“Abhay, serve the tea on table four quickly!”
Suppressing a flare of irritation, Abhay took his gaze off the TV in the kitchen. Even though he felt like smashing the cup on the tray, he carefully poured hot tea and went to serve the customer. He absolutely hated the restaurant’s crowd. They were stuffy and always ready for fight. Once he had spilled a bit of tea on some hotshot’s trousers and man, was it a mess. Despite of him apologizing again and again, the man had threatened to beat him up. As if that was going to make his pants clean! Huh!
As soon as he served the tea, the customer yelled – “The tea is cold! Don’t you dare serve me leftover.”
“But sir – “
“Bring in your manager. I don’t want to listen to anything”
Hearing the commotion, the manager promptly came over. “What happened sir?”
“How can you serve me cold tea? Do you think we are fools and we won’t understand when our orders are being shortchanged?”
“Sir, we aren’t cheating you or anything. The tea is fresh and hot but as you are unhappy with it, we will make a fresh one. Abhay, take this and ask the chef to make the new one.”
Giving a nod, Abhay took back the tea and went to the kitchen, only to hear the chef’s yelling. “The tea wasn’t cold when I gave you. You must have waited long before serving the tea. I know today its India-Pakistan match. Were you watching that?”
The questioning made Abhay angry. Just because he was a small-time waiter didn’t mean that he was always in the wrong. Giving a blank stare to the chef, he waited for the fresh tea.
Thank God it’s Saturday. At least my evening will be better than my day!
“Yes ma. I have sent you money order for 3600 rupees. Will that be enough for Antara’s fees and monthly expenses? If not, I can send you more next week.”
“No beta, you are already doing enough. Are you eating properly? What did you have for dinner?”
“Of course I’m eating properly ma. You always ask me the same question. Tell me what new is happening at home?”
“Nothing much beta. Our cow is on the verge of delivering the calf anytime. We just hope the delivery goes smoothly because we can neither afford to lose another cow nor call a vet.”
“Call the vet. I will send additional 1000 rupees next week. Losing a cow will be more expensive than paying the vet.”
“Are you sure? Don’t overwork; otherwise you will fall ill.”
“Yes ma. Just call the vet. I’m not working overtime. Now you take care. I’m cutting the call; the meter has already crossed 40 rupees.”
After paying for the call, Abhay started going back to his kholi. On the way, he saw a beautiful blood-red dupatta. Made of chiffon, the dupatta had golden red border. Thinking of his sister, he bought it.
Forgetting the irritations of the day, he quickly ate his dinner of daal-chawal and laid down on the bed for few minutes. After staring at the whirling fan for few minutes, he checked the time. It was time to get ready.
Opening the cupboard, he took out moss-green silk salwar suit. As today was a special day, he took out matching bra and knickers. Shedding his clothes, he started shaving. He started with his beard as his facial hair grew too fast. Then he moved on to his legs and arms. After checking thoroughly for any stray hair on his body, he gave a satisfied smile and started donning the dress.
He was definitely looking forward to the party. Apart from meeting his favorite man, he was going to do some new networking. In his business, one just couldn’t afford to be lazy, especially when that meant the difference between being poor and very poor.
After getting dressed, he quickly choose red hair wig and applied the makeup deftly. Looking at himself critically, he decided to tweak his eyebrows quickly. He remembered very well how Dharmin hated thick eyebrows.
“Oh my darling! You are finally here. We were just waiting for you. Welcome, welcome!” Dharmin hugged Abhay tightly and immediately started groping.
Suppressing another flicker of irritation, Abhay tried to move around. “Where are you going? Let me kiss you properly.”
“Dharmin, first let me enter and introduce myself to other guests before you pounce.”
As Dharmin was in good mood, he decided to accommodate Agni’s wishes. Closing the door behind him quickly, he ushered Agni in his living room.
“Friends, here is our star. Guys, meet Agni; and Agni, meet Kaushik, Andy and Zafaar.”
“Hello everyone.” Turning of Dharmin, Abhay continued: “Where is Meenakshi? Wasn’t she going to be here today?”
“Oh, she was asking for too much. Last time she had agreed for 8000 but this time she was asking for 12000. She was simply out of our budget. So we will make do with you.”
The last sentence alarmed Abhay. “Are you saying I’m the only one to serve all for you?”
Looking at Agni’s horrified expressions, Dharmin felt a shot of excitement. “Don’t worry, you will be paid well. We will pay you additional 8000 rupees that we were ready to pay Meenakshi.”
“But I can’t take all four of you! I will get hurt!”
Zafaar, who was sipping whiskey until now, got up and hugged Abhay from behind. “Where’s your sense of adventure? I’d have thought being in this profession, you would love a challenge.”
Abhay could feel himself getting angry. “I like adventure but I don’t like pain. Four in one night is too much. I’m no longer interested. I’m leaving.”
As soon as Abhay tried to leave, the remaining two men got up and started locking windows.
“Do you really think you can leave us high and dry? We don’t care what you want. You are here and we are going to fuck you all night through.”
Abhay, who was really getting scared now, looked at Dharmin. He knew Dharmin for more than a year and he was pretty sure that Dharmin won’t stand him getting raped. “Tell your friends to leave me alone.”
Giving him a malicious look, he looked at his friends. “You guys go ahead and take him. I will join you after couple of drinks. It seems today we are going to have our hands full. Just don’t stretch him too much. I don’t like too much loose flesh.”
Abhay was beyond panic. He was outraged. In his entire career of four years, nobody had tried to rape him. How dare they! He started kicking and tried to punch Kaushik who was trying to remove his salwar suit.
“Control him. He’s trying to get smart.”
Suddenly somebody snatched away his wig from behind and pulled him from his hair. “We didn’t want to do this but you leave us with no option.”
Before Abhay could realize what was happening, his arms were pinned on the floor and mouth gagged. Another pair of hands were holding his legs apart and his face was being pushed on the floor.
He wanted to rear back and scream in outrage but he couldn’t.
When he felt cool air on his backside, he conceded defeat. He knew nothing could save him short of miracle.
A ray of sunlight woke him. He barely could lift his eyes and move his arms at the same time. He was exhausted. His entire body was aching. He tried to roll over on his back but all he could do was groan. He was lying on a sticky bedsheet with ropes around his wrists and legs. After being raped few times, he forgot how many times he was violated. Apart from being slapped on the face numerous times, his bottom was smacked repeatedly while he was being raped.
“So you are awake. Do you want breakfast? After last night, I can at least make an omelet for you.”
Looking at Dharmin’s satisfied grin, Abhay felt sad and tired. “Can you first help me to bathroom? I don’t think I can move.”
“No way. You have do that on your own. Just come to the kitchen when you are ready. I will make tea and omelet for you. And before I forget, here are 18000 rupees for you.”
After hearing the click of the closed door, Abhay struggled to his feet with the help of the side drawer. As he looked down on the bed, he saw the blood stains.
Now ma will be able to call vet as well as buy another cow.