A Naive Casanova
by Rudy Ravindra
Table of Contents|
parts: 1-2, 3-5, 6-8
9-11 , 12-14 , 15
Maya gulped down the last bit of wine and stood up and stretched. “Body’s stiff, been sitting for so long.”
They walked out to the parking lot and Rahul asked Maya, “Why are you still single?”
Maya laughed, “I haven’t met anybody I like. I had a boyfriend, he drank too much, I had to break up, you know, not fun to be around an alcoholic. My parents keep sending pictures of eligible bachelors, but I don’t know....”
Rahul said, “We could go to my place for a drink, but you are a high-class lady, you may not like....”
“Mine may not be any better, but I do have a good view of the river and downtown.”
Her place was in great disarray, with books, magazines and journals strewn all over the living room. Maya removed a pile of journals from a couch. “This place is such a mess. I never get time to clean up.”
They walked into an equally messy kitchen. She opened several cabinets. “Aha, here are the wine glasses. It’s been a long time since I used these. I’d better rinse them.”
She got a bottle of pinot grigio out of the refrigerator and suggested they go to the balcony.
“Wow, this is spectacular. Look at the reflection of the lights in the river.”
“Yeah, whenever I want some peace and quiet, I stand here for a few minutes, tune out the world, you know.”
He drew her sensuous body close and kissed her softly. She opened her lips and gently nibbled his lower lip, and their tongues met.
“Let’s go inside,” Maya whispered.
* * *
Rahul and Maya met frequently, and their relationship became very close during the next few months. He spent most of his free time at her place and even slept many nights there.
She asked Rahul, “I want you to come with me to my parents. Can you take a few days off?”
“So, you told your folks about us, now they want to check me out, ha?”
She smiled. “Something like that.”
“So, you want to marry me?”
She laughed. “Ha ha ha, if you are proposing, at least do it right, with a ring and all.”
They drove to Maryland, and Rahul was received courteously by her parents. Madhav, dressed in an expensive suit, was short, chubby, dark-skinned, and almost bald; to cover his bald pate, he combed his hair from one side to the other, but it didn’t have the desired effect.
Sulochana appeared to be slightly taller than her husband, and although there were a few wrinkles on her face, she had sharp features and was attractive.
Madhav took Rahul on a tour of the property. The house was built on a huge lot of at least thirty acres, surrounded by a white picket fence. All the rooms in the three-story house were big. Rahul thought that one of the bathrooms in this house was as big as his entire apartment.
The living room, den, kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom were on the first floor. On the second floor, there were four large bedrooms and two bathrooms. The grand tour over, they joined the ladies for a simple dinner of chapathies, rice, mixed vegetable curry, dal and yogurt.
Her parents retired for the evening. Maya and Rahul went upstairs to their separate bedrooms. Maya whispered, “Brush your teeth, get comfortable. I will sneak into your room through the bathroom, don’t lock the bathroom door on your side. We share the bathroom.”
She came into his room, wearing nothing but a little perfume at strategic areas of her buxom brown body. “Rahul, we can’t make too much noise. My parents are downstairs.”
He grumbled. “These bed springs squeak. How can we...”
Maya got out of the bed, spread a few blankets and sheets on the carpet and lay down invitingly, her arms outstretched to receive him.
Joining her on the carpet he said, “We have solved one problem. But what about your loud screaming, when you...”
She said, “Don’t make fun of me.”
“You look more sexy when you blush.”
Rahul received Meena at the Kansas City International airport. He gave her a bunch of red roses, escorted her to his car, and took her to dinner at one of the better Indian restaurants in town.
Rahul said, “It’s been good, these past few months.”
“Strange, no? How fate brought us together again. I wish we didn’t live so far from each other.” She took a piece of nan and scooped a little mixed vegetable curry, and popped it into her mouth. Taking a swig of her beer, she said, “Rahul, did you ever consider working in a pharmaceutical industry? You know, join the R&D?”
“That’s what I really wanted some ten years back.”
* * *
Rahul told Maya, “I have put in so many applications that I lost count. I didn’t get even one interview call.”
“Don’t worry. You are doing your best. By next summer I will complete my residency, then I should get a good job. We will be in a good shape.”
When it looked like all his efforts were in vain, Professor Martin came to Rahul’s rescue. “Williams at Kansas asked me to recommend a candidate for a faculty position in his department. Would you like to check it out?”
When Rahul told her about the job, Maya wasn’t enthusiastic. “Why do you want to move to the Midwest? I hate to be so far away from Mom and Dad.”
“You know what happened when I tried to find a job on my own. Professor Martin has clout. If I say no to this job, he may not help me next time. You shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a job in Kansas.”
They moved to Kansas, right after Maya completed her residency. Once they got settled, Maya started to look for jobs, and within a few weeks she was offered two positions.
She said, “Rahul, what do you think I should do?”
“Tell me about each job.”
“The first job is at a government hospital, eight to five, no night calls. I’ll get one-hundred-thousand dollars per year. The second job is at a private group, pays one-hundred-thirty thousand dollars per year. But I’ll have night and weekend calls.”
“Well, if I were you, I’ll take the government job.”
She pursed her lips. “But the pay is less.”
Disregarding his advice, Maya joined the private group.
* * *
Meena asked, “Lost in your thoughts, yaar? I was saying that I can help you find a job in our company, Westcore Pharmaceuticals. Let me forward your CV to Dave Abbott. He is the head of medicinal chemistry. I know he’s looking for an organic chemist.”
“I don’t know, Meena, I have tenure here...”
“What good is tenure if you make peanuts? You’ll make a lot more money at Westcore.”
“Yeah. You are right. I guess it won’t hurt to try.” Having gotten used to the laid-back life style of academia, he wasn’t sure if he measured up to the industry’s high expectations, but kept the doubts to himself.
Meena called him a few days later. “I spoke to Dave. He is impressed with your CV. He’ll call you for an interview.”
Rahul traveled to Newark. Dave and other division heads, including Meena, took him to dinner to discuss Westcore’s products, and future plans for developing new drugs. The next day, Rahul’s lecture on the role of molecular modeling in drug discovery, most of it Olga’s ideas, was attended by most of the technical staff from many divisions. Following his lecture, there were individual meetings with senior scientists in the medicinal chemistry division.
Rahul saw Olga in the parking lot. “Hey, Olga, I got the job, I got the job.”
“Congratulations. Now you’ll make megabucks. Let’s celebrate.”
“Okay, let’s go out for dinner this Friday.”
They had dinner at their favorite New Orleans style restaurant featuring Cajun recipes, and went to his house for a drink. All the windows were open; he was a fresh-air fanatic, kept the windows open until it got really cold.
But in spite of the warm day, the night became chilly, and Olga was shivering in her thin cotton dress. He quickly started the fireplace, and closed the windows.
Olga sat near the fireplace, placed her hands in front of the fire, and touched her cheeks with her warm hands. While fixing a whiskey sour and watching Olga’s striking profile accentuated by the orange hue of the fireplace, he thought, She’s such an attractive woman. Why didn’t I ask her out all these months?
He set the drinks on the coffee table, and sat next to Olga. She put her warm hands on Rahul’s face, and kissed him. All those years they had secretly desired each other. Now there was nothing to hold them back, like water gushing out of the floodgates of a dam.
In the morning Olga got out of bed and got dressed.
Rahul woke up. “Olga, where are you going?”
Olga said, “Rahul, this is a big mistake. This.... this... will spoil our friendship.”
Rahul was bewildered, got out of bed, and hugged her. “Olga, we didn’t do anything wrong. It happened in... in a spontaneous manner.”
She laid her head on his shoulder and cried. He patted her back and she mumbled. “I was lonely. I didn’t mean to....to...” Again she sobbed, her whole body convulsing and shuddering. He took her in his arms and carried her to the bed. “Olga, rest a while. I’ll get some coffee. Don’t move.”
He rummaged through the cabinets and found a packet of regular coffee beans, ground them and turned on the coffee pot. He made himself a cup of decaf tea. He went back upstairs and placed the tray on the side table.
Olga opened her eyes and smiled.
He sat in the chair facing the bed. “You know, Olga, I’ve been thinking. I’m not sure either of us would have slept with a complete stranger. Am I right?”
Olga sat up and took a sip and grimaced. “You must have used a ton of coffee powder. This is so strong.”
“Sorry. I’ll make a fresh pot.”
Olga got up. “Come, let’s go downstairs. I’ll make the coffee.”
They both settled on the deck. The weak autumn sun was trying to shine through the clouds. Olga looked at him. “You were saying that...”
“Well, my point is, we slept together not just because we are lonely, but because we are attracted to each other. Right?”
Olga nodded her head. “Yes, definitely. I guess we are trying overanalyze this thing.”
“Exactly my point. Life’s too short, Olga. We enjoyed being together. Let’s date for a few months, see where this’ll lead.”
She agreed. “I don’t mind giving it a try. Only problem is you have accepted this job in New Jersey, very far way.”
Rahul looked at his empty cup. “I’ll make me another cup. What about you? Some more coffee?”
He refilled her mug and started to make his tea. He measured a mug of water and poured it into a saucepan, added two teabags, and let it come to boil. Then he reduced the burner to warm, and turned the kitchen timer to five minutes. He poured a little milk into a mug and placed it in the microwave for exactly thirty seconds. After the timer went off, he mixed the tea and milk.
Olga said, “Gosh. So precise. I know you are pretty methodical in the lab, but even at home...”
He had a sheepish grin. “That’s all I’m, methodical. Not like you, you are so brainy.” He sighed and sat on his deck chair. “There’s a way we can meet frequently. I’ll ask for sabbatical leave for a year, join Westcore and fly back every month.”
“But how can you tell the people at Westcore that you’ll be there for only a year?”
“As far as Westcore’s concerned, I’m with them forever. Only the administration here has no knowledge of the arrangement.”
“That’s a smart idea. You’ll get paid at both places for the year.”
Some of his colleagues went to Europe for a year, leaving their families behind, but Rahul couldn’t bear the thought of living all by himself for a whole year without Maya; she couldn’t go away for a year, because her practice would suffer. How could he live for an entire year without her when he couldn’t even sleep by himself when she was on night duty? She told him, “Neither I nor you can sleep with my phone ringing all the time. I’ll sleep in the guest bedroom.”
He reluctantly agreed, but didn’t get a good night’s sleep when she was on call. It was more difficult when she was doing a Friday and Saturday call. She had to work for forty-eight hours without any sleep or rest.
She was tense when she was on call duty, didn’t eat properly, relied on plenty of coffee to stay alert. Eventually those calls took their toll: she frequently complained of belly pains and headaches and yelled and screamed at Rahul for the simplest things.
Due to lack of time, she couldn’t exercise and consequently gained weight. When they got married, she was by no means slim. She had dimples on her hips and thighs and a bit of a belly, but her breasts were perky. Now, a few years later, her breasts became bigger and pendulous, and her belly, thighs, and arms had become flabby. In spite of the weight gain, she remained desirable.
* * *
When his marriage to Maya became a sham, he regretted the shabby way he had treated Heather. She was a good woman, cooked tasty Southern food, and treated him with respect, definitely a lot better than Maya.
In the university cafeteria Rahul ran into Heather several times, and she always smiled at him. One day he took the initiative and introduced himself. She said, “I work at the registrar’s office. You a student?”
“No, I am a post-doctoral fellow in the chemistry department. I wonder... if you... you... date men?”
She laughed, “Lordy, lordy, do I look like someone who dates women?”
“No. no. I didn’t mean it like that...”
“Admit it, you put your foot in your mouth.”
She scribbled her home number on a piece of paper. “Call me.”
Rahul and Heather went out frequently, and after their outings, they ended up in Heather’s apartment. When he didn’t progress beyond kissing, Heather took the initiative. She went into her bedroom and came out wearing a sexy thong and a skimpy bra, and modeled for him, going up and down the living room.
He simply stared at her with his eyes wide open.
But when he didn’t make a move, she was puzzled. “What’s the problem?”
Rahul said, “No, no, no. You are great. You are great. But... I... I am... I am... don’t know... how...”
“Lordy, lordy, you a virgin? Oh, God, I thought y’all did it like rabbits in India, so many millions of people. I guess I’ll have to be your teacher, ha ha ha.”
He continued to see Heather for as long as he could possibly manage but reluctantly had to end the relationship. He asked himself why he preferred Maya’s companionship to that of Heather.
Both were American girls, one white and the other of Indian descent. Apart from her Indian heritage, Maya was as American as Heather. In many aspects they resembled each other, the way they talked and conducted themselves. But Maya’s higher education tipped the balance.
When he spoke to Heather about Maya, she was shocked. “You seeing another broad?” Her lower lip trembled, her nose became red and tears started to fall from her blue eyes.
“I am sorry. I was meaning to tell you... but... I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”
“I took you to see my Mama... and Daddy... I thought... you... and I...” Now she was sobbing loudly, and yelled at him, “Get outta my sight, you two-timing...”
Copyright © 2014 by Rudy Ravindra