HE went to answer the call of nature. And that is when HE saw it.
While relieving HIS bladder from its fluid, HE casually gazed around that dirty railway toilet. HE frowned at the pungent smell that seemed to choke him and wondered why railway toilets were not a part of “Swach Bharath”.
“Was it because railway toilets were not a part of Bharath at all??“ HE thought with dismay.
That’s when HIS gaze locked onto the doodle on the toilet’s wall. No it was not a doodle. It was a more deliberate, neatly written message done with a blue marker pen. The message said:
“Available @ cheap rate. Call Raja 90874##219. Ask for Sajina with a mole on left breast… F!@#k her as much as you want!!!”
“Some pervert who has no work…” HE thought.
HE finished HIS business, flushed the dirty closet and came out of the toilet. HE went to HIS seat and made himself comfortable. HE opened the India Today magazine and skimmed through the pages with little interest. HE was on HIS way to Bangalore in the Intercity Express. The train was moving so fast that the hot summer wind gushed in like a storm. Even though HE pretended to be engrossed in the magazine, the reality was something else. Sitting opposite to HIM was a girl who was voluptuous, beautiful and very very sexy. She boarded from Palakkad and HE was stunned when she sat opposite to HIM. She was wearing a yellow T-shirt that was so fitting that her ample bosoms seemed to teasingly invite him for a caress. If that was what made her voluptuous; it was her magnificently full, youth fed thighs under the light blue faded jeans and skinny white toes that made her too sexy for him to bear.
But it was her face that looked most stunning. Symmetry like HE had never seen before. What skin she had. Those eyes seemed to tell some erotic love story when it brushed past HIS gaze. There was life erupting out of each and every cell of her body. Her eyebrows were threaded like perfect rainbows guarding her magical eyes. Her lips were sumptuous and full. There was a light shade of pink lipstick, but nothing was overdone. Her hair looked straightened and coloured burgundy. She was listening to music over her iPAD. HE desperately wanted to strike conversation with her, but had no clue on what pretext. The fragrance of her shampooed hair(probably she had used Sunsilk) and the perfume she wore,filled HIS lungs and fed HIS senses each time HE breathed. HIS imaginations ran wild like the speeding express train itself.
The train reached Erode and that is when the OTHER GUY came. Like in every story, the handsome hunk who plays the spoil sport for the hero. In the next 15 minutes, this OTHER GUY charmed everyone around HIM with the guy’s chocolate smile. And within half an hour the girl was giggling at this OTHER GUY’s jokes. HE became frustrated seeing them discuss music, books and movies. HE cursed himself for not striking a spontaneous conversation with this sexy babe.
Again HIS bladder seemed to cry. So HE folded the magazine and kept it where HE sat and went to the same toilet. While relieving his agonies into that stained dirty closet, HE saw that message again:
“Available @ cheap rate. Call Raja 90874##219. Ask for Sajina with a mole on left breast… F!@#k her as much as you want!!!”
This time the message seemed to lure HIM like a silent witch. There was a tingling sensation in HIS groin. For reasons unknown, HE dreamed about this Sajina and how she would look in real. What if she looked as beautiful and sexy as the girl sitting opposite to HIM? For a moment HE felt like calling this Raja (pimp) to set up an evening with Sajina. But some inner voice stopped him. No… HE was not that type. Paying money for sex was not culture. HE put aside those thoughts and went to HIS seat. By now the girl was sitting in his place, rubbing shoulders with Mr. OTHER GUY. Both of them were listening to music from her iPAD sharing the same head set. When they noticed HIS quizzical presence, both of them apologetically requested HIM to sit in the girl’s seat. There was nothing that HE could do but oblige with a fake smile. HE sat there skimming through India Today with Dallai Lama in the cover. HE strangely felt like a Tibetan monk ousted of every pleasure in life by China. HIS heart burned and boiled as the girl and Mr. OTHER GUY started having a really good time, all at HIS expense. Biggest disappointment came when HE saw them exchange mobile numbers.
HE became increasingly angry and this time HIS bladder seemed to roar. So HE got up again and went to very same toilet. This time, the message on the wall succeed in grabbing HIM. HE took HIS mobile phone. The burning sensation of jealousy and failure made HIM dial the number on the wall. HE waited for 5 -6 rings. No reply. The toilet was becoming agonizingly hot. HE was about the cut the call but at that moment a heavy voice answered on the other end. A voice that sounded elegant and far superior than any other voice HE had ever heard. HE asked for this specific girl named Sajina with a mole on her left breast. Initially the pimp seemed perplexed, but HE convincingly made a deal at an astounding 5K for that night. He could not believe HIS luck. HE asked the pimp to Whatsapp the girl’s pic as well. Then HE cut the call and went back to HIS seat.
HE waited for minutes that stretched like hours. And then HIS mobile vibrated indicating Sajina had indeed landed over HIS Whatsapp. Quickly HE downloaded the image. And HE was shocked. The girl looked like a queen in every sense. Even in a simple white salwar she looked awesome. A beauty that would put even the girl sitting opposite to HIM to shame. HE could not believe his luck.
“Wawoooo…all this for 5K…my goodness…I’m gonna enjoy tonight” HIS thoughts flew like wildfire. HE started a conversation with this pimp named Raja over Whatsapp:
“I like her…I will take her all night…is it fine?”
“OK…fine” replied Raja
“Where should I come?”
“Come near Domlur flyover and call me…”
“At what time…??”
“Any time…today we are totally free…”
HE assumed that business was down for this pimp and the call girl. Why else they would settle for such a cheap deal? Nevertheless HE relinquished his luck and fantasized enjoying the warmth of Sajina’s body. HE could not take HIS eyes off her picture. HE mused drinking that intoxicating beauty of hers. HE dreamed running HIS fingers over that beautiful face, lustrous hair, sumptuous lips and every nook and corner of her sculpture-perfect body.Only when HIS jeans felt a bit too tight around HIS groin did HE notice that HE was having an erection. HE closed his thighs instinctively to control it.
By this time Dharmapuri, Hosur and Karmelaram had all passed. It was 7:30 PM when the train arrived at Cantonment station. Luckily the girl and Mr.OTHER GUY got down there. Still HE felt a pang of regret when HE stared at her curvaceous body. Not everything one desires can be attained. HE brushed aside the rue since something better was waiting for HIM!!!
It was 8:00 PM when HE reached Majestic railway station. HE walked out of the station breathing the night air. It was refreshingly cool. HE walked through the crowded, dust filled subway and reached Kempegowda Bus Station. From there HE took a Volvo to Domlur. As the bus started off, HE dialled Raja. To HIS relief, the pimp picked the call without much delay.
“I’m on my way to Domlur… will reach there around 9:30…”
“Ok…get down below the flyover and call me…”
The remaining part of the journey, HE kept looking at Sajina’s photograph. HE wondered what all they would do to each other that night. HE felt ticklish at the thought of HIS flesh meeting hers.
Finally HE got down near Domlur flyover and called the pimp. Raja answered the call immediately.
“I’m here as you told” HE said
“In 5 minutes I will come and pick you…” Raja replied
“OK…how can I identify you…?” But before HE finished, Raja cut the call.
HE waited under the flyover watching those vivid colours of city. Bright neon lights of street lamps and never ending flow of traffic. Suddenly from nowhere a maroon Skoda Rapid stopped in front of him. The driver lowered the window and asked HIM to get in.
“Are you Raja…?” HE asked.
The driver nodded in confirmation. HE got inside the car. The car had a thick fragrance of Ambi Pure freshener that seemed to punch HIS nostrils. The car’s interiors were all plush leather. HE looked at the pimp. Raja looked too elegantly charming for a pimp. With fair skin and gelled hair he looked nothing less than a corporate executive. But HE had lived long enough to understand that looks can be deceptive. HE wondered how a pimp managed to keep a Skoda Rapid doing a 5K transaction. HE could not make sense of Raja’s business model. Well, that was none of HIS business anyway and HE was here to enjoy a great evening. They drove through the buzzing city traffic for nearly 20 minute and then suddenly Raja made a left turn in to a pocket road. Here the traffic looked amazingly thin and population on the road was almost zero.
“Where are we going…” HE asked
“Kalpalli…” Raja replied.
“Ohh… so she is there?” HE questioned
“Yes… in another 5 minutes we will be there.” Raja’s reply seemed to calm HIM
True to those words, Raja stopped the car after 5 minutes. But the place was isolated. It was completely dark and silent to its core.
“We have reached…” Raja said and got out of the car.
HE too followed the suite. Raja opened the trunk of the car and took a bag. Raja hanged it across that strong right shoulder and then closed the dickey and locked car.
“Beep”…the locking sound seemed to echo in every direction.
HE became really tensed now since there was not a soul in the vicinity and there was nothing but a street light that seemed long dead.
The moon was full and bright. So there was no problem with visibility under that cloudless sky. Raja looked at HIM and smiled. As though reading HIS mind Raja spoke:
“Don’t worry, come with me…”
HE did not trust the alluring smile of Raja any more and retorted:
“Man I need to get back…I forgot to take cash from ATM…By the by where is she…?”
“You can pay me the cash after the business Sir… please come with me…”
Some intuition told HIM that Raja could be trusted. So HE followed Raja into that night. The moon above followed them like a silent partner.
“The end of this journey could be worth all the wait and all this risk…” HE thought suppressing an urge to take HIS mobile and have a final look at Sajina before he saw her in life and blood.
After a few minutes of stroll they were standing in front of a huge concrete arch. A watchman was sitting on a steel chair in the front of it. But the guy looked drunk till neck. The watchman kept blabbering senselessly in Kannada which HE was not able to comprehend.
Then slowly HE looked up and was appaled to see the words written over the arch:
“KALPALLI CEMETERY… what the fuck…” HE shouted at Raja.
Raja thrust a palm to calm HIM down and then pointed across the cemetery, towards the other end :
“Sir do you see that flat there… across the Cemetery…that is where she is. We need to walk and silently get inside. We cannot take the car there…Sir please trust me nothing will happen”
HE really did not have a choice but to walk with Raja. Moreover Raja seemed a genuine guy. So they walked through the cemetery in the direction of the flat.
There was nothing but hundreds or even thousands of tombstones around them. Suddenly Raja stopped when they were somewhere in the middle of that cemetery. But HE kept walking ahead without noticing that. HE walked a few paces and then found that Raja was not walking alongside HIM. When HE turned back, Raja was standing still, like a statue. Raja’s head was bent. So HE walked back to Raja.
“Hey… let’s get on with the business man…Come let’s walk…”
“We are already there sir…” Raja replied without moving an inch.
“What do you mean we are already there…? Where is Sajina…Where is she?” HE looked around in confusion
“Where?” HE looked around with zero understanding of what was happening.
Raja pointed to something on the ground. It was a tomb stone. HE looked closely and and put HIS palm to HIS wide open mouth. It was horrific.
Inscribed in big English alphabets over the tombstone were these words:
“Sajina Ramanujan 22-July- 1986 to 24-June-2015”
HIS legs began to wobble and HE fell back. His head struck against a low lying branch of a tree. HE gripped HIS head with both HIS hands unable to bear the searing pain. Raja went to HIM and helped him stand up. It took HIM a few minutes to regain his posture. Then HE looked at a Raja who was sitting on a nearby marble tomb as if nothing had happened. His pale face, under moonlight, showed no emotion.
Finally HE asked:
“Who are you and what the hell do you want?”
“I’m Raja Krishnaswami… Sajina is…sorry WAS my wife… ”
HE could not believe what HE heard. HE was literally flabbergasted.
“Why the hell did you write it on the railway toilet…that…”
“I did not write it…”
“Then who did it…”
“I do not know…actually nobody knows who did that…All I know is that there are trains running the length and breadth of this country carrying the message that you saw today. That my wife is a prostitute with a mole on her left breast and if someone wanted her, they had to just call me.” There were tears rolling down Raja’s eyes.
“Then why you did not tell me earlier…”
Raja simply smiled at HIM. It was a more sarcastic grin than a humorous one.
Then there was silence. It just seemed to fill everything around HIM and Raja. HE felt that the moonlight stood no chance when the scary silence seemed to crush it under its black iron fist.
“I’m sorry Raja…” HE broke the silence with an apology.
“No there is no need to be sorry. It is not your fault. Somebody loved Sajina so much that the person could not tolerate her marrying me…or it was someone who knew both of us but simply wanted to…”
“Ruin your lives…” HE completed the sentence.
“Yes…exactly…and the person had an evil success.”
Strangely, HE felt comfortable with Raja. HIS heart went out for Raja and Raja’s dead wife. But one question kept haunting him like that silent dormitory of death in which HE was standing right now.
“Raja… I can understand your feelings…but how did she die…”
“We were just one week into our marriage when calls started coming to my number…I had a nervous breakdown when people started calling and texting me with certainty on something physically secretive about my wife… I was shattered…she was shattered…Our relationship was tormented… We both plunged into the darkness of depression…”
“There could have been some misunderstanding…”
“What misunderstanding? It was a deliberate attempt to destroy us…”
“There could have been someone with whom she had an affair with…”
Raja lost temper at that point and shouted angrily at HIM:
“Nooooo…No… that was not the case… I asked her a million times and she confessed there was nothing of that sort…She was not the kind who would lie… Now I realise she was pure…innocent…”
“Are you sure?” HE asked.
Silence was the only reply HE got. HE understood that this Raja was a lunatic and the best way to get away from here was use sympathy and compassion as a tool. But somewhere HE felt for the poor couple torn apart by cruel fate. HE churned HIS brain and thought about every possible explanation to this puzzle and use it as a an excuse to make a safe exit. An exit from a trap HE had created for HIMSELF.
“What if someone loved her…may be one of her colleagues or friends? What if she rejected them ardently…with great force? What if she was wearing a tight costume that exposed her cleavage and this pervert accidentally spotted the mole…?”
“Yes… even she speculated things on the same line. But I was blind and mad. Life became treacherous each day… Our marriage had become a hell and there were fights…At least 10 unknown calls came each day… We tried to come to terms with each other…but could not…”
“Man…you should have gone to police…or changed your number…”
“Yes… but before that everything ended… “
“What do you mean?” HE asked
“You see that flat…” Raja pointed towards the flat they were walking towards earlier. It was more than 15 storey for sure…maybe even more.
“Yes…” HE replied
“That is where we started our life. And that’s where she ended her’s. She jumped from the top floor….it all ended there…I insisted on burying her here so that I could see her whenever I wanted…from our flat…”
HE covered HIS mouth again with HIS right palm. This was turning more sinister now.
“Police arrested me initially and I told them our story… They did some kind of investigation and made a few arrests as well… most of them were juvenile teens. They had nothing to do with the crime other than dialling my number. They called because the number was written in some railway toilet…”
HE noticed that Raja was sweating even in that chillingly cold weather. Raja continued:
“But we could not catch the real culprit…The one who did all this is somewhere out there… Walking happily amongst those millions of strange faces…”
HE felt tormented and lost listening to this sad, wicked tale..
“I’m sorry Raja… I think we need to go back…”
Raja sat silently with head bent and did not move a bit. HE walked towards Raja and put HIS arms over Raja’s shoulders and said:
“Come let’s go brother…”
“Come let’s leave this place…” HE spoke a bit too loud this time.
The reply was a silence louder than the last. HIS skin crawled when Raja spoke:
“Finish off what you came here for…”
“Finish off?? What do you mean …”
Raja looked in HIS eyes, held HIM by HIS left arm and made HIM stand facing Sajina’s tomb.
“You came here to do something… DO IT…NOW…”
“Are you mad… Fuck you man…” HE shouted at Raja trying to get away from that iron grip.
Raja pushed him over Sajina’s tomb. HIS head slammed against the cold granite.
“You came here to fuck her right…remove your trousers and get it done…NOW…”
HE understood that Raja was completely nuts. HE stood up slowly and pretended to remove the buckle of HIS jeans. HIS plan was to dash towards the exit. But unbuttoning seemed difficult the buttons was stuck to some loose string. HE bent down in desperation.
Then everything happened in a fraction of a second.
HE felt Raja’s cold hand holding HIS forehead from behind. HE lifted his head up in reflex. Before HE could react, HE felt the cold edge of a steel blade slit HIS throat. HE saw HIS own blood getting sprayed over Sajina’s tomb. HE wanted to shout but the more HE strained, blood spattered with more force, like a rhythmic dance of a musical fountain. HE fell down grasping for breath over the tomb. The last thing HE saw was Raja’s face staring at him expressionlessly under the moonlight.
Raja stood there for some time looking at HIS motionless dead body. Motionless and Emotionless. HIS blood formed a warm layer over the black granite. Raja sat on Sajina’s tomb, placed the sharp edge of the imported commando knife over the left wrist. Raja, with closed eyes, live the life lived so far through memory lanes that cascaded with great force. And then Raja saw Sajina’s love filled face urging to accompany her into eternity. And then Raja cut his vein.
Raja fell down and hugged HIS lifeless head with love, as though it was Sajina’s . Blood flowed like a stream from left wrist. Their bloods got mixed over Sajina’s tomb and became one. Like brothers until death, they slept over her tombstone, deep into that night.
Hours passed in silence until a lone owl hooted somewhere.
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