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By Jyoti Saraf


It was past midnight. Daamini was still getting dressed up for her Big Night. She was a beautiful woman, aged forty, with long cascading straight hair, which she never left open. Tonight was different. She had worked hard to get that look. Her shining hair fell on her hips. She had just fixed one big red Rose on them behind her right ear. Though, the whole day , she had worked like a house maid in that palatial house, she was not feeling tired as she usually did . She had scrubbed herself well using a mild scented Rose body wash. She looked like some freshly blossomed flower, just picked from the plant. She wore a red mulmul saree. Daamini always looked beautiful in crisp material as she was petite and soft with large expressive eyes. She made sure to highlight her strongest feature by applying prominent and confident strokes of kajal on her upper and lower lids and yes the look was complete with a huge red bindi on her forehead. She took out her lipstick and then a strange look crossed her face and she kept it back. Then came a lopsided smile which was not her usual one. She looked fierce.

“ Where was that nose ring? ” Diamond studded , a small one but as pretty as her cute little nose. That was the most important part of her getting dressed up the way she had. Daamini looked worried. She couldn’t afford to lose it and started her search. Finally, she looked relieved, when she found it inside his drawer, thrown carelessly. It spoke volumes about his feelings for her. He had gifted it to her. Sadness crossed her face for a moment but then , what lay ahead was exciting enough to make her forget all the sufferings . She took the nose ring out and placed it on her nose. Lastly came those red bangles which she had worn five years back. Today was the eleventh day of cold December but she was feeling warm and was reliving that day, when Kushal had lovingly brought her to his home. Her thoughts flew back.

She had been a successful woman then. She had been working diligently to make an excellent career in digital marketing with her senior partner, Vinayak Gupta. He was a good man with a divine heart. There was a ten years age gap between them but they had gelled well. He had taught her a lot . He had been her mentor and guide and they had shared a comfortable working relationship. Vinayak took her everywhere, wherever he went to crack deals with big business houses. He made sure she watched and observed the way he used to deal with his clients. He considered her not only as a business partner but also as a future life partner. Daamini was unaware of his feelings. She was thirty five and had lived her life on her own terms. She was the only daughter to her parents and they were very proud of her academic and career success. Vinayak and his family had been their neighbours and they knew each other really well. So when he had come up with the proposal to have Daamini as a partner in his firm, they all had readily agreed.

He knew the age difference between them and could never gather the courage to propose . Daamini clearly recalled that evening when they had to travel to Delhi to meet some influential clients. The meeting was fixed for dinner. Vinayak had knocked at her door and she opened it to step out. He looked floored when he saw her in an elegant, off shouldered black gown. He too had looked very presentable in his black lounge jacket. For the first she had noticed his good looks. When he gave her a compliment, she looked happy . Daamini needed a small help with her bracelet which she couldn’t manage to place it around her fair and supple wrist on her own. Vinayak had already taken a drink and had been feeling a little free. He had clasped her bracelet and then unknowingly had planted an innocent kiss on the back of her palms. Daamini did not mind and they shared a soft look . Without any exchange of words, he proceeded to take her to the dining hall. Their clients had arrived. She knew her job well and she gave hundred percent to it. Vinayak had felt proud of her. The meeting was followed by a good dinner and the clients gave them the contract. It was a big deal. Both of them were absolutely on cloud nine and later they went to a night club to celebrate their victory. A couple of drinks made them very comfortable and to her surprise Vinayak took her to the dance floor. She was getting to know him better. They both had matched well. It was very late and while returning to the hotel, he had very gently told her about his feelings. For the first time, she had seen him behaving nervously like a school boy as if he couldn not afford to lose her. She did not know, from where she had got that courage but she had reached out to take his cold hands in hers and had straight away proposed to him. That had left Vinayak speechless for few moments and then that was followed by a beautiful embrace. Though he was a man, but his eyes were shining with happy tears.

They both had wanted a wedding soon. After returning, they arranged a surprise for both their respective parents and definitely they had blessed them. The wedding had been arranged to be held on eleventh December. That was only a month away. Their families got busy in planning a grand wedding.

In the mean time, both Daamini and Vinayak became busier with the work. They wanted to finish all the back log before the ceremony so instead of working as a team as they always did, they started to meet clients seperately. That’s how, she had met Kushal. He was young, dynamic, fit , cool and most importantly of her age. He was rich and a successful man. Kushal owned a high end restaurant chain. He needed a top level marketing and promotion . When he met Daamini, regarding the same, he looked floored by her looks and intelligence. On the other hand, his wit and wisdom, both had attracted Daamini but she had tried to be on a professional platform. They met a few times for drinks and dinner to discuss the work. He was known and was really a favourite among girls.

That day, they had met late in the evening and by the time, dinner got over, it was quite late and Kushal offered to drop Daamini home. On the way, he took her to his palatial home, as he desperately needed his phone charger. It was going to switch off any moment and he explained that he was expecting an important call. Daamini went inside and waited for him in the sitting area. When he did not come out for a long time, she became restless and went in to check on him. The door of his room was slightly ajar and what she saw when she peeped in, shocked her. He was lying on the floor. She guessed he had fainted. Daamini rushed by his side with some cold water and splashed it on his face. For a moment she thought he had died but to her relief, after few minutes he started coming back to his senses. That moment was a weak one for both of them as she had rested her ear against his chest to listen to his heart beat. She knew then, that she really wanted him in her life. He too held her and gently kissed her. Daamini came back to the reality and tried to get out of that situation but he would not leave her. Repeatedly she told him about her and Vinayak's relationship, but it did not deter him. He wanted her forever.

They started seeing each other regularly, but Daamini did not have the courage to tell anyone about her changed feelings. The fateful day arrived, eleventh December. She was getting ready with a sorrowful heart, when she heard a knock on her balcony door. She was stunned to see Kushal. He had come to take her away but she was scared and did not want to bring shame to her family. That was the most difficult situation she had ever faced. She was standing at the edge of a bifurcation but desires won over pure love. The excitement to lead a gloriously happening life misled her. The path chosen by her at that time got her into the most pathetic time later.

She packed carefully and then took a leap into another world. The world of torture, humility and immense disrespect. Kushal and Daamini went through a registered marriage which was as false as his character. In a few days, she understood his real motive. Kushal was inhuman. He did not have any feelings for her. He had tricked her into that marriage to maintain a status of a family man in his high society behind which he would easily carry out his lustful outings with different women as well as men. He was a devil in a human AVATAR. Daamini was not even allowed to meet her parents or even talk to them. She did not get an opportunity to say sorry to Vinayak as after that misadventure, he had a fatal heart attack which had left him paralysed and bed ridden. Daamini could never forgive herself for that.

Her parents wanted to meet her but each time they tried to call her, she had to reject their calls. Kushal used to turn violent if he did not get what he wanted. Her whole body had cuts and bruises. Ofcourse he was smart enough to never hurt her face. She was his beloved beautiful wife in the society. At home,, he treated her as the lowest category staff. This situation continued for four years. Kushal was getting all the more ruthless, cruel and now, dangerous too. The final blow came when he burnt her hands, putting it straight inside the gas oven, as she had forgotten to put salt in his food . Then he had beaten her black and blue and left her heart to bleed in dark. After one whole week, when she was able to get up, Daamini, true to her name, ignited a fire inside her, the fire of revenge. She had never felt stronger. She passed her days and months quietly, planning and preparing for her exit from that dreadful life. The day finally descended after a year. It was eleventh of December.

All the events of her disgusting life had come alive in her mind. Now back to the present, Daamini was all set. She looked like SHAKTI.. THE DURGA! Her beautiful face was glowing in perception. Tonight she would grant salvation to Kushal . The door bell rang. She heard but ignored it . Kushal used his key to come in. He was mad with anger and rushed to the kitchen which was in darkness. In the mean time, the Bride and now a Goddess stepped outside and stood hidingly at a corner. She started smiling wickedly and then gradually the smile turned into a LAUGHTER OF ULTIMATE REVENGE. She was waiting eagerly and yes, the explosion sounded like a sweet melody to her ears.

The DANCE OF DEATH had begun. Kushal had gone inside the kitchen and had switched on the light when the explosion took place. “ BOOM” and his pieces flew up in different directions. The whole place was in flames. People rushed from all directions but they couldn not do anything about it. They were sure Daamini too had died in that crazy fire.

Covering her head, shaking with fear and crying soundlessly she left that place forever. Her flight tickets were in her hands. She knew what she was doing. She knew she should not have left without an apology to her parents but she did not want to bring more trouble in their lives. The flight to Singapore was early morning. There was Vinayak. His parents had taken him there. She knew her life's only aim now. She would be by his side, taking care and would try to bring him back to life. This was the least she could do for a DIVINE MAN LIKE VINAYAK.

Daamini boarded the flight to reach her LAST AND FINAL DESTINATION.

By Jyoti Saraf

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