“Some of what I told you before is true. Except that Balram wasn’t as shy and reluctant as I made him out to be. He is very talkative and charming. And has a way with words. And because he doesn’t look that great, his skills at conversation and manipulating are even more surprising and caught me off-guard.”
“Right from the first day, he talked a lot. Told me about himself, his family, his dead wife, his kids. Asked me about myself. Where I grew up, what I did, how I met you and all that. The conversation flowed very naturally. Then he started talking about his wife a lot. How he missed her. How she was a lovely woman.”
“What else did he say about her?” I asked.
“Well, a lot of things, but the relevant part was when he talked about how graceful she was…. and how she dressed.”
“How she dressed?” I asked.
“Yes, he said she was always dressed smartly, in skirts, shorts, tops and everything. How she had a good body and wasn’t shy in flaunting it. Even in her older years. Not like all other Indian women who start dressing frumpily after they get married. I obviously said, not all Indian women. He said, yes, all, even me. I laughed and asked what he was talking about? And he said every day he was me wearing trackpants, loose jeans, loose shorts, t-shirts… as if I was trying to hide my body. And I protested saying, that’s not true. I dress that way when I paint for comfort. He scoffed at me, saying I was just making excuses. And that whether I like it or not, I had turned into a frumpy ‘aunty’ after marriage. That was the start of his manipulation.”
“Hmmm.” I said. She went on,
“So obviously, the next day, just to prove him wrong, I wore a tank-top and a knee-length skirt. When he came and sat in his chair, I expected him to comment on the change in my attire. But he did no such thing. Just made conversation about other things. Finally, when he got ready to go, I asked him if he didn’t notice anything different about me. He looked at me clueless and said, no. I did a small twirl and said – my clothes today? And he started laughing. He said this showed how frumpy I had gotten. This attire was not considered too revealing even in the 70s when he and his wife were young, he said. If this was my idea of trendy, it showed how I was typical. He was laughing even as he left the house.”
“What a clever bastard.” I said. “So let me guess, the next day, you wore even skimpier clothes?”
“Yes.” Shilpa said wistfully. “I wore one of those tiny skirts. And I realized he was right. I hadn’t worn it in months. And I wore that halter top, the one which shows almost my whole back. When he came, he gave me a look of approval and a smile. But didn’t say anything. He took his post and I started painting. Finally after an hour or so he said – ok, I know you want me to notice your attire, so fine, at last you are dressed properly. He had almost made me wait for his approval so much that I beamed in happiness. A while later, I dropped my brush accidentally.”
“Ah. So he..” I said, but Shilpa snapped,
“Don’t interrupt. I bent down, mindful of the fact that he might get a glimpse of my panties. Wanting to tease this smug bastard, I stayed bent a little longer than needed. When I got up, I saw that he was laughing. I asked why he was laughing. And he said because of what he saw. And I said, was he a small boy to giggle that he saw a girl’s undies? And he said no, he wasn’t laughing for that. So I asked why then? He said it showed I was still frumpy at heart. Confused, I asked huh? And he said he found it funny that I wore “grandma underpants” with such a pretty skirt.”
“Oh! Bastard.” I said.
“I know. I said there’s nothing wrong with those panties. And he said, surely maybe for a frumpy Indian aunty. But his wife would have worn trendier underwear. I didn’t say anything. Just fumed and kept painting. That’s when Savitri came.”
Savitri is our maid who cleans the house and does dishes and laundry. She is a petite young woman, not excessively beautiful, but not ugly either.
“Savitri usually came in the morning. But from that day she was going to come in the afternoon. So she came into the studio, with her broom and mop. When she came in, she first stared at me wide-eyed, maybe because she had never seen me in such revealing clothes. Then she looked at Balram, said “Balramji!” and actually blushed and smiled. That puzzled me. She then started sweeping the floor and I noticed that all the time, Balram kept checking her out. Almost shamelessly. Even more puzzling, Savitri noticed, but kept working with a wry smile on his face.”
“A while later Savitri was done cleaning the studio, she left. As she was going, Balram said “tata!” and she giggled. A minute later, Balram got up and said, he’d be right back. I casually asked, bathroom break? He said, no. And left the studio. I waited there for a few minutes, and then decided to get a drink of water. When I walked into the kitchen, I saw Balram standing there wiping his mouth, and Savitri hurriedly adjusting her saree. Clearly, they had been doing something.”
“Balram and the maid?” I asked.
“Yes. Well, I ignored them, drank water, and went back to the studio. Balram followed me. He sat in his place and I resumed painting. I asked him casually if there was something up between him and Savitri. He smiled and said, gentleman don’t kiss and tell. I smiled and said, I thought Savitri was married. He said she was. But she knew what she wanted. Then he said, it is only middle class and upper middle class Indian women who become frumpy after marriage, another jab at me. Women like Savitri, he said, discover their true appeal after marriage. I said to him he was disgusting, taking advantage of a poor woman like that. He said he hadn’t forced her. They had played a game of seduction some time back. Shocked, I asked him if he had slept with her. And he guffawed and said, gentlemen don’t fuck and tell either.”
“He then launched into a speech about how she was pretty, and graceful, and insatiable. How he had flirted with her and she had flirted back. How women like me could learn a thing or two from women like her, he said derisively. By then I was really pissed off at his constant indirect putting down of me. I decided to teach the old man a lesson.”
“Which is exactly what he wanted?” I asked.
“Yeah, I suppose. The next day, I wore an even skimpier halter top, the one that just barely covers my boobs? And I actually went out and bought an even shorter skirt. One that just barely stopped below my pussy. I wore it, with a thong underneath. I wanted to tease and torment the old man so much that he’d get a boner in front of me. When he rang bell at the usual time, I went to open the door, and I was surprised to see another man with him.”
“Another man?” I asked.
“Yes. That was Shambhu, his friend. Also old and retired. Balding, like Balram, but not fat. In fact, very skinny. I was so embarrassed to suddenly be in such revealing clothes in front of a stranger. Standing there with my legs fully visible, my bare back on display, and my boobs almost spilling out of the two straps of the halter, I felt like hiding somewhere. I didn’t say anything. Balram introduced me to Shambhu very nonchalantly. Said he was a friend who had come to visit him from out of town, and he hoped I didn’t mind if he stayed and gave him company. Obviously, I could not say no. If Balram was a chatterbox, Shambhu was the opposite. Didn’t say much. Just sat on another chair and kept listening to Balram yammer on and on.”
“And of course, stared at me. He kept staring at me so much, I started feeling conscious and thought about changing into something more decent. Finally the doorbell rang, and I guessed it was Savitri. I excused myself to go open the door. I had also decided to change while I was away, but just as I walked out, Balram said – you are looking really pretty today, very perfectly dressed. The first proper compliment he had given me. I smiled, almost basking in the glow of his rare compliment and went to open the door.”
“Who was at the door? The Gurmeet guy you mentioned?” I asked.
“No, it was Savitri. She came in, again, staring wide-eyed at me. I started walking back when she called out to me. Memsaab, she said, wait a minute. I asked what was it. She said to me – be careful of Balramji. He is not completely what he seems. I found that a little presumptuous and nosy. I asked her, what the hell did she mean? She said, and I quote – In just a week, he has taken you from shirt and pants to this…. think about how long it will take him to get these little pieces of cloth off. That pissed me off. I shot her an angry look and said – Mind your own business, and don’t forget your place. I am a married woman. She smiled and said – sorry if I am saying too much, but I am a married woman too. Which is why I am telling you, be careful. I told her to go do her work and stop talking too much. And fuming, I went back to the studio. I was so upset at Savitri, that I forgot to change.”
“Just as I was about to enter the studio, I overheard Balram and Shambhu talking. I heard my name so I stopped a couple of feet away to listen. Shambhu said – Shilpa seems quite hot. Balram said – She is good looking, I’ll give you that, but I bet she is a typical repressed middle class Indian girl. Shambhu said – Doesn’t seem so from what she is wearing. Balram said – Heh. She is doing that just to prove a point, and even then she is so scared and conscious about you looking at her. Her maid is more self-aware than her. Shambhu – Really?. Balram – Yeah, I bet this Shilpa has never seduced a man in her life. Just gone from momma’s house to hubby’s house.”
“They knew you were listening, didn’t they?” I asked.
“Yeah, in retrospect, I am sure they did.”
“So what happened next?”
“I walked in at this point, pretending that I hadn’t heard anything. I started painting again. And once more, Shambhu was staring at me, and Balram was just chattering away to Shambhu without looking at me too much. I finally decided to make Balram pay attention. I said to him – I need you to change your pose. I went close to him. Bent a little in the waist, and touched his chin with my hand and lifted his face upwards, and then moved it sideways. Now Balram was paying attention. His eyes were staring at my boobs which were partially displayed from the sides of the halter top.”
“Was he getting a hard-on?” I asked.
“I don’t think so. Anyway, just as I was doing that, Shambhu said – I am going to use the bathroom. I was standing between his chair and Balram’s chair. He could have gone from the other direction. But instead and I am sure on purpose, he squeezed behind me. In doing so, he very “innocently” bumped into me. Actually, it felt as if he pushed me. Whatever it was, it made me loose my footing and fall towards Balram.”
“The way I fell, my face went above Balram’s left shoulder, and my shoulder bumped into his chest. I was just about to regain my footing and get up when……” Shilpa paused.
“When what?” I asked.
“Well… very swiftly, Balram put his arms behind my back, pulled me down into his lap and….. kissed me. He kissed me hard, very passionately. First I tried to resist and free myself from his grasp. But he was too strong, and also, well, honestly, his kiss was too good to break out of. I stopped struggling in a few second and started kissing him back. Without realizing, I put my left hand on his almost bald head. We were like that, lip-locked for at least a minute. And finally he broke free for air and inhaled.”
“After he broke the kiss, I noticed Shambhu was standing behind him, with a wide smile on his face. Without looking at him, Balram said – Shambhu, you were going to the bathroom? Shambhu immediately walked out of the studio. I was still in Balram’s arms, resting on his lap….well part lap and part paunch…. with my hands around his neck. I was still reeling from the after effects of his kiss, a kiss that I would have never expected someone like him to be capable of.”
“As I lay there in his arms, he lowered his head and kissed me again, but this time, I felt his hand go lower and reach beneath my skirt. I was still lost in his kiss and I barely registered that he had taken my thong off. Then he broke his kiss and I felt his finger on my clit. I looked down and noticed with shock that he had flipped my tiny skirt above my waist, and my naked pussy was on full display. That’s when reality suddenly hit me. I realized what I was doing and I yelled – stop! let me go!”
“Did he let you go?” I asked.
“Yes” Shilpa said, “he did. I immediately got up and he started laughing. He said – I knew you are too frumpy to give in to your natural instincts for too long. I responded by saying – shut up. I am a married woman. And you just took advantage of me. He said – I took advantage? All you had to say was stop. As soon as you did, I let you go. He was right. So I just stood there, unable to say anything. Finally when I gathered some thoughts to say something, the door opened and Savitri walked in. She looked me at, standing there, and Balram sitting on the chair. I bent down to see and make sure my skirt was no still bunched up. To my relief, it was not. Wordlessly, I walked back to the canvas and picked up some brushes to decide which one to use next.”
“But as it happened, I was still very shaken at what had happened – how I had let a strange man kiss me. So my hands started trembling in nervousness, and suddenly the brushes all fell out of my hand and down on the floor and scattered around the half the room. Reflexively, I bent down, got on my hands and knees and started collecting them. I was so nervous and shaken that I didn’t realize….”
“That you had no panties on?” I completed her sentence. She nodded.
“And a lot of the brushes had fallen behind me, so my butt was facing Balram and Savitri. And with that tiny skirt having ridden up, my ass and my pussy were visible to both of them.”
I pictured the scene in my head. My beautiful wife’s sculpted and perfect butt, and usually shaven pussy, on display as she was on all fours, with a tiny skirt riding up. My erection now started coming to life.
“In a few seconds I realized what I was showing and I immediately stood straight. Looked behind cautiously. And I saw three faces with contrasting expressions. Balram was grinning ear to ear. Savitri was shaking her head knowingly. And Shambhu, who had entered the room without my realizing, had a hungry wolf expression on his face, with his tongue hanging out.”
“Did they fuck you then?” I asked, rubbing my erection over my pants.
“No. Not yet.” Shilpa replied.
“So what happened next?”
“I suddenly felt a sense of dread and panic overcome me. Immediately I said – umm…that’s it for today. I won’t be painting any more. Please leave. And I ran out of the studio and ran up to the bedroom. I rushed to the closet, and quickly put on underpants, a bra, trackpants and a loose t-shirt. As I came out of the bedroom, I saw Balram and Shambhu had left. And Savitri was sweeping the living room. When she saw me, she stopped sweeping and said – Memsaab, I told you…. but I interrupted her and said – You should go now, complete the cleaning tomorrow. She again said – But please listen.. and I interrupted her and yelled – Didn’t you hear me? Just go!”
“So what happened next?” I asked.
“At that point I had decided I had made a big mistake. I decided to end the portrait sessions. I called up Balram and told him, it’s done, don’t come over tomorrow. I am finished. He didn’t say anything. Said OK and hung up.”
“So…. how did he come back?” I asked.
“Remember the evening he dropped by for tea for the first time?” Shilpa asked.
“Yeah.” I answered.
“It was that day. I was going to tell you everything that very day, come clean and apologize. Because the damage had not been completely done. But I think he saw you come home and immediately landed up for a supposed “social visit”. The three of us had tea, snacks and talked about things. Well that time, when you went to the bathroom, he quietly handed me a note and whispered – read this as soon as you can. I put the note in my pocket and went to the bathroom after you. And read it in the bathroom. I was expecting an apology note.”
“Was it?” I asked.
“No!” Shilpa said. “It was a blackmail note. Well, sort of. He had written something like – I have no interest in seducing frumpy women like you. What happened today was just a small accident. Obviously, you have taken it too seriously and decided to cancel the portrait. I don’t care about seducing you. But I want that portrait completed to gift it to my daughter. So you ARE going to complete it. I am coming over tomorrow to pose for it. As soon as you read this note, come out and ask me what time I am coming tomorrow, as a sign that you are agreeing. If you don’t agree, I will mention all about today’s incident to your husband. In fact i will tell him I have slept with you. And if he doesn’t believe me, I will tell him about the mole on your left buttcheek.”
“Son of a bitch!” I said.
“Yes, so I had no choice. I came out and asked him what time we he was coming the next day. And he beamed and said noon.” Shilpa replied.
“So the next day he fucked you?” I asked. She smiled at me wistfully and said,
“If only he operated that simply. He didn’t want to blackmail or coerce me into sex. He wanted me to….” Shilpa trailed off.
“Wanted you to?” I asked.
“He wanted me to beg for it.” she said. “Anyway, I need to use the bathroom. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
I sat there ruminating over the story she had told me. This seemed true. I was convinced that finally she was being truthful. But the manipulativeness of Balram stunned me. On one hand it angered me. But on the other hand, I had to admire how he had played Shilpa like a puppet from the word go. And clearly, there was a lot more to come.