Authors: M Jet
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, including photocopying, recording, or transmitted by any means without written consent of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Characters, establishments, names, companies, organizations and events were created by the author. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events, companies or organizations is coincidental.
Published by Headtrip Productions
Text Copyright 2014 by M Jet
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For as far back as I can recall, my mother and father told me that if I won the attention of
a powerful man, that my every wish would be fulfilled for the rest of my days.
My hands would never be rough from toil. My back would never know the pain of labor. My stomach would never rumble from emptiness. I would not fear. I would not want. I would live in grandeur and wealth. I could do anything I pleased with my time. And for all this, very little would be expected of me in return.
As wonderful as it seemed, even at a young age it somewhat unnerved me that I had been born into a plan. My parents had a clear vision of my future which they revealed to me in only vague terms. They made it seem as though my life would be a fairytale. I did not understand how they could know that.
In truth, I didn't know toil, pain, and hunger as it was anyway. My father owned a small farm where w
orkers cultivated plants for the production of tea. My family wasn't obscenely wealthy by any means, but we had a comfortable place within the society of Dispur. I could not comprehend how life could ever be better. Because I had no knowledge of it ever being worse…
When I reached the third grade, I was removed from traditional schooling. I was advanced in my studies at that time already, and my parents said no further education would be necessary for me. I won't ever forget the last day when my mother arrived to take me home. Every other day, I walked home from school with my friend, and neighbor, Manu. I was surprised to see my mother there
that day, and my heart began to pound. She spoke briefly with the teacher and then kindly told me to gather my belongings and come with her.
As my mother and I strolled home that day together, hand in hand, she told me I wouldn't be going back. My eyes filled with tears, and despite my efforts
to conceal my pain, they eventually slid down my face in hot, dusty streaks. "But mother," I asked. "What about my friend, Manu?"
"What about him?" Mother replied harshly. "You'll not play with Manu any longer."
It would prove to be the last summer of my childhood. The last summer I ran free without responsibility, but severe restrictions were placed on who I kept company with. Though Manu lived only two doors down, my parents saw to it that we did not play together again. Manu and I cast sad glances upon each other occasionally when we passed in public, but that was all. And then, for all of August, after the worst storms of the summer had subsided, I didn't lay eyes on Manu at all. When I did see him again, something seemed different about him. Sad, shadowy eyes that avoided mine. Pale, thin. Rather wrong.
That was the fall I began attending a different school. It was a school for girls. No longer did I learn arithmetic and history. At this school, I was taught to bathe my skin with turmeric paste for a healthy glow.
How to perfectly curl my shining black hair and to drape it around my flawless face. How to apply expensive makeups and perfumes. How to cover my skin with fine Henna tattoos. I learned etiquette and refined speech from my tutors. It was that fall I was first given a veil to wear over my face, and I was never again allowed to go into public with any part of my face showing other than my eyes.
Time seemed to slow down then. I was hopelessly
bored and couldn't care less about makeup and hair; things that occupied grown women's time; not mine. I didn't bond with the other girls in the school, and I felt the loss of my friend Manu every day.
As soon as I reached puberty, my parents became even more distant and uninvolved with my life, outside of continuing to make sure I attended my studies at the finishing school. They also began imposing strict dietary restrictions and harsh exercises regimens upon me, to ensure that I maintained my appealing, svelte figure. By the time I was fifteen, I already had a large bosom. Though I still was never allowed to expose my face, my parents put a lot of money into buying me revealing silken garments.
It was then my father and mother began taking me to social engagements with them. I felt as though I was introduced to every important person in India at that time. But from every party, we returned home and my parents seemed disappointed. Somehow angry with me. I always felt as though I'd failed in some way, though I had no idea what I was expected to accomplish.
By the time I turned eighteen, my parents had grown increasingly cross with me. I was carted to dozens of parties every week, and the end of each of them brought more of their disgust down
upon me. Until one day in August, three months after my eighteenth birthday when there came a knock at the door.
I had been reading a book in
the parlor by the door, so I leapt up to answer. There stood Manu Gadhavi. I had not seen or heard of Manu in over three years. My eyes welled with tears in an intense burst of nostalgic emotion and I threw myself into Manu's arms. His cheeks blazed red and he gently pushed me back.
"Gita!" he cried in a hushed voice. "Please! You
mustn't touch me, are you crazy?"
I backed away pouting, casting my eyes downward. "I apologize, Manu, you are right. I was just…
So happy to see you. Where have you been?" I inquired softly.
Manu's stricken face softened. "Well, it's a bit of a long story. Perhaps I'll tell you later. Could I speak privately with your mother and father?"
I looked around nervously, suddenly feeling anxious. "I, uh, I'm not sure they're available right now, Manu."
He nodded. "I understand, Gita. They're busy people. But you must interrupt them. It is urgent, and they will be happy that you did." He stared at me as I continued to hesitate. "Go now, please, Gita."
I turned and ran to find my mother. She was shuffling through paperwork in the office in the back of our home. "Mother," I said, out of breath. "Manu Gadhavi is in the parlor." I felt apprehensive, assuming my mother would be angry to hear of my old friend having shown up on the door step given the fact I'd been forced to abandon him years prior.
"Manu Gadhavi?" she repeated. She surprised me as her pretty face broke into a grin. "Manu Gadhavi!" she said again, as she jumped out of her seat and cupped my face in her hands. She kissed my nose. "You are serious, daughter? Manu is in our parlor?"
I smiled oddly at my suddenly cheerful mother. "Yes… He says he must see you and father right away."
My mother gave a girlish hop and hugged me quickly. "Alright, go upstairs and pretty yourself. I'll go and bring your father. Stay upstairs until we come for you," she instructed. I nodded my compliance and took the back stairway up to my room.
Ages seemed to pass. Twilight fell and threatening clouds rolled across the sky outside my open window. I sat there by the window with my eyes closed, letting the breeze wash my face. I startled when finally my door opened and my mother and father walked in. Both their faces were joyful. With rosy cheeks, and boisterous, jubilant voices, they appeared to have even had celebratory drinks.
"Gita!" my father bellowed. "My love." Father wrapped me in a fierce embrace. "We have such wonderful news for you, darling." His eyes sparkled with unshed tears as he spoke and gazed down lovingly at me.
My mother hugged me as well, and she was openly weeping. "Finally, the day has come for you, darling Gita," mother blubbered. "The day we've prayed for every day of your life. Manu has come to take you into your destiny.
Into your wonderful future!"
I began to tremble.
Manu? My old friend who they'd forced me to ignore for almost ten years? What could he possibly have to do with my future? I was terribly confused. I knew I should feel happy, but it was difficult to be excited for a future that to me was completely unclear.
"Well, I… Where am I going?" I asked meekly.
"Manu will explain everything to you on the way. Come, darling a limousine is waiting outside for you!" Father exclaimed.
My eyes began to flood then, as I felt rushed and more confusion.
"Wh- What? Father? Mother? Will you be coming with me?" I asked, terror creeping into my voice.
Mother giggled charmingly. "Not this time love, but we will be visiting you soon. And you us." She reached out to catch a tear as if fell down my face. "
Shhh, there now, don't cry child," mother said sweetly. "Trust me, this is a happy day! A WONDERFUL day!" On that note, father swept my mother up into his arms and danced her about my room, an unheard of demonstration of affection from them.
"Should I pack?" I asked.
Father draped his arm over my shoulder. "No need, Gita. Where you're going, everything you could ever possibly desire will be provided for you. Now come. Manu awaits."
In the back of the limousine I perched primly on a seat across from Manu. I cried pitifully and he watched me awkwardly not having any idea what to do. "Gita? Why do you cry so? It is me, Manu! Your oldest friend!"
I glared at Manu angrily. "I haven't spoken to you in nearly ten years, at my parents' demand. And now out of the blue, you show up, and they turn me over to you happily? Why? Where are you taking me? Who are you now? I am just…
So… CONFUSED!" I wailed.
Manu folded his hands calmly in his lap. He regarded me patiently, understanding
then, my emotional unfolding. "Well, let us begin at the beginning," Manu stated in the funny way he sometimes had of speaking. Suddenly I recalled Manu as he'd been when we were childhood friends. Before that odd summer when he'd briefly disappeared and come back changed. "I work for the Governor of Assam, Shekhar Kulkarni."
I gasped. "You do?" I asked him in awe as I saw my friend in yet another new light. "You're a political official?"
"Well, I, uh… Not exactly. I'm more of a… Personal assistant. I manage his personal affairs. In addition to the governor of our state, he is a wealthy businessman and tremendously busy person in general. So, I help him keep his home in order."
I stared wide eyed, awestruck by my old friend. "That is very exciting, Manu. I'm happy for you and proud of you… That you've achieved this status already in your life."
Manu sighed, gazing wistfully out the window for a moment. "It isn't necessarily what I strove for, Gita. This is a life I was prepared for since birth. Not unlike yourself."
My smile fell away and I once again felt the emotion bubbling.
"More mystery. I don't know what you're talking about! What life was I born into? What life were YOU born into? Manu," I plead desperately, "where exactly are you taking me?"
With a quick glance over his shoulder to confirm the driver was otherwise occupied, Manu reached across the distance between us and covered my hand with his own. "Gita, you are safe. I personally will take care of you, I promise. Please, don't cry. Don't be afraid."
I pulled my hand away and crossed my arms grudgingly over my chest, staring petulantly out the window, no longer interested in speaking to Manu.
It didn't take long before we were slowly pulling into a huge, circular driveway in front of a grand mansion, practically a palace. Again, I began to tremble. The limousine stopped outside double front doors that must've been ten feet tall at least.
A gorgeous exotic looking older woman stood by the front door, watching us arrive. Manu leapt from the limousine and ran around to open my door. He offered me a hand which I ignored as I stepped from the car.
"Gita," Manu said with a smile, "welcome to your new home."