Somya continued, “Boyfriend, those were the most harrowing days of my life. My disastrous marriage, my father’s sad demise, my inner urge for a close heart mate, having no faith left in men due to their cheating and deceitful conduct even with their nears and dears, I constantly felt as if I am lying in a boiling cauldron with no respite in sight. I longed for a male touch. But scared of going close to anyone kept me swinging to and fro: To be or not to be. The unfriendly touch of my drunken husband had left overtly irremovable scars on my mind and body. But I do admit that it had given me a sensational feeling covertly which I could never forget. Rather just its remembrance quite often electrified me like a live wire; and sent thrills throughout my body. And whenever it happened I became restless……..Restless for a male company. But on the other hand, as you know well, I hated and shunned men.
This was the very reason that just after my joining the company as a Welfare Officer, I took to engage myself in such activities which may not only lead to social change but also tire me so much that the bodily needs other than food, clothing and shelter do not trouble me. And I succeeded in it to a great extent. The passionate tides that used to submerge my inner self off and on, the writhing physical urge which excruciated me a lot and the womanhood that felt incomplete without a male, were all gone.
Seeing my dedication to the company’s cause and social concerns, the management sponsored my name for an on-job-training at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jamshedpur just within a year of my joining the company.
This was a turning point in my attitudes towards life. On my way to Jamshedpur, I met a young man of my age just by chance. The train had gathered speed. He came running towards our compartment and managed to catch hold of the door latch. When I looked at him, I found him hanging precariously at the closed door. I rushed to the door and opened it to let him in. He was gasping for breath heavily.
I took him to my berth so that he takes a bit of rest. I gave him water. As he settled down and looked back at the events, he could not help utter, “Thank you very much. Had you not stepped forward to help me, God knows what might not have happened to me?”
I laughed heartily at his invocation of the God. I said to him, “Do you really believe that there is any God who has time to worry about the nonentities like us?”
He said, “Yes, not only I believe in God that He exists but also have seen Him too as I am seeing you. And therefore I have no doubts at all.”
The way he had expressed his confidence and trust in the God, touched me a lot and I looked at him with appreciation on one hand and a curiosity to know more on the other. Hence I queried him again, “Can you prove what you say young man?”
He said, “I am Bhaskar. Why not? When you looked at me, I felt the God has seen me and He will certainly rush forward to save me. When I saw you rushing towards the door, I saw the God Himself rushing to save me; and He saved me as I had expected. Do you still need any proof, gentle lady?”
“I am Chanchal. I appreciate your outlook but not your views. Do you think all those in distress are as lucky as you were? There are many who keep suffering and your God cares not a bit for them.”
“Had my end nearer, He would not have cared for me too. But the things were different in my case, He ran to save me and He saved.”
“Okay…okay,” I said, “There were many more in the compartment. If there is God, He could have made someone else rush to the door to save you. Why he chose a weaker person like me instead of anyone else?”
“Because He is kind and uses only those mediums who are kind like Him. Any more doubt, Madam.”
His faith and trust; and more so the manner he expressed himself made me speechless. I kept just looking at him. He had a glowing face. I felt mesmerized by his charms. The Eve, who was lying dead in me, seemed to be raising her hood once again. The pangs of romance rendered passive by the labourers’ concerns I was engrossed in, seemed to be alive once again. Coincidently he was also going to Jamshedpur to attend a one day conference. My stay was of at least ten days. Giving him my hotel’s name and address, I invited him there. He readily agreed and promised to see me at the hotel in the evening after his conference was over.
At sharp 6, the doorbell rang. I had been waiting for him eagerly. I sprang up on my feet and ran towards the door to unbolt it. It was Bhaskar who himself had been waiting eagerly for the doors to be opened. Standing at the door with a sweet smile on his face and a bouquet of my favourite red roses in his hand, he instantly bewitched me under his sway; I embraced him in my arms and planted a kiss on his forehead. He reciprocated. I was thrilled. A woman in the gallery saw us and smiled. I blushed and dragged him in. My bosom was beating fast.
Shouting in the same hysteria I said, “Oh! I have found my soul mate. Ultimately I have found a…….” and spread myself on the bed.
Bhaskar kept looking at me with bewilderment. Suddenly I came out of the trance and felt a bit silly at my bizarre behaviour that had sprung up under the situations. Bhaskar was still standing. I asked him to take seat and ordered for a set of coffee. Giving a magazine to him, I ran into the bathroom so as to reconsolidate myself.
As I came out, I saw Bhaskar standing at the window and looking out at a cluster of jhuggies wherein naked and half-clad kids were playing hide and seek. I went forward to join him. Seeing me he said, “Madam, how much contrasting the disparities are! A five star hotel in the vicinity of these jhuggies is like a scar on a beautiful face. Am I right?”
Hearing his question I was taken aback by the similarities of our ideas. It looked to me as if I am face to face with a principled person who will be very supportive to me. I was thrilled by my new find. I felt as if I will be complete with him. The vacuum in my life will now be filled by his entrance.
Stopping for a few minutes as if I am reflecting on his question I said, “Yes, you are right. But what can we do except lamenting at the cruel realities of life and society? But Bhaskar! Don’t you remember that such disparities were in Ramrajya also otherwise Sita would have never been re-exiled?”
“What an appropriate reply? You have deep knowledge. You look to be a vidvan (Scholar). I feel highly privileged to have known you. But I suppose the washer man’s hut must not be so close to Ram’s palace as this cluster is making it an eyesore to the rich who come to stay here in this hotel,” Bhaskar replied.
Coming back and pouring coffee into cups and giving a smile I said, “There is no question of being a vidvan, I am not even a vidushi (She-scholar). Forget about these disparities. I guess both must be inter dependent on each other for their survival. If one goes, the other’s survival will be at risk. Let’s have coffee.”
Bhaskar was overwhelmed by my language competence and said, “Yes, I don’t have any more doubts now that you are certainly a vidushi.”
How cleverly Bhaskar had swept my satire on him under the carpet? At this I smiled. We discussed several things and I soon came to understand that Bhaskar can be relied upon. My confidence in him had been growing fast. By the time we finished our discussions, it was 10 p.m. As he was ready to leave I said, “Where will you go now? Why don’t you stay with me tonight?”
Bhaskar readily agreed. When I asked what he would like to have in the dinner, he told since he takes only two meals, so he takes dinner early and that he had already had it before coming to the hotel. After my class, I had also taken light meals in the evening.
I said, “So let’s go to bed. You see I am an early riser. So I retire by 9 pm. We are already late by an hour.”
“Yes, you are right. I will sleep on the sofa,” saying so he moved towards the sofa and further said, “Okay Madam. Good night and have sweet dreams.” I was puzzled: A guest on the sofa and host on bed! It will be uncivilized. Suddenly I said, “Why can’t we sleep on the double bed together? I won’t mind if you feel easy.”
Bhaskar looked into my eyes. I looked into his. He soon lowered his looks saying, “No madam no. I don’t have any problem.” Saying so, he spread on the bed. Lying vertically, I put my head on his chest and he started combing my hair with his nimble fingers giving me caressing feelings and prompting me to put another kiss on his cheek. He reciprocated again. In the same position, I don’t know when I fell asleep.
With a shock I got up half-asleep when I felt fingers of both hands feeling my breasts. I sprang out of the bed and gazed at him with stern fiery looks. Bhaskar was taken aback by my hostile reaction. It was clear by now that he had misunderstood me. I yelled at him, “Bhaskar, I agree that kisses are part of romance but why did you forget that they are equally part of affection too. How did you dare to touch me like that? I agree that I too committed mistakes while showering my tender feelings on you. But I strongly believe that sex, anger, pride, greed and attachment are nature-gifted energy resources and I use them as such. But they become a bane when we indulge in them indiscriminately and become slaves to them. I am neither a slave to them nor like those who become captive to them.”
Bhaskar had no answers. I too had no answers from me about my silly behaviour which made poor Bhaskar misunderstand me.
It was about 1 p.m. Bhaskar got ready to move out. But the human in me again came forward and said, “Where will you go at the dead of night? And even if you manage that, it will be not wise trying to move out of hotel room at such odd hours which will certainly raise eyebrows of the security. You sleep on the bed and I will now go on to sofa. And please remember not to dare as such moves again as I needed a sincere friend not a lecher.”
Next morning we took our meals together, and after that he left apologizing time and again and I appealing him to forget whatever had happened with a caution to him never to take a woman for granted again like that in future.
Boyfriend! Thus my daydream ended with a bang within twenty four hours. Had he not misunderstood me, he would have been my best friend forever. But he too ultimately behaved in the same silly manner as most men do with a young woman; and that too on the first chance they get. Alas!”
I completed my training and returned to my headquarters. On reaching my office, I found a letter from Bhaskar waiting for me. I took the envelope and without opening I instantly threw it in the fireplace saying, “Chhi….Chhi….. If! The men could understand women well!”