other. I was too shy to speak but one look at him I could feel the beauty a man can bewitch. Not for his features yet by the gleam in his eyes and tender warmth of his soul. He did not grill me with questions except if I liked him. He didn’t wait for the answer. He was the eldest in his house, worked near Charni Road which is very close to my workplace and had two sister younger to him. One is in college and the youngest one still in school. He also mentioned he earned a five figure salary and unlike Arko he is working in his firm for the last eleven years. His promotion is also due. He requested me not to leave my job as according to him all women needs to be independent. When I said I want to be writer he was extremely happy. He asked me if I had authored any book and I showed him my blog posts and poems. I also said it’s for the sake of the book I want to quit my job but he gently said that I could still write once I am back from work, on holidays and etcetera.

 

Later Arko joined us and I could see how both Ashok and Arko got close in no time. They discussed cricket, politics, Mumbai. My book was also discussed and I felt a sense of pride when Arko mentioned Ashok about my achievements as a child. “She might choose the book in place of you”, Arko laughed with Ashok joining him. I could feel Ashok angling me and I blushed and left the room.

 

Though our parents requested them to stay back for lunch, they refused.

 

Later in the evening Ashok’s father telephoned us and said Ashok has liked me. They did not have any dowry demands except that I shouldn’t be quitting the job and should share a part of my salary to run the big household.

 

My parents were extremely happy. They phoned up all our relatives and Ma came with a Puja ka Thali in her hands and applied kumkum on my forehead. Baba started calculating the expenses and I texted to Kanubhai about this progress. Kanubhai called me up to ensure that I work post my marriage and I had happily said a “Yes”. Something in me said he is a harmless man and he is not the one who would send me such pornographic messages.

 

I re installed all the apps on my phone – when I realized something.

 

There were only four people with whom I had confined that I wrote blogs, poems and also wanted to be a writer – Ma, Baba, Arko and Ashok. All are ruled out. Then who? That leaves me with Kanubhai. But he is unaware of my hobby. He couldn’t even write a sentence properly. And these porn messages, they were from a young man. Kanubhai is a young man. Is it him? I need to keep a check on him from now on.

 

***

I was at work when I received a call from my mother asking me to come home immediately.

 

“Ma, all well?”

 

“Bloody witch come home NOW”, she thundered.

 

Taking a half day leave from Kanubhai was like seizing away a portion of his wealth. But this time he didn’t say anything.

 

Upon reaching home the first thing my mother did was to slap me hard. Baba showered his blows on me. When everyone was satisfied after delivering the blows and abuses with me bleeding baba howled “If you want to show your nude photos you may go and sit at Kamathipura[1]. That is the perfect place for you. No one wants to marry a whore. They have called off the alliance.”

 

Blood and tears smeared my face. My undone hair plastered my forehead with sweat. I cried just like those storms washing the filth away. I rushed for the bathroom. I stopped.

 

Wait! I have heard this noise somewhere. Where? In office – no, at home – no, market – no, train – yes. But why is it coming from our bathroom. There he stood, he has forgotten to bolt the door properly. Pajamas down, fingers like a seesaw murmuring “Priya, Priya, Priya take it in you.”

 

Cautiously I withdrew my steps. I ran inside his room. I was angry, no not really there was a profound sadness behind this anger. Never in my life have I touched his drawers but today I reached out for them. It was unlocked as he saw no danger in a small and vulnerable prey like me. There they lay, photos of me bathing, photos of my breasts, vagina and those filthy poems which he wrote and sent to me. I never knew he owned two mobiles. This one is locked in his secret chamber. I switched it on. I couldn’t believe at what I saw. The last activity was today at ten in the morning. And that made Ashok call off the marriage.

 

I thought of my parents – my poor Ma and Baba. Can they imagine? Should I call them now? What if Ma gets an attack? She already has two blocked arteries, certainly she cannot handle this dirt. And Baba? Can he beat the shit out of him like he did when this debauch was a teen and we would hear complaints from neighbors of him catcalling at young girls?

 

My feet trembled, I called out his name. I am his little sister on whom he doted when I was a child. How have I wronged him? When have I wronged him? Where have I wronged him? I worshipped him rather. I called out his name again before losing my consciousness, my aspiration to be a writer doomed forever. He my brother who once doted on his little sister.

 

 

[1] Red Light area in Mumbai.

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About the Author

Rimli Bhattacharya

Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, an MBA in supply chain management and is engaged with a corporate sector. Her essay in the anthology “Book read more...

103 Posts | 689,040 Views

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