My friend was standing very close to my wife. I was looking at them as my heart fluttered in anxiety. I could not hear what they were speaking…by they I meant only my friend was speaking .. my wife appeared to be hesitant and fearful. Her eyes were darting here and there but it didn’t appear that she was there unwillingly. She was standing with her back leaning against the wall. He had his hands on the wall either side of her body thereby imprisoning her. She was looking deep into his eyes as he said something to her in a low voice. Dimples formed on her cheeks as she smiled shyly at something he said. My heart started beating faster on seeing that shy smile blossom on her face. As he moved his body even closer to hers she placed her hands on his chest preventing him moving further.. but there appeared to be more receptivity to his advances than resistance. He bent his head so that his face went towards hers ..my wife shyly turned her head to one side.
His body overcame the resistance of her hands and pressed against her body .. his wet lips planted onto her cheeks .. turning into a kiss. He again moved away from her a bit. His right hand went behind her braided hair and adroitly held her neck from behind .. my wife’s hands were still lying just simply on his chest. He pulled her towards him .. my wife without any opposition complied to his action .. her face was raised up for his convenience. His face bent towards her quivering lips .. my wife’s lips opened slightly, as his mouth seized her lower lip, her gently closed. One hand went around her back and the other around the curve of her bare waist .. her hands moved from his chest and became a garland around his shoulders. His hands tightened even more on her body pulling her further up onto him so that she was now standing on her insteps. Her ample breasts were now mashed against his chest. The hand caressing her back tightened pulling her in tighter .. and she did the same. Their bodies were pressed so tightly against each other as they kissed that even air would not have been able to move in between them. They had their eyes closed as they kissed passionately each sucking and tasting the other’s lips.
Long seconds passed but there was no sign of them moving apart. After a very long kiss ended their bodies finally separated. My wife rubbed clean his saliva from her lips with the back of her palm. She adjusted her sari which was crumpled because of their tight embrace. However, he without his lust being sated in anyway moved his hand towards her breast. She entwined her fingers with his to prevent him going any further .. but with a laughter he overcame her strength and moved towards his goal. Meera was not able to stop him. His hand reached in and grabbed her corpulent breast. Even though Meera pretended that she wanted to stop him but she was just standing there giving him the go ahead to play with her breast. As his hand tested the softness of her breast Meera suddenly pulled his head and mashed her lips against his. While kneading my wife’s breast he was sucking on her lips. My wife’s hand was now on the front of his pants pressing his manhood. He pulled down his zip and her hand snaked in through the entrance. The movement of the clothes in from of his pelvis indicated my wife massaging his hardened manhood. Then as he separated he went down on his knees before her. She laughed softly as she looked at him with lust dripping eyes. He started pulling up her sari and inner skirt together up to her thighs.
Meera bit her lips as a slight naughty smile appeared on her face. He raised her clothes further up to her waist and was soon feasting his eyes on her femininity which only I had seen before. As his lips embedded on to her womanly treasure Meera melted in passion. As his tongue entered her pleasure tunnel Meera’s eyes half closed in lust as her pink tongue wet her lips. She looked at him with playful admonishment and suddenly moved away and left the place adjusting her sari as she left. With a smile on his face he adjusted his clothes. There was a victorious look on his face. From their action it didn’t seem like this was their first illicit friction together. I understood that he must have sampled my Meera’s body a few times .. but there was one thing I could not understand. My wife Meera, 30 years old, mother of two kids, having been a chaste housewife till now. Participating and being a strength to me in my many struggles. Like a goddess lighting up my life .. like a mother being a balm to the pains I underwent. Where even everyone in town would praise that a wife must be like Saravanan’s wife. How a woman like that got involved in an illicit love affair … that too with a man 3 years younger than her. My heart drowned within me in sorrow.
Our family had once upon a time been very prosperous, but bad luck had struck us and my father had become bankrupt. Selling the last property we had, namely our house we were able to marry off my younger sister. Having lost in life when we left this town along with my parents as failures I was just 19 years old. We were practically like refugees in the big city that we went to. My father died heart broken, unable to bear the thought that he had failed his family. My only support was my mother. However having undergone these hardships at an early age forged my will with strength to face whatever fearsome hurdles life threw at me. When I was just 23 years old relatives match made me with Meera, who was just a few months younger than me. Meera’s family was also not well off .. but looking at her beautiful face, bright like the sunlight, I became enamoured with her immediately. For me she looked like the goddesses I saw in the photos. I had no hope that her family would accept this alliance but was pleasantly surprised when her family let us know of their acceptance. Meera shared my bed with me, nights were filled with pleasure and happiness. I became a father to a daughter in the first year itself. Even though there were so many sorrows in life, a pretty daughter, a stunningly beautiful wife gave me the strength to overcome the struggles. I lost my mother to cancer. That was the time I did not have money to give her the best treatment that was possible.
Life waged war on me in full force. Meera was my lieutenant in the war helping me face all the battles. She never asked me for new clothes, for jewellery. Her smile was the jewellery that she wore. Her beauty made even the old clothes on her appear like new garments. She was very careful with money managing within what I brought home and still saving some. Slowly our savings started becoming substantial. After 3 years I got a son as proof that Meera and I had a joyous relationship in bed. In four year from just being a husband I had become a father to two kids. My inherent character to battle against life’s obstacles became stronger. Life which had been an enemy to me all this while became my friend. Wealth started accumulating. I decided to go and win in the land my father had lost. The whole town looked in amazement as I settled there with my family. A beautiful wife and a 6 years old beautiful daughter and a 4 years old intelligent son. In my 30 years of life there was no one in town wealthier than me or had a more beautiful family than I had.
In time to come I was known by the townspeople more as Big Shop Boss (Periakadaikaarar) rather than my actual name of Saravanan. My double story Clothes shop in town brought me more prestige among the people. Meera also became known as Big shop lady (Periakadaiamma). I played a prominent role in the Town’s temple celebrations. Even those much older than me treated me with utmost respect. I would get the first invitation when any important events that occurs in the families of prominent and not so prominent people of the town. I was the first person to have bought a car in that town. That afternoon as I started my ‘bullet’ bike and was about to leave for home for lunch I heard a voice shout “Saravana”. I turned and looked at the direction of the voice. He was standing there with a broad smile on his face, a very familiar face.
When I was a young boy we used to go and play cricket matches in the neighbouring village. Cricket was my life passion at that time. Kumaresan, Vanavan, Suresh, Ayub… there was a big group like that. Now the person who called me was Prabu, our Science teacher’s son .. three years younger than me. His house was a bit way away from mine.
“How are you,” he asked me with affection.
Suddenly seeing an old friend of mine .. I switched off my bike engine got off, and while calling to the tea shop assistant, ”Dayal , get us two cups of tea” .. I went and hugged him in friendship.
We talked for a long time, we didn’t realize the time passing. One tea became four. Cigarette buds were littered on the floor we were standing. He told me that he was working in Abu Dhabi.
“Are you married,” I asked him.
“No, first have to get my younger sister married off.”
Then,” I saw madhani (Bhabi) yesterday in the temple. The priest informed me that she was your wife.”
I smiled,” Why don’t you come home with me, have lunch with me and go.”
“No, I have plenty of things to do. I am going on a matter of a marriage proposal for Pappu, (pet name for his sister). I’ll come another day,” with that he took leave.
Ever since I relocated back here, I would go without fail every Friday to the ‘Lord Shiva’ temple located in a corner of the town. It has been standing there, majestically, for a few hundred years. I would attend the evening pooja in the company of my family, that is Meera and my two children. Even though the temple was within walking distance from my home, I would nevertheless take my family there by car. After attending the pooja I would take them directly to my shop. We would then have dinner at a restaurant before we return home. I stopped my car and got off. Meera and kids got off from the other side walked around the car towards me. It never ceased to amaze me how Meera could wear a sari so beautifully. In fact, any sari would look beautiful if she was the one wearing it.
Muththachi grandma called out,” Bigshoplady (Periakadaikaariamma) buy some jasmine flowers for your hair before going.”
Smilingly Meera walked towards Muththachi’s flower shop. The old lady thrust a big bundle of jasmine flowers into her hands. “Why grandma so much of flowers,” asked my wife.
The old lady looked at her with affectiom.” You have such lovely locks of hair, so broad, thick and long, why shouldn’t you wear this much of flowers.”
With a smile Meera took it and wore it on her hair. I proudly gave the old lady money for the flowers. After the pooja I sat down in the hall of the temple. My wife had a tough time controlling my two children running about helter-skelter. She was admonishing them gently as she tried to control them. I sat there joyfully watching them.
“Saravana,” I turned my head hear the voice call out. Prabu came and sat beside me.
“Hey, come, come,” I looked at Meera and said, “my friend.” She held her pallu in place while extending him the traditional greeting with her two hands. “You two carry on talking, I’ll take care of the children.” Saying this she went away after the children.
We talked for awhile recalling old memories. We were the only two among our old friends who were still here. They would come back sometimes if there was a big festival in town Prabu told me. I told Meera to get ready. She looked at Prabu with a small smile and said,” I’ll take my leave.”
One Sunday while I was getting ready to go to the shop someone knocked on my door.
“Meera, go see who it is,” I said.
Meera left her cooking halfway and went and opened the door. She stood there silently for a few seconds then, “Dear, your friend has come,” she said.
I looked at my doorway while sipping on my coffee, Prabu entered in.
“Hey, what are you doing so early in the morning.”
“No daa, I had nothing to do at home. It was so boring, so I came to see you.”
I called out to Meera, “Meera bring a cup of coffee for Prabu.”
I looked at Prabu and said,” Don’t take me wrong, but why don’t you join my shop?”
Prabu thought for a while and said, “No daa, right now you and I are good friends but if I join your shop our relationship would change to boss and worker.”
I too felt what he said was correct. After drinking his coffee he said, The coffee madhani (Bhabhi) gave was super.” Meera only gave a smile as an answer and went away.
In the night when I went to bed Meera slowly asked me, “How long do you know him?”
“Who?? Prabu?? I know him from when we were little.”
“Why is he not married yet?”
“No, he is only 27 now, why? why are you asking?”
“No, if he had got married at the right time… ,” Meera spoke hesitantly.
“What maa, tell me.”
“You wanted to say something, why are you hesitating?”
“No … if he had got married at the right time he would not be staring at different women.”
“Why? With you did he….”
“Aiyo no .. nothing like that. It’s just that he seems to be leering at women, that’s why.”
“Leave it, his age is like that. They will be like that at this age.”
We both went to sleep without any mental disturbance. Prabu coming to my house only happened very recently. He was in my house almost every day. My children too started calling him, “uncle .. uncle …” and became close to him. Meera however would only talk to him very limitedly.
That day I decided to leave the shop a bit early. My accounts man would lock up the shop and hand over the keys to my house. On the way home my motorbike suddenly started wobbling. I stopped to have a look. My front tyre had a puncture. Luckily my mechanic shop was very close by. I pushed my bike to his shop.
“Leave it here Anna (big brother), I will bring it to your home after repairing it.”
I smiled at him thankfully and started walking towards home. As I walked, I came to the school quite near my house. I debated with myself what to do. I could go around it or go across through the school field. At this time around 7 pm there usually would be no people around that place. I decided to walk across the field. I walked through the pathway which was close to the school. I could observe the wet grass of the field in the moonlight. Right at the end where a Tamarind tree stood, I could see someone standing there.
As I got a bit closer, I could see it was a man and a woman. He was leaning on his motorbike parked there. The woman was standing a bit close to him. There was no chance of them observing me at that time. I walked and reached closer to them, they finally noticed me. Now I could recognise who they were. The persons standing there were Meera and Prabu. Both of them stood there like stone looking at me. Meera stood as if she was in shock.
Prabu first came to his senses, “Madhani (bhabi) was just returning from the temple Saravana. I happened to be just standing here .. that’s why we were talking for a while.”
This was a normal event but why did Meera’s face seem flustered. “Meera, where are the children?” I asked her.
“They came with me and were here, then Pramila came they ran away with her to play,” her voice was unsteady.
“Why are you walking back home?” Prabu asked me.
I told him about my punctured tyre. “Okay, Saravana, you take Madhani back with you on my bike, I will come home tomorrow morning and pick it up.” There wasn’t any unsteady or guilty tone in his voice.
This is an ordinary event. Meera frequently takes the children by that route to the temple and back. Prabu often comes there to smoke. Very serene situation .. you get nice gentle breeze there .. the school where we both studied. When Prabu is upset this is the place he usually comes to calm himself. There was nothing wrong that happened .. yet I could hear Meera’s heart beating as she sat behind me in the bike.
As I parked my bike in front of my house my children ran towards us from Pramila’s house. Meera opened the front door. My children ran into the house and started their usual playing. Meera straight away escaped into the kitchen. I know Meera reaction very well. I understood that she had become really frightened. I walked and stood close to her. I realised that Meera’s eyes had reddened with tears about to burst out.
“Hey, foolish, who were you talking too huh? It was just Prabu, after all for this why are you….”
Meera suddenly buried her head on my chest. I affectionately embraced her. “Were you frightened,” I asked her. She shook her head as if to say ‘yes’. I started laughing as I hugged her tightly.
Very soon Meera got back to her normal self. Prabu was going on in his usual way. January 7th was Meera’s birthday. She usually never celebrated it in a big way. She would go to the temple in the morning. She would make some sweets at home and that’s about it. She was getting the kids ready for school. I gave her a kiss and she accepted it with a smile. The day went as usual. I came back home earlier than usual on that day. Prabu was home playing with the children.
I looked at him with a friendly smile and said, Hi.”
“Why didn’t you tell me it was Madhani’s birthday? Did you think I swill ask you for Briyani or something like that.”
“No, it’s not like that, she normally doesn’t celebrate it in a big way.”
Meera came from the kitchen with coffee for both of us. “Look dear, in spite of me telling him, he didn’t listen and went and bought things like Saree, perfume etc.”
As she gave the cups of coffee to both of us, I asked Prabu,” why all this?”
“Don’t talk, they take care of us and do so much for us at home and in return if we don’t even do this it won’t be right. Besides just for Madhani’s coffee I think I still owe a lot more.”
Meera went away with a small smile. I went to wash my hands. When I returned, Meera and Prabu were sitting on the same sofa in the centre of the hall talking something. There were ample strands of pink jasmine pinned to Meera’s hair. The flower woman must have just come and gone. I looked at him and asked, “What?”
“It seems they are going to Chennai to buy sarees for Pappu’s marriage,” she said.
“Why daa? Are you going to get in Chennai what you cannot get from my shop?”
“Ask him that .. I too was asking the same thing,” she said.
“No Saravana, the groom’s side is insisting it has to be from Chennai.”
After talking for a while Prabu left for his home and Meera went inside. I intended to go out for a while and I had just started the bike when the flower lady came by shouting, ‘flowers’ ‘flowers’… I looked at her wonderingly. She is only coming now to sell flowers. For the first time I had a feeling of uneasiness.