Shehla’s story has its beginnings in the “Kalpana how she got angry and frustrated when she saw couples chatting, laughing, flirting…
Shehla was desperate for male company. But she knew very well that she couldn’t afford to have an affair either with colleagues in the office or with neighbours or acquaintances. So in her desperation, she’d joined several online dating platforms to seek out someone to have a short term relationship with. She’d been shocked and stunned by the responses she’d received.
“Didi, you cannot imagine the unbelievably vulgar replies I received, with photographs that would put a pornographic magazine to shame!”
“Oh god! I hope you didn’t give out any photos or personal details!” Kalpana had whispered.
“No, of course not! I may be desperate but I’m not stupid!”
“I don’t think I’ll ever find a man this way either. I think I’m just going to go crazy!” Shehla had whispered.
“Na, na, Shehla. Hausla mat haaro. Zaroor koi raasta nikal aayega!”
“No, no, Shehla. Don’t give up hope. I’m sure you’ll find a way!” Kalpana had comforted her.
“Tumhare shauhar ka iss barey mein kya khyal hai?”
“What does your husband have to say about this?”
“Hum dono ek doosre ko bahut chahte hain. Aur woh meri pareshani samajhte hain. Agar unke bas mein hota to woh kabke laut aaye hote. Lekin woh itni buri tarah ulajh gaye hain ke yeh namumkin hai. Pehle unhon ne mujhe koi vibrator sarikhi cheez istemal karne ka sujhav diya. Lekin mujhe usse koi sukoon nahi mil paya. Phir unhon ne hi mujhe kaha ki ho sakey toh kissi ko doondh le temporary rishte ke liye…”
“We love each other and he understands my problem. If he could, he’d have returned long ago. But he’s so badly entangled, that’s just not possible. He first told me to use a vibrator but I could not find any satisfaction with that. So, in fact it’s he who suggested that I could try to find somebody for a short term…” Shehla had hinted that her hubby was caught in some kind of a trap.
“Didi, shaadi ke pehle maine kabhi nahi socha tha ke mujhe jismani rishton ki itni latt lag jayegi! Agar maine shaadi ki hi nahi hoti to iss sabse mein bach jati…”
“Didi, before I got married I’d never thought that I would get so addicted to bodily pleasures. I’d have been saved all my troubles if I hadn’t married at all!” Shehla had concluded with a sad shake of her head.
“Arri pagli! Yeh kya keh rahi hai tu? Tujhe ek achha sa pati mila hai, ek khubsoorat si bachchi bhi. In dono ka tumhe zindagi bhar saath rahega. Abhi ke problems zaroor jaldi hi mit jayenge. Hausla rakho!”
“Don’t be silly! You have a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter too! They’ll be with you for a lifetime while your present problems will go away soon. Don’t lose hope!” Kalpana had comforted her.
Shehla’s heart to heart talk with Kalpana had lifted a great burden off her shoulders. She felt etiler escort much more relaxed and positive now, although there had been no material change in her circumstances. Then one day Kalpana had a brainwave.
“Shehla, agley weekend ko hamari Society ka Annual Social Gathering hai. Tum bhi aao aur tumhari maa aur bachchi ko bhi leti lao. Bada maza aayega. Tumhara dil bhi bahal jayega!”
“Shehla, our Society is having its Annual Social Gathering next weekend. Please do come and bring your mother and daughter too! It’ll be great fun. It’ll also distract your mind!” Kalpana invited Shehla to cheer her up.
Shehla was grateful for the invitation. She knew she could use any occasion to distract her mind from her current problems and a social gathering with lots of young children having noisy fun seemed to be just the thing she needed. After some hesitation, Shehla accepted the invitation and asked what she could bring to contribute to the gathering but Kalpana cheerfully told her to just bring her sweet self…
“Aao, aao Shehla, welcome! Hamara ghar dhoondhne mein koi dikkat toh nahi hui?”
“Welcome, Shehla! I hope you had no problem finding our house?” Kalpana gave her friend a cheerful welcome.
“Absolutely no problem!”
It was just past noon on a Saturday. The residential society’s social gathering was scheduled to start at 4:30 in the evening, but Kalpana had invited her friend early, so that they could have lunch together.
“Aur yeh kya? Tumhari ma aur beti kahan hain?”
“And where are your mom and daughter?”
“Ji, wey dono meri khala ke yahan gaye hain. Unki nati ki salgirah hai aur meri beti ko unke yahan bachchon ke saath khelne mein bahut maza aata hai.”
“Both of them have gone to my aunt’s place. Her granddaughter is celebrating her birthday and my daughter loves to play with children there.”
“Oh! It would’ve been great fun if they too could’ve come! I hope they’ll be able to come another time.” Kalpana was a bit disappointed.
“Ji, mein lana chahti thi, lekin salgirah ka program pehle se hi tay ho chuka tha.”
“I wanted to bring them along, but the birthday program had already been fixed a while ago.”
She then introduced Shehla to her mother in law and her kids. Kapil walked in just as they had settled down with cold drinks.
“Yeh hain merey pati, Kapil. Aur Kapil, yeh hai meri colleague aur acchhi saheli, Shehla!”
“This is my husband, Kapil. And Kapil, this is my colleague and good friend, Shehla!” Kalpana did the introductions and they greeted each other with smiles and nods. They all made small talk while sipping cold drinks. Soon, Kalpana, her mother in law and Shehla retreated to the kitchen to put finishing touches on the food and set the table, while Kapil relaxed in the living room watching TV and the kids played in their room.
“Kapilji, eve gelen escort aaiye. Khana taiyar hai!”
“Come, Kapilji. Lunch is ready!” Shehla came out and called him.
(Author’s note: “ji” is a suffix formally added to a person’s name to express respect.)
When Kalpana had introduced them, they hadn’t been able to really gauge each other, since other people were present. Now that they were by themselves if only for a few seconds, they took the opportunity to size each other up.
Kapil quickly took in Shehla’s appearance. Her complexion was smooth and fair and her face was bereft of makeup, other than a thin eyeliner and pale lip gloss. She looks much younger than her age; she could easily pass off as a college student, he thought.
Her tall, trim frame was clad in a simple but smart salwar kameez outfit. The kameez was front opening with buttons running down to the waist. It was made of off-white muslin and had elbow length sleeves. The neck opening was modestly sized. Dainty embroidered flowers decorated the neck and framed the line of buttons. The salwar and the dupatta were in matching, colourful print.
Shehla had worn a slip under the translucent kameez, to preserve her modesty. The shadow of her black lace bra could be discerned through the layers of clothing. Although the loosely draped dupatta hid the contours of her bosom, he guessed that she was reasonably well endowed. She had a flat belly, flaring hips but no love handles. Altogether, she had the mature figure of a woman who’d borne a child, yet it was slim and svelte due to the combined contribution of her genes, her regular workouts and her moderate, healthy diet.
Shehla didn’t wear a bindi on her wide forehead, in keeping with the norm of her faith. Departing from her usual practice, she had worn her long, thick, lustrous black hair in a single plait that reached almost to her waist. Although she might not rate as a great beauty, she was quite attractive in an understated way, Kapil acknowledged to himself.
Like most women, Shehla too had an in-born faculty for quickly sizing up men. Without conscious thought, she did a quick take. She noted his tall, slim frame, his quick, energetic movements, his humorous eyes hiding behind a pair of spectacles, his confident stance. She had earlier noted approvingly his quick wit, ready laughter and the way he’d glanced possessively at his wife Kalpana every once in a while. She now noted the flicker of interest in his eyes as he looked at her. She was used to getting that from men, but coming from Kapil, she was flattered. “H’m! Nice!” She concluded.
There was relaxed banter as they all sat around the dining table and ate lunch. Both Kapil and Shehla were quite used to interacting with members of the opposite gender in their work environment and there was no awkwardness between fatih escort them. They all laughed aloud as Kapil regaled them with jokes and they enjoyed the kids’ antics. After a thoroughly enjoyable lunch, Kapil retired to his bedroom to catch a nap while the women tidied up the dining table and then set to work to prepare for the evening revelries.
The women of the society had divided up between themselves the job of making evening refreshments. Kalpana had been given the responsibility of making lime sherbet. Kapil had already procured a large quantity of limes and a big icebox full of ice cubes. The women set about squeezing lime juice and making sugar syrup. A large drum of cold lime sherbet was soon ready, after a lot of tasting and balancing of sweet, sour and salty flavours. Plenty of lime juice, sugar syrup and ice was left over, just in case additional sherbet was needed. Soon, all of them headed downstairs to the society’s clubhouse.
There was cheerful chaos and confusion as kids ran around chasing each other and the members of the managing committee bustled around to make sure that everything was as it was supposed to be. The chairman of the society called out over the public address system and announced the official start of the annual social gathering, after a short speech. Along with other ladies Kalpana got busy organizing various games and races for the kids. Her lime sherbet was a great hit with the crowd, particularly with the kids, who were thirsty with all the games and races they were participating in and soon, it was running low.
“Shehla, kya tum please aur sherbet bana ke laogi?
“Shehla, can you please make more sherbet?” Kalpana was in the middle of refereeing a three legged race. Shehla immediately agreed. Kalpana gave a shout to Kapil, asking him to accompany Shehla to unlock their apartment and also to help her haul down the full drum of sherbet. His little five year old daughter spotted them just as Kapil and Shehla set off towards their apartment.
“Papa mai bhi aati hoon. Mujhe bathroom jana hai!”
“Papa I’m coming too! I have to use the bathroom!”
“Han, han bitiya. Tum bhi chalo hamare saath!”
“Yes, child. Come with us!” The girl skipped along, holding her father’s hand.
Shehla got busy in the kitchen, fixing up another batch of lime sherbet.
“Papa, come!” The girl called out from the bathroom, after she’d finished her job. With practiced ease, Kapil helped his daughter to wash and clean up and put on her knickers. As their set ritual demanded, they both made great whooshing sounds as she flushed the toilet. She then happily scampered away, eager to re-join her playmates downstairs, but not before collecting two sloppy kisses from Papa.
“Wah, Jijaji! Aap sachmuch apne bachchon ka bahut achcha khyal rakh sakte hain!”
“Wow, Jijaji! You really know how to take care of your kids!” Shehla was impressed.
“Han! Yeh sab to karna hi padta hai, bachche hone par!”
“Yes! You have to do these things, once you have kids!” He said deprecatingly. Kapil was pleased with the compliment. He also noted that Shehla had addressed him as Jijaji (brother in law, treating Kalpana as her adoptive elder sister) instead of the more formal Kapilji.