Shaina looked at the wine stain on her expensive Kashmir floor rug. She needed to do something about it, she thought. The rich carpet was too precious to lose on a mere wine stain.
Her gaze then turned to the man who was lying motionless, next to the dining table. He looked so pathetic, she thought, smirking. The bloke deserved what he got. She had suffered enough at his hands. This was it – the buck stopped here.
Her mind raced through the events of the past five years. She reminisced about all that she went through in this last timeframe.
Shaina’s Version: Why She Marries Deviprasad
Shaina, born Susheela, belonged to a lower middle-class family. She had lost her father several years ago, to a massive heart attack. Ever since, her older brother Shashank, had taken care of the entire family, including herself, her mother and youngest sister.
Shashank had a small job as a night watchman and could barely make ends meet with his salary. Add to that, he had to bear the entire cost of their oldest sister’s wedding, last year. That ate up into their meagre savings.
In order to conduct their sister, Saraswati’s marriage, Shashank took a hefty loan from a rich merchant and moneylender, Deviprasad Deendayal. Deviprasad was an issueless widower, who was looking to get married again.
When Deviprasad saw that Shashank was in no position to return the money he had lent him, he offered to waive the amount in return for his younger sister’s hand in marriage. The latter was shocked at the offer. The Seth was already 50 years old and his sister, merely 21. He wondered how this was going to work. Requesting a few days’ time to think about it, he returned home and decided to speak to his mother on the issue.
Their mother was suffering from a prolonged illness and they could barely afford the treatment for the same. She readily agreed to Deendayal’s offer and advised her son to go ahead with the preparations for Susheela’s wedding.
Susheela was, at the time, working in a mall as a salesgirl. Coming back from work, she was stunned to know about the latest developments at home. Her initial reaction was to throw a fit and refuse the marriage proposal. However, she knew how hard her brother was working for the family.
Being ten years older than her, Shashank was more a father to her than a brother. So, she quietly agreed to the proposal and gave her nod for the marriage.
What her family did not know at that point of time was that, Susheela was deeply in love with their neighbour, Imtiyaz Khan. Both of them had been secretly seeing each other for a couple of years, but they dared not reveal their feelings for each other. Both their families were staunch traditionalists and would never ever agree to this cross-cultural, cross-religious relationship.
The wedding was a small affair, with the couple tying the knot at a temple, with a purohit to help conduct the ceremony. Deviprasad tied a mangalsutra around her neck, placed sindoor (vermilion) in the parting of her hair. They then exchanged garlands, got their marriage officially registered and then took a few photographs. Susheela was also given the name of Shaina.
While she resented that she had to marry someone so much older than her, Shaina felt even worse that she had lost her whole identity to this marriage. She moved from her tiny one-room-kitchen in a dilapidated chawl in the teeming Dahisar area of Mumbai City, to this sprawling bungalow in upmarket Madh Island.
Once in her marital home, she was trained to adapt to the new household and the newly enhanced lifestyle there. She was given personal grooming sessions and learnt how to manage the household, be the perfect hostess and so on. In the next few months, Shaina had completely transformed into this well-heeled, perfectly-groomed, high society woman.
Shaina Inducts Imtiyaz into the Household
Three years passed by quickly. Deviprasad, though not the most devoted husband ever, never gave her any reason, whatsoever, to complain. A workaholic, he was busy with his work, most of the time. He would often leave early in the mornings and return late at nights; sometimes, just for dinner.
There was nothing remarkable about their sex life either. He would approach Shaina occasionally and it seemed that, at such times, he was only doing so to relieve himself. This made her feel unwanted, unloved and, above all, totally unsatisfied, sexually.
Shaina started thinking more and more about Imtiyaz and the dynamite chemistry they shared, both in and out of the bedroom. She ached for his closeness and his passionate lovemaking. She wanted to hear him tell her how beautiful she was and what a goddess she was in bed.
At about that time, Deviprasad’s personal assistant and close confidant unexpectedly passed away in a tragic road accident. He had handled all his business and other affairs – Devi lost his right-hand man with his death. There were very few other people he could trust like his assistant. After mourning his loss for a few weeks, he eventually started interviewing others for the job.
Shaina jumped at this godsent opportunity and told her husband about her good friend, Imtiyaz, who she was sure, would be able to seamlessly take on all the tasks that his assistant left behind. Devi thought about it and agreed to meet him.
The moment Deviprasad set his eyes upon Imtiyaz, he seemed to like him. After a short interview, he hired him as his next personal assistant. Shaina was beyond thrilled at the way things had turned in her favour.
The Flame Reignites
With Imityaz moving into his quarters in the outhouse, Shaina and he were able to with each other whenever they wanted. Their love and passion reignited and was stronger than ever before. He would sneak in whenever Deviprasad was out and they would make passionate love all night long.
Soon, Devi really warmed up to Imtiyaz. He started trusting him with everything. Within the next few weeks, the latter was handling much of his business and financial affairs. He also began to accompany him on business meetings and trips out of town. Back home, he would back to his lover’s eager arms, as often as he could manage to do so.
Shaina Becomes Pregnant
Two more years flew by and it was to be their fifth wedding anniversary the next week. Shaina realized that she was pregnant. She was well aware that the child was Imtiyaz’s and not Deviprasad’s.
By now, she had gotten tired of the fake life that she was leading. Five years of it had proved to be too much for her. Moreover, she now wanted to get together forever with Imtiyaz and enjoy a good life with him.
She told Imtiyaz about her pregnancy and her plans for their future. The two decided that they would poison Deviprasad the night of the wedding anniversary. Once he was out of the way, Shaina would get all his money. They would then sell this huge mansion and move away to another city, to start a fresh new life with each other.
Shaina Plots to Kill Deviprasad
That evening, Shaina sent the servants and maids away for the evening and set up an exclusive, private candlelight dinner for her and her husband. She prepared all his favourite dishes and also got out his treasured Champagne, Dom Perignon.
Devi was pleasantly surprised by his wife’s loving welcome. They enjoyed an intimate dinner, with him sipping his favourite wine. At the right moment, Shaina told him about her pregnancy.
To her disappointment, Deviprasad did not seem too enthusiastic about the unborn child. He did not say anything against it either. They finished the rest of their meal in silence.
Shaina waited impatiently. It was time for the poison in his wine to start acting. Just a few more moments, and all her dreams would come true.
As expected, Devi suddenly turned pale towards the end of his meal. The glass of bubbly slipped from his hands and he fell from his chair, crumbling onto the floor. He seemed to have been choked, had a racking cough and took a few laboured breaths; after which, everything fell silent.
Shaina was jubilant. Her plan had succeeded beyond expectation. She rang up Imtiyaz and asked him to come over, as planned.
Suddenly, Shaina felt faint. Thinking it to be a bout of giddiness from the pregnancy, she sat herself on a nearby chair. Her head was spinning and she started to have a splitting headache. Her stomach too started to churn and she felt sick. She tried to get up, but could feel her vision blurring.
She wondered why Imtiyaz was taking so long to come over from the outhouse. He should have been here by now. Panicked, she tried to call him again. But the phone fell to the floor. Stunned by the weakness that had taken over her, she stumbled onto the ground and was soon writhing in unbearable pain.
She felt the life being dragged out of her by some unseen force. Try as she might, she just could not manage to sit up and steady herself. In the next few moments, she was fighting for her breath. Very soon, her heart gave up and stopped beating. Shaina was dead. The poison in her own glass of coke had worked to perfection.
Deviprasad’s Version: His Reason for the Betrayal
Deviprasad got up from the floor. He then called up Imtiyaz and told him to come over. Eagerly ushering him inside, he closed the door behind them and embraced his assistant.
Picking up Shaina’s lifeless body, the men carried her to the terrace, from where they threw her down. They then cleared up the dining area as well.
Deviprasad was gay and so, had no interest whatsoever in females. However, he could not express his sexuality in a community that would not understand or accept it. So, he was forced to marry a woman, so as to maintain his so-called “respectability” in society.
His first wife had passed on after fighting a prolonged illness. After that, he had kept to himself and had not considered remarriage, till he met Shashank and his family.
He married Shaina again for that same “prestige” factor. She was a good wife and a great hostess too – the latter worked well for his business as well.
He was crushed when he lost his assistant to the accident. They too had secretly maintained a relationship that went far beyond merely business. But later, Imtiyaz had come along and more than made up for his passing. The men got into a consensual relationship and spent several happy moments together.
Imtiyaz’s Version: Why He Cheated on Shaina
Imtiyaz was bi-sexual. He had always liked Shaina, especially when she was that simple, genuine and loving girl, Susheela. He had hoped that there would be some way that they could eventually get married to each other.
However, Susheela never once knew about Imtiyaz’s complicated sexual orientation. He had never revealed that side of his to her, fearing her reaction and eventual rejection of him.
Besides, he hoped that, once they got married to each other, he would be able to “set himself right” and would become completely devoted and loyal to her.
However, Susheela’s sudden decision to marry Deviprasad threw him off balance. He would never be able to forget that evening when she met him to tell her about her impending wedding.
On the eve of her marriage to Deviprasad, Susheela had messaged Imtiyaz to come meet her in their regular place – a beautifully landscaped park close to their home. She said that she had something important to tell him.
She was already there when Imtiyaz arrived at the spot. Seeing her made his heart skip a beat. She was looking like an ethereal angel in her flowing light lemon yellow kurta set. Add to it, the setting sun was casting its pink and orange hues on her, which was making her skin glow from its reflection. The wind was playing around with her long, brown hair.
All-in-all, she looked absolutely stunning – like a vision – a fairy from heaven! He went to her and put his arms lovingly around her.
He was surprised on not receiving a return hug from her. Normally, she would wrap her arms tightly around his shoulders and let out a gurgling laugh when he picked her up and swung her around!
But today was different. The love of his life looked sad and depressed; like the world’s troubles had descended on her sloping shoulders.
She abruptly pulled away and told him about all that had transpired in the past few days and then, finally, about her decision to marry Deviprasad the very next day.
Imtiyaz was grief-stricken. He could not understand what to do or how to react. His Susheela, the only person he truly cared about, in this entire world, was going away from him forever.
Slowly recovering from the blow, Imtiyaz told her that he understood; muttered his congratulations and good wishes and, without a backward glance, quickly left the place. In actuality, though, he was bitter, was seething with rage and swore to avenge this betrayal.
Devi Kills Imtiyaz
Unfortunately, Devi once happened to see Shaina in a compromising position with Imtiyaz. Digging up her past life, he came to know that they were old lovers as well. He set up secret cameras in her quarters and recorded her encounters with her lover.
He was also aware that he was not capable of having children, so he could not be the father of her child. Not able to forgive this level of lies and deceit, he decided to finish off both of them.
Devi now pulled out the bottle of the Champagne to celebrate their newfound freedom. Smiling gleefully, Imtiyaz accepted it and inched closer to him.
After finishing their drinks, they decided to take a short drive together in his car. Once inside, Devi pulled out a plastic cover, which he had hidden in the upholstery. In one quick movement, he put it around Imtiyaz’a head and tightened his grip. The latter struggled for quite a while, after which his body went limp.
Making sure that Imtiyaz had stopped breathing; Devi drove to the heavily wooded area on the Marve-Madh road. When there was no traffic on either side of the road, he opened the passenger side door, pulled out the dead body and shoved it down the thick foliage.
The area being less travelled, he knew it would be quite a while before the body was discovered. By that time, it would have decomposed and decayed beyond recognition.
The job done, Deviprasad calmly drove back home and went to bed. He called up the police early next morning, saying that he had just discovered his wife’s dead body lying on the ground.
When they arrived at the scene, he told them about the affair Shaina was having with his assistant, also showing them the video footage of the same. He then related how he had accosted her about her affair; which must have triggered her to commit suicide, he stated.
He claimed to have gone to the outhouse next, only to find it locked. He said he searched for Imtiyaz, but could not find him anywhere in or around the premises. He mentioned that he must have disappeared after having been caught cheating with his wife.
Bidding the police goodbye and promising to cooperate in any way he could, Deviprasad closed the door behind them. Then, smiling to himself, he proceeded to pour himself a glass of his most-loved Dom Perignon….
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