I had written this story almost a year ago. When I read it again recently, I realised that it was, well, probably the worst I ever wrote. Hence, I decided to re-write the story and here it is. It still isn't one of my best but please, please, please do tell me that I have improved.
Blame it on... Revisited.
Anukul was born in a joint family in Kolkata. Their ancestral home was an enormous mansion with a sprawling courtyard. Around the courtyard were gigantic rooms that held magnificent furniture and artefacts. The entire aura was that of a colossal being. Five generations had seen their life pass through this grandeur and the mansion housed enough wealth to see the next two generations through luxury.
Now, the only occupants of the mansion were Anukul and his parents, grandparents, uncle, aunt and cousin Raja. Like it happens in almost all joint families in
one was the cherub – Raja; while the other - Anukul was the rascal. India
Raja was a year older to Anukul and like all cherubs he was extremely popular. Raja knew it and was cautious enough to maintain the image. He was always right. Raja knew his P’s and Q’s well. He worked hard towards being perfect. Raja was well groomed. He spoke well; behaved coy in front of the right people. Basically Raja knew all the tricks.
All of Raja’s antics to be all-the-rage infuriated Anukul extremely. He hated Raja. Anukul knew Raja was a huge pretence and that Raja went through a sadistic pleasure rush whenever people compared the two brothers and spoke highly of Raja.
Anukul, too, was very talented, sharp and witty. He was extremely intelligent and could easily obtain triumph over Raja, if he wished. But he did not. The comparison, along with Raja’s piousness annoyed him to an extent that he did not even have the heart to try; to do better.
Born to a royal zamindari blood, both Raja and Anukul were blessed with great looks. They were tall and well built. They had a swarthy, healthy skin with sharp facial features.
Raja took great care to maintain his good looks and physique. He would workout at the gym, do yoga, use various beauty products and maintain a regime.
Anukul, as opposed to Raja, was least bothered about his looks. He did not care a damn about how he looked or presented himself. He never bothered to shave; wore ill - fitting clothes; walked with a slouch and always sported an expression of “I don’t care” on his face.
Anukul lost no chance to shower sarcasm on Raja while Raja found immense pleasure in humiliating Anukul. As years passed the animosity between them just increased manifold. They were like enemies living together. The fact that his own parents also preferred Raja to him enraged Anukul all the more and made Raja additionally haughty.
Anukul had a friend - Soorjyo. Soorjyo was more a brother to Anukul than a friend. Soorjyo, also an intelligent and good looking guy, was extremely affectionate towards Anukul. One would find Anukul and Soorjyo together all the time. Rather, such was Soorjyo's dedication towards Anukul that it compelled him to loathe Raja as well.
One of the favourite pastimes of the two friends was to plan out ways to demean Raja and make his life miserable. Not that they really implemented any of them, but nevertheless they loved the planning; they derived immense contentment from just the preparation.
With the course of time and situations galore, there came reasons – much, much bigger ones - to despise Raja doubly.
Jagyaseni. Jagyaseni was a woman of fiery splendour and tremendous intelligence. She had features so sharp that a look at her could leave a person with gashes. A figure so perfect that even the simplest of attires could make her look breathtakingly ravishing. Jagyaseni was the epitome of paramount gorgeousness. She was one of those rare specimens of the female human race for whom beauty and brains did go together.
There were many who desired her. Many. Soorjyo was one of them.
Like others, Soorjyo had been enticed by Jagyaseni right from the moment he had set eyes on her. Her mere presence mesmerised him. He longed to hold her in his arms and kiss her luscious lips with untamed passion. He fantasised her nails digging in deep in his back during love-making. He dreamt of getting lost in her abundant tresses; of getting intoxicated by her fragrance. No, his were not just carnal desires. He genuinely loved her; he wanted her to be his for life.
When after being coaxed, cajoled and finally threatened by Anukul, Sooryo finally approached Jagyaseni, it turned out that Jagyaseni, too, had suppressed an undercurrent of attraction for Soorjyo. And thus began a beautiful love story. Both Soorjyo and Jagyaseni were delightful in love. But Anukul was happiest seeing his dear friend in high spirits.
Like the rest of the world, Raja, too, secretly desired Jagyaseni. Thus, when it was revealed to him that Jagyaseni was in a relationship with Soorjyo, his wrath knew no bounds. His ego was wounded, terribly. And a man with a hurt pride can become very obsessive. To own Jagyaseni became a challenge for Raja. He desired her like a mad man; he wanted to possess her; he could go to any extent to do that.
Raja, with all his charisma, it did not take him too long to befriend Jagyaseni’s brother and bewitch her family with his ability to arouse admiration.
The trio – Anukul, Soorjyo and Jagyaseni were blissfully unaware of Rajas doings. And so when Jagyaseni’s family informed her that they had decided to marry her off to Raja, she was devastated. They were all devastated.
Jagyaseni tried very hard to reason it out with her family but it vain. When they heard that she was in love with Soorjyo, they were livid. They blatantly opposed their daughter’s commitment to Soorjyo. According to them Soorjyo was wasted in the company of Anukul. They would hear none of it; it was profane.
Soorjyo and Anukul, on listening to the entire saga were enraged; they were beside themselves. They went and spoke to her family, only to be humiliated and threatened by them. They suggested eloping to Jagyaseni but she would just not hear of it. There just seemed to be no way out of this predicament.
Soorjyo went through an intense bout of depression. He stopped meeting Anukul and started keeping to himself. Anukul could not bear to see Soorjyo in such hopelessness. There had to be a way out of this.
The wedding date was fixed and preparations had begun galore. Discussions, shopping, planning, families meeting, there just seem to be no end to it. All of this was only leading to dejection within Jagyaseni. She refused to give her opinion on anything.
Jagyaseni would lie broken-hearted and inconsolable in her bed, cursing Raja. She was in such despair that she started contemplating ending her life before Raja could touch her with his filthy hands.
At Anukul’s mansion preparations were on in abundance too. Raja, the apple of their eye, was getting married to the most beautiful girl in town. The family was happy beyond measure.
Anukul, too, refused to be a part of any activity at his mansion. He loathed everyone, especially Raja. He would try to spend as much time with Soorjyo as possible giving him all the support required. He would express his anger; abuse Raja; console Soorjyo. Anukul tried everything he could, that might soothe his friend even a bit.
But Soorjyo was totally down in the dumps. He seemed distracted constantly. At times he would weep like a baby; at times he would punch the walls in anger; and then he would be lost in thoughts walking around the city aimlessly. Nothing seemed to get him out of his disposition.
Finally, it was the evening of the wedding. The look of the mansion had changed. It was luxuriantly decorated with strings of marigold. There wasn’t a spot that was not lit up. The place was filled with the aroma of delicacies and sweets. Everyone, gloriously dressed, was roaming around in high spirits. Sounds of music and conch shells filled the house. There was laughter everywhere. The place was full of life.
The priest asked someone to summon Raja for the pre-wedding rituals. Rajaa… Rajaaa… Where is Raja? Everyone started searching for him frantically.
Raja was finally found on his bed facing the ceiling; his breathing had stopped.
His eyes were wide open.