The directions were clear. He had to go to the third floor in the apartment next to the sweet shop. They were looking forward for him. He was nervous and sweating. This was not illegal per say. But however most of the time what the society thinks as norms gave a small jitters down the spine when he overstepped it.

It was a week day and it was 11 AM. The sun was up and merciless. He was not sure if he had to cover his face. He waited for fifteen minutes surveying the locality, to see if anyone climbs up the third floor of that particular apartment. He couldn’t see anyone. He had parked his vehicle in the next street, he didn’t want anyone from his circle see his old yezdi bike there. It was easy for people to identify him.

He hesitantly started climbing the stairs. He was not going to buy sex. It was just a massage he told to himself as if that would help. He was never a fan of buying sex. He prided over his intellect and had always thought that made women crawl to him. He was wrong. There was always someone better than him and when he took his profession seriously the failure had hit him hard. It affected him internally and repelled anything that he went after. That included women.

He was a writer. Or so he thought. He had high aspirations when he stepped out of the college. He was going to change the literary scene, he had thought. But nothing happened. To change something was to get out there and work. But he was confined to his room, thinking about obscure topics and trying to beautify it with the limited language proficiency he had. He had rejected a lot of girls who tried to be part of his life. But not before they ended up in his bed. It had been ten years since he had felt an embrace or the feel of legs wrapping around his waist or the tightness around his manhood.

He knew he enjoyed sex. He vented his feeling out through his words. But the readers were able to identify why he wrote it. There was nothing sensual about what he wrote. It was always raw sex scenes which didn’t fit in the story or the characters he wrote. When he was alone at night, with a drink in his hand he would think about it. His descriptions and fantasies in his novels could have mostly helped few adolescents please themselves in dingy restrooms. He was neither ashamed of it nor proud.

He was panting when he reached the third floor. The name board read “Illusions”. He was greeted with grill gate which was locked. He pressed the buzzer and waited for someone to open the door. The front office was very well decorated with all types of deities. The freshly lit agarbathi gave a calming effect on his mind. The leather sofas were unoccupied. A lady who would be in her forties came hurriedly to open the door. He walked in without removing his shoes but immediately felt bad standing midst of pictures of the deities. The lady didn’t mind.

“I had called you”

“Do you want to see the girls first?” the lady didn’t look him the eye. The reception gave way to a room where three girls were sitting in chairs which resembled the ones that were in the high end saloons in the city. He was not able to see the faces. He didn’t know what to ask.

“I would like to know the rates first” he said.

“1500 for normal massage. 2000 for topless. 3000 for body to body massage and 4500 for four hand massage”

“What is a four hand massage?”

“Two girls will service you” the lady was still looking at the register. He had enough money for the body to body massage. He opted for it and paid through his credit card. He had to pay it back only after fifty days. There was no one to him to check the names that appeared in his credit card statement.

“Do you want to choose the girl now?” the lady asked. He nodded hesitantly. Two girls looked at him without any interest as if he didn’t matter. Then he looked at her. She had her hair plaited neatly with flowers adorning it. A thin line of Kajal peeked out of the sides of her eyes. She looked very uncomfortable in the jeans and T-shirt she was wearing. He pointed her out before he was led to a small room.

A small bed was in the side of the room with long tissue paper covering it like a blanket. There was disposable underwear which was instructed to wear before the lady left him alone. She was calling for someone called “Narayani”.

“Oh! The girl is from Kerala!” he thought to himself.

He changed to the disposable underwear and lay on his stomach in the bed. It felt like he went back to his mansion days where he would sleep on newspapers. Her name sounded familiar. He couldn’t place where he had heard that name. He was reading a lot, may be a character he had read. He didn’t usually remember all the character names. When one thinks himself as a writer, they are cursed to follow the technicalities of writing rather than just enjoy the story. It should have been someone special. He heard the door open and a sweet feeble voice asked him if he would like oil massage or powder massage. He knew he had to take bath if he went for oil massage. He chose powder.

He knew who he had selected. He was expecting her to strip her clothes and join him in the bed. But the hair in the nape of his neck slightly stood up when she sprinkled cuticura powder on his back. He hurriedly turned back to see a fully dressed Narayani sprinkling the powder.

“They said it is body to body massage” he said.

“Yes. First I will massage your back, then legs and then your hands. In last twenty minutes I will take off my T-shirt and do a body rub.” She calmly made him go to his previous position and started spreading the powder in his back. He was in no mood to argue or negotiate but words slipped out of his mouth “Only T-shirt?”

“Yes Sir. There is a reason we wear jeans pants even when we don’t like it.” He could sense a smile in her voice.

The massage was relaxing. He started drifting into another world as her soft hands caressed his back. She stood near his head and was spreading the powder in his back. He didn’t have the courage to grab her waist, even though it was inviting. He could feel her breast touch his back as she tried to reach farther of his back and her tummy touching his head. “Small Pleasures” he thought to himself.

“What is your name?” he asked.

“Narayani”

“I guess it is not your original name”

“It is my real name. I wouldn’t change my name even when others suggested.”

“Your name is very familiar. But I don’t know anybody with that name”

“My father named me after a character in novel” she said.

She turned him around. He could say that he was excited and an embarrassing tent had formed when he lay on his back. She thought nothing of it. He couldn’t help but ask “Which novel?”

“Do you read Malayalam novels?”

“I read a lot”

“Have you heard of Mathilugal by Basheer?”

He smiled as he had finally placed where he had read her name. It was a wonderful novel. It is about two people who meet in the unlikeliest place of all; A prison. The novel is about how Basheer, the protagonist and Narayani who were separated by a wall, develop feelings for each other without seeing. She was now caressing his chest. Her hand slid back and forth, teased him as she went closer to his disposable underwear. Now he was visibly excited and there was nothing that could hide it.

“Have you read that novel?” he asked her as she started removing her T-shirt. She was doing it with so much ease that he felt invisible. In one swift action she removed her bra and stood with bare chest before him. He couldn’t help but appreciate what he saw. Her breasts were firm. He had expected it to be saggy and was pleasantly surprised. She stood with a straight back. A small gold chain was all she had waist up. Her midriff was flat and her navel looked inviting. Anything that was deep was inviting to him. Be it eyes or navel.

“You can touch if you want” she said as she came close. “Yes. I have read the book. Everybody have the curiosity to know where their name came from. That is how I started reading it. But I could not understand much in a young age. I read it again when I was a teenager.” His hands had made way to her breast and he had taken her nipple between his fingers thinking it would excite her. But her face was devoid of any reaction.

“Have you read it sir?” she asked.

“Yes I have. I liked the character Narayani too. Deep inside my heart, I have thought myself to be Basheer and when he stood at the gates with the rose, I was so excited to meet the Narayani. But we both didn’t have the luck. But I guess, today I get to meet the Narayani”

A smile crossed her lips as she mounted on him. She started massaging his bare chest with her breasts. She looked into his eyes for the first time as she slid up and down. When her face reached his, she whispered in his ear “What is your name sir?”

“For now, I am Basheer. Basheer who had managed to cross the wall and meet Narayani.” She gnawed his earlobes exciting him further. The walls were broken. He started imagining her face to the Narayani of Mathilugal. He could feel that Narayani’s lines in novel spoken by the woman who was sliding down his body. Before he could dwell on the thought, she climbed down. He was disturbed from his thoughts and looked at her. “Is it over? They said a session is for forty five minutes”

“It just started” she said as she stripped down her pants. She was in her full glory. He could see the stretch marks in her belly. But he didn’t want to ask about it and thwart the magic that was happening. She helped him remove his disposable underwear and climbed back again. He couldn’t resist but suck on her nipples. He placed his hands on the small of her back as she guided him into her.

“I never knew this was allowed” he said as she started riding him.

“Exceptions can be made. After all you are my Basheer” she was panting as she gained the speed. It didn’t take long for him to empty himself into her. She laid exhausted on him. He caressed her back as her breath returned to normalcy again. He could feel her tears in his chest. “Do you think they would have happily lived ever after, if they had met?” she asked.

“Who?”

“You and me, inside the novel”

“I think so.” He was not able to think clearly. She climbed down and started to get dressed. He realized it was over. She had serviced him for forty five minutes alright, but left him wanting for more. He didn’t know if it was because of her hotness, her soft hands or supple breasts of the connect they felt in a different platform. He didn’t want such questions intervene in a very satisfactory forty five minutes of his life.

He handed over a 1000 Rs to her as tips. She refused to take it. She corrected her flowers and kajal and left the room. He went into the shower room for a quick shower. She gave a small smile as he crossed the reception and walked down the street to where he had parked his bike.

He came home and wrote with great enthusiasm. A short story was in his desk in no time and he knew it is one of his good works. He put it in an envelope and sent it to one of his publisher friends. Even if it gets published he wouldn’t get much money. But it would cost another 3000 Rs to meet Narayani again.

Three weeks later, he found an envelope from the magazine at his door step. His short story was published and they had sent him money order worth 2000 Rs. It was a Sunday supplement of a daily newspaper which was shunned by serious literary enthusiasts. But he didn’t mind. He could go and meet Narayani again. In no time he was on his bike. He wanted to talk this time. Talk a lot and not just let their body talk. He climbed up three floors in a jiffy and stood panting before the lady in the reception. She still didn’t make eye contact.

“Do you want to see the girls?” she asked.

“Narayani” he said.

“She left to her native. But we have new girls from Kerala. They are really cooperative” she said. He was out of the place before she finished her sentence.

The fate had same plans for Basheer and Narayani.

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