Friday, August 22, 2014


She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. Last night had left its mark, as she had hoped it would. They had slept late. A night of binge drinking was something that she had left behind in her youth. So when she woke up clear headed, she was pleasantly surprised at herself. It had been a wild night. Her lips still swollen and a bit bruised. Her lower lip had bled a little and it left a dark spot where the drop had dried. That had made her smile. The sweet pain on her lips made her body tingle with a familiar sensation. She loved how he kissed recklessly with his searing passion when he got a little drunk. Oh how she had wanted to taste those lips again. He is a passionate kisser. Perhaps the best in the world. At least in her world. She hadn’t known anyone to be like him. The fierceness in his kiss tasted of possession and it melted her into completely surrender. She would have never known that pain could be so exquisitely sweet. He used his teeth often on her body, when passion engulfed him, and that left marks. His marks. Marks she could savour for days after. Marks she could touch, that reminded her of him. She would look at them and feel the rush of sensation that it would inevitably bring. This was her secret pleasure. To relive their moment of passion, over and over. That after taste of pleasure he left on her body, made her feel alive.

He had whispered that he loved her and that there will always be them. Then he had caught her lips in between his and crushed them. She had felt his soft tongue tasting her mouth and his teeth biting her lips like they were lovers for the first time. Remembering that moment she sighed. She knew she was special and that she was his. But his words, after so much time, gave her a new sense of fulfilment. She knew that a part of him will always be hers to keep. She has always loved him with all her heart, refusing to put a label to their relationship and never questioning the irrationality of what the future held for them. She knew what he made her feel was something extraordinary, something she will never feel with anyone else. He always let her be herself when they were together. What he made her feel was visceral and because of him, she faced her own passion without guilt for the first time. There was no better honesty than how he made her body react, for him and within her. So she had let her body decide. She knew there would never be another like him and the passion they shared, was theirs alone. To hold a secret this precious made her special.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


She revealed in her womanhood. As if some door was opened for her for the first time. Suddenly she felt awakened and she smiled for no reason. It was perhaps the gushing hormones or maybe just the knowledge that she was going to be a mother.

On hind sight, it seems to her that she was keener to have a baby than S ever was and now that he had given her what she wanted so desperately, he shed all pretence of being intimate. That was when they stopped sharing the marriage bed. He was repelled by the changes to her body. He wouldn’t even let her change her clothes if he was in the same room. But everyone around her said she was beautiful. Her cousin teased her about how S must be taking advantage of all the ‘glow’ as she winked naughtily. For the longest time she couldn’t fathom why S was suddenly even more averse to intimacy. He was never the one to initiate, and she thought this was probably a phase that he will grow out of. After all they were already married for over two years. For the first time she felt good about how she looked and about herself. She wanted intimacy like never before. But then he told her. To stay away from him. That he found her ugly with her slightly swollen belly, fuller chest and her silly smile. And that he would never ever touch her again. It hurt her like nothing had before. It chipped away a large part of something deep inside. She had grown up knowing she was ordinary and that she would never be pretty like her cousins and she had accepted that. By the time she was in college she had embraced her ordinariness and found beauty in it and solace too.

With pregnancy, her hitherto plainness has turned her into a woman whom everyone noticed when she went out to the market or for an evening stroll. Strangers turned and then smiled. Some even asked her about when the baby was due. By then she had a small bump that made her condition known. And the men often stared, trying to hide their expression of appreciation. It shocked her at first. Why would strangers look at her in that way. But then it happened often enough to convince her that it was because of how she looked. It was then obvious to her that the prettiness she felt when she looked at herself in the mirror was not just in her mind. Thinking back, it was perhaps the confidence she felt in her body that made her pretty and made people notice her for the first time. Not pretty in the conventional way but someone who would arrest attention and tempt you to look twice. But S’s words shattered all that and she was grateful when the doctor advised her to fly to Bangalore by the mid of her third trimester. Her in-laws had decided that the baby delivery business would have to be taken care of by her parents as was customary for them. She had protested and begged S that she wanted him to take the responsibility and she wanted to stay with him and it was their baby after all. But S refused to talk to his parents and it appeared to her that he was relieved to see her go. She should have seen it coming. She should have anticipated what her life would be like for the next five years. But she didn’t. In her new found happiness and her joy of becoming a mother, she let that unsavoury thought slip away from her mind.

conquering the last frontier

The trouble of staying independent is that you have to constantly over come your fears one way or another. Be it the bank account reconciliation, understanding an investment portfolio or getting new tyres for your car. Now the real trouble begins when you are independent and lazy. I have been postponing the replacement of my car tyres for the last couple of months. Everything time something or the other came up and I figured those were more important. So then, on the first morning after my return from a fabulous holiday in Singapore, I am greeted with a flat tyre of the front left wheel. Apparently it had sprung a leak earlier and while I was happily carousing in Singapore, it puffed out its last breath of air. Tubeless tyres and our roads are not a happy marriage I suppose.

So after cursing myself, I sheepishly ask dad for his car keys since there was no time to haul the dead tyre to the repair shop and anyhow the repair man doesn’t start his day that early in the morning. On my way back from work, I decide to visit the nearest tyre shop and find out about replacement options. My car was custom fitted with Michelin XM1+ tyres which at that time seemed like a very good idea. The car dealer convinced me about its superlative qualities and I buckled in for the trade up. To be honest, it wasn’t a bad investment at all. It saw me through the tumultuous years of breaking relationships, moving home, invading sadness, changing jobs and the innumerable doctor’s visits for the family. It has kept all my secrets and never let me down. Never a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere. No engine trouble, ever. Other than a few rough scratches and small dents, it still purrs as quietly as it did the day I got it home. Not that I have taken good care of it. Over the years I have forgotten to get service done on many occasions. Postponing at times, out of the dread of inconvenience of having to pencil in one more thing in my chaotic life. But it has got me through most of my life’s troubles.

So here I was, a bit daunted at the sight of the service station. The men, both the mechanics and the owners of other cars getting serviced, give me a dismissive look and ignore me completely. I finally work up the courage to speak and say that I am here to buy new tyres for my car. They point to a spot surreptitiously  behind the station to a flight of stairs that leads to their office. I manage to climb up the dark staircase and enter a dimly lit room stacked to the ceiling with tyres and filled with the smell of new rubber. On one corner there is a table with a laptop and no one seemed to be around. I kept standing ready to run at the first sign of trouble. My CSI-fed mind working overtime!

Finally a short puny man appears from nowhere. He doesn't smile and just stares and I tell him that I am looking to buy new tyres for my car. He asks about the size and I am stumped. I do not have the answer. However, I tell him the make and model and told him to suggest options. Here is where it gets interesting. He rattles off the details and prices and looks at me with a disrespectful grin. What he did not know is that I have done my research on the internet. Apparently, people are buying car tyres online! My father would be mortified. But here I was negotiating hard with him on the price, once I had agreed to an option. This surprises the man. He gets defensive and started saying why the price that he is quoting is more than the ones being offered online. So I tell him that is it fine I will buy them online – I am in no hurry and I turn to walk away. He calls me back and offers a price that I wasn’t expecting. So round one to me. We fix up a time for fitting the tyres and I leave. Of course, this doesn’t impress my dad who is convinced that for the discounted price he will give me used tyres. But then, we will just have to see about that.