By: Sunil Sharma
No longer could she stand—his body smell.
Things suddenly got complicated that summer night. Sweating hard in the airless room, he wanted to have her body, the way the hungry want to grab a piece of meat.
She was not ready, back from the kitchen.
He reeked of raw garlic.
She turned her back.
He felt Alaskan winds sweeping the tiny bedroom.
Frustrated, confused, he stared at her body—beyond reach.
He was denied. Boldly. Second time in last three days.
That hurt and called for an explanation—the refusal for his rights as the lord of the house.
“I cannot stand your body smell.” She answered in a flat tone that came as a bullet to a tender heart.
He was shocked!
“Frigid body—of no use to me, either,” he retorted. She did not respond.
He lost ardour.
Things were different earlier. After marriage, Priya had turned into a devoted wife, transferring the unrequited love from a young heart to him—typical Indian wife brought home through the custom of the arranged marriage.
He worked hard. She managed home.
The marriage survived bitter tiffs, broken saucers and rough patches.
Now, last few months, things had changed. Her center of gravity was shifted.
A show-down was imminent.
“Why did you refuse me?” He asked her the next morning.
“I do not like your body smell. Besides that, there is a thing called mood.” She sounded angry.
He did not expect a hammer for an answer.
“How long?” She asked Amarkant. “Twenty years! I am no longer young—and tired.”
It stung. “Who is feeding this crap to a docile woman?”
She commented wryly, “After twenty years, even a dumb animal starts reacting.”
“Oh! My sweat was scented then. Now, it is revolting.”
“You will never understand, NEVER!”
Amarkant replied viciously, “OK. Then, let us split forever.”
She said nothing.
“You do not like me?” He asked.
“I never said that.”
“It amounts to same thing.”
“I am tired. I do not want anything mechanical in the bed. Just another work.” Her voice was calm.
Amarkant went white. He left for his office. Before leaving, he said quietly, “I never knew two strangers were living in this family, under the same roof, for the last twenty years.”
Priya smiled, adding to the male fury. He banged the doors.
After a long cold war, Amarkant visited the famous perfume shop in the Fort area in Mumbai.
“Any powerful perfume that can last for long?” He heard a familiar voice asking the young salesman.
It was his college friend.
“Hey, Subodh! What you doing here?”
His friend turned around, beamed and said, “Oh! Hunting for a strong perfume.”
“For whom? Wife or girl-friend?”
They both laughed.
“No. For me.”
“Why? You never bothered about such scents earlier.”
“Oh! Things change. I want to suppress my unpleasant body smell.”
Amarkant smiled broadly. “Nice! Which one? I, too, want to order the same brand.”