Yogita gawked at her reflection in the cracked mirror. The faded counterpart staring back at her reflected her life of twenty five summers, last eight of which were spent in this room…her home. Her kohl laden eyes giving that smoky look ogled back with a strange kind of haunted depths, through those tiny cluster of glass pieces glued together to prevent the mirror from crashing away. But she was happy today, she was finally leaving this room. Shekhar had sent her the tiny gift box along with the bright blue outfit that now adorned her battered body. Pinnacle of enthusiasm not withstanding she opened the box. It contained a lipstick…oh Goodness. It was a branded wet shine, bright red shade. Cherry lips they called it on the advertisement she had managed to steal glances at once in a while on TV when amma wasn’t looking. They showed how the handsome guy wanted to devour the woman’s lips as though they were bright cherries. Yogita blushed as she applied a bright red shinning coat on her chapped dry barren lips. As she smacked them together the way she had seen those models do, the bright red dazzling hues, stood out before her cheap downmarket shades used so far. Her heart fluttered as she thought of her new marital beginnings today when she tied the knot with Shekhar. Amma was upset, no doubt. Yogita was yet to repay the loan taken for her ailing mother, but Shekhar had promised to do that as well.
She waited with eagerness crafted in her novice fantasies at the only window of her room. looking up at the azure spread of light above she felt the warmth of the afternoon sun on her face… An hour turned multi-fold and before she knew dusk had begun to spread its venomous fangs increasing her fears every passing minute. Where was Shekhar…? They were in love with each other for over eight months and not a day passed when they didn’t meet or chat…he was her best friend, confidant… and he called her his soulmate. Heart thudding, she looked back into the mirror… everything had peeled away except for the cherry lips… which shone brightly in the dim light of the shambles around her.
Right then Amma entered the room as usual without a knock. “Yogita beta…I told you…that life isn’t for us… Shekhar’s driver just called. He is leaving with his wife and children for the US for good…”
Shekhar was married…? With kids…?
Amma continued. “…this definitely wasn’t an overnight decision dear… common now get over him…there’s a new guy on the waitlist… I will send for him and he will replace Shekhar starting tonight…”
As Amma left the septuagenarian heard the heart wrenching wails beyond Yogita’s closed doors. Amma’s sad eyes looked around the darkness settling outside reminding them all of their unworthy lives. She had been there done that… reaching the peak of expectations every time only to be mercilessly tossed from the highest point in mid-air… Her dreams of being loved only remained a beautiful chimera in the corners of her wishful heart.
That was life in this brothel…
Meanwhile Yogita spread another coat of cherry lips. Perhaps the brightness of the shining veneer would camouflage the puffy red rimmed eyes as she prepared for work…
(Copyright: Priya Nayak-Gole)