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Crossing the Mirage - Passing through Youth
Nithya matured at nine, a little early, even for the Indian clime. More than the biological change, it was the cultural fuss the happening heralds that made her conscious of her altered persona.
She felt as though the oni on her bosom robbed her off her personal freedom. The custom that pulled her out of the child circuit and at the same time denied her admission into the Venus Club, left her clueless about her own identity. Nevertheless, the imperatives of her sensuality and the male proclivities to her sexuality began confounding her. In all that, her sex education was limited to the thumb rules her mother happened to dish out to her.
With the passage of time, as nature perfected the female in her, her frame acquired the womanly graces and her manner imbibed the feminine nuances. However, privy to her own attributes, as her impulses courted curiosity for company; she began to grasp the singularity of her sex appeal from the body language of the enamored males. Soon, her vanity goaded her to explore the nuances of male desire from the emanations of her admirers. Besides, while her compelling looks ensured the adoration of her parents, her application of mind evoked the admiration of her teachers. Thus, pleased with herself, she acquired the poise of a princess.
But, she didn’t come across her prince charming, though she was through with her studies. The campus culture that didn’t mix the sexes in the college and the parents who forbade dating ensured that. Nevertheless, as she got her degree in humanities, her father went out of his way in search of a suitable match for her. After all, marriages had to be arranged affairs and the dowry was a determining as well as a deterring factor in the real time matchmaking. But as her father was hard up to cough up dowry, Nithya’s prospective nuptial was slow in materializing. Just the same, the talk of it that was thick in the air gave wings to her amorous inclinations. However, as the eagerness in her mind and the lethargy on the ground mismatched, the moment of her cherished conjugation remained in the realms of her dreams.
It was at that juncture that her destiny seemed to ordain an apparently agreeable route to the sought-after altar. All those years, her father had put the outhouse on hold lest any man in the garb of a tenant should dabble with the virginity of his desirable daughters. What with the elder three happily married by then, and Nithya, the last one, on the verge of it, the idea to let it out took hold of him all again. And abetted by his wife, who averred that it could be even a solution to Nithya's marriage, if only they took in the right tenant after proper screening, he tied the ‘To Let’ board to the gate of their
It was into that setting that Vasu entered when Nithya was all alone at home that evening.
“What do you want?” she asked, opening the door to a stunned Vasu.
He directed her questioning look towards the ‘To Let’ board though without taking his eyes off her.
“My father is not at home,” she said, equally enamored of him.
“Can I see the place?” he asked, sensing his opportunity.
“You can, but... .”
“Show me then,” he persisted.
“But it’s not I who decide.”
“I’m sure,” he said enticingly, “you can surely put in a word.”
She blushed for a reply.
“When can I come back?”
“After my father is back,” she said, regaining herself.
“How am I to know that?” he said with a smile. “I’ll be back soon.”
“Welcome,” she said, a little embarrassed, “but I’m sorry.”
“Never mind,” he said enticingly. “May I know your name?”
“I’m Vasu,” he said smiling, “you’ve a nice name.”
“Thank you,” she too smiled.
“Do expect me,” he said as he took the road.
Drawn by attraction, she went up to the gate, and he, in anticipation, looked back at her. As that facilitated their eye contact, while she withdrew herself in embarrassment, thinking about the possibilities, he left elated.
‘A man for dreams,’ felt Nithya trying to relive the moment.
‘A dame of a game,’ thought Vasu sardonically.
When he came back, while shyness kept her away from him, her desire let her daydream in anticipation. And when he got the nod from her parents, she felt elated.
“He’s of our ilk,” said her mother meaningfully. “Moreover, he’s handsome and holds a decent position. Didn’t he say he’s an officer at some bank? It’s a match that would floor anyone. Isn’t that so?”
While the mother placed the cart before the horse, the seed of her daughter’s infatuation got embedded in the soil of expectation. And to the delight of all, the following Sunday, Vasu occupied the outhouse.
“What if we invite him for lunch?” proposed her father.
“Why not?” said her mother. “It will make a welcome gesture.”
It was at the dining table that Nithya was formally introduced to Vasu.
“Nithya cooks deliciously,” said her mother, inviting him to have a go at the preparations. “You can check it for yourself.”
“Then,” he began eating, mocking greed, “I’ve got a job on hand.”
“In that case,” said Nithya getting up in jest, “better I get back to the kitchen.”
“Honestly, you’re marvelous,” he paused, with a morsel in his mouth, “cook, indeed.”
“Thank you,” she said, serving him some more sambaar.
“It’s the other way round,” he said looking into her eyes.
As he ate with relish, she savored the food that pleased him.
Seeing their bonhomie, her parents too were impressed.
‘What a pair they would make,’ felt her father.
‘Won’t he make a loving husband,’ thought her mother.
Soon, the parents were delighted that their tenant was doting upon their daughter. But when her mother sensed that her daughter was neck deep in love, she thought it fit to have a word with her. But by then, even as Nithya’s enamored heart goaded her on the path of love, Vasu had guided her willy-nilly into the vortex of lust.
“I think it’s time his parents are involved,” said the mother.
“It’s on the cards anyway,” said the daughter coyly.
“You better play close to your chest,” said the mother. “You know what I mean.”
“Oh, don’t I know that!” said the daughter dismissively
“Whatever,” said the mother, “let me repeat that in male-female interaction, physical proximity is but one step away from sexual togetherness and it’s dicey for woman at the threshold of temptation. Man by nature would be eager to press for the final favour and should woman fail to resist, it would be a case of giving away in hurry and repenting at leisure for her.”
“I don't see any problem in that mom,” said Nithya assuredly.
“But be on your guard dear,” said the mother sounding caution.
All the same, the moment of reckoning for Nithya came soon enough to her consternation.
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