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The Madras Affair
by Sundari Venkatraman (Book Preview) | Published On:

“A heartwarming tale of a woman who rises from the ashes of a torturous marriage to recreate her life and reclaim her self-respect. A heroine to cheer
for, a hero to die for, and a story that races along to a delicious conclusion. . .Kudos to Sundari Venkatraman for her success in blending social relevance with a riveting tale of love and hope.”

                                                                                                                                                                      —Usha Narayanan

 

Sangita crooned softly to the sleeping baby in the cradle. Her face glowed with motherly love in the soft radiance from the night lamp.

Three-month-old Sandeep was fast asleep with his left thumb stuck firmly into the rosebud of his mouth, totally unaware of the turmoil in his mother’s heart. He whimpered in protest as Sangita tried to remove his little thumb. He wriggled his small body into a more comfortable position, tucked his thumb resolutely into his mouth once again and went back to sleep. She smiled at her son’s cherubic face. “Determined little brat,” she scolded him softly.

Sandeep had become the pivot of her very existence since even before he was born. She loved him with all the affection she was capable of. Tears dampened her chocolate-brown eyes when she thought of Sandeep’s father, her husband Giridhar. She wiped a hand violently over her eyes, trying in vain to stop the flow that was soon becoming a flood. What had she ever done to deserve such a husband? She wondered. Why had he married her when it was obvious that he didn’t care for her at all? Sangita moved away from the cradle, not wanting her desperate sobs to disturb the sleeping infant. Sometimes she wondered whether she had married a human being at all. An animal, that’s what Giridhar was. But she was sure that even animals treated their own kind with more compassion. 

Her wedding night came back to haunt her. Giridhar had ravaged her on that night which is such an important event in a young woman’s life, especially one who had saved her virginity for her husband.

Sangita shook her head impatiently as she stared out of the balcony of their second-floor apartment. A small sliver of a moon was shining weakly down on the earth, while the stars winked at her. She wondered if they found her dilemma amusing. They were too far away to comprehend her pain. She smiled bitterly up at them, “Go on and wink all you want. Even I might find the situation funny if I were up there among you,” she whispered.

Yes, Sangita conversed with the sun, the moon, the stars and her diary. The only human being whom she spoke with animatedly couldn’t reply to her words. Not yet.

While her husband had raped her body, her parents had ravished her very spirit. They were unable to understand that Giridhar was doing his best to break down her will, though without much success. Not having any close friends, Sangita had turned to her parents for support only to have the door shut on her face.

She had run back to them the morning after her horrible wedding night, only to be handed over to her evil husband as if she were an object rather than a flesh-and-blood person. “A woman’s place is with her husband, Sangita. She has no respect if she stays away from him. Living with her parents or brother is fine only until she’s married. But after that her place is with her spouse,” lectured her mother.

‘Even if he abused her body on their wedding night?’ Sangita’s mind screamed. She never voiced her question. What was the use?

She put up with her husband’s sexual advances while thanking the unknown Rosy who kept them to the bare minimum by her own demands on him. Pregnancy had been a refuge from his revolting touch when she lied to him that the doctor had advised her against sexual intercourse. The fool had swallowed the lie, not being interested enough to accompany her for any of the check-ups.

Sangita had been extremely grateful to God that she didn’t have to suffer his touch during her pregnancy. However, that didn’t stop Giridhar from lashing her with his tongue. The tantrums he threw increased day by day, more because the insults bounced off her like water off a duck’s back.

But it was not long before Giridhar again ravaged her body and soul.

Sangita had been sitting on the cot that she now considered her own while Giridhar slept either in the other room or at Rosy’s flat a few buildings away. Baby Sandeep was on her lap suckling at her breast. She had been caressing his dark curls while he gurgled, his chocolate-brown eyes shining up at her.

“Sweetheart, you’re so handsome,” she crooned to the baby.

Sandeep removed his mouth from her teat to give her a toothless grin.

Giridhar walked in on this loving, domestic scene and rage boiled in his body. He had returned home some time back. When Sangita did not respond to his calls many times, he had followed the gurgling noises into the bedroom.

The sight that met his blood-shot eyes tightened his loins. He didn’t have a great opinion about Sangita’s beauty. She was but an available convenience.

But. . .Giridhar stared at her bared breast. It was rounder and fuller than before, the golden-brown aureole shining from Sandeep’s nursing.

He was livid. This was what she’d been denying him, her husband. A menacing growl broke out from him as he walked forward, his gaze pinned on her bare breast, animal lust in his eyes.

A fine tremor shook through Sangita’s slender body when she noticed her husband at the bedroom door. Totally involved with the baby, she couldn’t make out what had caught his gaze. The moment she realised that he was staring at her bare breast, she jumped out of the cot to turn away, covering her body with her sari. She placed Sandeep in the cradle in a hurry and stood there shaking, hoping that her husband leave the room. She rocked the cradle gently, hoping that his father’s presence wouldn’t disturb the baby.

“I’m hungry.” The voice was too close for comfort.

Sangita turned her fearful gaze to him. “Dinner’s ready. I’ll set it on the table,” came the timid reply. She saw to her relief that Sandeep’s eyes had closed in slumber and tried to make good her escape.

“Not so fast.” A hard hand clamped over her shoulder, stopping her mid-stride. The other arm circled her body, his fingers pushing her sari away to clamp over the bare breast that seemed to taunt him. He squeezed hard; revelling in its softness, not caring that Sangita’s body trembled in revulsion and fear.

“Let me go,” she begged, holding her body still, fully aware that any struggle would only incite him further.

“No,” came the vehement reply as Giridhar bent down to bite the soft flesh between her neck and shoulder.

Sangita bit her lips to gag the revolt that her body wanted to scream out. She forced herself to relax. When Giridhar’s hold slackened, Sangita shoved him away to run into the hall. She heard his heavy steps following her and gave in to the inevitable. At least they wouldn’t be disturbing her sleeping son.

Giridhar pulled her into his arms forcefully, while clamping his lips to her breast and biting hard. Sangita winced in protest. He lifted her bodily and kicking open the door of his bedroom, threw her on the bed. He furiously ripped her clothes off.

Sangita held her arms against her chest.

“Don’t tell me you feel shy,” he snarled. “What about the times when you frolicked with your bastard’s father?”

Sangita turned pale on hearing that. “Don’t tell me that he was a better lover than me.”

Sangita crushed down the hysterical laughter that tried to gush out from her throat. Did he even know the meaning of ‘lover’?

She closed her eyes tightly as Giridhar pushed her flat on the bed. “I’d better use a condom. Unless I want to catch whatever you might have got from the other guys, considering that you have the morals of an alley cat,” he said.

Sangita wasn’t in a frame of mind to appreciate the humour in his statement. She just waited for him to finish what he had come for. She felt her gut wrench as she heard his groan of satisfaction. The core of her femininity burnt in pain and humiliation. She felt filthy and degraded. 

She got off the bed the moment she felt her husband’s body moving away. Gathering her discarded clothes she ran to the bathroom. She was violently sick. 

She turned to catch a glimpse of her naked body in the full-length mirror and shuddered. She closed her eyes tightly to shut out the image of her hourglass shape. Many of her friends at college had envied her well-formed figure. She had been rather conscious of her small breasts, which had become lush and full after childbirth while the rest of her body had regained its pre-pregnancy shape.

But Sangita didn’t see any of this in the mirror. She only saw a body, which tempted a man like Giridhar. She just hated it.

She turned the shower on and scrubbed herself twice with soap trying to remove the imprint of Giridhar’s touch. She felt like trash everytime he touched her.

‘But what about my heart and soul that he tramples on again and again?’ she thought bitterly as she pulled a nightdress over her head.

Sangita came out of the grip of her morbid thoughts when she saw the flash of a shooting star in the clear sky. Her lips curled in a bitter smile. The myth was that a person’s wish came true on sighting a shooting star. So what should she wish for?

‘My husband dead, what else?’ came the unbidden thought.

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Author
Sundari Venkatraman

Sundari Venkatraman

Written: 3 Stories

Member Since: 26-Aug-2015

Country: India

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