Raghav was very happy today. His wife, Shaina, had gone to visit her parents. He was all by himself tonight. He couldn’t contain his excitement. Today when he went home; it would not be Shaina’s nagging face that greeted him. Falak would be there for him. Oh, how he had missed Falak, missed those comforting arms around him. But today, he would get a taste of heaven.

Raghav was from a prominent business family of the city. He was the eldest son and was expected to marry into a family that matched his social status. He was supposed to marry a beautiful, rich girl; whether he liked it or not. And being an obedient son, he did so. He married Shaina. She was everything a business man’s wife could be. She was smart, she was a great hostess – she was just perfect. But like all socialites; she was the perfect bitch too. Life was hell with her. And what was more; try as hard as he might, he could not bring himself to love her. She wouldn’t let him divorce her too; not that he had the courage to file a suit. And so, he did all that was expected of him, playing the perfect provider. The only bright spot in their marriage was their 4 year old daughter, Sara. Luckily, she had taken after him.

He finished his work and rushed back home. Falak was there – just as he had expected. Falak’s face lit up on seeing him. Raghav took in the sight in front of him. Neat white T-shirt and a smart pair of shorts. He shuddered with pleasure. Falak smiled sensuously, “Welcome home, darling. Sara’s fast asleep. What took you so long?” They hugged each other tight. Raghav felt that this was a true home-coming. How he wished he could be with Falak forever! But, he didn’t have the guts. Anger welled up in him – why couldn’t he have his share of happiness?

Falak sensed his tension and eased away. He smiled ruefully. “Come sweetheart, I have made some chicken fried rice for you.” “I can’t wait to have it, Falak.” They ate savouring each other’s company. God! How badly he wanted the night to last forever. But that was not to be; so they had to live each moment of the night. After dinner, they sat down to watch a rerun of Will and Grace. This was pure bliss – Falak’s head nestled against his shoulder. The night was running out. No, he couldn’t let it go like that. He hugged Falak closer. Falak looked into his eyes. “I love you, Raghav.” Feeling gushed forth as he tightened his grip; almost smothering Falak, “I love you, love you.” And they made love – slowly, passionately. Every move unleashed the love that had been suppressed for so long. The inevitability of their separation when Shaina returned, just fuelled the passion.

The next morning; they continued the pretense of a happy home. Raghav lazed on the sofa with the newspaper; while Falak made coffee. They smiled at each other contentedly. Just then Sara walked in with her teddy bear, rubbing her sleepy eyes. As soon as she saw Falak she squealed and ran upto him, “Falak uncle, you lied to me. I slept soon; but the Pumpkin Fairy did not hide any present under my pillow. Now buy me a chocolate.” “Ok sweetie, now be a good girl and go brush your teeth,” Falak hugged Sara. Raghav watched on wistfully – if only they could be a family!

Being ‘Firang’ and easy

When the Slumdog debate was at its peak, Tarun Tejpal wrote a scathing piece in Tehelka on the stereotypes associated with Indians. It was a brilliantly written piece like most of Tarun Tejpal’s work and had received a lot of positive comments. But there was one strong voice of dissent. It was a letter by a foreigner, a lady, who questioned the righteous anger of Indians by asking uncomfortable questions about our own portrayal of ‘firangs’ in Bollywood. She wondered if showing all foreign women as only sex symbols and easy wasn’t a stereotype. Foreigners in Hindi movies were addicts, sex-o-maniacs or home-breakers, so wasn’t that unfair to them she asked. I was reminded of this statement when I was covering the gang rape of the American student at TISS. The headlines in the newspapers next day screamed that the boys hadn’t anticipated that she would cry rape. Why? Did the boys think that being American she would just shrug it all off as a time pass orgy? I cant remember the last time I heard someone talk nice things about a ‘firang’ girl. Mostly they are a subject of sexual curiosity and lewd jokes. Her skirts, her white skin, her smile, everything is considered as an ‘invitation’, even if the poor girl is just being herself. Yes, you may say that it is the great cultural difference amongst us, which makes it difficult for the average Indian male to understand that a woman could just be friendly with you, hang around with you, drink with you, without having once thought of ‘seduction’. And that is perhaps the only ‘mistake’ this girl made – that of thinking that these people thought of her as a friend and not as an easy catch. If thought this way, yes, it was all her fault, wasn’t it?


The tomcat sitting on the roof opposite Anjana’s window was trying to mate. He was smelling the tabby up though she was resisting and mewling almost violently. But he was stronger. He was trying to overpower her and pull her down. He was clawing wildly. The tabby was not giving in either. She clawed and scratched and both of them were rolling all over the tin roof. The mewling grew louder, almost unbearable. It seemed that the tomcat was winning. He had managed to pin the tabby down, her mewls were becoming soft whimpers. But in a sudden show of strength the tabby clawed at the tomcat’s eyes. The tomcat screeched and jerked away. Anjana watched with some satisfaction as the tabby ran away to safety just as her own ‘lover’, her husband, was finishing slobbering all over her.