Kailash finds himself deeply attracted to two women, neither of whom he can have; by K Viswanatha Sastry.
"A rape has been committed before my very eyes... not once, many times. I have not been able to stop the outrage..." Kailash began writing the letter.
It all began like this...
Kailash was waiting for Suji at their usual spot in the park. Each passing minute seemed like an aeon to him. It was already 10 minutes past the time fixed for their meeting.
Seeing Suji appear at the gate of the park, he felt relieved. She walked down and sat beside him. She looked very beautiful.
"Hi Kailash, how did your interview go?" she asked eagerly.
"Fine. I hope I should get the job."
Suji felt relieved. "Thank God! Decks are getting cleared for our marriage. Once you receive the job offer letter, you can talk to my parents and ask for my hand... and then..."
Kailash was not listening to her. He was looking at her. She was fair-complexioned and her figure-hugging pink-coloured sari betrayed how symmetrically endowed she was.
Her body was emanating sweet odour. As she was talking dreamy-eyed, she looked inviting.
Kailash grabbed Suji's face and squeezed a kiss on her rose petal lips.
Taken aback at this unexpected onslaught, she wriggled out of his grip.
"What's this Kailash?" she chided him, looking around and rubbing her lips.
Kailash was in a trance, yet to come out of the pleasure the kiss gave him.
Suji moved a little away from Kailash. "Can't you wait a little longer? If we remain pure and enter wedlock like fresh flowers, all the fragrance of married life will be ours... if we give in to the temptation now won't we miss that sense of purity?" she looked into his eyes, as if trying to convince him.
Kailash looked at her motionless.
"Promise me that you will never repeat this kind of a thing..." she stretched her palm.
Involuntarily, Kailash took her palm into his.
Was I truly in love with Suji or not, Kailash asked himself for the nth time. Suji was opposed to sex before marriage. Leaving aside the arguments for and against pre-martial sex, I would not have tried to take advantage of her trust in me had I respected her feelings, he thought.
This led Kailash to the question of whether he believed in remaining chaste before marriage. Before Suji, he had seen many pretty women and felt sexually attracted to them. As he probed his innermost feelings, he felt that only because of Suji was he keeping himself from losing chastity before marriage.
There were only questions. No answers. Feeling suffocated, Kailash thought he could do with a whiff of fresh air. As he looked around, his eye caught a picture hung on the wall. Whenever he looked at the picture, he thought it a study in contradiction. Kailash thought it was a beautiful picture, though gory in details: a deer overpowered by a tiger, blood oozing from its neck into which the tiger's fangs were dug. There were fear and helplessness in the eyes of the felled little creature. A few feet away were the tiger's cubs, looking expectantly at the prey. While the big cat was ruthless to the deer, its eyes reflected a mother's love for the cubs. How could the animal's eyes reflect such a contradiction at the same time, Kailash asked himself.
Chetan, a friend of Kailash, walked in and seated himself in a chair. Kailash greeted him.
Chetan announced that he had come with the news of 'something exciting.' The 'something exciting' was nothing but the company of a call-girl with whom the friends had struck a deal. Kailash was invited, as usual. He felt tempted. But it was only momentary. The next moment Suji entered his thoughts.
What transpired between the friends followed the usual track, as on such occasions earlier. Kailash was ready to go with the proposal but did it not amount to breaching Suji's trust?
Where was Suji involved here, Chetan asked. Since no woman would offer herself to her lover before marriage, nothing was wrong if the man pursued his own enjoyment. It only gave him a taste of the future experience. But Kailash should keep the secret from Suji lest it should rock their married life later on, Chetan said.
Kailash found the proposal deceptive and rejected it. At this, Chetan left.
Kailash looked at the 'picture of contradiction' again. He though it was beginning to reveal some of its secret to him.
Kailash had never thought his life would take such a turn. The arrival of a family in his neighbouring flat opened up a new world before him.
The family consisted only of aunty and her husband. Uncle, a corporate executive, was a busy man. Though both were friendly and well-behaved, Kailash found aunty more interesting than uncle.
Like uncle, aunty was well educated. But, unlike him, she was not after impossible goals that made one edgy always. She too had a good circle of friends and went out with them. But whatever she did seemed to relax, not tax, her, Kailash thought.
Uncle and aunty felt more intimate to Kailash than his friends. A bachelor, Kailash was invited to be their guest on many occasions, some of them when uncle was away.
Aunty was irresistibly beautiful, Kailash thought. She seemed so close; yet an air of nonchalance was there about her.
Kailash began to look for excuses to meet aunty again and again. Whenever he was with her, her close presence would send him gasping for breath. Fearing that his desire would get the better of him, he would quickly withdraw from her presence. He had long realized that he was dying for a sexual encounter with aunty.
Kailash was disappointed as he had not got the job as expected. Suji and he were meeting at the park as usual. But Kailash took care to ensure that he never gave away his feelings about aunty. He no longer felt guilty that he was cheating on Suji, on this count.
It had all happened unexpectedly. Chetan had called him up, speaking again of that 'something exciting.' Chetan had said it would be a lifetime's regret if Kailash missed this opportunity. Such a beauty she was and you would never see such in your lifetime again, he had said.
Kailash had said yes to the proposal and was soon headed for the place.
And as it turned out, Kailash had seen her already! He had been both shocked and surprised to see that it was his neighbour, aunty!
"I have never believed you are into this sort of a thing," Kailash said. Aunty too said the same, as she began to undress.
Kailash was beside himself.
He embraced her. She kissed him. Together, they climbed the peaks of pleasure.
Whatever thought had held me from this pleasure all these days was a figment of my imagination, he thought.
Kailash was puzzled. Aunty had left, saying she should be home before her husband returned. Why should she, happily married, be doing this kind of a thing, he asked himself.
Subsequently, what friends told Kailash about aunty startled him. It was to this effect:
Aunty hails from a middle class family. At college, she had fallen in love with a classmate. But her parents had objected to their marriage, saying he had no job. She had waited till he had got a job. But they had said no again, this time on the ground that he belonged to a different caste. They had also threatened to commit suicide if she met him again. Suppressing her feelings, aunty had got married to uncle, as decided by her parents.
She was beginning to adapt herself to the new life.
One day, aunty's world had turned topsy-turvy - for some reason, she had been left alone with uncle's boss, already drunk heavily, and then she had been violated by him.
Consoling her that she was not to blame for what had happened without her consent, uncle had said she should live down her 'nightmare.' With uncle promising his full support in the matter, aunty was trying to reconstruct her life.
But there was one more shock in store for aunty. Once, under the influence, uncle had blurted out to aunty that her so-called nightmare had happened according to his design, to facilitate his career growth.
Aunty's world had collapsed once more. It was a case of the fence eating the crop...
What was aunty doing now, Kailash asked himself.
First, in the face of blackmail by parents, she had compromised on her feelings... then, the betrayal by husband...
Now, was she doing what she would have always liked to happen to her? Was she not doing to herself what exactly her parents and husband had done to her?
What a pity... first, her feelings had been raped... then, even she had been raped... she had been helpless then... but, now, was she not raping herself? Something more reprehensible than rape by others?
What was more, she was deceiving herself that she was doing all this willingly. Was it not a life of contradiction and hence unnatural?
Life might inflict hurt and injury. But if one did self-introspection and chose a path carefully, after looking deep into oneself, healing would result... on the contrary, actions driven by revenge or some external influence did not contribute to one's wellbeing... such actions took one away from one's innermost dreams...
Aunty had long lost herself... But would she ever realize the loss of self?
"A rape has been committed before my very eyes... not once, many times. I have not been able to stop the outrage..." Kailash wrote.
"The sight is so disgusting that I feel defiled in emotion and body... I cannot bear if one feeling of mine is raped and defiled by another, no matter if mine or of others... Nor do I bear to rape others' feelings...
"I have always wanted to be like a seed, a seed taking sprout and growing into a plant and then a tree... a tree coming to flower and bearing fruit of its own kind... I want to live a life in the open... deriving my energy from the elements... I do not want to be touched by any foreign winds and superficially put on strange hues with exotic fragrance...
"What should not have happened has happened. As I am, I cannot marry you... To say otherwise is to deceive both of us. I want to go back to my roots and begin afresh... Pardon me for running away from you like this, after mentally traversing some distance with you...
"Should I meet you and ask for your hand again, I would like you to make a fresh choice, if you have not made yours already..."
Signing the letter, Kailash put it into an envelope. He wrote Suji's address on the envelope and handed it over at the courier's office.