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Where Peacocks Fly-23

by Prema Sastri

Back to Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Meera went through the days waiting for the next meeting with Rakesh. Sometimes he would come in the afternoons. She went to his place whenever she knew he would be at home, and Sadhvi absent. The unexpectedness of their encounters held excitement.

They seldom spoke. It was as if their past acquaintanceship had never been. Two souls merged. On occasion Rakesh would fall on Meera like a tiger. On others he prolonged their love making, his fingers exploring her body. He was a master in the art of pleasing a woman. She wondered from where he got the experience.

“I wanted you from the day I saw you.”
“I can hardly believe that.”
“You were among the vadas and bondas. You looked like a tasty rasagulla.”
“I have never been compared to a rasagulla.”
“Because South Indians don’t eat rasagullas”
“You do?”
“I do. I love the taste. I want more.” He moved towards her.
“Not now.”
“Allright. I’ll savour what I had.”

They could not meet often. The days went by like blank pages. Betty left India. Meera saw her off at the airport. She gave her an antique looking silver bracelet she had seen Betty admire.

“Thank you very much.” She kissed Meera and strapped the bracelet on her wrist. “At least somebody loves me.”
“Betty, all your friends love you. You know that.”
“Friends!” Betty looked at Gregory who had come to see her off, but was lost in the midst of a group of people.
“I’m looking forward to going home.” Betty forced a smile. By now Gregory had found his way to her side. Betty turned around and waved as she got to the barrier.

Meera never saw her again.

Nita was also at the airport with Betty. She and Meera exchanged pleasantries. She offered to drop Meera home. On the way she poured out a lava of chatter which consisted of the places, parties she attended and the people she met. The rumour circuit had it that Kapadia was no longer in her orbit. He kept company with Savitri, his wife. He supported her bhajan activities by inviting professional groups to perform at their house, followed by a dinner attended by a Who’s Who of politicians and celebrities. It was said he was trying for a Congress ticket in the next elections. He was building up his image as a pious family man. He wore khadi payajama Kurtas and was seen with Savitri on the pages of newspapers and magazines. Meera did not doubt that Savitri would one day be the wife of a powerful politician.
If Nita felt she was out in the cold she did not show it. “By the way” she said as Meera was getting out of the car, “Rakesh is the father of a boy. His mother phoned us last night. I brought him to your party. You might remember him.”
“Of course I do. He talked so warmly of you. I am very glad for him.”
“His wife is not all there.” Nita, tapped her forehead. “ He is going to have a tough time. His mother forced him into the marriage. Asha’s family is mega rich.”
Meera let this pass. “Thank you for the lift, Nita. It was thoughtful of you.”
“My pleasure.” Nita drove off.

Meera entered her home in shock. She had assumed the marriage had not been consummated. She realized that was not possible with a man as virile as Rakesh. It was clear now. Asha’s lassitude, her pale face, her red rimmed eyes. Her sudden return to Patiala was explained. Rakesh had not given Meera a hint of his imminent parenthood. She felt betrayed.

It was as if a warm blanket had been pulled off, leaving her exposed to cold. Her bones were splinters of ice. Her husband and children seemed unreal. The housework was no concern of hers. She stood aside and watched herself perform.

Moments with Rakesh sprouted through the hard ground of oblivion. She did not remember what actually happened. His touch made her unconscious. Physical sensations vanished. She felt weightless. She was aware of his warmth and closeness, of his finger stroking her hair, her body. He was eager to possess her. Yet, his lovemaking was an act of worship. She felt she was a Goddess.

When her mind functioned she became angry and critical. He had been with two women at the same time. Was he hungry for sex and found in her a convenient outlet for his lust? Was he laughing at her willingness and stupidity? She knew she would never find answers. Joy and lightness turned into stone shrapnel sharpened by shame and guilt.

To be continued here....

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