THE SENSUOUS BET
It was Bidar a beautiful place both from climate and scenic point of view at the border of Andhra, Maharashtra and Karnataka where our Engineering college was located.We were from the third batch as the college had started afresh. The infrastructure lacked a few important things which were in the pipe line. We had a makeshift hostel on a temporary basis made in the Gurudwara complex. It was a four storeyed building in which the ground floor had rooms meant for the pilgrims, the first floor for the senior students of second year and above, the third floor for the first year students and the fourth floor which only had three rooms for the Asst warden and two store rooms. All the remaining floors had 25 rooms each. I being a second year student was on the 1st Floor with my room partner, Harpal Singh who was from Nagpur.
Immediately opposite to our building facing us was another one which though smaller in size had the same no of floors in it. It accommodated the staff like Warden, teachers and librarian. The top floor of it was converted into similar kind of girls hostel like ours. There was a road passing in between the two hostels which descended from the elevated ground about 20 metres high leading into the valley and terminating at the place where the Sikh historic Gurudwara was located. The top floors of both the hostels were nearly at the same level.
The red lateritte soil of Bidar with the tombs located near the Gurudwara surrounded by the cluster of trees and green fields behind it gave a spectacular sight to the tourists who would come and relax their minds apart from the mental solace they seek for. The setting sun in the clear blue sky with red streaks all around in the sky erupting from the horizon was a wonder to watch from our hostel terrace.
Adjacent to the main Temple guest rooms which were just on the front left side of the temple was a beautiful orchard with a tube well spread to about 4 hectares: A paradise with perfect silence except for the sound of birds and the tube well water falling in the drain one could hear. I often visited this orchard with my friend to study when had to learn things by heart as there would be no one to disturb. I could also relax on the bed sheet which we brought with us with some eats and water bottle. It was more like a picnic combined with studies. One looks for such places for performing tasks involving concentration.
The only disadvantage of staying in the hostel was the distance involved in going to college which was located 5 kms from there. The ascent of the hill further added degree of difficulty to the long route. The journey to college thus started everyday holding the bicycles while we ascended the hill twice a day as we had to come back from college for lunch and return again thereby making a travel of about 20 kms daily. Some of us did doze off in the college lecture after mid day when the subject was theoretical.
After returning from the college the first thing we would do was to take a catnap and refresh ourselves. Later in the evenings, we went to the Gurudwara for the prayers, thereafter sit down for a cup of tea in the Dhaba (A makeshift hotel where good quality punjabi food is prepared including tea and snacks) located just outside our hostel. We often sat there to have a break in the studies and to refresh ourselves having pakoras (a Punjabi snack with gramflour fried in oil) and tea. We had the aaloo ka parantha (potato chapatti) on Sundays as the mistress of that hotel especially made it for us reminding us of our homes located thousands of miles away.
The study sessions started thereafter and continued all night as per the individual style of the student. Some carried on till late night by starting at 9 pm, some slept immediately after dinner and commenced their sessions at 1 am to continue till 5 in the morning and so on. As a result of this one or the other hostel light always remained switched on for nearly the complete night. However majority of the lights went off by 1 am.
Lot of tourists visited that place and generally stayed in the premises of our hostel. So interaction with them could not be ruled out at one place or the other especially at the Dhaba during the tea time. The students stuck to the Dhaba to have a good look at the fairer sex of their age groups and would keep ordering tea and snacks to prolong their sitting sessions thereby contributing to the profit of the Dhaba wala.
Our college hardly had any girl students barring a few from Delhi, Punjab and some south Indians who all resided in the girls hostel but they would always maintain a distance and seldom mixed up with the students not of their discipline. None of them was fashionable type and appeared to be simpletons unlike as we noticed in the films of that time.
One amongst them, Amrita Khanna was fair coloured, slim and reasonably tall girl who did exhibit some signs of modernity and had a bit of sex appeal so attracted some of the guys. We later came to know she also had an affair with one of the junior student so her name gained popularity resulting into her importance out of it.
The girl’s hostel had a balcony towards us where four five of them would sit in the evening facing our hostel windows. How can a person study in a situation like this at that age? As a result it soon became a showing off business on both the sides. Come evenings, the windows of the rooms facing the girls hostel opened, boys would dress up smartly, sit on their study table holding a book looking towards the balcony. They even sprayed some perfume knowing well that the smell of the same would hardly reach a few feet away from their rooms and then vanish outside the window with the wind. Some would switch on their modified music systems which they made by placing the speaker on the top of the empty Ghara( mud tumbler used for placing water to keep it cool) facing it towards inside it to have a higher bass effect. Some could be seen doing heavy exercises bending on the windows to do push ups and so on.
The other side in the girls hostel would also act accordingly by sitting in style with partially exposed legs showing stances of modelling with open hair waving with the air of table fan kept near them. At times they sat in their night dresses which would be enough to titillate the loaded guys. In spite of all this no one still had the guts to go and speak to any of them. It would be a great achievement if anyone dared to take a bold step to talk to them in front of everyone. If any one of the boys even said hello and she would respond just by nodding he would be the hero of the day. It was not that no one had come from a co ed school but the trend was such that pairing up was not in vogue mainly due to their minority and religious atmosphere of the Gurudwara where such things were not warranted as against today’s atmosphere. If anyone visits the college campus today, pairs can be openly seen loitering around the campus holding couple of books in their hands.
The routine carried on as per the traditions until one day a discussion took off amongst us just a few days short of the festival of Holi (in which colours are put on each other) that it would be so nice if we could put colours on the girls especially Amrita and have the sensuous touch of her skin by our hands.
“Is it possible?” remarked one of us while we were making a drawing on the drawing sheet which was to be submitted the next day. We generally sat together keeping our drawing boards in one of the friends room where we made the complicated drawings together to avoid any mistake and share the instruments where we chatted whole night as it involved long hours to finish it.
“What’s so great in it? Have you not put colour on any girl earlier?” I asked him
“That’s a different thing but in this prevailing atmosphere it is not easy. Entering with colours in the girls hostel, climbing the stairs in the ‘out of bound area’, knocking their door and physically putting colours on them apart from wishing them happy holi in an area where the room of the warden is just next door and coming back in one piece intact is not an easy task” remarked Kanwaljit while holding the drafter with a pencil in his hand.
“Yes some risk is there but can be managed as it does not appear to be that difficult” I replied.
“Does she know you?” he asked
“Not really she knows me as much as she knows you as we live right in front of her. She is not from civil engineering dept but in mechanical division as far as I know about her.”I continued.
“What if she refuses to entertain?” he tried to clarify the matter to which I again replied him,
“Then quietly come down like a gentlemen and relax. This much embarrassment you should be able to gulp”.
“No! I don’t agree with you, it is difficult and nobody can do it” said Kanwaljit.
“Yes I also do not think it is that difficult if two of us go together” intervened Dhillon.
“Please do not fire blank rounds in air say it like man if you can do it otherwise change the topic” said kanwaljit changing the cassette in the tape recorder to switch over to listening other songs which were running in the background.
“We can do it” said Dhillon to him.
“Chal lag gayee bet”(Ok We’ll have a bet) said Kanwaljit.
Dhillon looked at me expecting me to reply as he was finding it difficult to utter the word yes.
“Kitney ki?”(For how much)
“One treat at Barid Shahi Hotel” replied Kanwaljit.
I thought it not to be a bad deal but there was definitely some risk involved as it was a question of embarrassment if I was caught red handed and the incident would spread like a wildfire later on. But optimistic thoughts favoured the act as there was nothing wrong in it since we used colours when we played Holi with the girls during our schooldays. The case here was different and the difference was of environment. I had played such games in a homely defence environment, the place where such things were taken in correct spirit. It was more of a phobia of breaking the ice. After giving a long thought I said,
“Done” I’ll try it out.
Dhillon looked at me with curiosity and said,
“I’ll accompany you”
The deal was made and there were about three days left for Holi.
After the bet was made I started feeling a bit heavier than usual as the complete responsibility of breaking the ice rested on me but I consoled myself that Dhillon will be with me for the moral support so I should not worry. Now the next big question in front of me was How to do it?
I had to do certain homework and plan accordingly as it started to appeal me as if I had to plan a robbery by going secretly. No I am not going to do the wrong way my mind tried to convince me again and again. The best thing would be to go like a common man and enter the girls hostel for paying best wishes to the warden on that day. It was safe to go to the warden’s room which was on the lower floor just below the girls hostel.
What if while climbing upstairs someone asks me why I was going to the girls hostel?
Then I would reply, ”I came to return her notebook.”
No this would not work as I may get the reply as,
“Did you not find any other day and place to return the notebook?”
What would I say then?
“Actually Amrita’s mother had sent this letter by hand while I was coming back from Amritsar so I am going to give it to her.” Will this reply work? I asked myself if this reply would work.
“But when did you go to Amritsar? The letter could have been posted by her mother directly why particularly you.” replied my conscience.
“Hey this is mind boggling” said my brain.
“To hell with all this I will say I am going to wish her happy Holi.” replied my heart instantly.
Yes this sounds reasonable and I have to say this only if someone catches me going upstairs the chances of which were very less if I went at the appropriate time. So why think so much on this matter. The more you think about the consequences difficult it becomes to take the decision.
My mind was stabilised now as I had worked out all the options of the worst case scenarios and found the truthful part as the most reasonable solution. At the most I will be told to return back. Then I’ll come back without making a noise treating it to be bad luck. To hell with the bet then. The dictum ‘Failure is the first step to success’ would be enough to convince my mind then. Karm kiye jaa phal ki ichcha mat kar insaan (Keep working and do not bother about the results o man) would further supplement the failure which was the last thought after which I was contented.
The next day I kept watching the movements of people who entered the girls hostel building and noted their in and out timings like conducting a traffic survey. The milkman came at 7 in the morning, the maids entered at 0830h and were out by 1000h, the teachers came out from 0800 to 0930 h being a holiday and were all in by 1100h, the girls also were out in the morning and returned back by 1200h. There was no movement except one odd person not of relevance between 1200 to 1330h after which some came out to Dhaba for the lunch. There was stunned silence from 0330h to 5 PM in the evening as everybody rested at that time. I asked Dhillon to carry on the survey work on the next day as there was only one more day left now. He also kept a record and when we both sat and matched our results we came to a conclusion that the time between 1200 and 1330h was the most suitable. Moreover going at the time of least disturbance would also be not favourable as would draw attention of everyone. The time period was thus set after 1200h.
The D day soon arrived. As I got up Dhillon came to my room and wished me and Harpal ‘Happy Holi’ putting some dry colours on both of us. I was happy since it was holiday permitting us to get up late but it soon reminded me of the great task I was to execute raising my heartbeat a little. We both got up and went to the Dhaba for the good breakfast which we generally had on holidays. While we were going down Kanwaljit joined us on the way and reminded of the bet with a smile. I had nothing to say so smiled back at him while Dhillon looked at me with a deadpan face as his expression changed with my reply. I placed my hand on Dhillon’s back and said,
“So ready for the bet?”
“Yes yes I am with you but let us have the breakfast to the full for all you know what will be our state later” replied Dhillon.
“Yaar you are speaking as if we are going for a military raid in the enemy area. Why are you so tense?”I said to him hiding my own fear.
“I am not tense as I will follow you so you have to think whether you are tense or not” replied Dhillon to me.
”There is nothing to worry whatever has to happen will happen, it is all written here”, I said pointing my forefinger to my head.
He only smiled back while others looked curious as if were waiting to watch the interesting match which was to begin shortly.
We reached the Dhaba and waited for the Paranthas to come while we sipped tea till then. As we were chitchatting Shamsher, one of the student who had a deadly appearance with a thick beard and projecting eyes like a typical villager arrived and joined our discussion. He lived outside the hostel in civil area and had come to Gurudwara being a holiday. We all wished Holi to each other and put some dry colour inside his shirt from his collar after which he ran away from there. Everyone was in high spirits and in a mood to play pranks with each other. We soon had our breakfast and were ready for playing colours with our friends who were expected to come to our location. They soon joined us and it was dry and wet colouring after that inside the hostel premises which we enjoyed to our hearts content.
I however had the plan to be executed at the back of my mind which started to disturb me as the time was closing in. I soon saw Amrita with her friends coming towards the adjacent Dhaba as there were three of them in line with each other. All were full and soon there was hardly any place to sit since the place was flooded with tourists. A thought struck me then that should I go and put colours now itself as no body will refuse nor will it look odd and save the process of going stealthily to their hostel in fear. I asked Dhillon about it.
“Are you mad? If other boys see us we will be the talk of the town in the college. Moreover chain reaction of colouring her will start the moment we do the opening and what if some guy does something wrong you will be the first one to be alleged” said Dhillon sharply and his advice appeared logical to me so I dropped the idea.
We soon went inside our hostel. The girls also got up from there and proceeded ahead. I sat in the window of my room open while others were busy sharing lighter moments with each other. After sometime I saw the girls returning and entering their hostel. It was 11 o clock. My heart beat started to increase as the H hour was approaching. We made tea in the room on our heater had some chips and Maggie noodles. By the time we finished it was 12 noon. I asked Dhillon to get ready for the job.
“Do we have to really go?”he said hesitatingly.
I felt like abusing him and said,
“What do you mean? I could not sleep for two days due to the bet and now when the time is ripe you are talking as if it was some joke going on?”
“So you were also tense”, he replied with a smile.
“You people have made me a bit nervous but I have overcome it now. Go get ready and within next five minutes I am coming in your room from where we push off straight to the target. Get some more of blue colour as I have to show it to Kanwaljit; Amrita in blue”, I replied showing a bit of annoyance to him.
Dhillon went to his room to change his shoes meanwhile I also got ready by tightening my belt and improved my looks with colours properly put evenly on my face so that the identification was not easy.
We both soon left the hostel building. It was about 1215h and there was no movement in the girls hostel. Their balcony door was open but they were not sitting outside. I crossed the road in between confidently and Dhillon followed me with both of us holding blue and red colours in our hands with some additional in my pocket which was high quality perfumed colour. Beautiful face did deserve beautiful perfumed colour unlike others.
I entered the hostel like a normal person. There was no one seen except the maid who was coming out who did not bother to look at us. I could hear the whistle of pressure cooker coming from one of the teachers house and usual murmuring of discussion between husband and wife probably on the routine affairs of life. I crossed the warden’s room which was closed but not locked probably indicating his presence inside. The heart beat doubled as I climbed the first step since we had crossed the safety zone which was till the warden’s room and were in the danger zone now. Harpal and others watched us from our boys hostel as if were watching a 70 mm movie from the balcony of a theatre having potato chips along with. I reached the first landing of the steps and looked towards Dhillon who had made a serious face as the smile was missing. His skin had turned darker while he looked at me and said,
“I am moving” I replied and carried on further to finally land up in the girls hostel floor. I was in the area where the boys were not supposed to go so felt out of place. I controlled my emotions and fear and became bold forgetting everything forcefully recalling her beautiful face knocking off the tension. I knocked their door gently as the call bell was not functional.
Who’s there?”came the reply
“We” I replied.
“Who we?” came the reply again.
“We are your neighbours” I replied.
“What for you have come?”I heard the same girlish voice not knowing whose it was.
“We have come to wish you happy holi” I replied sweetly in a low voice.
“OOOOOOOOOO Oooooooch No No wet colours “ came out no of voices at the same time from the girls.
“We do not have any wet colours so please do not be afraid of ” I replied.
“No No No you can wish us from there itself” they said with giggles which could be clearly heard outside.
I felt like a fool standing and looked at Dhillon whose fuse was already blown off as I could see discolouration on his face which made me laugh.
Hey come on Amrita don’t behave like a kid we have come all the way how can you keep the doors closed for your guests” I again pleaded her.
There was a bit of silence and I could hear the door being opened with the sound of the tower bolt moving but it was only opened partially to have a glance of who was outside and then it was locked again. She probably could not identify who we were.
“Who’s there?” came the voice again.
“Tumharey Bhaai (Your brothers)”came the reply which I wondered from where as there was no one with me but only Dhillon standing behind me.
“Hey! who said this?” I asked him
“I” he replied.
Are you mad the whole game will be spoiled if you develop this relationship.
“But she’s not opening the door” Dhillon replied
“Then say Mom Please open the door” I again said in anger.
“No No I—- I —I—– did not mean that” he replied.
“I do not want to refer to the dictionary for its meaning. You keep shut and I will have it opened. Can you not hear their giggles? It means that they are having fun and testing our patience “ I tried to explain him their viewpoint.
As this was going on Dhillon said that he is hearing the voices of Warden calling his wife for searching the bag as he might be planning to go out so would be out any moment.
“Let him go for shopping how does it concern us as he cannot see us since we are directly over his floor” I told him.
“What if he meets us on the way?”asked Dhillon exhibiting fear.
“Why are you so pessimistic? We will wish him Happy holi then ” I replied.
I knocked the door again and this time I heard the reply.
“OK! We are opening but dry colours only pleeeeeeeeeeeeease” which was the sweet voice of Amrita.
“By the way can I know your name ?” she asked clearly.
“The one you will see first after opening the door is me who stays opposite to your balcony and the other one whose voice you heard just before me in hindi is Dhillon” I replied.
“Oh my God you should have told me that before” said Amrita and the door was opened the next second.
I could see all of them thrilled and showing a false fear from their smiles some standing on chairs in their organised room unlike the room in the boys hostel while some on the ground waiting to receive the colours. The tables turned as I could see them holding colours too. I headed straight for my target with blue perfumed colour in my hands for Amrita and approached her from front.
The teenage sensations started emerging and my body warmed up without any exercise. She did not move back but exposed her face to me. I felt like planting a kiss on her cheek instead of putting colour on her but was constrained due to non acquaintance with her. It was a great day when my fuses went off. I somehow controlled my emotions and raised both my hands rubbing my palms full of blue colour on her beautiful cheeks which slipped down and joined together at her chin. I did not feel like separating my hands from her face as it was a sensuous touch the most beautiful part of the story I have narrated so far which made my senses shiver in happiness. I was not satisfied with this although the bet was won and longed for some more so I did it again and then again for the third time including on her hair on which I put some red colour. As I finished myself and was contended she reciprocated similarly which was even more enjoyable. Meanwhile the other girls also loaded us both with various colours. They even offered sweets which we could hardly have as were coated with thick layers of colours on our faces.
I thanked Amrita and requested her to have a look at our hostel building once (to convince Kanwaljit with her blue face that the task was accomplished) before washing her face to see our room which she readily agreed. Dhillon also was at ease now and gossiping with them. The ice had been broken.
We both soon started our return journey. As we came out I wiped away the colour with a jerk to my neck and we descended. As luck would have it I saw the back of the warden while he was getting down from the first floor to the ground floor. I immediately halted at the landing and waited for him to leave. As he went out after 3 minutes we both also came down and quietly rushed to our hostel. As we entered the premises of the first floor Harpal and Kanwaljit were waiting like an Air hostess to receive us with cheerful faces saying,
“Chak te phattey” (So Job well done?) and then we were inside our rooms debriefing them.
Meanwhile Shamsher came to know that we have succeeded in our action. He lost control of his emotions and made it an ego that if we can do it why he cannot. He straightaway headed for the girls hostel to have his piece of cake and while he was about to climb the stairs of the first floor warden returned after getting some stuff from the Dhaba in his bag and caught hold of him asking where he was going.
“I am going to pay my good wishes to the girls in the hostel” he said in despair as could not apply his brains to say that he was going to wish the warden (who was one and a half times his size) himself at his residence. He had yet not crossed his room on the first floor before starting to climb the stairs for the girls hostel which started immediately after crossing the warden’s room.
“Come I will teach you how to go to girl’s hostel “said the warden in annoyance holding his collar from behind.
“Don’t you know that this is out of bound area for boys? shouted the Warden at him.
“But sir other boys went and applied colours on them.” replied Shamsher.
“No one can dare to do that till such time I am here” he replied.
“Who were they? “ came the next question from his mouth shaking everyone of us.
“I only heard but cannot say for sure” replied Shamsher.
Shamsher knew it well if he uttered our names he would be condemned not only by us but by everyone in the college for his answer which would spoil his manly image which he had made with his thick beard and secondly who the hell was going to agree that we had gone unless the girls were against us. The girls would not do that as they had offered us sweets in addition to their sensuous touches. So there was nothing to be afraid of.
As we had rightly guessed the things went in our favour burying the matter forever and in the evening we all were in the hotel occupying a four seated table with butter chicken in front of us.
It was indeed a sensuous bet which made me remember that touch again and again making the night still younger. Great day, great friends and great time we had, I must say.
THE SENSUOUS BET