She moves gracefully. One motion flowing into another. The transition seamless. The eyes follow her, with bated breath they watch. Our heroine,however,does not have the luxury of leisure. Every elegant pirouette ,every assémble,deceivingly effortless. She can see the choreography in her mind’s eye,so far she has executed the plan flawlessly. But the crescendo is ahead and we’ve only just begun.
The Mahal Property,Rajasthan,1930.
She never raised her eyes,it was forbidden. She knew that. The handsome English man was a regular visitor at the haveli. He came to discuss matters of business with the Sahib. He always accepted tea. He never stayed for dinner.
The presence of a firang in their dwelling was,at first, quite a source of uproar. ‘How dare he’ seemed the common disapproving whisper,whether directed at the Sahib for extending an invitation or at the English man for accepting, remains unclear. But she liked him. This foreigner. He was kind. Politeness was not a common courtesy extended to women in their times but he was unfailingly so.
She often thought of him,especially when doing mindless chores,cleaning the verandha of dry leaves, polishing the light fixtures of the palace until they gleamed and shone. Brought up in a culture where taking the name of your own husband was taboo and speaking when two men were conversing unthinkable, she never said a word. After all,she had no confidante, the other maids were a gossiping lot, and if the daimaa came to know?
Heaven help her! She’d be out on the streets without a paisa to her name,or a place to go!
And so she kept her pallu draped over her head,and did as she was told.
It began slowly at first. The accidental brushing of his fingers over her roughened palms as he accepted a cup of tea. The brushing by her,a little to closely to be coincidence,every time he passed by her as she stood,head down,hands folded behind her back at the entrance to the study,at every beck and call of the Sahib.
She pretended to ignore it. It was not be considered,she whispered to her heart in the dead of the night. But her treacherous heart belied her,she found herself waiting for these innocent touches. Outwardly the very image of decorum and proprietary, only her eyes betrayed any sign of the anguish and torment within.
But she never raised them. And so no one saw.
No one noticed the first change .It was small,miniscule even. But he did. He always did. But the time for thinking about the consequences was past,her mind was made up and nothing could dissuade her. Not even the warning look of her lover,her teacher,promising retribution. No, she had decided. She had been suppressed to long,she was ready. This was it. Her moment. It was time.
The second secret is the three fates who control the thread of life. The trick is to not let them.
Inspired by Beethoven’s 5 secrets: 2.