A long Short-story by Dr L.Prakash
Suryakant Mathur was a forty six year old veterinary doctor, who now occupied the exalted post of a district forest officer for the Kanha forests. He was posted in Mandla, about a hundred kilometers from Jabalpur. Actually if you take the map of India and stick a pin in its exact middle, then it is likely that it would pass through Mandla. He was a science graduate who had gone on to do his veterinary science. He belonged to a traditional Kayastha family in which a government job was very highly sought after. Suryakant thus joined the Indian Forest Service. It was a simple and uncomplicated job. People in the forest service have limited and fixed duties. To prevent illegal log felling. To prevent poaching and hunting. To prevent encroachment of the forests. And finally to fill the paperwork that provided the wildlife statistics. The service has two types of employees, officers and men.
The men include constables, hawaldars, peons, serfs and the other menial workers who wear a uniform. The officers, who were not compelled to wear their uniforms, would include forest ranger, assistant forest officer, deputy forest officer and then the district forest officer. The overall in charge of the state was called the chief conservator of forests. As Suryakant Mathur passed the competitive examination, he joined as a ranger. Thus by this twenty-sixth year he had everything that a middle class Kayastha might aspire for. At this stage, his parents looked around for a suitable wife for him. In Kayastha families, the son is usually considered as an investment. Most fathers would keep detailed accounts of each penny spent on the son. The marriage time was the pay-back time. Before the marriage was finalized and negotiated, a dowry would be fixed. This dowry would depend on the young man’s qualifications and status.
Being qualified, educated, and a possessor of a government job, Suryakant Mathur was an ideal groom and thus a lot of alliances came to him from far and wide. Suryakant’s father had kept a detailed account of each penny spent on his son. In addition, he had two daughters. (Suryakant’s younger sisters) to marry. His father thus decided to choose a daughter-in-law, who would get the maximum dowry. The family priest brought in photographs of half a dozen prospective brides and it was unfortunate that Suryakant had a chance to sneak peak at them. Unfortunate; because he eventually realised what he had missed. Of the six photos, one belonged to an exceptionally pretty girl, who looked a little like Hema Malini and was Suryakant’s first choice. A slightly slim but an extremely sharp featured girl was his second choice. He did not like the other four girls. Three of the photos were of average looking girls who would have been just acceptable, if they were the only choice. But compared to the Hema Malini and one reasonably pretty bride, they paled into insignificance. The last photo actually evoked Suryakant’s sympathy.
This was a skinny and ugly girl. No! She did not have a squint or pock marks on her face. Nor did she have any disfigurement that would make her ugly. She was dark, nondescript and plain. In the full length photo, she looked flat actually. If you wanted a correct phrase that would hit the nail on the head, you could say that the photograph lacked a soul. Unlike the other prospective brides, who faced the cameras with feelings of expectant anxiety coupled with shyness, this one looked with a haughty demeanor. It was as if she was used the getting whatever she wanted. Not only that, it was also as if she knew this, and was proud of the fact.
Suryakant almost shuddered when he saw the photo. He told his mother about his preferences. The first and second choice. He told his mother that he was an obedient son and would not hesitate to obey his elders. He also said that though he preferred one of the two pretty girls, he was not too fussy and particular.
If it actually came to it, and his father insisted, he would not mind marrying any of the other three. But he requested his mother with folded hands that he would not like to be stranded with the dark thin girl, who looked like a woman sized crow. Mrs. Mathur was a traditional Kayastha housewife and knew that not all young men in their community were lucky enough to marry someone of their choice. In many cases, extraneous situations controlled the events. However she assured the son, that she would use all her influence to ensure that she got the husband to agree for one of the two pretty girls. But fates were conspiring against Suryakant Mathur. The girl in the photo faced the camera with a haughty and disdainful looks, for the simple reason that she did not care too much for the world. She was the daughter of a rich industrialist and knew that she could afford to scoff at everything, including the camera. In addition this young lady knew that her father was so rich that he could buy her the best groom that money could afford and her looks be dammed. She did not care about it any way.
Her name was Kavitha. Kavitha Shivhare, the only daughter of Uttam Chand Shivhare who was one of the leading contractor of Tendu leaves and an owner of two beedie factories. Beedie is a local cheroot in which Tendu leaves form the outer covering. In a country like India, beedie sales amount to a tremendous revenue, and thus Uttam Chand Shivhare was filthy rich. Exactly as in Suryakant Mathur’s house, the Shivhare house too received a lot of wedding proposals including about a dozen photos of prospective groom’s. Unlike Suryakant, who was not too choosy and fussy, and wanted to avoid only one ugly, lanky, haughty girl, Kavitha was more choosy. She chose the one face that appealed to her. And this face belonged to our hero Suryakant Mathur, then the Forest ranger in Madhao National Park Shivapuri, near Gwalior. The girl’s father was too rich and sent word to Mathur senior; who came running. Suryakant’s father could not believe his good luck that he was getting a daughter-in-law from such an affluent and rich family. The old man was worth many millions, all of which would go to his daughter and by proxy to her husband.
The amount of dowry negotiated was substantial and Kavitha’s father promised a lavish wedding. Suryakant’s father returned home a happy man and conveyed the news to his wife, who broke it reluctantly to her son. In the game of life, her son had drawn one card, which he did not want. For a moment Suryakant was aghast. His mind was on a rebellion. He was a male, a fully grown adult. An educated government officer. Twenty six years old. No one could force him to marry a female that he did not like. Though he could not summon courage to confront his father and convey him his desires, he could not remain quiet and pestered his mother no end.
“Ammi, it is after all my life. I have to live with this woman for the rest of my years. See the photo. She actually looks scary. How can I spend the rest of my life with her? Please amma, only you can do something for me”
Suryakant’s mother was a practical lady. She took him to the terrace. It was late evening and a full moon had made its appearance. She made him sit on a charpoy and talked to him for a long time. It was a mother and son heart to heart talk, and she explained to him the facts of life. Marriages were made in heaven and spouses represented our destiny. We mortals have absolutely no choice in that. And then beauty is only skin deep. Imagine that you marry an exceptionally pretty woman. A year after marriage, suppose she suffered from a severely disfiguring injury to her face, would you stop loving her because she has become ugly? No one remains beautiful all her life. With age and time, everyone has to wither and wrinkle. A marriage is a complex union in which a lot of things are to be considered. The Shivhares were a really rich family and associating with them would only mean good. The substantial dowry amount would help the sister’s marriage.
What is important in someone is the beauty of the heart and soul. Even if she is the prettiest girl, if she was a cankerous and fighting type, then his whole life would become miserable. A plain Jane with a good heart would keep him a lot happier than a pretty but vile woman. She told Suryakant that she did not mean to say that the pretty girls in the photos had a bad character or were vile women. She said that she had prayed for a good daughter-in-law and had an unshakable faith in her prayers. In addition she had a great faith in his father. If Mr. Mathur took a decision, it would have been after considering the pros and cons. She was absolutely certain that his father’s choice would be the best choice. For that matter she was not even supposed to show him the other photos. In their families the boys tied Mangal sutra around the neck of the girl pointed out by his parents. He did not have too much choice in this matter. She then assured him that he need not worry. He would get a good wife who could be pleasant natured and caring.
The formalities were completed and the marriage was solemnized. But the gods of fate had played a cruel trick on him. Kavitha Shivhare was not only ugly from outside but ugly from inside too. Being a rich man’s daughter had spoilt her no end. She had been pampered and not one wish had been denied since childhood. The fact that she was not pretty produced a deep rooted complex in her that made her haughty and belligerent. To Kavitha, even marriage was like a game. Her rich father had purchased the best groom that he could afford. As this huge a dowry had been paid, he better behave and do what she wanted. After all, she was Kavitha Shivhare, daughter of Uttam Chand Shivhare! She was rich enough to afford whatever she wanted. In the first week of their marriage, Suryakant found out that they had made a terrible mistake. Or at least he had made a terrible mistake by marrying Kavitha Shivhare
Not only did the woman have an ugly face but an ugly soul as well. His life was doomed to disaster. Even during the initial stages, he realized that his future life would now run according to her whims and desires and not his! At the time of his marriage, he was posted as forest ranger in Madhao national Park in Shivapuri. The ranger’s cottage was actually a lovely bungalow on the outskirts of the forests and in other situations would act as a lovely honeymoon cottage. But to Kavitha, it was unimaginable to stay in the wilderness. She was a town girl and would live nowhere else but a town. She chose Gwalior, a medium sized town, about a hundred kilometers away as her base. With her father’s money a lovely bungalow was hired in Lakshmi Bai colony. A Fiat car and a driver took her around. And even from the first month of his marriage, he had to spend time away from his wife. For the whole week, he stayed in Shivapuri, looking after his ranging responsibilities, while Kavitha spent her time shopping, playing bridge and attending kitty parties. On weekends he came to Gwalior, where he was almost a guest in his own house. His wife had a big social circle amongst the elite and on most Saturdays he would have to endure a starched collar and a Tuxedo as he was dragged along to one party or the other.
To Kavitha, It was a proud moment, displaying her qualified, educated and smart husband. In her talks, manner and behavior, she never hesitated to impress on others that looks did not matter, so long as you had money. Money could buy you everything and her pet husband was an example. Another point that irked Suryakant no end was their conjugal life. Kavitha abhorred sex and endured it with an obvious reluctance. A big slab of ice would decidedly be warmer than Kavitha in bed. On many occasions, Suryakant wondered whether she stayed separately to avoid discharging her conjugal duties and responsibilities. In less than a year, Suryakant recognized that she was equally disinterested in having children too.
The state of MP has a number of forests. Suryakant was transferred to a new place every three to five years and Kavitha ensured that the same routine was followed. She would choose the nearest town or city and establish her household. He would of couple settle into his official accommodation close to the forests. On weekends he would visit his wife. It was not that Mrs. Kavitha Mathur did not go to the forests or to the husband’s bungalow. Once in a month or two, she would plan a picnic and spend time in her husband’s place. But over the years, Suryakant began to hate the time he spent with his wife. She was always criticizing and ordering him around. But for someone like Suryakant, a marriage was for life and he was now in a relationship, from where there was no escape. He was destined to spend the rest of his life with her. It was obvious that she would outlive him.
They had no children. And thus Suryakant’s father’s desire about the Shivhare fortunes too was going to remain unfulfilled. All in all, Suryakant Mathur decided that he had got a raw deal and was paying too great a price for marriage. Of course, being married to a rich woman got him certain privileges. He always had a new motorcycle and later a brand new Gypsy. Now he drove a Scorpio air-conditioned four by four sports utility vehicle, courtesy his father-in-law. He had to never spend his salary, and his wife’s lavish lifestyle was fully sponsored by her doting father. Time passed as only time can and in due course, Suryakant was promoted to the post of district forest officer. He was given charge of Kanha forests He had a lovely bungalow in Mandla. He was forty five years old and an honest officer because of his independent fortunes. Mandla was a decent sized town with a population of about two lacs. His bungalow was next to the local SP's bungalow. Built during the British times, it was a palatial mansion with sixteen rooms. At least now, Suryakant hoped that his wife would stay with him in his official quarters. But no! Mandla was too small for her.
She wanted to stay in Jabalpur, which was the neighboring city. And thus in this forty-fifth year, Suryakant Mathur found himself sleeping alone yet once again. Though it was a different matter that even if he slept with his wife, nothing much would happen. The Kanha reserve forests stretch to about a thousand square kilometers and had a lovely cottage at the edge. This was normally used by the Ranger, but in this case as the Ranger was from Mandla, he did not occupy this. Suryakant liked the forest and solitude. Thus an occasional night, he would spend in the forest inspection bungalow. It was here that he met Hirni, fell in love at the age of forty-five years and three months, and did things that no sane man would do. His actions resulted in unforeseen consequences and provided a complicated sequence of events. Here is how it all happened.
About a month after his posting to Mandla, Suryakant got a message that his father in law died. He went to Bilaspur for the funeral. He was no great friend of his father-in-law, but was happy that his wife would inherit everything at her father’s death. He came back after the ceremony but Kavitha stayed back to look after the fortunes that had been left behind. When she was in Jabalpur, he would at least visit her during weekends but now that she was in Bilaspur, their meetings became more infrequent. Once a month he would go to Bilaspur. When she was really bored with the city, she would come to him for a day or two.
The second thing that happened was that he met Hirni. The bungalow in Mandla was too large and lonely, and thus Suryakant increasingly started spending his time in Kanha. The Kanha forest bungalow and looked after by Imarti, who was a tribal lady of about forty. Her son Mangal was a constable in the forest department. Normally the bungalow remained locked but when DFO Sahab (i.e. Suryakant Mathur) came to stay, Imarti would take residence and look after his needs.
Once it so happened, that Imarti and her son had to go to their village to attend a wedding. The wedding date coincided with Mathur’s visit to the jungle cottage. It was an important wedding that Imarti could not miss. Thus she left behind her daughter Hirni who would stay back and look after Bada Sahab. Hirni had celebrated her sixteenth birthday the previous week and was a young nubile tribal girl from Bastar. Her body was exotic and sensual as only that of a sixteen year old could be. In addition she had an extremely pretty and innocent face. A round face, large black eyes, dark complexion, ebony smooth skin and long lustrous black hair. She had dressed in the standard tribal fashion of a ghagra and choli. The Choli was two sizes too tight, and her well formed breasts strained against the fabric. The ghagra was too short and displayed her exceptionally well formed legs and calf covered in an equally honey smooth skin. She stood meekly as the mother introduced her and one look at her, totally devastated the district forest officer Mr. Suryakant Mathur.
Though he was terrible excited, even looking at her, he did not let his face betray any expressions, because he was 45 years old, while she was hardly sixteen. He was a little flustered and thus missed the looks exchanged by the mother and daughter. The mother was effusive in praising the daughter and told the DFO Sahab that she would look after all his needs. She seemed to place a special emphasis on “needs”. However, in Suryakant’s case, the momentary flash of desire and lust had disappeared. He saw the poor girl as what she was. A poor young maidservant! Imarti bowed and departed; the maid Hirni disappeared into the kitchen. It was a little cold. He lit the fire in the fire place, collected a goblet of Brandy with ice and sat down on an easy chair to read. Veterinary science was something that was almost a passion to Suryakant. He thus started reading an international journal while he sipped his brandy.
It was an extremely interesting article from America, about the effect of antidepressants on aggressive behavior of Canines. The article said that high doses of Anti-depressants added with Amphetamines made the dogs violent. Even very friendly and docile dogs became aggressive, if treated with these drugs. It was an interesting article and he read it carefully, underlining important sentences and making notes on a long un-ruled notebook. He never realized how the level in the goblet diminished. The next time he picked up the glass, it was empty. He was in too cozy a position to even want to get up. At that time his nose was assailed by a lovely and delectable fragrance, of hot bhajjis and pakodas. He looked up and saw Hirni. Hirni means a female deer or a doe. She walked as daintily as one, as she carried a tray with a plate full of onion and cauliflower pakodas. She placed the savories in front of him and collected the glass. She poured the exact amount of brandy and added the right amount of ice cubes.
She bent down to place the drinks on the table and he could have a tantalizing glimpse at her fantastic cleavage. She straightened and then looked at him. The face was so seductively attractive, that Mr. Suryakant Mathur fell in love! A famous humorist Mr. P.G. Woodhouse has said in one of his books, that love is like measles. It should be suffered and got over with, in childhood itself. Only in this way, a person can escape its complications. However if a person falls in love at an older age, then the consequences might be disastrous. This was exactly what happened to Mr. Suryakant Mathur. Love is something which is pretty spontaneous. It is something way beyond your control. You fall in love and that is it. Mr. Suryakant Mathur fell in love too. That moment he realized that his life would remain incomplete without Hirni, the doe; she too seemed to read the expressions in his eyes and blushed.
A little later, she came back with some more hot savories. He did not allow her to go back. He made her sit beside him and made a brandy for her. There was absolutely no hesitation in her as she took it to the mouth. It was as if he was the master and she was the slave. Every wish of his was her command though the way in which she coughed and spluttered, made it amply clear that she was drinking for the first time. But after the first sip, she seemed to settle and the rest of the brandy went in easily. He looked into her eyes and started talking. She was not only innocent, but intelligent too. But more importantly she was honest. She told him that her mother and brother hoped that she would be able to seduce the old man, so that they could extract financial favors from him. She had been so naive that she did not know what seduction meant. The mother and brother told her that she should do whatever he asked her to do. It was for this reason that she had unhesitatingly gulped the medicinal smelling drink in the goblet.
But a couple of drinks seemed to spread of mellow warmth into her. He came closer and she did not mind. While they got talking, Suryakant Mathur realized that Hirni was a gem of a girl. Exactly opposite of Kavitha in all ways! Hirni was as pretty as Kavitha was ugly. Yes! Now Mathur could actually accede that he had married an ugly woman. Hirni was as servile as Kavitha haughty; while Hirni had a curiosity and bewilderment at each new thing that she heard, Kavitha, had disdain and boredom due to excessive knowledge. While Kavitha had absolutely no interest in Mathur and his work, Hirni seemed to be dying to know all about him. While Kavitha had a harsh squeaky and commanding voice, Hirni had honey smooth husky tone. While Kavitha moved away from his touch, Hirni snuggled closer. While Kavitha smelt stale deodorant and toxic sweat, Hirni smelt of female sweat and pheromones.
Despite being uneducated, Hirni was not ignorant. In addition she had a great interest in learning about new things. For example she expressed a great interest in the article he was reading. In moments, he found himself explaining in lay-man’s terms, while she listened with an open mouthed amazement. He told her about psychiatric drugs. About anti depressants. About Amphetamines and their attributes for producing stimulation and hyperactivity. He finally gave her a description about how killer dogs were trained, and how their aggression was augmented by a special administration of psychotropic drugs. She saw the time and disengaged herself. She fixed him another drink and then walked to the kitchen. In less than half an hour, she was back with a sumptuous spread of food. He had not eaten such delicious food, in many years. Apart from being ugly, Kavitha was an atrocious cook. It was only natural that they would share an after dinner drink, and things happened as they did. He was almost a virgin and she decidedly so. It was difficult to say who actually seduced whom.
Their love making was tender and delicate, as it was wild and passionate. It was intense and yet intensely fulfilling. Neither of them had experienced anything even close to this in their lives. If there was any doubt in Suryakant’s mind about having fallen in love, they were all dispelled. Hirni appeared to be the best thing that had happened to him. It was a sexual awakening for the sixteen year old, to whom Suryakant’s tender lovemaking awakened the harlot in her. She behaved so shamelessly in bed, that it stimulated Suryakant Mathur in a way hitherto inexperienced. Not only did she do all that he expected of her but a lot more too. Physiology and nature had endowed Hirni with an innate curiosity about all things that she did not know; she thus experimented explored and tried all things possible, some difficult and a few impossible. Forty-five year old Suryakant Mathur was overwhelmed.
The mother and brother took three days to return from the wedding and in these three days, Hirni became a woman from a girl and Suryakant a connoisseur of sensual and carnal pleasures. By the time the mother and son returned, the old DFO and the young tribal maid had settled into a complex but mutually satisfying relationship. From the looks, attitude and demeanor of Imarti, it was apparent that she was happy with the situation because she had expected or rather planned it in the first place. Thus despite her return there was no question of Hirni going back to her house. Suryakant Mathur stayed in Kanha for four days this time before returning to Mandla. At Mandla he got a message that his wife had come to Jabalpur and had sent a message summoning him urgently. At this time, Kavitha Mathur was thirty-seven years old. Age had improved Mathur, but had an opposite effect on his wife. She had become Uglier and more arrogant. Actually with age, looks matter less and to outsiders she would not appear to be too ugly. But for him ….
The fact that he had tasted the nectar of life made Suryakant actually love life more and this weekend that he spent in Jabalpur with his wife made him acutely aware of each facet, character and attitude of Hirni, which Kavitha lacked. Kavitha wanted to have a detailed talk with him. Now her father was dead, her rightful place was in Bilaspur, looking after he father’s factories, industries and empire. She had no more time to waste setting up houses in cities close to the forests where Mathur would be posted. She even went on to suggest that Mathur’s job was a waste. What did it pay after all? The house in Jabalpur was all her fathers’ money. Event the bungalow in Mandla was furnished by her money. To think of it, even the Scorpio in which he had driven to Jabalpur belonged to her father. What was the use of being a DFO? She suggested that he too resign his job and come off with her to Bilaspur.
Suryakant was a practical man, who seldom made a decision in a hurry. He did what he always did, when his wife instructed him to do something. He nodded his assent. A little later, he told her that he did not like to take a decision in a hurry. He had spent a long time in service. If he worked till the age of forty seven, then he would be eligible for voluntary retirement. In that case his retirement benefits and pension would not go waste. Kavitha was basically a Baniya woman, who knew the value of money. The gratuity, pension and other benefits would not be a big fortune, but yet would be a decent sum. After all, it was just two more years! She agreed on a compromise. She would wind up the establishment in Jabalpur and shift to her own town Bilaspur. She would take charge of her father’s affairs. He could complete two more years of service and then apply for a voluntary retirement. He could visit her in Bilaspur once a month. Whenever she found time, she would visit him in Mandla.
Suryakant could not have been happier, because each minute he spent in Jabalpur, he pined for Hirni. In a few days, he came back to Mandla and then the Kanha. Hirni waited for him with open arms and they did not come out of the bedroom for three hours. Imarti, who heard the love sounds as she passed bye, gave an all knowing smile. The few days away from Hirni had made him all the more passionate and anxious for her body, which appeared to have bloomed a little more by now. That night when he slept cupping her luscious breasts and his thighs gently stroking her butter smooth buttocks, Suryakant Mathur reached a firm conclusion that not only he loved Hirni but he could not live without her. Not only did he want to possess her, but also wanted to marry her. He wanted to display her like his priced possession. He wanted his friends and acquaintances to feel jealous of him
But in the cold daylight the next day, he realized that his wishes were impractical indeed. He simply could not divorce Kavitha or separate from her. For one, the scandal would be unacceptable. Both his younger sisters had daughters of a marriageable age and a divorce in the family would be such a bad scandal that it would directly affect their marriage prospects. The second point that he understood was that, he had grown used to the luxuries that her money had provided. The four wheel drive Scorpio in which he drove proudly into the forests was still registered in his father-in-law’s company name. For that matter, even the brandy that he had consumed was paid for by the Shivhare fortunes. He looked at his silk bathrobe, the Rado watch on his wrist and the soft imported slippers on his feet His salary as a DFO would not pay for these luxuries. Though he did not love his wife, realization now dawned on him that he was totally dependant on her. If not her, then at least her money and affluence!
He then looked at the lovely face of Hirni as she got in two cups of coffee. She handed him a cup and sat at his feet with the other cup in her hand. Looking down, he got a clear view of her fantastic cleavage and felt a sudden surge of hormones course in his blood. Hirni looked up to him with a naughty twinkle in her eyes. She placed the coffee cup on the table beside him and slowly got up. She arched herself as she stifled a tiny yawn, and the effect on him was devastating. But what happened next surprised him. She daintily walked to the door and bolted it from inside. Even as she walked to him, she started stripping and tossing her clothes away.
Once again she sat down on the floor, spread his thighs and brought down her face, her lips wet and tongue anxious to pleasure him so that he would get ready to pleasure her. As he gently rumpled Hirni’s silky hair, Suryakant let out a soft moan. How lucky could he get! Yet another difference between Hirni and Kavitha hit him like a pointed dart. Leave alone understanding what he wanted, Kavitha would often deliberately refuse to understand him, even if he was clear and open in his expressions. And here he had to just look at Hirni once; she would understand him totally and absolutely. Once again as he lay spooned to her lithe nude body, suffused in a satisfying post coital glow, he realized that he had wasted all his time with Kavitha. Life would have been so much more purposeful and beautiful, if he had been married to someone like Hirni. Suddenly the door banged and it was his wife’s voice. He was aghast and shocked. Hirni Jumped out of the bed in panic. She looked hither and thither. Suryakant had panic in his eyes. He quickly surveyed the room. Two half drunk cups of tea on the stool. His clothes tossed to one side. Her blue Ghagra choli and white bra and panties, lying in a heap to a corner. (Yes! He had bought her a dozen silky sexy bra panty sets)
Yet once again, Hirni proved that she was a master of the situation. She grabbed her clothes as well as one cup of tea, and rolled under the cot. Her slim and nude form sneaking under the cot was almost synchronous with a loud bang on the door and his wife’s loud voice. He took a deep breath, wore his silk gown and walked to the door. He gave the standard excuse about being in the bathroom. But Kavitha was in too much of a hurry. She just gave a cursory peek into the bed room and then took him back to the lounge. She had wound up the house in Jabalpur and sent the baggage to Bilaspur. She herself was on her way. She had decided to detour to Kanha to meet her husband and say good bye. She refused his offer for coffee or tea, expressed her surprise at the missing servant, and in ten minutes her car and driver had left Kanha.
Hirni had sneaked out and got dressed in the meanwhile. When he re-entered the house, rather than being scared about his wife, Suryakant was seized by a strange sense of excitement or recklessness. Knowing well that his wife had just left and could come back any time, knowing that all the doors were open and any Hawaldar or Imarti or Hirni’s brother could barge in any time, he made a grab for Hirni, almost ripped off her clothes and made mad and passionate love to her on the drawing room floor, with all doors and windows open and cool breeze fluttering in at eleven am on a Wednesday. And this time, he had serious thoughts in his mind. He simply could not live without Hirni. The corollary was equally true. He could no longer live with Kavitha. But the sad truth was that he could neither afford the scandal, nor afford to loose the financial patronage of Shivhare fortunes. He had to find a solution to this Gordian knot as to how to eat the Hirni cake while retaining Shivhare fortunes as well.
It was six days before his forty-sixth birthday that Suryakant Mathur had his idea. He had been on an inspection to the jungles and saw a strange scene. It was a pair of Langoors. Langoors belong to the monkey family and are somewhat similar to baboons. They are almost double the size of ordinary monkeys but slightly smaller than gorillas and chimpanzees. But they are really intelligent beings. Suryakant observed the intelligence of Langoors, when he saw a mother Langoor train her baby how to eat wild ground nuts. The DFO and three of his hawaldars were on a foot patrol. Mathur’s Scorpio was parked about half a kilometer to the rear. It was about four in the evening. The weather was chill and the atmosphere pleasant. Suryakant had paused and taken rest on a huge boulder atop a small hillock.
The Hawaldar carrying the coffee passed around the paper cups and poured hot coffee. While they were slipping the delicious brew, Mathur gazed towards the other side and saw a spectacle which intrigued him. The valley in front of him was a field. He could recognize a large numbers of shrubs growing at random and Mathur thought that a few looked like ground nuts. And then he saw a mother Langoor with her son. The two came to the edge of the clearing. The mother then patted the son and started walking towards the field. The little Langoor attempted to follow but the mother stopped, turned around, bared its teeth, and gave a snarl. The younger simian understood that the mother wanted him to stay behind. He froze as the mother Langoor once again started towards the clearing. Four steps and she turned around. The little one had moved a step. This time the mother was very angry. She pounced back, gave a growl and lashed out a kick at the little one.
The small fellow gave out a shriek and a whimper. This time, the message sunk in loud and clear. He was supposed to stay back and sit tight. By now Mathur was intrigued and his hawaldars and peons sat beside him and looked with interest at the unfolding drama. The young one stayed beyond the clearing, as though bound by a Lakshman Rekha. The mother quickly reached the clearing. She then turned around to see if the son was watching her. She then looked around and located a ground nut shrub. The soil around it was caked and hard but she quickly used her front paws to loosen the soil. She then held the shrub by both palms and started shaking it. It was too firmly bound to come out. A little more loosening was needed and now it shook. It took almost all of the mother Langoor’s efforts to uproot almost all of the mother Langoors efforts to uproot the plant. Half the roots broke in the soil but what came out was a root branch with about a dozen groundnuts attached to it.
The mother monkey plucked one, took it to the mouth to crack the shell, brought it back to its paws and slowly opened the shell. She then deliciously started chewing the seeds. The little one seemed to be really hungry and started walking towards the mother slowly but she gave out such a loud growl that he got scared and scampered back to the edge. The mother Langoor patiently plucked every single shell and ate all the nuts, not leaving even one for the little one! Once she was finished, she walked back to the edge and patted the little Langoor. The forest officer and his cronies understood that the mother had completed the teaching and now waited for the son to follow suit. The little Langoor walked hesitantly to the fields but once he reached there seemed to be a little confused because he could not seem to identify a groundnut plant. He struggled heard to uproot a plant but its roots were bare.
The mother looked at the child’s dismal failure and walked close once again. She then picked up the plant she had uprooted. Carrying it with her, the big Langoor walked back to the clearing. The mother and son sat huddled in a small conference and both seemed to touch the groundnut shrub. After some time the little one walked in and located another plant. From the distance, it appeared like groundnut to Mathur. The little Langoor had to excert tremendous efforts, but eventually managed to uproot the plant. It had a good crop of nuts. The little one tried to eat one whole, muddy shell and all. But it did not relish the mud taste and spat it out. The mother spent time, patiently teaching the son how to remove the shells and eat the nuts. By the time the lesson was over, the son was able to identify, uproot, and crack the shell and eat the peanuts. The lesson over, mother and son walked back into the jungles.
The tribal Hawaldar then told Suryakant Mathur certain interesting facts about Langoors. Langoors lived in a group and the biggest and strongest of them was a team leader, who enjoyed sexual rights on all the females in the herd. When he grew old and weak, another young Langoor would challenge him and either kill him or drive him away to take charge of the group. The Langoor leader was thus a selfish and greedy simian. So worried was he about other males usurping his seat of power, that the father Langoor would kill the baby if it was a male. Langoors had a gestation period of about five months and gave birth to a single offspring. If the new born was a female, then the herd leader would not mind. But if it was a male, the father would kill it by swinging the infant’s head against a hard rock or boulder. If all the males were killed, then how did the progeny run? Why did not the race get eliminated?
This was because not all new born males died. In many cases, the mother would hide the infant in the jungle away from the eyes of the father. This little one had to remain alone and learn to fend itself. The jungles were harsh and the dangers were great. Thus the percentage of survival of these poor creatures was not too great. However the one that survived would represent the fittest in Darwinian terms. The mother would not altogether abandon the infant. Unknown to the father, she would go to the jungles and train the little one. Once the young one became a little older, he would stay at the fringes of the group without actually, falling in the eye or confronting its father. Now if it fell into the old Langoor’s eyes, it would not be killed because it was old enough to defend itself. Over years when the abandoned Langoor grew strong and powerful, it would come back to the herd.
It would challenge the lead male and a great fight would ensue. The victor would become the leader of the gang. Such situations ensured that the leader was always a powerful and fit Langoor whose progeny would propagate. The Hawaldar said that not much was known about the lifestyle and social habbit of these Langoors A few years back, someone from National Geographic had made a movie on them. What he had just seen was a mother training the infant in survivorship techniques.
Suryakant Mathur gave a wide smile. Nature and its strange ways! Not only were the Langoors intelligent but were trainable too. They could be taught to do things. He reached back to the bungalow late at night and found an anxious Hirni waiting for him with brandy and bhajiyas. The fireplace was warmly lit. They had a lovely romantic evening, and Mathur realized that Hirni was so besotted with him that she was almost like a slave.
She anticipated his moods and acted accordingly. Even before he could express a desire, she was on her way to fulfilling it. Once again, their love making was passionate and energetic. In the coital afterglow, Hirni told him that she might have become pregnant. Rather than shock him, the news strangely pleased him. But next week, Hirni told him that it was a false alarm. He did not mind either way. If she was not pregnant now, she would become pregnant soon. All that mattered was that he possessed her. That night while he slept, he had a strange dream. It was a dream, but so vivid and real that it woke him in a cold sweat. In the dream he saw his wife Kavitha sleeping on a hammock charpoy under a huge papal tree in a breezy jungle. At a distance he saw a small Langoor with a huge round rock in its hand. The monkey slowly walked towards his wife
When the little Langoor got close, he swung the stone high up in the air and brought it down with a satisfying thunk on Kavitha’s head, splitting the skull with a loud crack. And then something bizarre happened. The monkey was not satisfied with one blow, but continued to relentlessly hammer the hapless woman till her skull became a pulp. The little monkey then plucked out a piece of skull and tossed it away. It then dipped its hand deep in, and started scooping the white brain tissue as ice cream and started eating it. The little Langoor did not seem to relish the taste of human brain and with the rock in hand it walked back to its mother Langoor which smiled benevolently at the son. In his dream, Mathur stirred lightly and stared at the female monkey’s face which gradually dissolved and was replaced by the face of a man. A middle aged man. And then Suryakant Mathur was shocked. Once the mist cleared and the face became clearer, he realised that it was his own face.
He woke out in a cold sweat. He realized that Hirni was sleeping snuggled into him, her globules squeezing against his left shoulder, while her smooth shapely thigh lay across his belly. And then something incredible and unbelievable happened. The mere thought of his wife’s violent death sexually stimulated him in a strange way. He had an abrupt erection which almost pushed her thigh away. His hands cupped her breasts and gently pinched the nipples between this thumb and index finger. Hirni shuddered and came awake gradually. Her mid thigh felt his throbbing manhood. Once again Mathur realized that Hirni was a mind reader. She gently slid over him and sat astride him. Her movements started extremely slowly but then picked up such tremendous speeds that he could not control the involuntary guttural sounds that started matching her rhythm.
The dream had gives him an idea. A solution to all his problems! Yes! Kavitha’s death would solve all the problems. He would not loose his financial stability. He would get his independence and he would get his Hirni. He fell back into a post coital bliss and hoped that a little more of the dream would come, which would give him ideas. To his great disappointment, no further dreams came. The next morning, when he looked at the old journal on the table, he broke out into a smile. If Amphetamine and Amilryptaline could make a dog aggressive, then it was equally certain that it would make Langoors aggressive too. And the Langoors were trainable creatures. They could be trained to do things. They could even be trained to kill his wife! The more he thought, the more the idea crystallized. His wedding anniversary was in eleven months. His wife had informed him that she would spend the weakened in Kanha.
It was just like Kavitha. She just informed him. She was least bothered if it was convenient for him or not! But the news of Kavitha’s arrival gave Suryakant Mathur a date, a time-frame and a schedule. He knew when his wife would die. He decided to catch a few young male Langoors. These, abandoned by the mother, for their survival, were not too difficult to catch. He then decided to feed them with food laced with the drugs that would make them aggressive, and finally he would train them to kill his wife. Step by step, the plan came into action. He wanted to keep it a secret from Hirni. No point in involving the poor thing.
Hirni was looking into the mail order catalogue which featured a long legged model in a red coloured party gown. The moment Mathur saw the gown, he got an idea. He shifted the base of operation to the outhouse. He told Hirni that he was conducting some secret experiments and she was to stay away from the outhouse. The slave she was, she just nodded silently. If her lord and master forbade her from doing something then she would not even look into that direction. The next week, Mathur was away to Mandla for a few days. He located the mail-order house that sold the gowns and ordered for six in his wife’s size. In addition, he went to a textile show room and purchased the mannequin. The shop keeper was surprised that the DFO wanted a mannequin. He told some story about a recent interest in sculpting for which he needed a framework. The mannequin and gowns were packed in brown sheets and transported straight to the outhouse, without Hirni becoming even aware of their existence. Mathur then spent some time planning up things. Being an intelligent and a methodical man, he did things with precision.
The tribals were instructed to catch at least four young Langoors. The young males who were hidden in the jungle by the mother protect them from their father. In addition he procured a lot of tender coconuts. He removed the outer husk but left the shell intact. With sandpaper, he polished the coconut so that it looked round and nice. With a hacksaw, the back of the mannequin face was removed. The polished coconut would now sit in the hollow precisely. Covered with a wig, the doll would look normal and under the wig would be the coconut. He got a spare bed shifted to the outhouse. The mannequin was dressed in one of the rice red gowns and placed on the bed. Mathur then procured two big round stones. The size of a melon each. These were placed under the cot. The scene was set, and Mathur had completed stage one.
In about a week, three Langoors were caught. They were kept in cages each about four feet square. Each had a rope tied around its waist to prevent it from escaping. Mathur started the second step by starving the monkeys. They were only fed water. And the water was doped with the drugs. Yes; Amphetamine, Amilryptaline, tricyclics, and lithium compounds. The drugs increased the thirst and the more they drunk, the more agitated they became. Once Mathur was convinced that the monkeys were in a real aggressive mood, he got into the next step. Hirni was curious about Mathur’s actions, but being the devout slave she was, she contained her curiosity and not once did she even look at the outhouse. On the predestined day, the three cages were brought into the room in the outhouse. Here was the bed, atop which lay a mannequin with a red gown on its body and a polished coconut under the wig. Kavitha too had dark hair.
Suryakant had good supplies of polished coconuts which were safely stored in the cupboard. The cages were brought in, and the agitated monkeys screamed. Mr. Mathur deliberately bent down and pulled the two rocks from under the bed. Walking close, he placed once rock beside the left ear. With the stone, he gave a violent bash to the skull splattering it. Actually he had splattered the coconut. He then moved the hair aside, split the coconut and started eating the white kernel with relish; while the tender coconut water seeped into the wig and the gown. That is why he had bought half a dozen of them. The last one of course would be his wife’s wedding anniversary present. He patiently ate the kernel, or at least mimed eating it. Finally he tossed the white cheesy pieces of the coconut kernel into each cage.
The three Langoors were really hungry the white pieces tasted divine. They ate the pieces, licked their paws and almost bit their own palms. Suryakant Mathur gave a big smile because his method seemed to be working. Once gain, he picked up the transparent PET bottle with clear water and poured it into the containers in the three cages, to enable the Langoors to drink a little more of the special solution containing the appropriate drugs. He then covered the three cages with a blanket so that the monkeys would not know what he was doing. He removed the wig, changed the coconut, wiped and cleaned the gown a little, repositioned the dummy mannequin on the bed and replaced the two stones under the bed. He removed the blanket and this time openly removed the two stones and made an attempt to crack the skull (coconut) yet once again.
Stopping at the last moment, Suryakant looked at the monkeys. He then did exactly as the mother Langoor had done. Slowly he replaced the two stones once again on the floor under the cot. He waited for a short while allowing the animals to became a bit more restless. He finally chose the biggest of the three. He opened the cage door but was careful enough to retain a hold on the rope tied around the monkey’s waist. Like a demented devil, the simian struggled against the rope, almost strangling its waist. It bared its teeth like a devil, and attempted to pounce on the red dressed mannequin. Mathur was a patient man. He had seen the mother train the infant. He waited till the Langoor’s excitement reached fever pitch and then released the animal. He could not control his smile at the response.
The Langoor did not rush to the form on the bed. It peered under the cot. It located the two stone pieces. The boulders were heavy and it could not lift either with a single hand. Despite its maddening hunger, the Langoor did not hurry. It picked up a stone with both its hands. It placed the stone beside the dummy’s head. It jumped down and picked up the second stone. Raising it as high as it could, it brought it down with a loud thunk on the forehead. But the pillow under the coconut was soft. The thump did not produce a crack. The Langoor seemed to associate a proper hit with the dribbling coconut water. And now the Langoor did something that really surprised the forest officer. It lifted the head and placed a boulder underneath. This time the powerful hit worked, splattering the coconut. The water leaked but a palpation through the wig did not yield the white cheesy matter. The little Langoor almost grew mad. It lifted the stone and brought it down with a thud.
It did not stop at this stage; and in an absolute frenzy continued to bang the stone again and again and yet again. It then kept the stone aside and dipped its hand into the wig. The hand came out with a piece of broken coconut shell with the white kernel attached to it. The monkey took it to its mouth and started eating it with a great relish. The coconut seemed to stimulate its hunger and restarted its attempts in frenzy. The other two Langoors saw their colleague eating and started scowling out in loud voices. Teeth bared, they almost smashed their heads against the wire mesh grill. For a moment, it appeared really scary even to Mathur. After the first Langoor had eaten it’s full, it was pushed back into the cage. The cages were then covered with a blanket wile the coconut was replaced. The experiment was equally successful with the other two.
Suryakant Mathur was extremely buoyant as he walked back to the cottage and found an eager Hirni waiting for him. Only she could find a new way to please him each and every time. She was a little curious about the activities and monkey sounds in the outhouse. He once again told her that he was conducting some scientific experiments with some baby Langoors. He forbade her from asking further questions. Like the obedient slave Hirni was, she nodded her head and went back to fetch his drinks. Suryakant Mathur was feeling so excited about the success of his mission, that he felt extremely aroused and the two of them had a fantastic time in bed. The next day onwards, Suryakant Mathur started his training in earnest. Four dresses were ripped and made soggy. Two sets of wigs had to be changed. Sixty four polished coconuts were exhausted. At the end of ten months, a little ahead of his forty-seventh birthday, Suryakant Mathur was finally satisfied with the three Langoors.
The next week, he received a message that his wife was taking a train up to Mandla. He told her that he would pick her up at the railway station. He also told her that he had a lovely gift for her. His gift to her on their anniversary! He told Hirni that Madam would be staying for a few days. During that period, they had to be discreet and careful. The ever obedient slave nodded. Two days before Kavitha's arrival, Hirni told him the good news that she was pregnant. This time she had waited for two full months before making an announcement. No wonder Hirni’s breasts had tensed up; areolae grown a little larger, and face become a lot prettier. The first trimester pregnancy glow! He was so happy that he carried her to the dining table and made love on it. In her final throes, she kicked a bowl of sugar and ended up with sugar all over her buttocks.
As she walked swaying her luscious black glutei, shining with sugar crystals like tiny diamonds, he once again told himself that he was the luckiest forty-seven year old man alive. He supervised the cleaning up of the house. He also told her to be extra careful. He wondered if it would be better to have her mother during his wife’s stay but Hirni assured him that she would take extra care in Kavitha’s presence. He had one final look at the house to ensure that he was not leaving anything around that would prove that he and Hirni had a liaison. He whistled a merry tune as he drove to the station. The red satin gown in a cardboard box lay on the bed in the master bedroom. The Langoors had been starved for two days and loaded with drugs to make them really aggressive. The moment the wife came home, he would give her the gown to wear. He would then go to the rear and release the Langoors. He would then load the cages into the jeep and go for a long ride.
He had already burnt the mannequin and the other gowns. With the cages gone, the connection between him and the Langoors would disappear. The two huge stones lay under the bedroom cot. He would come back from his rounds a little late. It would be better if Hirni found the body and summoned local help even before he returned. As far as every one would be concerned, it would be a freak accident in which a couple of Langoors gone berserk, attacked, and killed Kavitha. There was no way in which he could be connected with the episode. As the sole surviving relative of his wife, he would inherit all her fortune. And finally he would get Hirni, the biggest prize of them all. It was indeed a happy and buoyant Mathur, who drove to the railway station to welcome his beloved wife on their wedding anniversary.
Hirni was feeling extremely joyful. She considered herself to be fortunate to have got a master like this. The fact that she was pregnant by the master made her ecstatic. She too hummed a soft tune while she gave the final touches to the cleaning and tidying. Suddenly she heard a loud screech from the outhouse. She was a little surprised but because he had forbidden her to go there, she tried to ignore the sounds. But human mind is strange. The sounds that we attempt to ignore continue to taunt us. We feel tempted to do things that we are forbidden to do. Though she was pregnant and would became a mother soon, Hirni was actually still a child. She knew that curiosity killed a cat but then she convinced herself that she was not a cat. She would not touch or disturb any thing. She would just take a quick look. She need not even tell master that she had gone into the outhouse. And he had already told her that he was doing some experiments with monkeys.
Very slowly and silently, she tiptoed into the rear and walked the distance to the outhouse. By now, Mathur had cleared the place and all evidence of his training experiments had been destroyed. The outhouse just had three locked cages containing three Langoors. Three agitated frustrated and extremely angry Langoors. They acted as if they had gone mad. Seeing her enter, their excitement appeared to increase. They jumped from side to side and even banged their heads against grill. Hirni was not scared. She was a tribal girl and seen enough of Langoors. These were not even fully grown. But from their anger, she realized that something was not quite right. She then got it. The empty water troughs in the three cages! The poor simians were thirsty. No wonder they screamed.
She looked around and saw a Bisleri water bottle, about three quarters full, on a table a little away. She picked up the bottle and walked to the first cage. She did not notice that a keychain with a single key, which lay under the Bisleri bottle, had fallen down. She walked slowly to the cages and through the grill mesh, poured water in the three troughs. When she had almost finished pouring water in the third trough, the Langoor bared its teeth and pounced at her with a great force. If the metal grill wall was not between them, then the monkey would surely have bitten off her nose. She was a little flustered. Almost a little afraid of the devil like face that snarled at her. Replacing the bottle on the table, she quickly closed the outhouse door and slowly walked out. Just a couple of Langoors in cages. They had nothing to do with her. Master had been right; she better stay away from the outhouse in future.
The moment Hirni left the outhouse, the monkeys became silent. They quickly gulped the doped water. Their thirst was satiated but not their hunger. This made them angry. And then one of them spotted the key. The grill door had vertical and horizontal bars but the gap was wide enough for the Langoor to put out its paw. It looked at the lock and then at the key on the floor. It slowly stretched its paw out but it was about an inch too short. It strained a little more, and finally the key was in its hands. It looked at the key. It then looked at the lock on the outside. It took the key to the lock but was not able to find the hole which was on the opposite side. The Langoor had become silent and ruminative. It then saw the neighboring cage. The Langoor had seen Mathur unlock and open the door hundreds of times.
After a moment’s hesitation, the paw with the key once again darted through the grill. But it was not straight ahead. It was to its side. The lock to the next cage was clearly visible. The key was popped in straight and in a moment the lock had swung open. Too many things very working against Suryakant Mathur. He ever wanted to fidget around with too many keys and thus had procured three locks which opened with the same key. Thus when Langoor two released Langoor one, it was an easy matter for Langoor one to pull out the key and unlock Langoor number two. Despite their hunger, they had a tremendous amount of bonding, and thus the two released the third too. The three of them located a ventilator through which they got out. They were extremely hungry. The breeze was blowing towards them and the delicious smells of cooked food wafted from a big bungalow in the front.
From the outhouse, Hirni walked to the house. She did indeed frolic like a deer and Suryakant Mathur was not wrong in telling himself that Hirni was growing prettier by the day. She then ran her palm over her belly. It was flat; concave rather. She involuntarily blushed! What would it be? A boy or a girl? Musing thus, she walked into the bedroom and saw the cardboard box on the bed. She was as curious as a normal sixteen year old girl and opened the box. Inside, she saw a red satin party gown. She remembered having seen it in a mail order catalogue and pointing it out to him. She felt a little sad that master had got one for his wife and not for her. Hirni then reassured herself may be the boss had one for her too. He would give it to her at the appropriate time. The soft satiny velvety feel was really divine. Unable to control herself, she pulled out the gown from its wrappings. She unfurled it and looked at it in the mirror. She was suddenly seized by a compulsive desire to wear the gown. She would quickly wear it, admire herself in the mirror, and then fold it back into the box. Master’s wife would never know. She quickly pulled off her dress and hastily tossed it to one corner. Her frilly pink bra and panty lay over her yellow ghagra as she admired her full length body in the mirror and turned around. Indeed her breasts had swelled up a little and buttocks became a lot more shapely. She picked up the gown and pulled it over her head. The gown had covered her eyes when the first Langoor jumped in from the ventilator.
The train was on time, and a buoyant Suryakant told his wife on the way that he had purchased a lovely gown for her as a wedding anniversary present. As usual, she smiled sarcastically and told him that she did not fancy gowns too much, but because he had brought it, she would wear it. He was a little surprised not to see Hirni at the door. The wife had a full bladder and thus walked in straight into the bedroom where the horror lay. Langoor number three had just then taken a piece of the cheesy white matter of Hirni’s brain into his mouth. This decidedly was not tasty like the coconut meat. Baring his fangs, Langoor number three spat the mushy piece of brain. Mrs. Kavitha Mathur, being a possessor of sharp reflexes ducked down and the cheesy blob of brain matter hit the forehead of Mr. Suryakant Mathur who had followed his wife!
© 2009 Dr L.Prakash
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