Last week, I met Pankaj, my school friend from Mumbai; an engineer with a reputed MNC, he travels overseas several times a month. A month back he was a happy man who always had a smile on his face. However, after his recent trip to Tennessee, that changed. I wondered what was wrong.
With that in mind, I dropped in to visit him. His wife Kavita welcomed me and I went into the living room and sat down to chat with Pankaj. He mentioned that he’d been back three days but skipped office.
“Is everything okay, Pankaj? How is work? Do you have any work-related tension?” I asked.
A startling revelation
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“No, no, office matters never trouble me. It is something related to my latest US tour. I fell in love….” Pankaj said. Just then Kavita arrived with coffee and snacks and he completed his sentence with, “I fell in love with Tennessee’s environment and the life there.”
Kavita smiled and said, “I wish you’d fall in love with me too, someday.” Pankaj paled, I stayed quiet, and Kavita walked out.
Taking a sip of coffee, I asked Pankaj to carry on. “I fell in love with a girl in Tennessee the very day I got there.”
“Well, she was actually a waitress in the hotel, where my conference took place. She served us lunch as the team was discussing business. I thanked her but noticed that it looked as though she wanted to tell me something. Both of us agreed to meet the next day,” Pankaj stopped.
“Then what happened?” I questioned instantly.
She was a call girl
“That very same night, while returning from a restaurant after dinner, I noticed she was standing on the street wearing a top with a plunging neckline, and a very short skirt. I was shocked. A girl working as a waitress in a top hotel, what was she doing on the street, past midnight?”
“I walked up to her. I wanted to know what was she doing there, and she reluctantly disclosed that she was a call girl in that locality at night. To be honest, though I was flabbergasted, I didn’t find anything immoral in it. I wanted to know why was she engaging in the flesh trade despite working at a posh hotel.”
‘Both my parents died a few years ago and left me to care for three younger sisters (all uneducated). I decided to bear the brunt myself to ensure that my sisters live with dignity,’ she said.”
“We went to a food plaza nearby for a meal and many of the patrons looked at her suspiciously. I wished to give her a good life and a right to live with dignity in India, where her past wouldn’t trouble anymore. She can bank on me. I truly love her from the bottom of my heart. During our short yet fruitful meeting, I realised that she never treated me in the way she treated other clients. Instead we both conversed with each other freely every time we met.”
“Next morning, as usual after the business meet, we shared some good times together. We roamed around the streets of Tennessee randomly, and I felt extremely satisfied seeing the smile on her face.”
I want to bring her home
“Soon I was ready to come back to Mumbai. I met her at the same spot and I tried to give her a lot of money, but she simply declined, saying ‘Please help me better my life. I don’t want to stay a prostitute anymore after meeting a nice gentleman like you. I’ll study hard and choose a different life. Please take me out of Tennessee. This city has only given me grief. It took my parents away and threw me into the dark tunnel of prostitution. I wish to begin a new life with you, in India.’
“It was definitely a case of true love at first sight, though people may find it hard to believe. I’m a very determined fellow; so when I say it’s love, it truly loves. Now tell me what I should do,” Pankaj suddenly asked.
I was stunned to hear such things from a professional guy like Pankaj. During his college days, many girls asked him out, but he politely declined all of them until his parents fixed him up with Kavita.
“Are you sure it’s love? Think about Kavita, she is your wife.
It could be just lust or infatuation. Try to shake it off,” I said, trying to convince Pankaj that the Tennessee affair was forgettable.
The marriage was arranged, but my love is my own decision
Pankaj said, “I hate the thought of such a beautiful girl in a brothel, at the hands of lecherous men. Prostitution is never the first choice of any girl but their financial needs compel them to do so. Moreover, Kavita is my parents’ choice, not mine. For the first time in my life, I have ever fallen in love and unexpectedly it happened with a call girl. Tell me, what should I do now? You know me well; when I say that it is love, then you know that I am saying it from the core of heart.”
I stayed quiet.
I simply left Pankaj’s home with several questions on my mind: Why did Pankaj go for an arranged marriage if he didn’t believe in it? Why should Kavita, a dedicated homemaker, bear the brunt of her husband’s infidelity? Who was the mysterious Tennessee callgirl?
Did Pankaj really love her or was it just attraction with an emotional connection? Without any contact details of that girl, would Pankaj ever manage to meet her again in Tennessee on the same street? Many might construe it as a matter of lust and sexual obsession, but when he told me everything about that Tennessee incident, I could clearly see the reflection of true love in his eyes, as transparent as water. I know him from childhood. He was a true and dedicated lover from within. He didn’t believe in one-night stands and unnecessarily hanging out with girls.
They met, he found out about her tragic life, and fell in love with her. Was it possible?
What do you think about the situation? Do you have any advice for Pankaj in this case? Let us know in the comments below.