“ What are you doing ?”
“ Shhhh…. I’ am writing.” Her forefinger continues to draw an elaborate curl and some loops, stopping with a thumb imprint on my naked back. “ What did I write ? Tell me.”
“ I don’t know. Write again.” I was enjoying the tickling sensation which was making my hairs stand on end. “I think the last letter was a ‘U’ and then a thumb imprint which may be ‘ full stop’.” I heard the raucous caw of a crow , which probably had just sat on the window sill . Our nakedness may get discovered by the bird, though the curtains were drawn tightly. Committing adultery makes one edgy. Swallow the guilt consciousness which is creeping up a bit. Have you hit a cockroach with your slipper ? You kill it in two strokes, flatten it, with its whitish brain coming out of its head. You dislike the act you committed. Odd of me to link adultery with killing of an insect.
“ Be attentive. Do not spoil my efforts. Please concentrate.”
“ OK, darling. I think the last letter was the numerical ‘3’ and then you pressed your thumb. Or was it a full stop ?”
“ Am writing all over again,” she said quietly. She did not approve of my mind not being focussed on her act.
I turned on my back to admire her breasts. She slapped me playfully on the side of my naked buttock, to force me to return to my previous posture. Her heavy breasts are round and swollen , drooping a bit, their nipples dark. On the right side of her left breast there is a mole. My first love, Shila too had a mole, but lower down. In fact she had one more smaller one on top of her right breast. This dark brown mole of Anasua made a good contrast with her purple nipple.
Anasua is determined to make it easy for me, and her fingers move in a flourish, pausing after each letter to test my attentiveness. ‘ 1’, I say. ‘ S’ – no it is 2..then ?’ She was making it difficult now.
“ Its only numericals. Thats the only clue I will give,” she said.
Now I am laughing too much as I am tickled by her unsympathetically, making me obliged to concede quickly, ‘ 4. I got it.’ Her finger draws an extended arch that starts on my right shoulder and then a loop and then her finger crosses my anus to end up on the side.
‘ 3,’ I said.
“ So, it is ‘143 ‘?” I asked earnestly.
“ Let me see. 1 for I, 4 for Love and 3 for You. Its an acronym in numerical.”
“ My God. You could have made Euclid proud. Do you know about the Golden Triangle ?”
“ Yes, Delhi – Agra and Jaipur.”
“ No, not that one. Forget it.”
I turned around and tightly embraced her , our bodies entwined. Two naked bodies with her belly resting on my protruding stomach. Not a picture perfect on copulation. I have to become fitter and more lean, I remind myself.
“ I have a message for you also, but I will not use my finger,” I said gallantly.
I turned around to change our position and placed myself on top of her. Relishing the silky taste of her body , I traced the lines with the tip of my tongue across her softness. I used her mid riff to create my ‘ 1’ . This was easy and she animatedly nodded. My ‘ 4’ began on top of her right breast and ended on the bulge of her left hip cutting through her cleavage. She got this one also quickly. The loop of the top of ‘ 3’ ended at her right nipple and then the second loop took in her navel. I didn’t stop here and made another ‘3’.
She was enjoying , her eyes closed in blissful peace. She uttered , “ too. I love you too.” Anansua’s ability to decipher this instantly took me by surprise.
I buried my face for sometime in her soft pubic hair and then looked up again at her. The sun was coming in a streak through the narrow gap of the two curtains. Outside there was a cacophony of sounds. Crows fluttered around with their hoarse voices, dogs barked, the maid screaming at the security guard, repeated start of the engine of a car only to die down after a couple of minutes and yes, the sound of water being splashed. The noise decibel in Calcutta increases with the progress of the day . Various people talking simultaneously and in loud voices, sound of utensils being washed, broom sticks and buckets making a crescendo .
We were lying and looking at each other. I was trying to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. We have to leave as she had to reach her home by early afternoon and I have to take the flight back to Delhi in evening.
“ So, you are all set for dropping her and leaving for Delhi, then ?”
Calcutta crows are ominous. I had gone to the washroom to relieve myself and the crow has shifted position to sit on the bathroom glass pane from where it twisted its neck and looked at me through the slit.
“ Guess, you did not like her in bed much, ” said the crow .
“ Too much of sentimental stuff. This is the problem sleeping with middle class Calcuttans.”
“ But you still like the thrill, old man.” The crow was deriding my age. After urinating, my penis had withdrawn to its shelf. It was looking small and queer, may be a bit weird too.
I had met Anasua six months back , during the monsoons, on 12th August, 2012. I had gone to their office in a by lane of Tobin Road, off BT Road in Calcutta. The serpentine lane on the left side of the crossing leading to Tobin Road, is forever clogged by taxis, auto and cycle rickshaws. The name Tobin is a Jewish surname, a derivation probably of Tobias, Hebrew for “God is good”, and came from the founder of the now forgotten missionary school along this road. Once you enter the lane, you get into the galis of North Calcutta where time has stopped. It is still stuck in the seventies when growth stopped here.
Srijeet, Anasua’s husband had been running a small medicine distributorship from this office with some other partners. Srijeet came to contact me through by childhood friend, Runu. Anasua was plain looking with no make up on her youngish bespectacled face. Twice when she got up to serve tea, I could figure a Rubenesque woman behind the simple salwar kameez, with ample curves . Runu had got divorced recently and with no liabilities on hand, was hell bent on maximising his happiness quotient by making me get into a business with Srijeet. Srijeet, as per Runu, is a master in pharmacy, good quack, intelligent and hard working. I had believed in Runu then.
Runu had been trying to introduce me to various of his friends with insane ideas of starting businesses ranging from fashion photography to a travel agency with their niche on trekking in Suderban . Among all of them, that I had met over the last couple of years, only Srijeet had a clear concept and knowledge of pharmaceutical products and had been interacting with me for over a year now. We spoke on various models and products, did some research and finally started off with Anasua becoming the third partner in the tripartite partnership, as I had the uncanny feeling of getting someone in between Srijeet and myself . We had one more meeting before forming the firm in November, 2012 when I taught Anausa the formats and content required in the weekly, monthly and outstanding reports, which she took down in spellings that were wrong. Her lack of knowledge of English forged the tenets of our intimacy.
It was dusk on that day in September end , when Anasua wrote , “ Colum”. I interjected, “ Column.” The city smelled of Puja approaching. The wind was blowing from the river on to the city. Even the shrivelled carrots and brinjals that the roadside vendor is selling, at the side of the kuchcha drain, had acquired a festive glow.
A bit surprised, Anasua said , “ But the n is not pronounced.”
“ Yes. It is silent.” I tried to take the pen from her hand and wrote ‘n’. She did not move her hand and I had to clasp her hand to write ‘n’. She giggled, at my touch.
A lone crow was late in coming back to its nest and was resting on the peepal tree . The fading light had fallen on the balcony outside giving the green paint of the wall a yellow hue. I came out and lighted a cigarette leaving Anasua inside to meticulously copy all the rows and columns on a fresh page .
The crow winked at me sideways, twisted its neck and lowered its beak, “ You are a moron. Can’t you understand she is falling for you ?”
“ But she is married.”
“ This flirting is due to economic reason. She knows you are an investor and her husband has to swim for their survival,” said the crow philosophically.
“ So ?”
“ Hence she will fall for you. How can you be so stupid ? ”
“ But this business has potential.”
“ Sure. Every business is good so long as you know how to do it.”
“ Am I missing anything here ?”
“ The Calcutta culture and attitude of middle class are deeply ingrained in Srijeet. This Anasua character is good but she will fall for you as you are her present hope. ”
“ So, you are labelling her as an opportunist ?”
“ This city, oh my God, it shucks. Earlier these guys used to disagree while having their addas and now they have become disagreeable. The only thing which has changed is the advent of technology. You find the puchka-wallah also take orders on the mobile. Materialism has replaced Marx. Still the DNA of an average Calcuttan is to question. And they question everything with result that they just stop working as most questions don’t have an answer. The lack of aspiration levels can be related to this art of convenient questioning. Then the economic deprivation let pettiness takes over. Only the marwaris can do business over here as they accept things as they are and try to make the most out of it.”
“ Fuck off. Dont give me a sermon.”
“ Why should I ? Don’t you remember the saying of Vidyasagar.” The crow flew off , to take refuge for the night.
Anasua and myself started talking almost everyday. The frequency increased keeping in pace with the elation of creating the new venture. Initial dialogues were more to do the finances, stocks and stockist agreements that were required, but were gradually overshadowed by emotional statements. When we could not talk we exchanged sms s. I sent some lurid jokes and she reciprocated with some smileys. She was the one who first texted me, ‘ I have fallen for you.’ Mustering courage, I sent a string of sms s which undressed her to gradual intercourse, with the start as ‘ Hey, how about taking off your salwar to feel the freshness of October ‘. She wrote back at every step correcting the steps . She was not wearing a panty right at that moment and my text of gradually moving down her panty to reveal her golden mound was wrong in content. “ I have shaved recently.” At the end she texted ‘ So romantic.’ Guess the game was on from that time.
A baul song came to my mind while playing with the undulations of Anasua. Her body had that organic unadulterated smell which I have missed for long. It filled you with a longing desire of reliving your past.
বাগানে পাঁচজনা মলী,
যে যাঁর ঠাঁইয়ে বস্যে আছেন,
পাঁচ মাথার মোড় আগুলি !
The fact that all the gardeners are endlessly sitting is predestined, like the event of today. Was this affair scripted earlier ? A rhetoric question for me, I thought.
“ Now tell me your story,” I remained still for a moment while being within her. I had managed to lift my organ for the second time in a matter of couple of hours. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but it has happened.
“ Ah ! Why did you stop ? What story ?,” exclaimed Anasua.
“ Your life story .”
“It is such a simple one, that you will laugh at me. There is no story, ” she said haltingly, while taking short breaths.
“ There is a story hidden in every mundane nuance of everyday life. So many stories get formed with ‘ and’ ‘ so’ ‘or’ ‘ but’ and some of them are very interesting.”
“ Come on. I cannot tell you my story in this posture. I have never heard anyone telling stories while having intercourse, ” she finally blurted out.
“ I remember a scene in a Ray movie where the guy looks at his watch while having sex. This is something similar. Unless I get distracted, I will come right now. ”
“ Stop this now. Are you out of your sense ? Enjoy the moment. Push harder, please,” Anasua raised her voice a little while grasping me tightly.
I never thought Anasua was capable of making sounds while having sex. Here she was trying to arouse me by entangling her legs on top of me. Imploring me to pound her. Quite against the archetypical Bengali middle class bahu image. I managed to withdraw at the nick of time and exploded onto her stomach in a moment of forgetfulness. The withdrawal technique has been perfected by me over the years. Once I had come on a new bedsheet while making it out with Alka, my cousin’s wife. She had reprimanded me for it and told me that I should have showered on her stomach. After that, I have learnt where to ejaculate less a bedcover gets soiled. I should have learnt this economic reasoning in my professional life too.
I could hear a telephone ring. I get nervous for a moment. Today in this city, my presence is unknown to anyone, even then, hearing a ring , my first thought for a fraction of a second was that the telephone was calling me and in the following fraction of a second there was a relief of knowing myself excluded for the moment from every call, unattainable and safe. I laid down in a state of contentedness by her side and started to play with her left breast. I was trying to figure out whether her sizes are symmetrical and trying to grasp both of them together. Her right one is now crushed against my body making my experiment difficult.
There crept a sense of uneasiness in our lying together, with her untold story. Anasua broke the silence , “ My father runs a variety store. We are originally from Srirampore where my father had a joint business with his brothers, of construction parts. Stone chips, mixing machines, cement leveler and other materials used in construction used to be bought from Rajasthan, Delhi and Gorakhpur and sold to construction firms in Calcutta and nearby. It was started by my grandfather after independence. Upon his demise, my uncles separated , my father sold his share of business , we sold our house in Srirampore and moved to Shyambazar, where he bought a house. I was just born during that time and heard this from my mother. I studied in a school nearby , no use of telling you the school name as you do not know Bengali medium schools in that part of Calcutta. The house had three floors and I have a brother who now runs the store with my father .” She wrapped a thin blanket to cover part of her nakedness.
“ Is he married ? ” I tried to uncover her again. The light and shade play on her naked body made interesting patterns. The breasts looked flat while she laid down but looked so beckoning when she turned to her side and lifted the blanket to expose them.
“ Yes he is. They have a son, who is now ten years old and a bit mentally retarded.”
“ No conflict between his wife and your mother ?”
“ What a mind you have ? Not at all. They peacefully co-exist. In fact my relation with his wife is better than with him. She is very nice. Now don’t pull my blanket. I am feeling a bit chill. ”
“ How did you meet Srijeet ?”
“ They came as a tenant to us. My father vacated the ground floor and gave it on rent. We moved to the top two floors. Srijeet’s father was a renowned freedom fighter , he was the recipient of tamrapatra. Srijeet is elder to me by more than ten years.”
“ That’s what I thought. Your age gap is almost fifteen years.”
“ Thirteen , precisely. He used to do a small business in plastic when he came to our house. I was in school. It was me who fell in love with him. I used to go to his house and spend time with him. He writes and reads poetry very well .”
“ A man of many talents , I see.”
“ Like you. Why don’t you come inside the blanket ? I used to meet him after school. Then I was in Class XI. We used to go through the lanes of Baghbazar and roam on the side of Ganga.”
“ What a romantic setting ! That area smells of excreta .”
“ Are you ridiculing ? Anyway, you will not understand that love.”
“ Well, Madam, I have also gone through that phase in my life.”
“ Cannot believe. You are so cut – throat in everything you do. But you are very honest and sincere.”
“ Those are values which are no longer in demand today. Lets continue with your story.”
“ Srijeet and me kissed and embraced, though we never slept before marriage. He has a very sharp mind and used to meddle in Leftist politics. While in Class XII, I told my mother about our affair. She also liked Srijeet but we never briefed father . She told father when I was out of Class XII. I was never a good student, did not like studying. But I can cook very well and understand a bit of business after watching my father.”
“ How come you never slept before marriage ? I thought that’s a ritual in Shyambazar.”
“ Ritual ? Bengali women don’t sleep before marriage. It is against our values. When father came to know about our affair , he was mad. He was mad at the age difference and mad on my refusal to do higher studies. I did not join college and sat at the shop of my father in the mornings to help him. We used to talk and my father used to tell me the need of self-independence of females in India. At that point I hardly used to listen to him, but now I can understand. We eloped one day in September to get married. I pressed Srijeet into it though he was a bit hesitant to execute my plan. I waited one evening, when father was in shop and my brother had gone out of station. Being elder to me by some years, he had started meeting the suppliers. I waited with one packed suitcase and hoped in a taxi which Srijeet had hired. We went to the marriage registrar, who was intimated before, with couple of Srijeet’s friends. We got married and went to one of his friend’s house where we stayed for almost a month. Father was furious and went to my in-laws on ground floor to give them a piece of his mind. My father in – law tried to act as the peacemaker. We shifted to a rented place – Srijeet and myself to start our new life.”
I got up and lit a cigarette. Being naked seemed natural. I made a silent promise to flatten my stomach by doing regular abs from now on. I think the crow outside was eavesdropping to witness our erotic act changing to a life-story. My penis has gone back to its small shriveled shape and I looked down at it in dismay. I generally avoid looking at it, as it depresses me. Anasua, for a change, made it feel special today and it silently thanked her in reciprocation.
“ Quite interesting. The type you see in movies, Bengali movies of 60 s and 70s. So, you got happily married. When did the first chinks happen ?” I was egging her. Through the thin gap in the curtain, I could see the potted plants of the opposite balcony being watered by the housewife wearing a nightie. It is obvious she does not have to go out for work.
Anasua rested her chin on her hand , “ Much much later. Gradually peace ushered in. We started going to Srijeet’s house. My father quietened down and accepted Srijeet. My brother still avoids him. My brother got married thereafter. We had our son, two years after our marriage, whom my father adores. I pushed Srijeet to buy this flat where we are staying now. It may be small but it is our own. Srijeet changed his business to pharma line but capital was a perennial issue. He joined a job and was transferred to Delhi and we shifted to Delhi for couple of years.”
“ You should have called me when you were in Delhi.”
“ I did not know you then. Delhi was very hot during summer but what I could not stand was the chilly cold of December end and January. We used to stay in Lajpat Nagar.”
“ That’s full of Punjabis. The Punju dames are very beautiful till they are married.”
“ We had a Marwari neighbour. Three brothers living together with their wives and children.”
“ You mean one brother with another’s wife and one more with yet another ? And the DNA of the children all mixed up ?”
“ Stupid. They were very conservative. The wives always had their heads covered. Their mother used to sit outside and I have myself seen the wives massaging her foot by turns. The younger wife used to come to our house but never eat anything as we were non-vegetarian.”
“ They survive on milk and ghee. Carry on.”
“ Srijeet got transferred back to Calcutta. This apartment was ready for quite sometime and we moved in with my in-laws. Life was steady till father – in law had a stroke and got paralytic. I used to nurse him throughout. He died inspite of our rushing him to a hospital after his second stroke. Now mother in-law is in bed for last one year. She hardly moves. I am nursing her, though we have kept a day nurse”
“ Hard life for you. Florence nightangle reborn as Anasua. Don’t you get bored ? ”
“ Yes, I do. But I cannot leave her. It took some years for mother in-law to start liking me and now she does not eat at night unless I feed her.”
“ So, she is dependent on you now. Srijeet was losing money on his pharma business. “
“ He started the business in partnership with Indrani. She was his colleague in office and he used to manage this business during evenings. Sometimes he used to pull me in, to keep records of the business. The relationship went beyond professional lines and they were pretty close. Still are, I think .”
“ You mean Srijeet had or still has a sexual relationship with Indrani ? Is she beautiful ? “
“ Beautiful ? My foot. She is fat, dark with blunt features. Her height is medium and is plump – much more than me. Her face looks aged and she is almost at the same age as Srijeet. Her husband does some odd jobs and she is dependent on Srijeet to run the business. Srijeet also has another girl friend – Dolly. Dolly works in another pharma company and is very fashionable.”
“ Lucky guy. Sleeps with two at the same time.”
“ I don’t know whom he sleeps with. But he often used to go on short trips to outlocations while in job, and one day I found scratches on his back. Scratches that happen when a female draws her long finger nail in ecstasy.”
“ Thank God, it will never happen to me as your nails are clipped.”
“ I have to nurse my mother in-law and long nails gather dirt. I questioned Sri jeet on these marks and for the first time he was evasive in his replies. He used to carry on talking on his mobile at night on the terrace, so that I cannot overhear.”
“ Did he sleep with both ? Dolly and Indrani ?” I was feeling envious.
“ I questioned him, grilled him and fought with him. He did not tell me with whom he had an affair. I think he first started with Dolly and after the business with Indrani developed, he slept with her too. Indrani emotionally blackmailed him in running the business.”
“ Why did he leave the business with Indrani ?”
“ He still helps her in her business though he withdrew from the partnership, as that was one of your conditions of investment. I also guess that he is a bit tired with Indrani and this new venture with you, gave him a convenient escape route. You know, I had a great fight with Indrani once.”
“ Fight as in WWF ? Why did you fight with that dame ?”
“ For snatching Srijeet from me. He was all mine and I supported him all throughout and even bore his son. But what ungrateful men are.”
“ I think all men are the same. After sometime love and sex should be separated. You can have sex for fun and not love her.”
“ Not everyone thinks like you. I know you are having sex with me for fun , though I have come to love you. It is only one-sided and I have accepted it.”
“ My love for you is different. You are so simple and that’s the reason I love you. “
“ I know you have slept with lot of females in your life. But I want you to promise me one thing .”
“ What ?”
“ You will not sleep with any other female .”
“ For how long ?”
“ For one year.”
“ And what do I get in return ?”
“ What do you want ?”
“ The new business to be successful, as of now.”
“ Done. I will ensure that your business with Srijeet returns your investment in one year.”
“ You are talking of break-even in one year.”
“ Yes, break-even.”
“ That’s not simple in today’s economic condition for a new business, which is hardly three months old.”
“ Don’t sleep around for one year and it will happen. I will love you so much that you will forget other females.”
“ You are in Calcutta and am in Delhi. How do I get you all the time ?”
“ Stay here. You have a house here. Otherwise come every month.”
“ Lets see.”
“ Srijeet and myself have been sleeping separately for five years now. I cannot share my love with any one else.”
“ A difficult promise for me to make.”
“ Come on. You already told me that you do not sleep with your wife anymore. You are more like brother-sister.”
“ That’s true. But I do have two girlfriends in Mumbai with whom I sleep occasionally.”
“ Don’t go to Mumbai. No , you have to promise.” Anasua clasped my shriveled penis and her lips were dangling inches from mine. Her hand on my cock loosens a bit then tightens, causing my organ to harden a bit again.
“ You are getting possessive. OK, for a year I will try to abstain. Am not committing though. But then you have to get this business to a break even level.”
She has yet to understand that whatever be the tenets of the relationship, no one can get the whole of one person. It maybe the relationship of a husband-wife, of two lovers, or a father and son. In our mind, there are a lot of compartments. No one is complete by himself, all the silos make up the person. Even if you love someone deeply you can give only in return that compartment only. You can never give up the whole person. Anasua , hopefully, would slowly comprehend that.
She kissed me. A long drawn one. I learnt to kiss endearingly on the lips from Anasua. First suck the lower one for long and then the upper one and then press your lips on to hers with a subtle pressure, with your tongue playfully longing on her tongue. The languid sensation spreads to my lower half, like a liquid floating to the surface. From where the hell, did she learn to kiss so well ? This was a combination of lip-o-suction and teasing kiss.
Anasua got up to dress. She had firm legs, curving hips, bit of flesh around the waist and broad shoulders. Her belly was rather prominent and the navel so deeply hollowed that it almost disappeared in the flesh. The most beautiful part were her breasts. The roundness was almost perfect and will put some of the silicone induced ones to shame. There were very homely.
We left soon after putting the house in order and Anasua making two cups of tea for us. I dropped Anasua in a cab nearby her house and came back in the same cab to a place near Hedua. In the morning, I had picked her up from Tobin Road crossing. This 24 hours trip for me was focused only on sleeping with her to start a new story. A story that should evolve to bring together different texture of events, experiences and environments. From today’s experience other stories will be derived to bring back more memories on another day.
I started walking on the left footpath towards YMCA. There were some jewellery shops and the smell of fish cutlet of Chacha was drifting. Has the size of the fowl cutlet remained the same ? I came to the crossing, lit a cigarette and started looking for a raised cement platform, under the peepal tree on a the left side of the YMCA gate. The platform is no more, though the tree stands tall. This tree must be over a century old. Its covered with so thick a foliage that one cannot see the branches. It has been host to the sparrows in this area. There is a new bus shade now. The area was cemented and the patches of mud around the tree are no longer there. I tried to catch the familiar sounds of the road, of the familiar sights and tried to put them together naturally. This particular spot takes me back more than two decade. No time buddy to reminisce – have to look for a cab, which I got soon.
The crows were going home to the sparse trees still left in the city.Whenever I leave this city, I feel tears swell in my eyes. When you visit Calcutta , you see not one city but many, of equal size and not unlike one another but at different times. Once you get to Manicktala and then towards Shyambazar or maybe towards Esplanade and then on to Gariahat, you see the city repeats its life, identical, shifting up and down on its chess board. The inhabitants repeat the same scenes, which their earlier generation had enacted, they repeat the same speeches with variously combined accents; they open alternate mouths in identical yawns. The city always remain the same. Each area seems to be one sub-city, made of its paras and pavemenets and parapets. Everytime you enter one of the cities, within Calcutta, you find yourself caught in a dialogue. The parasite coming from a door to meet the young squanderer, the miserly father from his parapet utters his final warnings to the local unemployed youth for denial of subscription for puja, interrupted by the foolish servant who is going to buy mustard for boudimoni. You return to the city after a gap of some years and you find the same dialogue going on; in the meantime the parasite has died, and so have the miserly father; but new beings have taken their places and being replaced by a new hypocrite, a new miser, a new hustler. The participants in the dialogue die one by one and meanwhile those who will take their roles are born, some in one role and some in another. When one changes role with age, they get added by others who have likewise transformed themselves. There is a series of changes, until all the roles have been reassigned; but meanwhile the angry old father does on replying to the witty maidservant, the hustler never ceases to follow the disinherited youth , Horipada goes to the bazaar at 7 am everyday. The narrative style of the city continues, not growing, but continue to attract. Like a TV set which refuses to get switched off. I was sure that Anasua was reliving the story of today, scene by scene. Time to text her some sms s.