Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SHAME

IN A RECENT EMAIL, I was asked if I’d ever met a ‘real’ female through an Internet service. Frankly, it’s something I’ve never really given much thought. But the question, innocently asked and truthfully answered, brought back the memories, fresh and vivid
as though it was just yesterday.

Her name is Madhavi. It’s a common enough name and I don’t suppose there’s any harm using it, since I’m not about to divulge anything more specific about her. She was 32 or so at the time, divorced and living alone in a one bedroom apartment in one of Bombay’s
northern suburbs. Her marriage ended, she later told me, the very first night. She wouldn’t talk about it, but I got the sense the guy was not just totally twisted, but incapable,too. Perhaps one had something to do with the other,I didn’t know and it didn’t matter; I didn’t ask further. They separated in two days and divorced as soon as the law allowed. She left the city for a few months till the mess sorted itself out and then returned, joined an accountancy firm, got herself a small apartment in the suburbs with the money from the divorce settlement. A little later she got a computer, discovered the Internet and, soon enough, its darker side.

That’s how we met. I found her personal ad on one of the groups or clubs, I forget which. It said she was a single lady interested in a one-on-one relationship with a man, starting with an exploration of mutual likes and dislikes over the Net. I don’t know what drew me to that post. Perhaps it was just her name, which I like very much. Anyway, I wrote to her and we started an email correspondence, hesitantly at first on both sides, and then with increasing candour. Her ad had generated a flood of mail and she was fighting off some really aggressive men.

I took a different line, perhaps that’s why it worked out for us. I didn’t ask her for her real name, address, telephone number,didn’t doubt her sincerity, didn’t ask to meet, and always asked if I could unburden myself before doing so. I told her about myself without hesitation.

I’m 37, unmarried, Bombay-based with my own consulting firm. We’re small but well-regarded and business has been good for some time now so I’m financially quite secure. I live alone in a spacious apartment I inherited from my parents, in an upmarket neighbourhood in south Bombay, at least a couple of hours’ drive from her place. I’m quite conservative in my lifestyle, nothing flashy, no wild times with women. There are a couple of ladies I see regularly but these are casual, no-strings affairs. I enjoy my solitude.

I told her all this. It seemed to draw her out. We got into the chat rooms and on the instant messengers a couple of hours a week. She told me about her childhood in a small town outside Bombay, her family — that she has a younger brother in college, that her father runs a small business — and hinted, briefly, at her ended marriage. I told her I was sorry she’d been
through such a bad time and left it at that. A few days later she asked if she could talk more freely. I asked if she wanted to do this by email or on an instant messenger. She surprised me by saying she couldn’t do it except in person, not even over the telephone.

I surprised myself by baulking. That seemed to frighten her and I hastened to assure her that I was just surprised, that this was unexpected. I felt her starting to retreat hastily and I knew I didn’t want to lose the chance. I hurried to make amends and agreed to meet with her. I could sense her nervousness and suggested we meet in a public place at first, perhaps for lunch or dinner. She suggested dinner the following week at a place sort of midway between our houses, and then gave me her phone number, and asked for mine.

For a couple of days after that there was a silence, no email, chat, phones. Finally, I put aside my trepidation and called the number she’d given me.

She had a lovely voice, low and soft with a hint of full-throated laughter in it, and a gentle, calm quality. The conversation was awkward and stilted till I took the plunge. I told her how much I was looking forward to the meeting and I heard her suck in her breath, then heard the smile in her voice when she said she was excited, too.

We spoke daily after that, our excitement mounting. The day we were to meet, I left work early, got home, showered, shaved again, dressed carefully. I keep myself in pretty good shape, work out at the gym three times a week, run six kilometres every other day, regularly swim and play squash at the club. My body’s fit and hard and I like to keep it that
way. I hate putting on weight.

I set out through the mind-numbing traffic. It took me a good two hours to get there. I’d called ahead to make a reservation and, luckily, got there before her. I gave the steward my name and he led me to a decent table by a window in a sort of alcove.
I was glad for that little privacy. Madhavi came in five minutes later and was led to the table. I rose to greet her and I remember that my heart skipped a beat and I felt a stab of nervousness again.

She was — is — very pretty. She wasn’t very tall, about five foot five, with a smooth, dusky complexion. Her hair was dark, silky, drawn back in a ponytail that hung to the middle of her back and held by a simple cotton band. Her face was sweetly rounded, with a firm chin and a lovely soft-lipped mouth. There were a few small dark beauty spots on one cheek and at her throat, something I found instantly enticing. Her eyes were large and dark, lined with eye-black and alive and dancing. She smiled and it was a lovely, genuine, warm smile that reached her eyes. I noticed that one of her side teeth was slightly crooked, another thing I found attractive. Her body looked trim, nicely curved without being voluptuous. She seemed to have nice, full, high breasts and a decent figure. She wore a simple churidar and kurta in off-white, the kurta with a high mandarin collar. I saw a glint of a gold necklace under it. Her fingers were soft and slim in mine and I noticed she wore a gold bangle on one wrist, a gold and diamond ring that matched her earrings. Her left nostril was pierced with a small gold stud.

Our table had one of those banquettes, a semi-circular sofa instead of chairs and we sat by each other. We ordered our drinks, a beer for me, a fruity non-alcoholic cocktail for her. When the steward came around for our orders, she told me she was a vegetarian and left the ordering to me. I kept it a simple vegetarian meal and she nodded approval.

The conversation was innocuous and totally forgettable, idle chitchat, both of us skirting around the real purpose of our meeting. Slowly,
we relaxed, getting more comfortable with each other. When I asked her if she was nervous she grinned and said yes, wasn’t I? I had to
laugh and I found myself drowning in those warm eyes.

We had a second round of drinks, then the food came. We ate slowly, taking our time. The coffee came and with it a little silence.

“I really need to talk to you.” Her voice was very soft.

“Sure,” I said. “Anytime.”

“Not here. It’s too public. Somewhere private.”

I looked at her and asked her if she was sure. She looked down at her cup, nodded slowly.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m sure. I don’t know why, but I feel I can trust you.”

“Thank you,” I said quietly and wondered why my pulse was skittering like an infatuated schoolboy’s.

The steward came and asked if there would be anything else. I looked at Madhavi and she shook her head. I asked for the bill and paid it.
She thanked me politely as I did so, I said she was welcome and we stepped out. The night was cool and pleasant, Bombay’s so-called
winter already in the air. I knew she didn’t have a car and, without asking, led her to where I’d parked.

Her house was not ten minutes away, in a huge, terrifically ugly complex of tall concrete matchboxes,about ten of them clustered around a large open space with a lawn, kiddie’s play ground and parking space. Her tower was set back from the road. I pulled into the visitor’s lot and killed the engine. She didn’t open her door immediately.

“Would you like a coffee? Can you come in?” She wasn’t looking at me.

I said I’d be happy to and we got out and rode up to her eleventh floor apartment. There were many apartments to each floor and we walked down a long corridor to her door. She let us in.

Her apartment surprised me. It was just one bedroom with an attached bath, a small kitchen, an open space that served as a foyer, living room and dining room all in one. But it was superbly done, with an impeccable eye for space and light and colour. She’d kept the furniture low and the colours light so it looked a lot larger than it really was. There was a small glass-topped dining table with four chairs, a pair of light cane armchairs with plump cushions and a wide low divan in the living area. Opposite the front door, the living room opened out through folding doors into a long balcony that gave an unparalleled view across the survivingmangroves to the sea beyond. The lighting was subdued and subtle with great warmth. Her upholstery was in subtle pastels with splashes of colour from cushions and a throw rug. The
bedroom held a large, low bed, two closets and a compact dressing table.

“Milk and sugar?” she asked.

“Black, if it’s not a problem.”

“No problem,” Madhavi said, going into the kitchen. “I’m afraid it’s instant.”

“That’s fine.”

I heard her in the kitchen as I wandered out to the balcony, trying to get the night to cool the flush in my body. There was a small wrought iron table and chair on the deck.

“This is a lovely place,” I said.

“Yes, I got lucky,” she answered from the kitchen. “My father got it for me.”

“Yes, you mentioned that.”

“See, the builder owed him some money, so he just adjusted the loan against the place and gave us first choice. I saw many of the places and liked this the best. It’s small, but it does for me.”

“It’s perfect, and you’ve done it very well.”

“Thanks.” She came out with a small wooden tray and two mugs of coffee, handed me mine. “Okay?”

“Fine,” I said, sipping it.

She smiled and again I felt bewitched by those eyes, by that smile.

“It’s probably the size of your bathroom,” she giggled.

I grinned. “Something like that. I was lucky too. Inherited the place.”

She joined me at the balcony and leaned on the slender flat rail, looking out at the distant white caps of the sea. “I like the view and the breeze,” she murmured. “I often sleep with the doors open like this.”

“It’s wonderful,” I said. “No noise and you can actually hear the sea.”

“That’s what I love.”

She was very close to me and I could smell her perfume, a low, lemony, curiously enticing aroma. She took a step back and I
turned around, leaned my elbows on the rail, enjoying the loveliness of her face.

“So what do you think?” she asked.

“About what?”

“Meeting me in person. After all those months on email. Am I what you expected?”

“I didn’t expect anything, Madhavi.”

She smiled, tilted her head to one side. “I did,” she said.
“And you’re everything I expected and more.”

I felt embarrassed, muttered a thanks and she grinned, mischief in her eyes.

“Do you find me attractive?”

This was it. The moment of truth. I reached up and put my hand against her cheek. “Yes,” I said softly. “I do. I find you very beautiful and lovely and attractive and sexy.”

“All of that?” she laughed again, softly.

“Yes. All of that.”

The smile went away and she took my coffee mug and set it on the table and stepped closer to me. I put my hands on her waist and pulled her closer. Her head bent and then we kissed and was incredible. Her lips were soft and moist and warm and the kiss was gentle and long and undemanding. We stopped, then kissed again and this time the longing and desire was more
apparent and I felt her tongue coming between my lips, her warm body pressing against mine. I could feel the weight of her breasts on my chest.

The fires erupted and we stumbled into the living room, knocking over an armchair, finding the divan, tearing at each other’s clothes, kissing feverishly. Her body was lovely, the breasts as I had imagined them, full and high and round with lovely long nipples which were already hard. Her belly was firm, slightly
curved. Her limbs were smooth and slim and she had a nice sexy butt. Her skin was smooth and silky and firm. She wore a gold necklace. My cock was bursting, throbbing and hot and when her fingers curled around it, I gasped and cried out. She was wet and ready and I entered her quickly and when I did she arched hard under me, her mouth opening wide. Her cunt was hot and wet and very tight and it squeezed down tight on my cock. I sucked on her breasts, and she gasped, kissing me, going “Yes, oh yes, yes,” as I began to fuck her quickly and hard,
thrusting my cock deeply in and out of her body.

There was a wild hunger in both of us and we couldn’t get enough of each other. She moved with me, moving her hips up and down under mine, moaning and gasping in pleasure. The heat and fever was devouring us. I moved faster and faster and then I stopped and she cried out and clung to me, tried to bring me back inside her but I resisted and, instead, split her thighs
open and pushed my face into her groin. Her pussy hair was nicely trimmed and her lips were open and wet and when I pushed my tongue into her Madhavi moaned and hissed and put her hands on her breasts. I tongue-fucked her for a long time enjoying the taste of her juices till she had enough and pushed my head away.

She made me sit up on the sofa and came over me, kissing me,
then moving down to my lap and took my cock in her mouth.
It was fantastic. In the weeks ahead I was to discover just how
much she loved oral sex and how good she was at it. But this
was my first experience with her and it was a revelation. Her
mouth was warm and wet and she used her tongue like a
snake. She kept switching between an intense sucking pressure to a lighter, licking touch, a kiss on the head of my tool, caressing her face and breasts with it, then going back o sucking again. I watched her sucking me off and there was no doubt that it was turning her on because she was caressing her breasts sexily, squeezing them and tugging at her nipples. I saw her move her hand between her legs and she began to masturbate herself gently. It was one of the sexiest things to see.

This was a totally different Madhavi from the one I’d met for dinner and earlier on email. The hesitant, gentle, quiet woman was gone and, instead, she was now like a wild, starved animal, with a ferocious, burning sexual desire.

She totally uninhibited. When I pushed her head away from my cock at last, she stood up and took my hand and pulled me to my feet. We kissed again and when our bodies pressed together I could feel her wetness. She stepped back to the glass dining table and lay down on her back on it. Without asking, she spread her legs wide for me.

Standing between her open thighs, I pushed my cock slowly into her pussy again and gasped at her heat and tightness. I started fucking her again, keeping her thighs open in my hands. She moaned loudly when I entered her and her eyes closed and her hands went up to her
breasts. I fucked her slowly, pushing my cock in and out of her cunt, going in as deep as I could. Her body jerked with my deep thrusts.Gradually, I began to move faster and faster and she began to cry out with sharp little gasps and moans and her tits jiggled and bounced.

This time, it was she who made me slow down after a while. She got off the table and we stumbled through her little house to the bed room, knocking things over as we went, kissing and fondling each other.

She wanted to suck me again, and I let her have her way.I gasped and called out my pleasure and excitement when she went down on her knees on the floor and took my cock in her mouth. She sucked my cock hard and I could hear her groaning softly. She lifted and squeezed her breasts as she sucked me. A while later, I pushed her head back and moved her to the bed where we rolled over into a 69 with
her on top and yet again I licked and lapped at her streaming, juicy slit while she took my cock deep in her mouth.

When she was ready, she turned on her front and lifted her body up. I understood and knelt behind her and slowly pushed my cock into her cunt. She cried out in pleasure and lifted her
head and I kissed her and squeezed her breasts. Her cunt was squeezing madly on my cock. I began fucking her slowly with long and deep thrusts, pushing my cock in as far as I could.
She moaned softly and moved beneath my body. I began to move faster till I was fucking her with quick thrusts and her cries had become loud and shrill. Her cunt tightened on my cock and I sensed her orgasm. Her body shook and trembled with ecstasy joy under mine. I kept on thrusting into her till I couldn’t bear it any more. I thrust into her hard again and
again and then, with a loud moan, spent myself inside her.

We lay together for a little while and I thought she had fallen asleep. I wondered if I should stay or go. I didn’t know what she wanted. Her body was half across mine and I couldn’t slip out of bed without waking her up, so I lay there, thinking about her and how wonderful the sex with her had been.

She stirred in my arms and I felt her lips on my cheek and her fingers traced sensual patterns on my chest.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “I enjoyed that very much.”

“So did I,” I told her and we kissed again and this time it was long and gentle.

“I should go,” I said after a while, and it was meant as a question.

“No, please stay,” she answered in a tender voice. “I want you to stay.”

A little later, we went out into the hall again. She had put on a long shirt with the top three or four buttons open but wore nothing under it. She looked very sexy. I was wearing only
my trousers. She went into the kitchen to make fresh coffee and I stood at the door and watched her. She was humming to herself. She gave me a mug and brought her own mug out
into the hall. We sat down on the divan where a little while ago we had been wildly making love. She moved closer to me and put her head on my shoulder.

I reminded her that she had said she wanted to talk to me andasked if she felt like doing so now. For a little while she was silent and then she said yes in a soft voice and fell silent again. I did not hurry her. We finished our coffee and still I waited. And then, in a soft voice and without looking at me, she told me her story.



II

TODAY, I CANNOT RECALL HER EXACT WORDS but what she told me is still vivid in my memory. She came from a small town to the south where she grew up in a large family of cousins and relatives. She was one of the few girls in the family encouraged to study and make a career for themselves and that was mostly because of her father, who treated his son and daughter equally. As a result, she enjoyed more freedom than other girls or her female cousins and after finishing school, she took admission to a college in a city about
midway between her home town and Bombay. She enjoyed college and made many friends. She also had her first sexual experience there with another college student. She enjoyed the sex but it was nothing incredible and she did it, she said, principally because there was peer-group pressure. But her boyfriend was kind and experienced enough and he taught her how to enjoy sex. They dated for two or three years and Madhavi was sure she was in love with him and wanted to marry him.

But they came from different communities and castes and both of them were pressured by their families who had learned of the relationship. They were forced to break up. It was heart breaking and it affected her grades. Somehow
she managed to get through. It was more difficult because both of them were still in the same college.

Back home, even her father could not resist social pressures indefinitely. Before long, he agreed with the family elders that, after finishing college, a suitable bridegroom would be found for her. Madhavi wanted to continue studying accountancy. There were arguments at home, till, finally, her father gave in and compromised: she would be married to a groom of the family’s choice immediately after she obtained her license to practice. That gave Madhavi a couple of more years.

She went back to the city where she got an internship with an accountancy firm and a place to stay in a working-women’s hostel. By then, her boyfriend had left the city. It was a lonely
life and though she had several friends she missed the emotional and physical aspects of her previous relationship with a man.
Fortunately, she soon struck up a friendship with a young man in the firm, older than her, but unmarried. It started as a casual friendship and progressed to dating. She did not tell him about her previous affair and feared that if
she did, or admitted that she was now hungering for sex, he would break off the relationship. When he asked her to sleep with him, she only pretended to resist but quickly gave in. That first night with him was, she said, positively exhilarating.

Her new lover was older than her and had his own little flat so they enjoyed privacy. Madhavi would stay over at his place sometimes and most weekends. She felt happy and secure and
began to feel the woman of the house, enjoying looking after it. She never told him of her boyfriend in college, but simply enjoyed his company, friendship and the sex. She was discrete, too, about her present relationship; there would be trouble in her family if she was known to have a second affair before the
brouhaha over the first one had died down. Yet, she was sure she was not in love with the young man and did not pressurize him for a commitment. A few months before her final examinations she took leave from the firm to study and quietly moved into his house. He helped her with the course work and, after dinner, they went to bed together, having sex several times a week.

The examinations came and went. Madhavi did well and was already one of the top candidates for recruitment into a major firm. But the dreaded time had come and she had to keep her
promise to her family. She explained this to her lover. He was bitterly unhappy and she realized, with horror, that he was madly in love with her. He offered to marry her but she knew there would be the same trouble as before and, weeping, forced herself to say no. Their parting was intense and painful: she cried in his arms on the last night and they made love all night long. The next day she left the city and went home.

Her family had found her a groom. She was introduced to him soon after she returned. He came for a respected and well-to-do family which had a flourishing business in the town. He had a college degree and was now running the family business. Physically, he wasn’t unattractive either and Madhavi began to reconcile herself to a life with him.
Perhaps, she reasoned, he’d at least be good enough in bed.
The horoscopes were matched and the marriage arranged in a few weeks. Madhavi got busy with the preparations for the marriage and spent her last few weeks of freedom with her old school friends and cousins. From the time she left the city, she had no lover till the wedding.

The truth about her bridegroom emerged only on the wedding night. There was no indication beforehand of the horror that lay in store. As she spoke of this, Madhavi’s voice became soft
and then began to shake and she started crying. I held her to my side as she spoke.

She had no warning at all. In the traditional manner, she waited in the bridal chamber in all her wedding finery for her new bridegroom. The nuptial bed was lavishly decorated and strewn with rose petals and the room was fragrant with
the scent of fresh jasmine. Madhavi had enjoyed the ceremonies and functions and felt curiously excited about this new chapter in her life.

The door burst open. Her new husband charged in, and the nightmare began.

He wasn’t alone. He had brought four of his friends. He was drunk. Madhavi was terrified when she saw the men. She began to panic. The four guys leered at her lewdly. One of them locked the door. Her husband was holding a bottle of liquor and drinking straight from it. He told her to drink too and, when she refused, he grabbed her and forced the bottle to her mouth. The harsh liquor made her choke and retch. The
men laughed loudly.

Then the man she had just married ripped her brocade silk wedding sari from her shoulder and left her standing in just her blouse with the sari hanging around her waist. In full view of his mates he grabbed her breast and squeezed it hard, laughing, and ordered her to strip. She cried out and tried to struggle free.
He slapped her hard across the face again and again, cutting her lip. He ripped open her blouse and tore off her bra so that now she was half-naked in front of them all. When she tried to cover herself he slapped her hands away and told her to behave herself and be quiet and not to raise an alarm or he would burn her with a cigarette. In any case, he said, everyone was out partying and there was no one around to help. Terrified, weeping, Madhavi backed into a corner. She knew what lay ahead.

Her bridegroom grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the middle of the room and turned her around to face the other men,keeping her hands bent behind her so that her naked breasts were thrust out. He asked his mates if they liked his new slut. Madhavi was weeping in fear and shame, but he had her pinned and helpless.

The man pulled off her sari, laughing while the other men cheered, till she was totally naked. He slapped her again when she tried to cover her pubis. There was nothing to be ashamed of, he said. These are my best friends. We have no secrets from each other. We share everything. We are brothers, like the Pandavas from the Mahabharata. Even they shared a wife. You are my Draupadi. And the pleasures of your body must now also be shared with my brothers.

Then he threatened her, saying that it was her duty as his wife to satisfy him, to make him happy and to make sure his needs were
met, and just now what would satisfy him and make him happy and meet his needs was for his friends to fuck her as long as they liked.

The other guys were like animals. Already, they had begun to take off their clothes. She opened her mouth to scream and immediately her husband hit her again and held her tight and grabbed a cigarette from his friend and brought it so close to her nipple she could feel its heat. He warned her again not to scream or he really would burn her. Weeping helplessly now, she nodded in submission and he released her.

He laughed in delight at that and offered her openly to his friends for their pleasure, standing behind her and lifting her breasts in his hands and asking his friends if they liked his new acquisition.

Then he pushed her down to her knees in front of one of them and pushed her head forward into his crotch. Weeping and sobbing, she sucked the man’s cock while he laughed and
jeered at her, fucking her mouth and calling her a whore.

Several minutes later, he shoved her head back and dragged her to the bed, flinging her on her back and jerking her legs open. She cried out when she felt him thrust hard into her.

“That’s right, now you can scream all you want,” she heard her husband laugh. “Even if anyone hears you, which they won’t, they’ll just think how good I am in bed, right?” His mates cheered and clapped.

The man kept fucking her harder and harder till he came. Immediately, there was another one to take his place, jumping on the bed, standing on it, feet apart and dragging her to her knees and making her suck his cock. Then he, too, started fucking her, this time from behind, turning her over on her front and ramming his cock into her cunt so deep and hard that she screamed in shock and pain. He kept at it, fucking her hard, slapping her buttocks and squeezing her breasts.

This time, even before he was done, a third man joined in. “Hey man, let’s fuck her together! I mean, we’re all going to share, right? So what’s with all this wait-your-turn shit, eh?” He jerked her head up and, for the first time in herlife, Madhavi found herself being fucked by two men together.

They took her hard till they were done and then the last man, the biggest of them all, with an impossibly big penis came forward. Madhavi looked at his cock in terror and begged and pleaded for mercy, asking them to let her go, to not hurt her, but they just laughed.

“Baby, don’t you worry none. My friend here knows how to pleasure a bitch. I’m gonna have you singing another tune, whore, before I’m done. You’re just gonna love this! Come on!
Give me some head! And suck good, bitch, this fellow likes to be worked hard and long, so suck hard!”

The man sat up against the headboard and made her bend over his lap and suck him. All the while, he kept squeezing her breasts and kept up a conversation with the other men, as
if she wasn’t even there. After what seemed like an eternity, he pushed her head back.

“Come on, slut, time for the pole dance. You’re going for a little joyride now! Bareback! Come on, sit on my cock, bitch!”

He pulled her astride him and made her impale herself on his massive penis and then forced her to move on her own over him while he sucked her breasts and fondled her body. Madhavi did as he commanded, unthinking, weeping and
numb with fear and pain and shame.

“Oh fuck man, look how much she likes it!” she heard her husband saying. “Just look how much the whore likes that big cock in her pussy! Fuck, this is so sexy! We’ve got to do this often!”

“No sweat, chief, she’s your wife, remember, you get to call the shots!” one of the others laughed.

The man on the bed laughed, too, and then began moving faster, thrusting his hips furiously up and down, slamming his huge cock in and out of her cunt, slapping his thighs at
her buttocks, making her scream and cry out and claw in agony at the sheets. Several minutes later, he pushed her off him and jerked her onto her front and began fucking her from behind.

It just went on and on and on. The four men raped her on her wedding night, fucking her again and again, one after another. She was made to take their cocks in her mouth, in her cunt and even in her ass. They fucked her in pairs, one in her mouth, another in her cunt, swapping and changing places and taking turns. Then one of them had an idea and the three biggest of the lot took her together, in cunt and
mouth and ass together, thrusting into her broken and trembling body, laughing at her pain. It was brutal, terrifying and utterly inhuman. And her bridegroom looked on and laughed in delight as his mates fucked his bride.

Several hours later, they left her and lurched out to continue their revelries elsewhere. Madhavi was in shock, bleeding profusely with bruises all over her face and body. It was a
miracle that she had survived at all and an even greater miracle that she managed to put on some clothes and escape from her in-laws’ house while everyone else was still asleep.

Her own parents’ house was not far away and she stumbled through the dark streets to it. Her mother, still weeping on her daughter’s departure to a new house, opened the door
to the panicked hammering. She saw her daughter and her state and collapsed in shock. Her father and brother came running. They understood at once what had happened even
as Madhavi wept and wept in her mother’s arms. Her father broke down and cried like a child and her brother picked up a big garden scythe and was about to rush out of the house
when others stopped him. Finally somebody had the sense to rush her to hospital.

The incident completely destroyed her father. He blamed himself for giving in to the family pressure and he blamed the family for their stupid code that had wrecked his daughter’s happiness. He was in a towering rage and got
violent when someone suggested that they should try and make peace and come to an ‘understanding’ for Madhavi to return with dignity to her in-laws. “There is no ‘dignity’
left!” he shouted. “What is this ‘dignity’ you keep talking about? That bastard had his friends rape my daughter on her wedding night and you talk of dignity? Listen to me carefully, allow of you and I will say this only once: I would rather let my daughter became a whore in my own
house than let her to go to his.”

Although the groom’s family was wealthy and occupied a high social station Madhavi’s father was unafraid. He went to the family lawyer. In the end, nothing came of it. The lawyer told them that under Indian law her groom could not be convicted of rape because they were married. The other four men could be indicted and her husband could be an accomplice. But she would have to undergo an examination at a government hospital and later she would
have to face cross-examination in court when the matter of her previous affair in college was bound to be raked up and she would be accused of being immoral. Their lawyer would make her feel cheap in front of the whole courtroom. Her father was furious and swore vengeance.

It took Madhavi many days to recover. For many weeks later, she did not stir out of her room. She lost weight and became pale and weak and wept constantly. She was in perpetual terror
and fear. The psychological wounds ran deep. Her parents and brother shielded her from the outside world. Her in-laws demanded her return and accused her of being unworthy and
incapable of satisfying their precious son who was perfect in every way. They taunted her father and accused him of breaking his word and being faithless and demanded back all the gifts given at the wedding ceremony. They threatened to ruin him, his business and the family reputation. Madhavi’s father did not yield. He threw the money and gifts back at them, which they never expected, told them to go to hell and try their worst. His daughter would not set foot in their house and nor would
any member of his family. As to the matter of reputation, he retaliated in kind by assuring them that he would see to it that henceforth no man in the city would consent to his daughter
marrying their son. He would expose them in public and in the press, he threatened, and, since his own family’s reputation had been totally ruined, he had nothing to lose.

The fighting went on for many weeks. The groom’s family backed down when they realized how the whole town was looking down on them and their son. The family lawyer was able to persuade the groom’s family’s lawyer to agree to a divorce as soon as the law allowed it to happen. The groom’s lawyer offered a cash
settlement; her father told him never to make such an offer again.

Madhavi recovered slowly but was never the same. Her parents worried endlessly. It was only her father who brought her back to a steady track by spending long hours with her, consoling her and talking to her, taking her out and slowly drawing her out of her shell.

A full year went by and then it was he who suggested that she go to Bombay and take up her career again. Madhavi was still not ready for this and it took her many weeks to agree. Her father contacted a builder to whom he had lent money earlier and it was agreed that the loan could be repaid by taking a flat in a newbuilding. Her parents and brother came with her to Bombay where they stayed with some relatives for a few weeks till the flat was made ready. In the meantime, her father called a friend who gave her a job in his small but prospering accountancy firm.

Madhavi moved into the flat and for a few weeks they all stayed together. Her brother left to go back to college and then her father, too, had to return to attend to his business. Madhavi cried for hours after he went. Her mother stayed with her for a few months till Madhavi got fully settled.

Slowly she found some inner reservoir of strength and from that she rebuilt her life. She threw herself into her work. She was good at it and the firm rewarded her work with hefty pay hikes and bonuses. She regained confidence and she found some happiness and, for the first time after longer than she could remember, she found herself able to laugh. She began to make
friends at work.

Her mother saw her recovery but waited till one day Madhavi gently asked her to go back to her father and look after him.

“I’m okay now,” she said. “Really, I’m fine.”

For a few months, Madhavi enjoyed living on her own. She had enough money of her own now and began to add little things to the house.



III

SO MADHAVI BEGAN another phase in her life. Slowly, she blocked out the memory of that terrible night and began to come to terms with her own needs and sexuality. Still she was fearful and haunted and it took her a long time to acknowledge, even to herself, that she had sexual needs, and even more time to venture into it. It was difficult and, at first, she contented herself with masturbation andfantasy. When she acquired a computer of her own at home and got onto the Internet it became easier and she began to crave for a man’s touch.

It may sound strange but, in Bombay, for a single woman living alone to find a lover is both very difficult and extremely easy. It is difficult because there is a social appearance to be maintained and the woman cannot be openly seen with single men or her reputation is ‘sullied’. Madhavi was anyway in a delicate position simply by being on her own and this often raised silent questions about her. But there is no shortage in the city of willing men
eager for sex, as she soon found out. She was convinced that she did not want any sort of commitment but was interested only in the purely physical aspects of the relationship. Cautiously, she began to explore. She described it like being blind and groping her way in sudden darkness though unfamiliar
surroundings.

Her first lover in her new home was a married man from her firm. He was the youngest partner and she found him attractive, handsome and ambitious and dashing. He wanted to make his firm one of the best in the city. He had plenty of contacts and was responsible for a steep increase in the firm’s billing. His married life was singularly unhappy: his wife saw procreation as the only purpose of sex. With one son already and another on the way their sex life had come to a total halt. Madhavi found
herself seconded to his division and they spent many hours together on different assignments. Sometimes, the work kept them late at the
office. It was there that he kissed her for the first time and made his advances. She found the touch exciting and it brought out something
in her that had been hidden for a long time. She desired real sex, not the make believe world of masturbation, but she did not want to come
across as too available and did not make a further move. But, equally, she did not resist.

They started their affair and met regularly. He took her out to dinner frequently and to movies and shows. They kissed and fondled in his car and she allowed him to feel her breasts and her response when he touched her. They had sex for the first time at his house while his wife was away at her parents’ place. Madhavi was nervous at first and this pleased him because he thought she was inexperienced and he could tutor her. She realized this and kept up a pretence of being a novice even as she relaxed and succumbed to his caresses. Sex after such a long gap was intense and deeply satisfying.

The affair continued for many months. They spent some weekends at a hill resort near Bombay and also at a hotel on the beach where
 they locked themselves into their room and had prolonged sex. Madhavi knew that though she loved the sex with him, she felt nothing more for him than affection.

Their time together decreased after his wife gave birth and returned home a few weeks later from her mother’s place with the infant. It was impossible to meet as frequently. Madhavi soon became restless and started thinking of taking another lover.

Her next lover was the son of a major client of the firm. Madhavi was part of the team that was involved in some on-site work for the client. The particular project was being handled by the client’s CEO’s son. He was 25 or so and much younger than her but very sexy with a good body. They went out to a lunch party in a big
group and she sat next to him. When he pressed his leg against hers and put her hand on her thigh she did not move away. He got bolder and later asked her out on a dinner date. She agreed. He picked her up from her house in his car and they went out to a fancy restaurant. She enjoyed the evening. He was good company, cheerful and intelligent and a good conversationalist. On the way back he took a detour by a lonely road along the seashore and then parked the car in a small lane leading to the beach. She did not resist when he put his arm around her and pulled her closer to him. She allowed him to kiss her and then to slip his hand into her shirt and fondled her breasts. In a
short while, they were fucking in the back seat of the car. It was the first time she had done it in a car and she found it very exciting and erotic. She remembered quite clearly how, sitting in the back seat, she had bent over and given him a long blowjob.They had sex with her on top and she was pleased to find that he
had a strong body and a large penis. The sex was excellent and then they laughed together recalling how the car squeaked with the bouncing caused by their motions.

For some time Madhavi continued to see both lovers and kept each one in the dark about the other. The dual life was thrilling for her. In any case, her boss wasn’t able to spend much time
with her because of his wife and kids, so there wasn’t much tension to trouble her. Both affairs cooled off on their own, and now Madhavi didn’t mind very much. She had convinced herself that what she wanted was sexual pleasure and not a
lasting relationship. That made things easier for her in many ways. Over the next several months, she took a succession of lovers. There was a young apprentice from the firm with whom she enjoyed passionate sex for a while, and, later, a teenager from the building across the yard. Basically, all she wanted was a warm,
hard body to satisfy her physically. She enjoyed and even hankered for the hot, hard, thrusting heat of a man in her flesh, his hard hands on her soft, smooth flesh. All that changed, she said, when she met me in the chat rooms. Very soon after we met, she had begun yearning for something more. She had never felt lonelier
in her life, she said. Till tonight.


IV

It was well past midnight when she finished. I couldn’t understand why she had told me all this and I asked her gently. She sighed and
slowly moved away from me and got up. She opened her shirt and let it fall to her feet. Naked, she went out on to the balcony, and put
out her hand behind her without looking back, signalling to me. She looked incredibly sexy framed against the dark sky. The wind ruffled her dark hair. I got up and dropped my underpants and went to join her, my cock already hardening just looking at her. When
I came up to her, she took my cock in her hand and leaned back against my chest, closing her eyes. I caressed her breasts gently. They became tight and heavy and her nipples grew hard.

“I like having sex out in the open air,” she said to me.

For some time we remained in that position while she jerked me off slowly. Then she turned around and without a word went down on her knees in front of me and slowly took my cock in her mouth. It was sexy to be sucked off in the open air. Now I knew where she had gained experience in cock-sucking and sex. But right then I didn’t concern myself with all that but only enjoyed the feeling of her tongue and mouth on my cock. When I looked down I saw that she was fondling her breasts slowly, lifting and squeezing them and pulling her long nipples. I grew more excited.

After some time she stood up and again turned her back to me and, leaning on the balcony railing, pushed her buttocks at me and spread her legs wide open.

“Come on. Take me,” she said softly.

I wanted to taste her juicy pussy and I kneeled behind her and pushed my face up between her thighs. I heard her moaning and she moved her hand down her belly, spreading her cunt-lips
open for my tongue. I pushed it in deep, tasting the aromatic nectar of her cunt. Her legs trembled and she gasped and her moans became louder. I pushed one finger into her cunt, right up to the knuckle and her body became stiff and she grabbed my wrist, keeping my finger inside her. Her moans became louder.

“Quickly! Now! Fuck me!” she gasped.

I got up and stood behind her, pushing my cock between her legs. She was ready for me, wet and open and my cock went in smoothly, all the way. She flung her head back and I leaned forward to kiss her hard, squeezing her breasts in both hands. Her hands were tighton the railing and her cunt was squeezing mycock. I started fucking her, holding her waist and moving my hips back and forth, pushing my cock in and out of her cunt. Madhavi gasped and moaned in excitement and begged me to fuck her harder. Her words aroused and excited me and I responded in kind.

She began to orgasm and I moved even faster and harder, ramming my cock deep into her cunt, making her cry out. My hands crushed
her breasts. I let her orgasm pass and continued stroking in and out of her but held back. I wanted to enjoy her still. All that she had told me started forming images in my head and, despite the fact that it was a story of sorrow and shame, I began to feel aroused. In my mind’s eye, I saw her having sex with different men, even strangers, more than one man at a time. I saw her body writhing and twisting between their bodies and her face twisting in excitement and arousal. I imagined the sight of seeing her suck one man while another took her from behind in her cunt or even in her asshole. I did not know if she had tried that. But now the thoughts and my imagination excited me tremendously.

She somehow sensed my mood and tension and when I slid my cock out of her, she turned around and pressed her body against mine.

“What do you want?” she whispered to me. “Tell me what you want.”

And then I saw the tears shining in her eyes.

An icy hand gripped my heart and I lost my arousal.

“Nothing,” I stammered in shock. “I want nothing from you, Madhavi. Nothing at all. Truly.”

“Are you sure?” she said in a trembling voice. “You can have me again in any way you like. I don’t mind. Go ahead … take me as you want.”

“No,” I said and kissed her gently, caressing her. “I don’t want to take anything from you, Madhavi. Not now. Not ever.”

She bowed her head against my chest and I could feel her tears on my skin. Her voice was soft and muffled when she spoke.

“So many,” she said. “There were so many. And they just took and took and took from me. And I gave them what they wanted but they never stopped to think about me. They all thought I wanted what they wanted. But it was never like that. Yet they all did. All of them. Took me as they liked, when they liked, as often as they liked. It is almost all the love I have ever known. Why should I expect you would be any different?”

Now her tears were a flood and her body was shaking with her sobs. I held her close to me, soothing her, stroking her hair, pressing my
 lips to her head, saying nothing. There was nothing to say. I only knew what I was beginning to feel, and I had no words to say it yet. So I just held her, close till, gradually, she calmed down. We stood for a long while in the balcony, in the cool night, silent together.
At last she stepped away from me. I watched as she pulled off her hair clip, held it between her lips, shook her hair, tilted her head back, pulled her hair back, gave it a little twist and then fastened the clip again.

“You must be hungry,” she said softly, rising on her toes and giving me a quick kiss on the cheek. “Come, I’ll make some sandwiches or
something.”

She started to go past me but I stopped her and turned her around and pulled her close to me and kissed her, gently but deeply. She returned the embrace without hesitation. This time there was no lust but there was much desire, much longing, and, above all, deep tenderness.

“Let me do it,” I said. “I’m quite good in the kitchen.”

Madhavi looked up and her eyes sparkled in that infectious smile. “Not just in the kitchen, apparently.”

I grinned. “You go on in. I’ll make something.”

“Will you find what you need?”

“I’m good at exploring.”

She giggled. “So it seems.”

I slapped her gently on her naked butt and she turned and went into the bedroom. I watched her go, heard her go into the bathroom and heard the shower running. For a minute I stood in the balcony, looking out at the darkness, trying to sort out my emotions and feelings. No other woman I had been with before had made me feel like this. It wasn’t pity. She didn’t pity herself and didn’t ask for it from me, neither pity nor even sympathy. It was a totally
different feeling. My image and impressions of her had changed, too. Now she seemed frighteningly lonely. But there was something
else also. It was as if she felt ashamed.

She had nothing to be ashamed of, as far as I could make out. She had done no wrong. Yet it seemed as if her heart and soul had been torn out, ripped up and destroyed by other men, leaving an empty shell deep within. She was trying, I felt, to fill that void. Slowly, she was coming to terms with herself and her terrible past. She had allowed others, as she said, to take from her. Now she needed to be the recipient, to have someone else give as she had given. She had chosen me, or maybe I had let myself be chosen. Whatever it was, I knew only a feeling of warmth and a deep joy like I had
never felt before.

In the hall, I turned on her stereo system and selected a disc, some gentle instrumental easy listening. Humming to the tune, I went into the kitchen and started poking around.

I was in luck. I found almost everything I needed. I’ve lived alone for so long that rustling up something quick and tasty has never been a problem for me. I found fresh crusty bread, some mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, a small bottle of olive oil and, best of all, fresh basil. I chopped up the garlic. I set a large, deep pan on the burner, threw in a generous wad of butter and began to sauté the garlic. When it was done, I put in the washed, sliced mushrooms, covered the pan and let it simmer. Meanwhile,
 I diced three large tomatoes, chopped the basil fine, sliced the bread loaf and lightly toasted the slices in the pop-up toaster.
After a while, the mushrooms were soft and had released their water. I tossed in the basil and stirred the pan till the basil was nicely mixed up. I emptied the pan into a large glass bowl,
tossed in the diced tomatoes, drizzled it all with olive oil, threw in a squeeze of fresh lime, a little salt and pepper and mixed it up. I set the bowl in a tray with two smaller bowls and forks,
buttered the toasts, arranged the slices on a plate on the tray and brought it out.

Madhavi came out of the shower into the hall. Her hair was wrapped up in a thick white towel but she was otherwise nude.

“Oh my, that smells wonderful!” she said as I put the tray on the dining table.

“So do you,” I laughed. “Tell you what. You eat the salad, I eat you. Deal?”

“You’re a sex maniac,” she laughed. “No deal. We both eat.”

She loved my little warm salad. We ate together and after we were done, I cleared the table. She told me to leave the dishes; the part-time servant would clean them the next day. I rinsed
them nonetheless and stacked them neatly in the sink. I went back into the bedroom.

She was lying in bed with the covers up. I slid in beside her and she immediately turned to me, came into my arms. I kissed her and rolled her on her back. Her eyes were dark and somber.

“You asked me why I told you all that about myself,” she said.

I kissed her and stopped her from saying any more. “I don’t need an answer to that any more,” I said. “I know.”

“I know you know,” she said softly. “Thank you.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s been a long time since I had anyone to say that to,” she said. “It feels right.”

“That’s the best part, isn’t it?” I smiled. “How it all feels right? I mean, all of this, every minute?”

“No,” she said quietly. “What feels right is that till last evening, I didn’t know you and you didn’t know me. It feels right that I
was right in feeling I could trust you. It’s been really long since I felt like that about anyone.”

I had nothing to say to that and she didn’t expect an answer. She moved under me, and her lips were soft and open under mine and her hand was between my legs.

For the first time that night, we made love. We didn’t just fuck, we actually made love. It was intense, long and deeply satisfying. Our orgasms were explosive and sharp and she
clung to me as I took her again and again and again, making her gasp and moan in unashamed joy.



V

WE ARE STILL TOGETHER, SHE AND I. We live together now, though we’re not married and have no plans to be. We’ve kept her house, too, and sometimes we stay over there for a weekend. We go to movies and dinners and plays and parties together and everyone thinks of us as a couple now. We enjoy each other’s
company. The sex is great and we’ve
experimented, found new things. I enjoy watching her masturbate, and she likes doing it.
I confessed to her that I was aroused by the idea of watching her have sex with another man and we experimented with group sex,
swapping and voyeurism a few times. But those were just idle fancies, to satisfy our lust of the moment. Invariably, we wind up with each
other, enjoying our nights together. It doesn’t get better than this.

There has been some loose talk at her office, but she doesn’t let that bother her. She has told her parents and family that she is seeing me.
I have met her family. I could sense the resistance, but her father put up a brave front and, after a while, he relaxed and we got along famously. They’re really very fine people. Sometimes it seems like I speak to her father and brother more than she does. No one asks us about marriage any longer, at least not seriously.

“He has promised to marry me when I am 65,” she teased her mother once and everyone laughed, even her father and brother.

A few months ago, her father was in town on work. He stayed with us as he always does now and anyway my place is larger and more
convenient for his business. Late one evening, we went out for a walk, just he and I. Madhavi shooed us out of the kitchen where we were generally making an infernal nuisance of ourselves.

“Promise me one thing,” her father said to me after a bit.

“Certainly, sir. Anything.” I replied.

“Promise me that you will look after my daughter always. I am not asking you to marry her. Just to please look after her.”

“Sir, you do not need to ask that from me.”

“But I do ask it. She has known too much unhappiness in her life.”

“Yes. She has. But that is in the past. It’s over. And I would rather die than add to what she has already suffered.”

Her father stopped and looked at me. “Does it trouble you? Upset you? Knowing all that happened with her, all that she did?”

“No, sir, it does not,” I said quietly. “It never has, not from the first day she told me, and she told me on the first day.”

“That is all I needed to hear,” he said. “Thank you.”

“Sir?” I asked.

“Yes?”

“You just said ‘all that she did’. With respect, sir, that is totally and utterly wrong and I beg you never to say that to me again.
What did she do? She certainly did no wrong. She did nothing wrong. She was the wronged person. Let me also tell you, sir, that if I felt like that, we would not be together and you would
not be here, because then my being with her would come from pity or sympathy. What Madhavi and I share is not pity. It is a
friendship, trust and respect. That is our understanding of love, both hers and mine. It is something she may have had once, but
 which she lost. I hope she has found it again with me. Certainly, I have found it with her. Quite simply, sir, she is my life. Without
her, I have nothing and I am nothing. That is what she means to me. And so I do not think there is anything she ‘did’ in that sense.
 She did nothing shameful. She has nothing to be ashamed of.”

We were standing by the sea and the air was still and warm. There was a full moon out and in its pale light, I saw tears shining on the old man’s cheeks and felt my heart breaking
and put my arm around his shoulders.

“Forgive me, son,” he said softly. “Forgive me. You’re right. My daughter has nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing at all.”

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