Chapter Sixty Four - Vaidehi

There was no reason for her to be staying in the chawl. But here she was, living in a single room, amidst the kind of people she had disliked since childhood. 

Born into an upper-class family, she had spent her childhood being pampered by her father because she was the only child. She got what she wanted as soon as she asked for it; sometimes, even without asking. 

Driving to school in her air-conditioned BMW, she often looked out of the tinted window at the children begging or cleaning cars and felt sorry for them. That’s all she felt – sorry.

Once, when she had stepped out of her car at the school gate, a beggar - a girl of her age had approached her and begged for money. The girl had touched her and Vaidehi had cringed. Instead of going into the school she had climbed back into her car and returned home to take a shower.

It was not her fault, really. That was how she was raised. Her father was a proud man, too proud of his wealth, his status. Thousands of workers were employed in his factories and he felt as if he was the God of their lives. He was – kind of. He was their provider. 

It was a good thing that he had employed so many people even though he could easily replace them with new technologies – faster and cheaper option. The only problem was that he had let this go to his head and the same attitude transferred to his daughter.

Vaidehi was easily enrolled in one of the best colleges. She was a brilliant student but spent less time studying and more time socialising with her friends – those who shared her social status. She went to clubs and parties, she smoked and consumed alcohol, she danced as if no one was watching and lived a carefree life.

It was at one of these parties that fate played its ace card. The card, that changed the course of her life – leading her to the place where she was. 

It was at one such parties that she saw him. he was not one of her social group, he was the one serving them. He looked like one of the serving staff, but it turned out he was more than just that. He was made available for the host for whatever purpose she needed him for.

It was a party hosted by one of her college friends because it was her birthday and her rich parents had hired him to entertain their spoiled girl.
Only when the host unbuttoned his shirt and exposed his bare chest, did Vaidehi realize what he really was.

She could not stop staring at the muscles of his bare chest. He did not button his shirt, nor did he take it off. He let it be the way it was and continued serving drinks. 

The guys laughed at him and the girls stared. A few touched his chest and laughed, some slipped their numbers. The host followed him wherever he went. She was too drunk to understand or care what she was doing. She caught up with him when he stepped out for a smoke. Vaidehi followed them and watched standing near the door.

He was about to button his shirt when the host stopped him and then unbuckled his belt and unbuttoned his trousers. He stopped her before she could unzip the fly. 
She moved closer to kiss him, but he moved back.

Vaidehi wanted to step outside and control her friend but she did not. A part of her wanted to be there, doing all those things to him and a part of her felt sorry for him. 
The host slapped him when he moved back; Vaidehi watched, too shocked to react. The man buttoned his trousers and shirt and climbed over the waist-length wall of the balcony to step into the open space and disappeared into the night. 

That was the first time Vaidehi had seen him, but it was not the last. She made sure it was not the last. She did not come face to face with him, but she found out all about him – where he stayed, his financial status – which was not so good, his qualification – which was decent, he could be doing any decent desk job.

She wanted to employ him in one of her father’s factories but, for the first time she thought it was a bad idea asking something from her dad. 
For reasons she did not know, she wanted to keep him a secret from her father. The man who had become a part of her dreams had to stay away from her father’s eyes.

One day, he disappeared from his rented room. He fled from the city. Vaidehi managed to track him with the help of the private investigator she had hired to follow him.
She held the history of his life in her hand. The file the investigator had given her was proof of the dark past this man had. 

He had spent time in juvenile – arrested for drugs. He had made his own life, studied his way out of the dark life; unfortunately, it followed him like a shadow.
He fell back into the darkness because he needed money to pay for college. He became an entertainer. Not a gigolo, but an entertainer – he made himself available with limitations. 
As far as records showed he never had sexual intercourse with anyone. This made Vaidehi very happy.

He worked at parties, the kind her friend had thrown. He earned enough money by letting desperate girls touch him and kiss him.
Considering that he had done this in the past, he should have not been offended when Vaidehi’s friend had tried to kiss him, but he had been offended. Clearly, he was fed up of the life he led. He needed a break from it.
And, so – he fled. Away from his past, away from the people who knew him. He wanted a fresh start. The only problem was – Vaidehi could not let him go.

When Vaidehi learned that he had shifted to Mumbai, she followed him. she told her father that she needed a break from the routine. She told him that she wanted to go to Mumbai. Her father said yes, like he always did. He handed her the keys of one of his bungalows in Mumbai. She took the keys, but she knew she would not be staying in the bungalow.

Had she told her father what she was up to, he would have not approved. her obsession with this man was turning into something else.
When she learned that he had rented a room in a chawl, she knew what she had to do. She had to be his friend, it was time to come face to face with him.

So, she bought a room in the same chawl. 


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