I enjoy Simrin sitting on me like this. From the raised pillows I could see her toned body that glows by the faint light seeping inside the room through the half opened door that leads to her dressing room.
She sits on me like a sculpture by Reddy; wide eyed, long haired, big bosomed and thick lipped. She is still now. Her heavy eyelids droop as if they were not able to stand the weight of the pleasure that we were enjoying that moment of union. Unlike the other Punjabi girls, Simrin is not so fair and tall. She is five feet five inches in tall and interestingly she looks more like a mulatto. I remember asking her one day whether her parents had some racial mix up at some point in their family’s history. Curly hairs, thick lips and not so fair complexion are not quite normal to a typical Punjabi girl from Chandigarh.
“Mixed race? You must be joking,” she had looked at me with an expression of horror and disbelief when I mentioned for the first time almost a year back. We were having our official ‘dates’. This expression, I thought, could only have emoted by girls of Simrin’s age, education and job profile. They could show the expression of horror and disbelief at anything that they understand well but feel the need to show ignorance.
“No, no, my mother comes from the famous Bawa family of Chandigarh and my father is a distant cousin of my mom. So there is no question of racial mix up,” she asserted while licking away the cream moustache on her upper lip with the tip of her tongue and adjusting her large sun glasses over her forehead. The negation was so vehement but I felt that quite appealing and I should say, ‘sexy’.
“Oh..please don’t get worked up on that issue. Perhaps, it was this curly hair, thick lips and not-so-fair complexion got me going,” I said with a fair amount of vagueness in my voice.
“Come on Mr.Shivnandan Dixit,” she laughed and the people around us turned and stared at us. Her laughter was like a torrent of pebbles fallen unexpectedly on the glass houses that the other couples had created around them inside the cool clime of the cafe.
“Call me Shiv,” I told her.
Simrin did not seem to register my suggestion. “Look Shivnandan, don’t be so silly. It is not my first date. I have already met at least five of them who came to me after doing enough facebook research and late night chats. I know they all have noticed my curly hairs and thick lips. But it is you, first time, who made it so obvious. Let me tell you never make me so conscious of it by mentioning it again and again,” Simrin was dead serious when she said this. As she lowered the glass over her eyes I realized that she did not want to confront my gaze.
We met in facebook and that is how people meet these days. I don’t find people falling in love so desperately in real time and space as they do in the virtual space. As I notice even in my office people have flings, short term affairs and sort of childish friendships amongst the opposite sexes, I wonder why they don’t fall in love. They don’t fall in love because these days people like virtual reality more than real reality. There was a time when people craved for real love, proximity with the person you are in love with. There was a time when people wanted to be together always. Today if you see anybody sitting together in parks or restaurants for endless hours, make sure that they are not working in the same place.
Simrin laughs whenever she listens to my observations about people in love especially the people in love in our urban spaces. She asks me whether we too could become one of them, desperate and looking for spaces to be together.
What I liked in Simrin, of course besides her curly hairs, thick lips and not so fair complexion, was her independence. She had finished her MBA from a reputable academy in Mumbai and had moved to Delhi a few years back. I thought it was natural for any Punjabis to move towards Delhi than to any other city in India. Often Chandigarh girls make it big in Delhi irrespective of their chosen professions. Delhi has a special place for Chandigarh girls. She could be a hair stylist or a gallerist. Delhi would definitely help her to flourish.
Simrin worked in Taj as one of the top executives. When I met her she had already bought a decent apartment in Greater Kailash. Like many other girls she did not have any plan to start a family very soon. Nor did I have any inclination to fall in family line. So we were mutually definitely made for the each other couple. Even if I had my well furnished apartment, she never thought of moving in permanently with me.
“This works for me,” Simrin told me once after a fierce round of love making at my place. I was so pleased, relaxed and floating over happy waves of emotions that I told her to move in with me. She refused that flatly. Silently she walked into the washroom. I waited for her to come out. Even I thought while doing the ablutions she would give my suggestion a second thought. I tried not to listen to the sounds coming from the bathroom. However I tried I could not wish them off completely. I could hear the flush flooding our combined secretions through the fathomless pit of the commode. I could hear her washing her face. I could hear the rustling of the towel. After a few moments she came out.
I did not move from the bed. I had left the habit of smoking after pursuing it for almost ten years throughout my education and after recently. There was an unquenchable desire for smoking a cigarette at that moment. I knew that my home was a sanitized space as far as tobacco was concerned. But still I made a mental search in all the possible places where I could have left a packet of cigarettes. I thought of myself as a hero in one of the Hollywood movies that I often watched in my laptop.
Simrin came out of the bathroom like Botticelli’s Venus. Her hair was not flowing the way Venus’ swayed. She stood in front of the tall mirror fitted on to my wardrobe shelf, giving a full view of her nudity. I looked at her as if I were seeing her for the first time. For some strange reason, her full bosom and shaped buttocks reminded me of Picasso’s cubist portraits of his girlfriends. I could see Simrin from all the angles.
My gaze was not affecting her at all. She looked around for a moment and picked up her clothes that were strewn all over. With practiced moves she wore her panty. The she pushed her legs through a pair of jeans. She picked up her bra and meticulously pushed her breasts inside its cups and with a feminine ease she hooked them by stretching and folding her hands behind her back. In a flash, she put the top over her head and now she was a fully clad woman.
Her face was grave and did not betray any dialogue that had been going on between her heart and mind. She opened her vanity bag, picked up a few things and did some make up work on her face. While doing it she had completely forgotten my presence in the room. Perhaps, wherever it be, when women do their make-up they feel at home. Finally Simrin got up and turned towards me.
There was a smile on her lips. I felt positive. I thought I was going to get an affirmative answer. I thought she was going to move in. Slowly she walked towards me and from her movement I could make out that she was going to play some pranks with me. I sat there without batting my eyelids even for the fraction of a second.
“No dear,” she whispered into my ear. “It would affect both of us. See, you have a dream to follow and I have mine. It is not that we would never stay together. May be at some point, when both of us feel that we had enough of our dream chasing, we could come under one roof. And I am sure, it would be really fantastic,” Simrin smiled at me.
Suddenly I felt Simrin was quite like my mother; calm and composed. Above all she sounded very caring. She talked to me as if she was negotiating with a very rich guest who suddenly turned dissatisfied with the luxuries of her hotel. She was patient, cheerful and stern to the right measure.
“Okay, if you believe that one day we would live together here, then I am okay with that,” finally I said. It was a sort of surrendering. I felt I was school boy whose demand for something expensive was politely turned down by a very caring mother.
“Who are after your friend’s life?” Simrin asks me while she moves rhythmically. I wish she does not talk. All the more I wish she does not even mention what has been going on for quite some time in my life. I don’t want to listen anything from her in these moments our blissful union. Yes, I know I am going to be here for a week. She also feels good about it. After one year, though she has not made up her mind of move in with me permanently, occasional spells of being together for a week are quite welcome now.
I push my hands forward to grab by her back. It feels so good. I run my fingers through her spine and try to get up. She giggles and forces me down. “No, let me do it completely,” she heaves. She throws her head back and increases her movement. I think these are the best moments in my life. I am going to prolong it for a week while my friend rots there back at my pad alone.
The sudden remembrance of the image of my friend captured like a mouse in a trap works against that moment and Simrin knows it immediately. Without showing irritation she removes herself from me and lies down next to me. “I know you are worried about him. I should not have jumped all over you the moment you came in. I should have controlled myself,” says Simrin. I kiss her to silence and I feel a lot of love for her at this moment. I feel some kind of fear gripping me from all sides. I don’t want to think a lot about it but like an itch in the back of the brain, the image of my friend sitting like a frightened mouse inside my pad comes back to me consistently.
“What has he done for this?” Simrin asks. She has now measured the gravity of the situation from my tensed muscles and disturbing silence.
“They are after his life,” I feel so pathetic that I am not able to reveal who they are even to my Simrin. I look at a series of water colours by Shibu Natesan on the wall. She bought it from a collector when he wanted to offload these watercolours to purchase a large oil on canvas by the same artist. This was Simrin’s first art purchase. I persuaded to collect the series as it came up for sales in the secondary market. I had exhausted my budget as I burnt my pocket last March when I bought a large Sudhir Patwardhan from a Mumbai gallery.
“Why should I buy art at all?” Simrin had laughed as if she went mad at my suggestion. I told her that it was not only a good series of water colours but also it was a good investment. Shibu Natesan was going great in market and his price was appreciating at every passing season. It took almost a week to convince Simrin to put in the money.
“You know Shiv, I love these works now. Every night and every morning I look at them. Those missing kids seem to speak to me a lot of things. I don’t know I would ever buy a work of art in my life. But I am not going to leave them whatever may happen to Shibu Natesan or his market value,” Simrin says.
I try to smile. I am not able to focus on what Simrin says. I think of those people who met me a last month in Mumbai when I was there for a business meeting.
Simrin’s mobile rings. She picks it up from the side table and jumps up with a shriek.
I grab the mobile from her and see the number flashing in the screen. It is not a number, a name: Shiv Home.
Who is that calling in Simrin’s mobile from my home? If at all it is he, how come he knows Simrin’s number? And why should he call Simrin at all when he knows my number?
A shiver passes through my spine and I scramble out of the bed. I don’t know how the moments passed after that.
I honk the horn, against my ethical behaviour on road, furiously. I mutter bad words at those drivers who don’t speed up to clear the road for me. All the while I ask myself a question.
Who entered my home? What happened to him?
(Will be continued....)