Benign Flame: Saga of Love (Turn at the Tether, page 1 of 6)


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Turn at the Tether

It was the night that Sathyam awaited in elation and Roopa approached with trepidation.

‘Guess what I’ve got for you,’ he said, reaching his bride reclining on the bedecked bed.

Bogged down with her own agenda, she wasn’t enthused to respond even though he repeated himself, and he tried to rationalize her indifference, ‘Well, she could be bridal-shy.’ Nevertheless, pressing closer to her, he persisted, “You’ve only three chances.”

How many times did he visualize, over the fortnight, the scene of their guessing game - a perplexed Roopa fudging, and he goading her to try again, and again! In his imagination, how charming Roopa was in her exasperation! He seemed disappointed with the reality his bride presented him instead. Unable to break the barrier of her sullenness at the threshold of their nuptial bed, he gave up in the end, and said instead, “Close your eyes.”

Downcast as her eyes were, any way, it took her no effort to oblige her husband. Then with one hand he took her hand and with the other he reached for the packet in his shirt pocket. As his touch sent waves of expectation all over her frame, she seemed to enjoy the resultant sensation. Having failed to respond whenever he laid hands on her during the ceremonies of the previous night, she was surprised at that strange feeling she was experiencing, and as her reservations about him seemed to dissolve in her anticipation, she found herself at ease.

When he withdrew his hand from hers to unpack the diamond nose-stud, he so fondly acquired for her. With eyes still closed, as her body missed his touch, her mind went into conjecture. After what appeared to be an eternity to her, he took her hand again, sharpening the sensation and enhancing her expectation.

“Open your eyes,” he said persuasively.

“Switch off the light,” she said coyly.

“How can you see then?” he said.

“I can still feel it,” she said mystically.

Her romantic anticipation made her indulge in blissful guessing about the gift of his love. She felt vulnerable and expected him to overwhelm her.

“I thought of it,” he said without stirring from his position, “the moment I’d seen you.”

He sounded joyously triumphant to his indulgently receptive bride. Imagining her instinctive response to his expected outrage, Roopa waited in anticipation. However, as Sathyam made no move in his preoccupation with unscrewing the nose-stud, she seemed puzzled and opened her eyes at length. As she found him fidgeting with the nose-stud, she felt that she was only flattered to be deceived.

“Believe me,” he said as if he had yet to reconcile himself to his good fortune, “‘I was not sure whether you would marry an office assistant like me when managers would have queued up for your hand. I was a nervous wreck by the time your father came to convey your consent. When he said ‘yes’, I jumped for joy.”

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