She was not born a nymphomaniac but at the age of forty-five this world considered her so. She had been born as the last of five daughters to a Tamil Brahmin pundit in the town of Srirangam and had been destined to a life of poverty since her father could not make both ends meet with the money that he earned from the temple. Her four siblings had always dreamed of being liberated from their poverty by some Prince Charming riding on his white steed but she had never ever had such dreams for she was a realist.
Her sisters were rather frustrated for their father could not provide for their great expectations. So they decided to find their own Prince Charming; wherever they could be found. It was at this juncture that her eldest sister came into contact with a moviemaker. He was a sweet talker. A rather suave guy who could charm even the dead wood on the trees. It was therefore not much of a big thing for him to charm her eldest sister who fell madly in love with him. He promised to make her a movie star and agreed to give her lessons in acting at her own residence. The poor infatuated sister fell for him in a big way.
The Pandit’s family lived in a rather ram-shackled house with a small room on the first floor which had a tin roof. It was in this room that the so called director decided to give her sister acting lessons. The room used to have a wooden step ladder leading to it from the ground floor and since her parents were rather old they never used to climb up it. However, the other sisters were used to using the room for their own purposes and therefore the eldest sister decided to use the youngest who is the heroine of our story to guard the wooden staircase and prevent others from entering the tin room while she was having her acting lessons.
As a token of her appreciation the eldest sister would buy the youngest and the heroine of our story, ice creams and other sweet meats to ensure that no one else interrupted her acting lessons. Little did the poor young sister know that these acting lessons were merely a pseudonym for the romantic activities of her eldest sister.
The acting lessons continued for months and the heroine of our story who was also the youngest sibling guarded the stairs vigilantly without allowing her other siblings to witness the proceedings of the acting lessons. After a few months of the commencement of the acting lessons the associates of the so called Director started visiting their house. Cameramen, wanna-be assistant directors and all other kinds of technicians started lining up outside their door requesting entry into the tin room on the terrace while her eldest sister and the so called director studiously engaged in acting lessons.
The heroine of our story was a very resolute young girl of fourteen at the time of this story; she obeyed her sister to the core and refused to let the other so called cameramen, actors, Assistant Directors and other technicians to enter the tin room on the first floor. These movie makers used to entice the little girl to allow them into the tin room by offering her chocolates, ice-creams and all other goodies that young children enjoy. However, the young girl refused all these and kept guard vigilantly while her sister went through her acting lessons.
One fine day the young girl became curious of what her eldest sister was learning in the tin room and peeped through a small hole in the wall to witness the acting lessons that her sister was undergoing. This was the turning point in the young girl’s life for she soon realised what her sister was experiencing was something that she too must one day experience.
The turning point in this young girl’s life was the witnessing of her sister’s act with the Director. The starkness of the raw flesh and the very sensual nature of the act which was being performed really made an impact on this young girl’s mind and life. The young girl had never ever experienced such an intense need coursing through her every nerve. There was a constriction in her chest that sought relief.
It ought to be mentioned here that the young girl had only as recently as six months prior to the incident, attained puberty. So this feeling that she was experiencing was a very different experience for her.
It was at this moment that there arrived a would-be cameraman who had been trailing the Director for a long time in order to obtain a different kind of photo shoot with her sister. Here was a man of the world who would do anything for money or pleasure without a conscience. The girl appeared in a daze; in a state of shock as it were. The camera man wondered what was wrong but soon realized that he could convert her state of shock into an opportunity as it were. He stretched out his hand in a friendly fashion to welcome her but was surprised to find her leaning into his outstretched arms.
The young girl could not comprehend her own behaviour. While one part of her mind kept warning her to restrain herself; another baser part of her mind kept telling her to experience the forbidden fruits. Her base instincts ultimately won over her noble conscience and she too became one of the many victims of circumstances.
I do not want to dwell more upon the incidents that followed for I do not wish to be accused of writing porn - though I must admit that there is more money in following such a career path - but I must add that one led to another and the young girl soon found herself having a full blown affair with the camera man. Every day while her sister had acting lessons in the small room on the first floor the young sister had her photo shooting lessons on the landing outside.
The young girl soon began to find that her day was smooth & bright only if she had her daily fix with the camera man and without realizing it she became addicted to the pleasures of the flesh. The camera man who had his initial lust satisfied soon began to tire of her. One thing led to another and very soon the young girl found herself happily allowing herself to be exploited by the other so called cameramen, actors, Assistant Directors and sundry technicians who came calling upon her.
Meanwhile the would be Director who was teaching her eldest sister acting had completed his modules on acting and had walked away or rather vanished, I should say; after having collected due fees in the form of physical pleasure. The grief stricken eldest sister was truly shattered. She had truly loved the Director deeply; for in him she had seen an opportunity of breaking free of the binding cage of poverty. Maddened to desperation by the desertion of the would be Director, She had suddenly in a frenzy hung herself by draping her nine metre saree around the ceiling fan from which she hung herself or if I were to speak more clinically, a case of self-strangulation…..Shuichide mate….. Got it…..?
The other so called cameramen, actors, Assistant Directors and other technicians who used to visit their house frequently, vanished and refused to return on the advent of the law enforcers.
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The young girl found herself at a loss for male company since the guys who came under the guise of friendship just vanished out of sheer fear that they would be implicated in the suicide of the elder sister. Slowly the young girl was drawn out of her small world & was forced to go out into the world to experience the fruits of the flesh.
Her father the Pandit & Temple Priest that he was became horrified to witness the recent developments. Not only was the poor man shattered by the suicide of his eldest daughter he was shocked to witness the behavioural change in his freshly blossomed youngest daughter.
Within the next year his second & third daughters realizing that they should fend for their selves disappeared from the house. One of them went into a kind of live in relationship with a well established still-photographer while the other married a non-Brahmin who was an engineering graduate and was working as a technician in the Tamil Film industry. She married him without even inviting her own parents for the wedding and settled down happily with her in-laws.
The Pandit & Temple Priest not wanting to make matters worse; immediately set out on the task of finding suitable bride grooms for his remaining two daughters. However the reputation of his daughters traveled at the speed of light & wherever he went he found his efforts to find bridegrooms were thwarted.
Finally, not having any other choice he decided then to marry them off at the same time to two of his brother-in-laws or rather I should say his wife’s two younger brothers who had remained unmarried until late in life. The elder of the two brothers worked as a clerk in the Secretariat at Chennai while the younger worked in a cargo transport company in a small town called Chingelpet which was about fifty kilometers away to the South from Chennai. Therefore the Government clerk was to marry the Pandit & Temple Priest’s fourth daughter while the heroine of our story as the youngest got to marry the younger uncle who worked in the cargo transport company.
Both couples were married on the same dais at the same time on the same day in a simple and solemn ceremony as per the Vedic Shastras with much chanting of Mantras & Slokas.
Our heroine’s marriage was a disaster from the very beginning. That night when she went into her husband’s bedroom she found him fast asleep. Neither did the couple witness the moon together nor taste the honey together, for every night followed the pattern of the first night.
It was quite evident that our heroine's husband was not inclined to sexual pursuits and soon the heroine of our story turned to other sources for her personal satisfaction. The clerk in the transport company was a good husband and provided for all his wife's needs; bar one. The heroine of our story therefore found fresh male companions in the vicinity of her husband’s house. This was rather embarassing for the husband who indirectly suggested to her that she cast her net far away from her new home to avoid disrepute to the family name.
As a result the heroine started commuting to Chennai everyday by the suburban electric trains to find happiness as she found fit. This became her routine for many years. At times the woman would stay back in Chennai with one of her paramours and in such cases she would call her husband on his office phone & inform him that she would not be returning that night.
It was a few years later that I chanced to meet this lady. She must have been around thirty years old when I met her but she still remained slim and attractive. I was hardly twenty four years old and had recently started working for an NGO. I used to have many friends in those days and we all used to assemble every night after work. One such friend was Raman who had studied with me in school and who had become a building contractor after his graduation. He was very wealthy and spent all his spare time drinking & womanising.
It was during one such drinking session that he expressed his desire for some sexual action and a few other friends joined in. Raman told us all about a young woman whom he had recently met and that she was great fun to be with and a willing accomplice for all forms of perversions. This aroused all my other pals who were then with us and they all immediately clamoured that they wanted to meet her at once.
It was around nine at night when they all decided to go to neighbouring Chinglepet and fetch the woman whom Raman had mentioned. During those days, I was considered a prude by my friends and they therefore did not involve me in their discussions and decision making process. Being quite drunk and having nothing better to do; for I was used to returning home only in the wee hours of the morning - I decided to tag along with them for the ride -don't get me wrong guys for I certainly wasn't interested in a romp in the hay.
It was past ten when we finally reached Chinglepet and found our way to the woman's residence. Raman went rather unsteadily to the front door and rang the bell. The door was opened by a pathetic looking male who was more concerned that the neighbours should not know of his visitors and the purpose of their visit than the fact that his wife was not being faithful to him.
The poor cuckold called out to his wife, the heroine of our story informing her of our arrival. When she came out and saw who had come to visit; her face lit up and she hurriedly prepared to leave with us. The poor husband had no say in the matter and just mumbled that we should take care. He took Raman aside and asked him to ensure that his wife was safely & discreetly brought back home.
Witnessing this pathetic scene I felt sick to the core and was rather melancholic on the ride back home. Since Raman's house was empty and his family had gone to their native place the entire group proceeded to his residence where upon the guys immediately started vying with each other for the lady's attention. Soon Raman & the lady proceeded to a room nearby while we others lounged around smoking & chatting.
Sometime later, Raman came out of the room looking tired but satiated. The other guys then started proceeding to the room in turns and I left mumbling my excuses that I had to get back home while my so called friends kept exhorting me to have a fling.
I happened to meet this lady several times afterwards when she used to be found with Raman & the rest of the gang. On many occasions she would be found in one of our regular haunts; either in Raman’s house or in one of the houses of the other gang members. I would normally hang around with them since in those days prohibition was in force and there were no bars or pubs in which I could do my thing. Therefore, I would pick up some hooch and go sit in one of our haunts steadily drowning myself into oblivion while the others romped and rolled with the heroine of our story. At times all of them would come and sit around me and indulge in general chit chat and the occasional drink.
One day I was similarly sitting with bottle in hand in one of our pal’s house when the heroine of our story walked in. Actually, the friend to whom the house belonged had gone out to scout around for and pick up a bottle of hooch while I sat reading a novel. It was at that time that the heroine of our story walked in and found me alone. Finding no one else to entertain her she tried to engage me in conversation. She asked me why I indulged in binging on the hooch and I replied by asking her why she indulged in excessive physical intercourse. She replied that it pleased her and I then replied that I too obtained pleasure out of my drinking. Our verbal sparring continued for a while and I could make out that the lady was curious to know more about me and what made me tick for I was the only one among the gang who was not entranced by her physical wares.
As mentioned earlier, most of my friends - like you too my poor readers - assumed that I was a prude or at the worst impotent. However, I was neither and past experiences had shown me that I could be intimate only with those whose souls attracted me and that the bodily goods did not affect my mind or turn me on in any way. If attraction to the soul rather than attraction to the body meant being termed a prude, I was content to remain so and so be it.
After a while I moved on with my life and as all things change so too did my life. I then lost track of my friends as well as the heroine of our story and began to immerse myself in work and meditation for I found that these two could give pleasure in equal measure as the bottle had provided earlier.
However, a few months ago I happened to bump into the heroine of the story in a small hospital and that is what triggered me to write this piece. I had gone to the hospital which was a Peripheral Government Hospital in one of the suburbs of Chennai to meet the Superintendent of the Hospital who was well known to me. It was at the out patient wing of the hospital that I happened to bump into the heroine again but it was more than twenty years since I had last seen her and her appearance had really changed. The buxom beauty that she once was had now turned into a frail skeleton with hollow cheeks and mere bones draped over skin. I could not place her and walked past her into the consulting room of my acquaintance the superintendent.
I lounged around in a chair in the medical Superintendent’s office while I waited for him to finish dealing with his patients for the day. The Superintendent was in a hurry to finish his cases for the day and kept disposing off the patients quickly one by one. Suddenly, the heroine walked into the consulting room of the superintendent and wished him. She also looked at me and smiled wanly. It was then that I could make out that she was the same girl who used to hang out with Raman. The doctor reviewed her case history and quickly disposed her off.
After she left the room I enquired with the superintendent as to what was wrong with her. The superintendent casually told me that she was a terminally ill HIV patient who had come to collect the free medication which the government provided to such cases. I was shell shocked and did not know what to say.
A couple of months later when I happened to meet the Superintendent at a social function he casually mentioned that the patient about whom I had enquired earlier had passed away a week ago. Such is the way of life and I could do nothing better than mumble, “Cest la vie”.