‘……And It Rained That Night’
It was dark. The heavy monsoon struck like lightning on the deserted streets in South Mumbai. The lights went off and passengers were stranded at the railway stations. Trains were running late. Several cars were floating like paper boats in the flood coruscating, gripping the city in its belt. There were crazy rumors that it’s the end of the world. May hem striking!
I brushed aside the worry. People are crazy, ‘ I tell myself. I was completely drenched and braved the storm as I got down the train from Dadar after three hours. I straggled my way, moved my steps to Stadium Restaurant, near Churchgate Station. May be I am a lucky soul who found shelter at the restaurant. It was 11 PM. There is no light. I plead for a hot cuppa tea from the waiter standing outside. He looked at me with contempt. My jeans rolled in mud, the white shirt stained with rain water stuck to the skin.
Finally, he relented. I am escorted to a single table occupied by a lady, decked in a green colored Saree. She must be in her early 30s. She was taken aback and pretended to play with her hair. I muttered a hesitant, ‘Hi!!! It’ raining heavily.’ She appears uninterested, ‘So?” She chided me, ‘Dude! See, how drenched you are?” I tersely replied, ‘Yeah! I know. Came all the way from the station and bet will go back to Andheri in a while.’
‘Are you out of your bloody mind? You came all drenched and wanna go back at Andheri. Trains are not running. Boy, you will be stranded,” She furiously said.
“Do you have a fag?” she desperately asked
I offered her a cigarette. She lit the fag and blew the smoke curled like ballons, “Listen! My car is coming. You can come to my place at Bandra to spend the night. I stay near Mount Mary Church. But, bear in mind that I am offering you shelter as a human being and not because I want to sleep with you.”
I was flustered and didn’t know where to bury my face. I plucked courage and asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, what are you doing alone in this rain outside at 11 p.m?”
She looked at me menacingly, “None of your fucking business.”
“The car is coming. Let’s rush,” She ordered.
We run towards the Red Skoda and she plodded clumsily. Blame the saree. The driver reached Bandra at 1 a.m
She offered me a peg of whisky. “You know,” She took a sip and said, “You asked me why I hang around on my own at night.” She flung a picture at me. “He is my husband, a philanderer business tycoon who has no time for me. I am very lonely. Don’t go at the kind of wealth shamelessly displayed in the house. I am Rupa. And you?”
“Akash..Akash,” I said twice.
We were already drunk at 3 a.m. I am finding myself drawn towards her. Behind her wealth and smile, I can sense grief and sadness. I caress her hands. Rupa bend her head on my shoulders, forcing a passionate embrace. There is something about her. I felt guilty. I am being intimate with a married woman but, at the same time, I am drawn by her magnetic presence.
No power in this earth was going to stop us. I followed her steps in the bedroom. A red candle is burning and heavy rains is rattling on the window. She removed her clothes. We kissed each other. I gently caressed her body in the heat of passion. Rupa submitted herself to me. I can’t stop feeling the guilt. My conscience is dead with remorse. We made love that night. Rupa is lying next to me on the bed, displaying a radiant smile . I cannot sleep.
I walked inside the dining room and stumbled across her bag. My eyes stopped at a stack of hand-written letters. I flashed the light of the mobile phone to read the letters which sent me in a tizzy of sort. I am reading my own letters. Rupa is my pen friend who signed with the pseudonym, Mad Woman. My eyes became moist. Rupa exchanged letters with me for the past one year, confessing her life with me, deep dark secrets on her troubled relationship with her husband. It never crossed my mind that she is the woman during our intimate moments.
I confronted her in the morning. She cried and poured her lung out. I held her hands, “I promise to you, Rupa. You were my friend and will always remain one. The first person who told me everything about her life, your husband and marriage in shamble.
She threw me out of the house, closed the door on my face.
Six Months Later:
The phone beeps, You got an sms. reads the Airtel notifiation. ‘We are separated by mutual consent. He left for US with his girl friend and gave me the house as compensation. I am pregnant with your child. Meet me at Barista in the evening.’
PS: This is a work of fiction and bears no ressemblence to any human being, living or dead. It is also linked to Friendship Day.
Happy Friendship Day Folks,