The day was dying, just like Savitri’s hopes of a better and happy end of the evening. When Devdutt had knocked her door, she had said nothing, done nothing except stare at him. She had quietly gotten up to follow him to wherever he was to take her. Blank and clueless about what was going on, Savitri struggled to comprehend whether it was real or just her fantasy.
“Tere toh bhaag khul gaye chhori. Jaandti hai kisne bulaya hai?, Devdutt seemed to be talking about something to which she paid no heed. She remained as silent as the grave.
“Pehle kisi chhori ne nahi bulaya Hukum ne. Tu pehli se.” Devdutt never stopped chattering on the way. His voice was just noise to Savitri’s ears. She listened all but heard nothing.
“Shikayat ka mauka na dio Hukum ne. Pasand aa jaavegi toh khush ravegi saari jindagi.” He seemed to have looked at her once. He looked genuinely happy for her as if this is what Savitri must have been waiting for all her life. He talked as if she was to realise her most important dream that night. Little did he know how terrifically devastated she was that she felt nothing.
They kept walking for about 15 minutes where Devdutt continuously reminded her of how fortunate she was. Soon they were standing front of a gate that opened to a lawn. There were fountains, flowers in several colors, ponds, and trees. It was lush green for as all far as her eyes could see. Even in her misery, she couldn’t help but admire the view that stood before her.
She was looking at the flowers that bloomed in several shades of violet, pink, white, red, yellow, and blue; when someone called her name.
“I will take your leave now Raja Sa.” Devdutt bowed before leaving them alone.
Stiff like a statue, Savitri did not even move. She breathed shallow to curtail all movement in her body. She stood there, for what felt like hours, when she felt the warmth of his body. He was close, very close and she felt terrified. She could sense his hands were reaching out for her. Her head pounded with anticipation. Whether to run or to stay? She could not decide. And before she could decipher what to do, there it was, his hands on her waist and face in her hair.
Still numb and unable to understand what was happening, Savitri could think of nothing. Before she could realise, her elbow had already dug in his stomach. Such and unexpected move had left Raja sa aghast. Without even looking at what had come out of her rebellious deed, she ran through the gates and barged into her room.
Her head reeled, heart pounded, and breath felt short from the escape that she had just made. What have I done? He will throw me out or even worst, he would throw me into the most hideous dungeons! Savitri’s thoughts frightened her into a miserable state where she expected someone to break the door of her room and pull her by the hair into the darkest chambers of the haveli. I am doomed forever!
The fear of being dragged and punished froze her blood. She stared at the door, imagining it being slammed and thudded until it fell off. They must be coming. They must be coming for me.
“Open the door.” a voice screamed, making Savitri freeze with terror.
“Open the damn door I say.” the voice became louder and louder. Then there was one thud and then the other. The man outside slammed the door with such force that Savitri could swear the door would just fall off.
“How dare you! Open the door or I will break it.” It was not just loud but furious. The most furious Savitri had ever heard a voice to be. Afraid of the wrath she would face after he would break the door, she hesitatingly stood up to open it herself. If this is my destiny, then be it. She pumped herself. It is still better than being a slave to someone’s lewd orders. It is still better than to have forced my body in someone’s bed each night.
“Open the d…” she cut him mid-sentence “Aayi” and the voice died. Silence fell like a heavy blanket on that moment.
Savitri squared her shoulders and walked towards the door, ready to face the consequences. She took a deep breath and finally lifted the clasp off its holder. Pulling the door, she looked at the man standing in front of her.