Chapter 1 – The Scared Princess
She cursed her fate each time the traffic lights turned green. She prayed hard. One wish – Prolong this journey. For once, she desired to bypass her destination. But to her misfortune, her taxi raced by every other counterpart and in a flash she reached the dreadful hotel.
“Purity is a myth. Even the Gods didn’t posses it. And when someone like the Hindu Goddess Sita possessed purity, she was put to a test. Because no one believed that she could be pure. Not even the Lord, Shri Ram. So it must have been we humans, who created this myth to vindicate our selfish beliefs”, Nikki said to herself trying to overcome her inner conflict.
As she stepped into the hotel, her eyes met several eyes. Some had suspicion, some had curiosity, some encouraged, some impeded and some misguided. Her eyes finally chanced upon the elevator. Her hands were shivering as her index finger pressed the button ‘9’. The inside of the elevator was covered with mirrors. She looked into it, but couldn’t stare at her image for long. Shame and profanity made her hate her own reflection.
She reached the 9th floor even before she could start praying. The elevator doors opened and she stepped into the aisle.
A grey carpet, a grey aisle, grey walls with grey frames with grey pictures all guided her to a grey door. Room number 903. She opened her clutch and took out the keys. Her hands shivered as she tried to unlock the door. CLICK.!!! The door opened.
Chapter 2 – The Stealthy Weapon
The room had candles lit all around. As she entered, the fragrance of Jasmine allured her nostrils. She loved Jasmine. And yet she was stopping herself from succumbing to its lurid odour. “Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be out in five minutes”, a male voice screamed from the bathroom. After many years her horrifying past had resurfaced. A past she had concealed, even from her husband.
Three years back, on a rainy night she made sweet love to a complete stranger. It was the last day of her MBA. She was stoned and elevated to an echelon where making love seemed to be the epitome of purity. Little did she know back then, that her felony was being taped.
But today she had to make love, once more to that guy, just to undo her past. She feared that the horror might not end today and would resurface invariably. Which is why, she carried a knife. She quietly hid it beneath the pillow. And then she waited for him to come out of the bathroom. And while she was waiting, she got undressed and wore a robe kept on the couch.
Her heart skipped a beat. The bathroom door opened.
Chapter 3 – The Evil Princess
He just had a towel wrapped around his waist. The misty images got cleared and she recognised the man. It was him. He had the perfect torso. The glow of his skin could have brightened the eyes of the Greek Gods. His eyes could have mesmerised Medusa. And even in that horrifying moment, a hint of pleasure encapsulated her timorous heart.
He took off his towel, and for the first time she felt that a part of her had always compromised. In the realm of ethics, romance and rules, a part of her always remained dormant. A part too bold, yet overpowered by inhibitions.
As a little girl she dreamt of a knight in a shining armour. A knight who will bestow on her, the worldly pleasures. Who will protect her from all the evils. But what about the evil within her. What about the evil who does not dream. What about the evil, who needed more than something permanent. Something temporary. ‘Permanent’ will always be an unfulfilled promise, but ‘temporary’ can give you instant gratification.
He climbed the bed, and slowly he undressed her. His touch made her forget her fears, his kiss gave her a high, vodka and marijuana failed to grant.
And then, she experienced the most painful pleasure. A felony so heavenly, that it made her accept the sinner within. She was ready to evade heaven in exchange of this heavenly act. She had never experienced a pain so deep. Her sigh never screamed so loud. Her body never felt as satisfied. The princess in her never felt like a queen. This was the moment, where, her desires met reality. She wanted to prolong this. She could forfeit everything she possessed, she could forgo every other dream, and she could sacrifice her future, just to live this moment, all her life.
And like every other dream, this too got over. She came back to a reality, where right and wrong were not decided by the Gods. But by us, mortals.
His eyes spoke volumes about contentment. He opened a drawer and handed over the tapes. She took the tapes willingly. Not because she wanted to undo the past, but to relive it.
As she was about to exit the room, the guy stopped her and asked “How can you be too sure that I don’t have another copy of it? How do you know I won’t blackmail you again?” She stops by the door, looks him in the eye and says “I don’t. But let me tell you what I know. There is a knife beneath your pillow. I had got it here to kill you.” She smiles at him and exits the room.
She walks up to the elevator and presses the button ‘G’. She looked at herself in the mirrors inside the elevator. This time she stares at the reflection, like she’s staring at a stranger. She smiles and then exits the elevator.
(This thought arose after I read a story written by a dear friend Sayan Acharya. The photographs used, have been clicked by Abhishek Bhowal. Special thanks to Charulika Dhawan for inspiring me to complete this story.)