Monday, October 21, 2013

The Forbidden Fruit

            "If I could, I would have swept you away,
             away from the shadows of your past,
             into the glistening world of dreams,
             where all of life is a fair,
             where no desire is
             a forbidden

        She listened to him in rapt attention, absorbing each emotion that made way from his poetry. He looked up from his papers, anticipating a reply. On getting none, his eyes inspected her with doubt. His emerald green eyes bore into her dark brown. She was unarmed, unclothed under that gaze. She blushed as though he had read her naked thoughts. She could feel his eyes on her, even as she lowered her own. She wondered what went about in his mind every time he looked at her that way. She tried to think of something to applaud his writing but the words didn't suffice.
        The moment was lost and he soon began scribbling away on the sheets of paper. The tip of this ink pen moved rhythmically under his long, slender fingers. His smooth, shapely fingers.. the thoughts of it sent shivers down her spine.

        She sighed at the sight of him. His lean frame bent over his desk, engrossed in his writings. Dusk was setting in. She went to the window to close it. She shied at the cold winds that blew at her face, biting at her like a deprived lover. She straightened his bed and adjusted the pillows. She found herself doing that whenever she lingered by him. She lit the table lamp. He sprang to life suddenly, acknowledging her presence. How oblivious he became when he was lost in his world of words!

        She stood by his side, the ends of her sari tucked at her waist. She breathed heavily as she felt his fingers tracing her curves. His pointy, cold fingers burnt her insides. It was a storm outside and fire within.
He rose from his chair and closed the distance between them. Her heart pounded madly against her rib as he set her long hair free from the bun. Tresses tumbled down her shoulders and onto her waist. He breathed in the fragrance of her hair, his stubble brushing her ear, tingling her being. He held her by the waist and perched her on the table. He pinned her on to the wall, fingers entwined in hers. She curled her toes as his lips came down on hers, gently at first and plundering later. Then as randomly as it all started, he withdrew and stormed out of the room.

       She climbed down the table, set the knocked down books in order. She held the crumbled papers she had grabbed in her passion. She read his poetry again, this time with tears in her eyes. Her desires were as crumbled as the paper, as forbidden as his.

       She found him in the large hall. She brought him dinner. He ate without a word. She watched his receding figure walking to his room, without as much as looking back. It stabbed her, a cold knife of rejection. He did not want her.
      She was same age as him. When she had come to the large palatial house, it was only his presence that comforted her. No one took her seriously, a child bride that she was. She was free to spend her days with him, allowed into his mysterious world of words. He was queer for others, perfect for her. A man must be practical to gain respect, a man must do business. They all wrote him off, ridiculing his dreamy notions. Not her! She sat with him under the huge banyan tree, as he spun the magical web of his poetry. She flowed in the charms of his imagination, as he dipped his foot in the cold waters of the river. His shield was words, her shield was silence. They were perfect companions to each other. Until... until a desire sprung between them.

    She woke up the next morning, disappointed as ever. She went about her duties. He had not been up. Late riser and late sleeper that he was!
The maids swept the yard clean of the leaves that fell after the storm. She had to clear her mind of the fallen leaves of her dreams.  

   The men were back by noon. The storm had delayed them. The women of the house would set out only after the storm was gone. She was occupied all day with the chores.
   She was serving tea when she heard,
    "She is the perfect match. It is time he gets married. Maybe responsibilities would make him more of a man."
    She could hardly stifle a cry. By evening, her large dark eyes had become fierce red. She had bawled her eyes in spurts, even that was a luxury. The pain seemed to gnaw her, or what remained of her. She saw his silhouette on the terrace when she was collecting the dried spices. He eyed her suspiciously, asking a thousand questions. You never understand! Do you? She wanted to scream at him. She wanted to hit him.

         "The storm  has cleared
          and so has our time
          It is as I always feared,
          that you are not mine.

          Fly away, fly away 
          into the arms that wait
          This was only how far
          our love could make.." 

     It reminded her of the cold bed that awaited her. Fly away, he said. All she wanted was to come into his arms. She had waited, waited all 5 years she had been in the house. Struggled with her feelings for this man. On many nights, she lay awake thinking of him. She drowned in the melancholy of his words, cheered in the euphoria of his delights. Many a times he wrote of her, for her and about her. Yes, that was it. She was his muse. She had lived the delusion for 5 years. She might have been another's wife, but her heart belonged to him. She might have warmed another bed, but she mated with him in her thoughts. She might have fulfilled another vows, but she lived by the unsaid vows to him. Then it all became clear to her. The futility of her existence stared in her face, placing a tight slap on her marriage. Her marriage to his brother.


    He drooped his shoulders like a lost man. Wanderer forever, never to be found. He was whole once, in her presence. She was his strength which had ebbed and darkness crept. He was wrong. The storm might have cleared but a whirlpool of emotions had taken charge of him. He could have told her that night. He could have told her that she was loved. She was desired like he desired life. He could have told her to fly away with him and not into the arms of his brother. He could have swept her away if he could. But he couldn't.

   She was 14 when she came  into his life. As his sister-in-law. His brother was almost 30 that year when he brought his bride. Could he betray his blood for a woman? Yet this was no ordinary woman. He had little regard for the societal norms, yet could he stand against the laws of marriage? Was love enough to face the world? Why was the union more important than the man and woman? For once, he had no release in his words.

  She was bolder. Bolder than he ever thought her capable of. She revolted. She went against all bonds that tied her down. Fly away, she did. Into another world. She did not care about the scandal that would arise when they found her body in the well. She did not care about the catastrophe that would come into her husband's life. She did not care about his cowardice. She would rather fly away than see him in another arms. In more ways than he could comprehend, she desired the forbidden fruit.



They saw him last a day before his impending marriage. He had walked to the river with his writing sheets and a pen in his jute shoulder bag. Some said he took a boat from there. Some said he had drowned. His sister-in-law's death in mysterious circumstances had been hushed up. Slowly, his disappearance was forgotten. 
And one day, his book was published. 
Abhilasha- a desire unsaid. He named it after her. Drawing courage in his last days to name his love. 


the little princess said...

the title drew me in here Mailthili, because quite some time ago, i had penned a poem by the same name (

Beautiful story there... but how i wished the ending had not been so tragic, i really wished that forbidden fruit was eaten.

Red Handed said...

Now that was wow...The way you described the emotions of the protagonist..!! and the ending...beautiful

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

Wow...your stories have this amazing quality that right from the start it keeps me hooked ...because always there is an unexpected something at the end worth waiting for ! Lovely read!

Soumya said...

Wow! Lady you rock!

maithili said...

They couldn't taste the forbidden fruit. Blood ran thicker than love :(

maithili said...

Thank you. This means so much to me :*

maithili said...

That was very kind of you :)

maithili said...

Thank you Soumya :)

Keirthana said...

This goes on my favourites list. Awesome it is. The forbidden fruit needs immense boldness to be tasted. Very few can summon such boldness. Others choose to sacrifice their happiness to toe the traditions and culture. None can be blamed in any situation, for one has to live one's own life.

maithili said...

Thank you Keirthana. Forbidden fruit, alluring as it is, takes immense courage to taste and face the music after that!

Meety said...

Hats off!!!!

maithili said...

Thank you Meety :)