Loving a Dream
I wrote my novel nearly 2 years back That's the time I entered the field of fiction writing. When I wrote the book I contacted my friends for a publisher who would readily publish a new book. Many advised me to contact a publisher in Old Madras. One of my close friends gave me the name of the publisher as Zubeen publisher. I was awestruck about the name because it was not an Indian name, but all the same, I sent an e-mail to the proprietor of the publishing concern. He replied very promptly that he would certainly get my book published but he also mentioned that there would be some charges. He asked me to talk on the telephone with him, later in the day. Accordingly, I rang up the next day in the morning and the phone was attended by a woman with a melodious voice. The voice conveyed that she was young and I conjured up an exciting picture of the woman at the other end. She asked me as to who I was, and I told her I was a writer and I wanted to speak to the chief editor.
She said," yes, yes I know, Mr. Balan will talk to you after a little while. In fact, he will ring you later."
So the name of the editor was Balan. This was the man who owned the company. The girl was waiting to hang up when I told her, "please don’t hang up, I just want to know, are you working in this company?"
She said, " yes, I am working here."
I became a little bold and asked, "would you mind to tell me your name?" She replied, "why should I say no to your knowing my name, I work here and my name is Vasantha."
I did some quick calculation and replied, "What a lovely name and I can tell that your destiny number is 6 and you are a Brahmin girl. I can also see that you have a slightly wheatish complexion but you have very lovely eyes."
She was taken aback by this bit of knowledge and asked, "how do you know all this?". "Well," I replied, " this is called intuition and that is how I have been able to read your mind."
She replied, " you are an interesting man but now the boss is here so you can talk to him." The boss came online and give me the cost of the packages for publications. I opted for the package which was just two steps ahead of the lowest. I didn't want to spend too much money because this was my first book. I was really not clear how many copies would be available but I was keen to get my name into the class of writers and to be appreciated as a man of letters. Balan was the name of the editor and I told him, I would send the payment after he sent me the online payment link. He mentioned it would be a good idea if I could deposit 50% of the money immediately and then send the manuscript to him to examine and assess it. He also told me to be in touch with Vasantha.
I said, "fine, it will be my pleasure." Next Vasantha came online and told me, " Sir I have sent across the link for the payment. Would you like to pay today? " I gave a short laugh on the telephone and told her, " I am happy to do it but wouldn’t it be nice if you come on Skype."
She said, " I don’t mind and I would like to see you also." "Ok, I said I will give you tinkle in the evening." She replied, " I work up to five in the evening and we can talk about the publication of the book at that time." I had a lurking feeling that I wanted to know more about her and at that time though I am 46 years old a devilish plan began germinating in my mind. I had decided that that I would conquer this girl who I had not seen and who had responded to my request without a demur.
In the evening a girl calling herself Vasantha came online and began the conversation with the innocuous words, " How are you?" She further added, " Balan has asked me to talk to you." Somehow I felt some subterfuge was afoot as the girl in a slip of tongue mentioned:" Vasantha is busy but she has told me to talk to you." I let these words of wisdom slip as I didn’t want to alarm her and told her I always knew that Vasantha will not come online and you are someone else. She was surprised, " you haven’t seen me, so how do you know I am not Vasantha."
"That is my superpower, that is why I request you to tell Vasantha this news.and also tell her that she has a very slim waist and she is wearing a saree. It would be my great pleasure to talk to her."
The girl was little flustered and in a short moment she left the video conference and the screen became blank. I went back to my rocking chair and began to smoke my pipe. This is one of the pleasures which I learned from my boss Colonel Grant, the commanding officer of the Army Provost School in Faizabad.
After some time the bell rang again and I opened my computer and saw that this time it was the real Vasantha. I could make out that she was dusky but very attractive with very big eyes.
"I am sorry but how did you know that I was not speaking to you? it was my friend Renuka, who doubled for me."
"Well, I have the superpower, " I said, " I also told her a lot of things about you. "
"Yes, she told me that I had a slim waist and wearing a sari. But by God's grace how do you know this?" I wanted to tell her that what I said was just plain guesswork and my main aim at the moment was to break her defenses and seduce her. I didn't obviously tell her this but I digressed and told her, " I have already emailed the manuscript and when you read it let me know what you think about it. " "Ok," she said, " then we will talk tomorrow."
The next day it was in the evening when I again went on Skype to Vasantha. I asked, "Have you received my manuscript?" She replied," I have received it and I have read, it’s a lovely story and looks like your hero is almost a Superman. My! do such men really exist who can love so many women so many times."
I said." Yes, there are some but don’t be too sure. There are so many other things with you don’t know and let me tell you that your birthday is approaching soon and someone is going to give you a wonderful present."
"How do you know my birthday is coming?" I didn’t tell that I had gone through her profile on Facebook and had gathered that her birthday was approaching. The gift part was just a lot of bluff and I added I know what gift you are going to get and what it's going to be. I told her it would be something very nice and something which she is going to remember all your life.
This was the beginning and Vasantha and I began to talk on the video phone all the time. I gathered I was double her age. I used all my wisdom and knowledge of my 46 years to create an impression on the girl that I knew a lot and I was a man with a different color. One day I told Vasantha. "we have been talking for so many days but now I want to see you in flesh and blood and I am going to come over to Madras."
Have you been to Madras" She asked. " Yes, I replied, "long years back I was posted at Tambaram at the Flying Instructors School." " Well" she laughed, "come, it will be a pleasure to meet you. " I told her she must keep 3 days free because I have to discuss the ending of a novel with her and then I would show her all the sights of the city from the Buhari Hotel on the sea beach at Marina to the Coromandel at Adyar beach and then if time permitted, I could take a for a spin to the holiday resort at Mahabalipuram.
I told her I would be staying at the Madras Gymkhana Club, the oldest club and the last preserve of the Goraji. She replied, "it's OK, I am not a member of the club but I am told that people who go there are classy. Anyway, I want to meet you also. Incidentally, Balan has asked me to accompany him for the meeting." She continued, " after reading the book I am going to add the cover with two women, one man and the Muslim Chief in the background with flames rising up in the sky."
I flew down to the city of Madras. I was visiting the place after nearly 18 years. I had spent quality time at the flying instructor School and I remember that I had a glorious time and was almost on the verge of getting married to a girl called Vijaya. It didn't happen and we drifted apart. I got transferred to the Indian East that is Airbase at Baghdogra known as 20 Wing.
I checked into the Gymkhana Club living rooms which was very carefully decorated with Gothic furniture from the days of the British rule. I had decided I am going to spend 3 good days in the city where a lot of haunting memories remained at the back of my mind. Before going for lunch, I thought I would have a dip in the swimming pool and accordingly, I went down to the Gymkhana pool. After that, I spoke to Balan and he told me that it is better we meet in the evening. "Fine," I said, "we meet today evening and I suggest you have dinner with me and a peg of whiskey as well,"
He told me that he wouldn't be coming alone and Vasantha would also be accompanying him. I replied that it will be a pleasure to meet both of them.
Balan and Vasantha came to the club in the evening in a Honda car. I had not seen then so I had given their description to the watchman and the manager. The doorman escorted both of them to the bar where I was comfortably ensconced. I got up and after shaking hands escorted them to the bar stools. The locals are not supposed to drink and it is only the military personnel who have the privilege of having a drink in the bar. The civilians are supposed to make do with orange juice unless you have a permit. This was because in those days a form of prohibition was enforced in the city. Over sips of Chivas we discussed how the publishing would be done and other mundane matters. All the time my eyes were on Vasantha and there was no doubt that she was very sexy and slim and I found her extremely desirable.
After dinner, Balan suddenly got up and looked at his watch. "Gosh, " he said," it's 8;45 and I have an urgent meeting at 9:15. I have to meet another writer also, so I am leaving. I will leave Vasantha in your care, Sir, but see that she reaches home." Balan had just left and I ordered dessert and Vasantha mentioned, " I will call a taxi and go home."
What’s wrong with me? My mind was riveted on Vasantha and I wondered how I could put my plan into operation. Now, something happened that charged the atmosphere as a heavy thunderstorm broke. Sitting in the dining hall and looking out of the window I could see lightning streak across the sky and thunder boomed and boomed again. At the onset of the storm, most of the other inmates in the hall filtered away. They were eager to get home.
Vasantha looked out of the window and saw the thunderstorm and she murmured, " I think I am going to have a problem getting back home. I don’t think any taxi will a come as the roads will soon get waterlogged and Madras is famous for this." I looked at Vasantha and as innocently as ever said softly, " don’t worry in case you don’t get a cab to go home, you can shack up in the room upstairs."
She did not say anything and I realized that my effort was bearing fruit as at the bar I had carefully pored a little stiffer drink for her. The purport of my words did not gel with her and she just looked far away. Or was it my perception? Could I be wrong?.
The rain continued bearing down on the earth and the lights also dimmed. I looked at Vasantha and said, " You know I have never seen a more beautiful girl than you."
"I am not fair," she answered. " yes but you are not dark and this color is something which all English girls aspire for." I knew that now the drink was having its effect. " OK," I said after the desert, " what are you good at? reading books? Let's play a game to pass away the time and hope the thunderstorm will stop.
" What are we going to play?"
" Word building. You are at an advantage and if you win I will take you to your home rain or storm whatever it may be but if you lose then what I am going to do you will have to agree."
" What is that?"
"In case you lose that I will have the option of carrying you from this table UP the staircase to my room to the first floor."
" OK," she said," you will lose, my English is impeccable."
The game which involved making a word out of the last word of the sentence set the tone for a wonderful evening with the rain beating down on the earth and lightning flashing across the sky. Initially, I was in the lead but very slowly Vasantha began to catch up and I had a feeling that she was going to beat me but then inexplicably she muffed two simple words After 20 minutes with the thunderstorm not abating at all the game closed and I declared myself the winner.
I got up from the table but I had a lurking feeling how could Vasantha muff two simple words. Did she want to lose? I am not sure even today as I got up from my chair and put the wager into effect.
I told her, " you have lost and now I will carry you from this table UP to my room." The atmosphere in the room was charged with electricity in the air and then the lights went out and only one small light the emergency light came on There were only about 3/4 waters left and they stood at the corner of the hall. They had been watching the game with interest and they knew that I had won.
I lifted Vasantha in my arms and with the first step began to walk towards the staircase. I was surprised at the reaction of the four waiters you suddenly began to clap. I have not understood why they clapped but now I know that when Dr. Watson used to hear the words," Watson, the game is afoot" from Sherlock Holmes, it signaled a great adventure.
"You won’t be able to carry me, " Vasantha said. She was not that heavy, maybe about 50 kg. I began to climb up the staircase with my precious cargo in my arms, almost as one carries a doll. Outside the rain continued making a devilish effect all around.
I held Vasantha close to me and as I already said Electricity was in the air but I was getting tired taking Vasantha up the staircase. This was an old Victorian staircase and the steps were big. As I carried Vasantha, I was reminded of my time at the academy. I recollected my GST sergeant shouting at me, " Cadet Singh.. lift the bag higher and run."
I held Vasantha close to my heart. At the top of the staircase, I stopped to get my breath but I held her even more tightly in my arms and with slow steps walked towards my room. Still holding Vasantha, who had now closed her eyes, asleep? I don't know. I inserted the card and opened the door and went inside.
She opened her eyes and said, "now you can put me down." "no", I replied" I have carried you right from the dining hall up to this room and now I want to hold you in my arms for some more time. "
This was the time that magical moment happened. I kissed her on the lips and then softly touched your eyes and nose. Outside the thunderstorm gathered momentum, and in the semi-darkness in the room with the electric current off, the inevitable happened. I laid her on the bed and kissed her efficiently and I knew as I kissed that Vasantha would soon be mine.
This was hedonist pleasure, something to cherish for a long- long time, to savor and dream. I was kissing Vasantha and now I knew I was the master as we spent rare moments of rapturous pleasure. it was like climbing Mount Everest and then jumping down from in Aircraft without a parachute. My heart fluttered and I could make out that Vasantha was also not in her complete census. I pressed home my advantage I paid my tribute to her. A short gasp heralded her change of state from girl to woman.
I will not tax the readers with descriptions but let it be known that the night passed in rare transports of joy and pleasure, something like what we read in the Perfumed Garden. Outside the rain continued to fall and I was conscious that this magical moment between me and Vasantha was no ordinary moment but something willed by God.
In the morning when I was in the washroom, she left without having any breakfast. Later I met her in the office of the publisher and she did not look at me throughout and also spoke very little. I wanted to ask what was she planning for the future but there was no time and then I had my return ticket booked. Can I get back to Madras? Whatever happened to Vasantha, I don’t know, because I got a call from Balan a few days later. He told me that Vasantha had left the office. I was really surprised at this news and wondered where she could have gone. Ooty or Kodaikanal? I don’t know but at some stage maybe she may contact me again. I live in that hope. I still remember the game we played after dinner. I also remember and still wonder how she lost the game. Was it deliberate? there was a super force acting between us that day I really do not know the mystery of God. Somethings it cannot be revealed by a human being as Lord Krishna’s said "not even a leaf moves without my will."
The wisdom they say comes with age, I am not too sure. Sometimes younger people are smarter and so it came to pass that I received a postcard. it was from a monastery in Sikkim. I looked at it and recognized it as from Vasantha. It was unsigned.
It read' I remember you had said I would get a gift, well I have one with me. If you have the courage come here and claim me and the gift."
Did I? well readers, that's another story.