OS: And All That Could Have Been

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Posted: 2014-04-13T15:05:58Z
Hello!
I have exams. And a million other things that I really should be doing. But I couldn't resist writing this.
This one goes out to my baba, Ragini-- fellow fangirl whom I can always count on to react appropriately and understand my feelz.
Ragini, come back to the dark side kabhi kabhi. It is good for your soul.

OH! Savdhan-wala warning. This is NOT PaRud. If you were expecting Major Saab and his missus, sorry, baisa! Not this time.


And All That Could Have Been


There was nothing extraordinary about the slight figure sitting outside the door, with her knees drawn to her chest and her head cradled in the crook of her arms; nothing that would make anyone turn around and give her a second glance.

Laila, sneaking out of the Officers' Quarters, wouldn't have noticed her either-- had it not been for the silver clasp of the girl's rudraksh bracelet, which glinted in the moonlight and caught her eye.

Her nostrils flared while her eyes narrowed. She would have recognized that bracelet anywhere in Rajasthan. Only two people of her acquaintance wore it. One was a muscular man with a formidable moustache. The other was a delicate-looking woman of uncommon beauty.

This was clearly the latter.

With an exaggerated sigh and shake of her head, Laila abruptly changed course and walked over to the girl.

The chime of her anklets must have woken her up, for when Laila crouched down in front of the girl, she met a pair of dark eyes still hazy with sleep. She watched, a sardonic twist curling her vividly painted lips, as the mist cleared and the girl's eyes widened in recognition.

"He threw you out again."

Parvati opened her mouth, presumably to refute her assumption, but decided against it. Ignoring Laila's statement, she looked away, her fingers fiddling with the serrated brown beads at her wrist.

"I did tell you he is an animal." Paro now refocused her attention on Laila with a wary expression on her face. It never boded well for her when Laila referred to that particular conversation. But this time, she found no malice glittering dangerously back at her.

Instead, she found wry amusement and...sympathy?

Parvati bristled. No matter what went wrong between her and Rudra, she did not need pity. And definitely not from the likes of...of...Laila.

Her flashing eyes only made Laila laugh.

"Save your fire for your husband and his appetite, sweetheart. You'll need it more over there."

Paro glanced around uncomfortably. She had never quite gotten used to Laila and her outspoken ways. She focused on the beads of rudraksh she wore, praying with all her might for Laila to go away and leave her alone.

All of a sudden, slender fingers reached out to trace the angry imprints around her wrist, making her hiss in surprise.

Laila maintained her easy conversational tone, as though she had not noticed Paro's soft gasp. "Men are so callous. Not to mention, misguided. They think that this aggression, this exhibition of raw power gives them more control...makes them more masculine. Little do they know that real power lies in restraint. It lies not in coercion, but in creating temptation so that your opponent wants to do what you want her to do. And men are blind. They are blinded by their own convictions. They cannot imagine being wrong about anything or anyone. And we, women? We feed those convictions. Because we're selfish as well. Because we cannot imagine a life without the men. And that is where we go so wrong."

Laila's voice had dropped to a silken whisper that skittered across Paro's skin, making her arm break out in goosebumps. She listened mesmerized, making no move to withdraw the wrist which Laila was gently stroking.

"We don't really need men. Not as much as they need us. Many years ago, Yasmin Aapa had tried telling me this very truth when she had taken me under her wing. All of fifteen, I didn't understand her then. I didn't understand her when she taught me what it means to be a woman either. Nor did I understand her warning when I left her protection to follow my heart, follow Rudra. But I do now."

Laila raised her head and looked straight at Paro, holding her gaze for a long moment. And then a half smile softened her visage. "I don't know what it is about you that refuses to let me live in peace. And our situation is such that the only way I can talk to you is to give you unsolicited advice about men and their ways. I almost wish that things had been different. But then it strikes me that you may not like...different."

Raising Paro's wrist, Laila pressed her parted lips against the thrumming pulse that she had been caressing.

And then she was gone-- the lingering scent of mogra and the ghost of her tinkling anklets, the only proof of the encounter.

Paro stared at her wrist in shock, while trying to calm her racing heart. A smudge of lipstick marked the spot that still tingled with the memory of a touch gentler than she had ever known.

 _________________



Edited by Semanti - 2014-04-13T15:04:08Z
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Posted: 2014-04-13T16:04:35Z
That was nicely done - very subtle! 
-Sona
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Posted: 2014-04-13T17:53:22Z
Woh! I was not expecting that ending. You had me so wrapped up in the words that Laila was saying.  I wish Rudra could have seen this interaction. I truly enjoyed the words of Laila about men not realizing how to treat women. Loved this little gem of a story. Glad I found it. I like your writing style very much.
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Posted: 2014-04-13T18:49:58Z
Did Laila hit upon paro...interesting..LOL
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Posted: 2014-04-13T20:21:07Z
Did mad dogs bite all the forum writers to come up with new stories all of a sudden? - if they did, then good job! Res, will comment after reading.

Unres

Ok, read the thing before the OS. Big smile

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAGINI. You don't know me, nor does Semanti, i guess, but i am one phanki of your IF posts and VMs. Felt really sad when you said bye bye to IPK. Hoping Semanti lured you here for good. Star

Who needs PaRud? Paro and Laila combined is entertaining enough. Loved their conversation. After reading many many happys endings of Pa-La here (First Napster, and now you too), i wonder CVs who stalk this forum will get the hint and use it in the show. Now that will be some unique, nayi soch TRP puller. 

Hoping against hope you will continue this. At least write more.

And good luck for exams. (Says me, who has the biggest exam of my life at the end of this year, stalking IF instead.)
Edited by aruni50218 - 2014-04-13T21:36:26Z
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Posted: 2014-04-13T20:59:06Z
Oh my! Mera (very) early wallah birthday present. Pyaar, pyaar, pyaar.

This is so brilliantly written, now I know why you have so many pankhis. C'mon Paro bb, Major Saab ko chodh and dance to dil dola re dole re with Laila bb. Team Par-la best hai, which sounds so much like a Bombay suburb. And of course, we love the Bombay suburbs.

Also, Indian Government if you are reading this, down with Section 377. And Major Saab if you are reading this, don't be sad, you are hotter than hot. Aisa sirf maine nahin kaha, akbaaron mein bhi likha hai.

Waise aapne mera IF se door rehne ka tapasya bhang kar diya. I guess like a great man once said, lau can reduce you to anything. Let me go fetch my towel.
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Posted: 2014-04-13T21:04:56Z
Originally posted by Rag1ni


Oh my! Mera (very) early wallah birthday present. Pyaar, pyaar, pyaar.

This is so brilliantly written, now I know why you have so many pankhis. C'mon Paro bb, Major Saab ko chodh and dance to dil dola re dole re with Laila bb. Team Par-la best hai, which sounds so much like a Bombay suburb. And of course, we love the Bombay suburbs.

Also, Indian Government if you are reading this, down with Section 377. And Major Saab if you are reading this, don't be sad, you are hotter than hot. Aisa sirf maine nahin kaha, akbaaron mein bhi likha hai.

Waise aapne mera IF se door rehne ka tapasya bhang kar diya. I guess like a great man once said, lau can reduce you to anything. Let me go fetch my towel.
*rubs my eyes, several times over* RAGINI? HERE??
Yes, mad dogs have bitten RR forum. Big smile Big smile
3 Likes this
Posted: 2014-04-13T21:07:39Z
Do my eyes fool me? Is one of my favorite writers posting? Ahh this makes me so happy, even if it's not Paro/Rudra.

Is it bad if I may have had a small Laila/Paro shipping moment there? No? You've written a fascinating piece of work- I'm not sure what exactly it is, but I'm drawn to it in an odd way. It's different, and I like it a lot- I've often wondered whether Laila and Paro could become good friends. This oneshot brought that feeling in me again.

Semanti, I miss your works- they're such a pleasure to read. Wonderful, as always!
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