Sanskar returned from his expedition. He had a bag stuffed with fruits and two bottles which contained the virgin water from the brook. He went straight into the tent of boughs and was surprised to find it empty.
“Swara..” he called out “Where are you dear?”
The forest echoed his voice mockingly.
“Swara..Swara” he shouted.
Once again the only answer was the echo of his own voice. He picked up his fun. if he would fire a few shots she would hear and know that he had returned. Just then he noticed a piece of paper pinned to their bed of moss. Reaching forward he picked it up.
“Sorry. I can’t stay. The future is frightening. Forgive me if you can.” it read.
He stared at the paper blankly .His heart seemed to stop beating. In the midst of which forest, he broke down, clutching the paper to his chest. She left him again, fooled him. He thought:
“I accidentally fell in love and you intentionally broke my heart.”
He fell back into the bed of mosses which still had the imprint of her body, the fragranyou. of her hair.
He told that never again while he lived would he love or believe in another woman. He didn’t know anything about his future. At first, he thought he wouldn’t go back to his people; nor would ask them to accept him again as their leader. He would roam around the world and become a nomad with neither kith or kin, nor home. But as time passed, his desire for vengeance from Swara became more intense. He was ashamed of falling in love with a coward. Yesterday, he had thought that he could ride with her to the world’s end and if need be, share poverty and disgrace with her.
Last night she didn’t cease to tell him that how agonized was she by the mere thought of getting married to his brother, Sanjay.
Her words had been:
“I am always yours Sanskar. Not until my last breath I would submit myself to any other man.”
“Words! Mere words! lucid murmers of a woman temporarily stirred by passion.” he thought.
He was a man of deep reserves. He had never before given his soul to a woman.
Suddenly he heard footsteps and voice of a woman singing. For a moment he hoped it to be Swara ; thought that she might have left that note to fool him and his herself just to tease him. But it was not her. It was a dark eyed, short haired girl leading a mule. She was a gypsy, not of his tribe.
“Good morning” she chirped in gypsy language.
“Good morning” he greeted her back.
“All alone in this lovely place?” she enquired.
“yes. alone. all alone”.
She tethered the mule to a nearby tree and sat on the ground facing him.
“Have you had breakfast? ” she asked
“You shall share mine.”
He started having the food she gave him in silence.
She did all the talking.
Kamla was her name. She was of a tribe of gypsies who lived north to this forest. She lived with her grandmother. She had come to the forest to gather some wild berries and firewood. Only yesterday she had celebrated her 18th birthday. She laughed continuously while talking. However, Sanskar depressed by Swara’s betrayal, failed to acknowledge her beauty and thus remained unaffected by her youthfulness and charm. But she found him attractive – oh so much more than any other man of her own tribe.
She looked into his eyes. She could read the reason for his sorrow from his eyes. There she found a ray of hope for herself. Maybe she can get into his nerves in the name of healing his wounds.
“You are deceived. Ditched brutally in love.” she stated impulsively.
“My lord. how on earth a girl can ever leave a man like you.? If I was at her place I would have never left you.”
He looked up at her. “Kamla you.. Why did she leave me? Am I that bad?”
“No you’re not. You ‘re the best man I have ever met”.
“Why me? Why me?” he mumbled.
“If you allow me Sarovar, I can console you tonight, give you my warmth and erase her memories forever from your heart. I’ll stay with you through thick and thin. Show her that you can move on. We’ll show that b*t*h how beautiful life can be.” she said
For one crazy moment Sanskar asked himself why he should turn down what the gods offered.He made a sudden movement towards her. Wrapping his hand around her waist he leaned forward to kiss her. She began wrapping her hands around him. But like a flash he disengaged himself from her arms and stood upon his feet. After yesterday high and Swara, contact with another woman seemed to be sinful to him. He was dedicated to her for his whole life, no matter how much he despised her. He drew some golden coins from his pocket and tossed it into her lap.
“Buy yourself a trinket.” he said “I won’t touch you for that touch is meant only for my wife”
She tried hard to stop him. begged him. but he wouldn’t budge. He mounted his mare and rode back to his gypsy encampment without even casting a backward glance at Kamla.
Swara reached the gypsy encampment with a heavy heart.A dozen men were surrounding Sarovar’s tent shooting hungry glances at her. She was informed that Naik is inside Sarovar’s tent as he ruled the gypsies in Sarovar’s absence.
Naik greeted her in Hindi.
“You speak Hindi?” she asked.
“I do”. he said.
“I have come. Pawan said you would return me to the palace and give Sarovar his rightful position.”
Naik didn’t answer. His gaze traveled down her body from her face to her midriff, till her toes. Swara felt uncomfortable and spoke up once again.
“I am ready to go back to the palace.”
He smiled evilly at her.
“Lady, do you really think I would return you to the palace? If you think so then let me tell you that I won’t. How do you find me? Handsome? Surely I am not as attractive as your Sarovar. But once I make you mine, you’ll never find him attractive than me. ”
Swara ‘s heartbeats fastened. So it was a bait. She was being trapped. Naik held her hands in none too gentle grip and dragged her to the crowd of gypsies.
She made a futile attempt to push him and run. She was caught be a group of gypsies who laughed merrily whenever they touched. Two men held her tightly. She heard the men shouting to Naik for something.
Naik whispered into Swara’s ears ” They are asking that we draw lots for you. How will that amuse you?”
She looked around searching for one face that showed some mercy. But all she got was brown fierce face of gypsies and their dark lustfuleyes.
“Let me go. Let me go” she screamed.
The men shouted with laughter. Each man handled Naik a strip of paper. He put the strips in a container. Then he turned to the gypsies.
“On one strip will be written the name of the woman. The man who draws the name will take her for himself”
The crowd roared in approval.
“Draw all of you. Good luck to all” Naik shouted.
The men drew eagerly. The crowd was too excited to notice their leader draw a strip from his sash. Naik opened it indifferently and shouted. “See I got her. ‘Swara’ is written here.”
Enviously they watched Naik and walked back to their tents.
“You filthy beast.” screamed Swara.
Naik laughed and picked her up in his arms and walked into Sarovar’s tent. He threw her on the bed and hovered over her. She struggled wildly. Suddenly she felt his loathsome grip relaxing. She saw a group of gypsies thrashing him with anger and thirst of vengeance across their faces.
Naik sensed that someone must have seen him drawing the strip from his sash. The gypsies put a knife on his throat. It was a gypsy girl jealous of Swara who informed the crowd about Naik’s treachery.
Swara didn’t wait to see what happened to him. She ran as fast as she could. She slid down from the mountain side. He feet bleeding as she tripped over stones. Two hours later, she stumbled into the path of a band of police officers who were searching for Sarovar and Swara. She was carried back to the palace by them. She felt fainting in their arms.
She awoke to find herself in the luxurious four poster bed in the palace. The first person she saw was Sanjay. He was sitting by her bedside, his arms folded across his chest, his cold black eyes fixed on her.
“Sanjay” she whispered.
He rose and stood beside her. He spoke in a cold, emotionless voice:
“Are you fine?”
“Listen Sanjay. I am fine. I want to…”
“Shut up Swara. Don’t speak. You helped him to escape. You accompanied him. Disgraced me. My Mom wants me to send you back to your home. But I have made up my mind to keep you here. Married or not. you are mine. Tonight I will come to you. There shall be no drawing back. You have walked on me many times. Now I intend to take what belongs to me. If anyone tries to separate us – I myself will kill him”
She looked up to find a ruthless strong creature in front of her. She trembled but spoke to him calmly.
“You can’t touch me Sanjay. I am married. I am somebody else’s wife.”
He stared at her. His eyes narrowed.
“Wife? How? Whose?” he screamed.
“I am married to Sarovar. By gypsy law. So if you intend to send me to my home, then send me to him. Because I am his wife now. Kolkata is no longer my town. My place is Ajmer. My husband’s place.”
“When did it happen you b*t*h?” shouted Sanjay.
“Mind your words Mr.Sanjay Maheshwari. I married him that night when I excused myself from the pre wedding party of ours.” yanking the chain around her neck, she continued ” this is the token of our marriage. It binds us together.”
He suddenly shouted at her.
“No I refuse to believe you. You are mine. No chain, no gypsy law can alter that. Tonight I shall come to you. Till then your door will be locked. You shall be a prisoner until I come”
He laughed out loudly. Suddenly he leaned forward and kissed her until she fell back on the satin pillows, all spent, exhausted, struggling for breath. He walked out of the room locking the door behind him. Swara’s eyes were filled with rage. How dare he refuse to believe that she was Sarovar’s woman? She clutched the chain around her neck dearly.
“Sanskar…” she cried out “Sanskar…”
She started reminiscing their night in the forest, the bed of moss, the curtain of boughs, the canopy of stars, the music of birds and the rippling of water. Where was he now? He may have misunderstood her. Again felt that she cheated him. Perhaps the tribe would follow him and kill him. And she after knowing everything was sitting idly in the golden prison of the castle. It would be futile if she attempt for an escape. She could never get away. Sanjay’s men would find her and bring her back.
She cried out in agony:
“No Sanskar…. No never… Never any man but you!”
Here’s the 13th installment of Gypsy lover.
How did you find it? Hope I didn’t disappoint you all. No gang rape and all. I won’t do anything that will hurt our Swara and Sanskar. We are heading towards the swan song… Please dear silent readers.. do comment. We’ll have our happily ever after soon. At least comment now. Few words of you will make me smile like the thousand words of mine does to you. So why hesitate when you can make someone smile? I have replied to all your comments on the previous chapter. Believe me. Every word of yours matter a lot to me. So please do comment.