THE BUS STOP
Malar checked the mirror for one last time before leaving her room, she adjusted her lipstick, took the keys from the key chain holder, stepped out of the room, pulled the doors, locked them, and started walking downstairs.
As she was stepping down, she realized she missed something. She rushed back to her room, opened it, went straight to the dresser and opened one of the cabinets, put her hand into it, and searched for the missed item.
She found it and took it out of the cabinet. It was a box of condoms. She opened the box and made sure there were condoms inside, closed it, kept them inside her bag, and left the room.
An old lady was sitting at the entrance of the building making food on the roadside. Seeing the lady, Malar hugged her.
“How is the business going?” She asked.
“Nothing new today. It is the same as usual. Another one hour, after that I will close the shop.” the old lady replied.
“OK. I will get food for both of us in the evening. Wait for me” Malar said and started to walk towards her bus stop.
The old lady looked at Malar walking away, and looked up to the sky, said: “God help this child” with both hands touching her heart and then raised it back to the sky.
Malar reached her stop, sat on one of the benches, took a small mirror from her handbag, and adjusted her makeup. The bus arrived at the stop. She hopped onto the bus and found a seat for herself.
She took her headphones from the bag and put them on her ears and started to play the music, and stared at the road.
The bus reached a signal and she started to look around at the signal. There were cars, two-wheelers, autos, lorries. Her eyes were fixated towards one red Maruti Swift. She was able to see just the hands that were on the steering of the car and nothing else. The signal turned green, the vehicles started moving.
She continued to listen to the music, and then she observed two students ogling at her. Malar smiled at them. One turned his face because of fear and the other one was excited. After the initial tremble, the student who turned his face away started to look at her.
The bus reached the stop where Malar had to get down. So, she stepped out of the bus, and the two students also got down with her. She looked at both of them. They came close to her.
“Do you guys want to sleep with me?” She asked. The boys nodded their heads saying yes.
“How much do you have?” She asked. They both quickly checked their wallets.
“600” one said.
“700,” the other said.
“5000 Rs each.” She said and paused to see the expression on their face. Both of them turned pale.
“If you have 5000, then let me know. Otherwise, go and focus on what you are actually meant to do.” Malar said.
Both of them stared at each other and looked back at her.
“Go and focus on your studies first. Sex you are going to do your entire life but now is not the time. Next time if I see you guys, I will make sure to hand over both of you to the police or your college principal. Get lost, both of you now.”
Both of them walked back with saddened faces.
She saw them walking back and then turned and started walking. As she was walking, she had a feeling that someone was staring at her. She stopped for a moment and looked around the road.
She saw vehicles, people moving all around and couldn’t notice anything suspicious. But within her heart, she was very sure that someone was watching her. So she looked around again. She looked at the bus stop where she got down, then the shops around, then the shops across the road, and the bus stop on the other side of the road.
She saw someone standing in the corner of the bus stop opposite her and looking at her. This is the first time she sees him. He was wearing light-colored pants and a sky blue shirt, neatly tucked in and a brown belt around his waist. He was smart and good looking and she couldn’t take her eyes off that man and be standing still.
Her cell phone started ringing. She took her eyes off the person and answered the call. She replied “Coming! Coming! I am almost there.” and then she started walking but still her eyes were on the man and the man’s eyes was on her as he was also looking at her intentionally.
Malar entered a lodge that was 10 blocks away from the bus stop. She took the elevator and went to the fifth floor. She looked for room number 512 and knocked on the door.
A man opened the door, he was in his mid-40s, wearing nothing on the top. She looked at him, smiled, and went inside. He locked the door and took off his pants fast. She smiled at him, took one condom from the box, and handed it over to him. Then she stripped her dress and they both had sex.
After a few hours, the man got up from his bed, cleaned himself, and put on his pants. He took the wallet, took 4000 Rs, and put it on the bed. She took the money and then put on her clothes and cosmetics again.
The man put on his dress, grabbed her with both his hands, kissed her, and then opened the door, looked at both sides of the corridor, and started to walk towards the elevator.
Malar did one final check on her in the mirror and came out and started to walk away. She stepped out of the lodge, crossed the road, and started walking towards the bus stop.
She was surprised to see that the same person whom she saw earlier that day before going to the lodge was still standing there and staring at her. She crossed him, his eyes were on her. She found it difficult to distract herself from seeing him. The bus arrived in a few minutes, she boarded it, the man in the sky blue shirt continued to look at her until the bus left his vicinity.
She got down at her stop, started to walk towards the restaurant nearby, and ordered food. While waiting for the food to come, she was thinking about the man in the sky blue shirt, wondering why he was there. At that time, she met Raghu.
Raghu is 30 years old and helps Malar in getting new customers. Earlier, Malar used to work for him but later started to work independently.
“Hello, Malar. How are you?” He asked.
“You see me every day, why do you even ask this to me?” She said and took cash from her wallet and gave it to him.
Raghu asked “only 400 Rupees?”.
“That is what I got today, it has been days since you got me a customer. I am finding my own and still paying you for that.” She replied.
“I am working on it Malar, I Will let you know soon. Don’t worry. The money you give will never be wasted.” He replied.
The food she ordered was ready. She picked it up and walked towards her room. She saw the old lady was sitting outside the building and waiting for her, she said “I got food. Come upstairs in another 20 minutes.”
The old lady smiled back at her and nodded her head saying yes.
Malar went to her room, took a shower, put on her clothes, and there was a knock on her door. It was the old lady. She opened the door and let the old lady come in. They took the food packets, opened them. Malar asked, “Do you want a drink?”.
“I can have a little.” the old lady replied.
Malar opened a bottle of beer and both of them had it along with the food and were watching a movie on the TV.
It was around 11 in the night when Malar received a phone call. It was Raghu. She answered the call “Malar, 15000 Rupees for a night.”
“Really?” She was surprised.
“Yes. You get ready fast. I will pick you up.” He said.
“I will be ready in 15 minutes.” She replied.
Raghu reached Malar’s place in a car. She was ready by that time, got into the car and they left the place. They reached a beach house which was a few miles away from her place. Raghu went inside, leaving her in the car. She waited for him to come back.
He came back and gave her 13000 Rupees. She kept the money inside her wallet and went inside the house.
A man, a little fair, who should be in his early fifties welcomed her inside and closed the door. She put her handbag down on one of the side tables and looked around the house. She saw one more person who was dark in complexion with no clothes on the top was sitting on the couch.
“I thought only one.” She said looking at both of them.
“Would you not take your clothes off if there were two?” said the man who locked the door and stripped her tops, rubbed his hand all over her, and pushed her towards the other person and he pulled her towards him, unbuttoned her pants and pulled it down.
The fair and the dark, both went hard on her. When one was having sex, the other was watching them, and sometimes it was both of them doing her. They beat her, bit her, made her dance naked, and literally squeezed her. Malar couldn’t close her eyes even for a minute until it was dawn.
In the morning, one among the two threw Malar’s wallet on her. She just started to sleep at that time.
“Idiot, leave the place fast. Sleeping as if it is your own house.” the man shouted at Malar and she was not able to get up from the bed. She somehow managed to get up, put on her clothes, and left the house.
She was hardly able to walk, took an autorickshaw, and went back to her place. Seeing her getting down from the vehicle, the old lady came out from the shop and helped her.
After a few hours, the old lady went to her room with some food. Malar was getting ready, she started to eat the food the old lady got.
“Two of them, both were barbaric yesterday. My whole body is in pain.” She said and continued to eat.
“Two?” asked the old lady, Malar nodded her head while she was eating. Once done, she washed her hands and checked herself in the mirror, and took the room keys.
“You are already tired. Can’t you get some rest?” asked the old lady.
“I am not getting 10000 or 15000 every day. Only once in a while. But where I am going now is my steady source of income. If I skip this, then I have to start begging for money, old lady” said Malar and hugged the old lady.
She took a couple of painkillers, and some water, came out of her room, locked it, and got down, went to the bus stop, boarded the bus, and got down at the same stop where she got down the day before.
As she walked toward the lodge, her eyes went to the bus stop on the other side of the road, she saw the same man wearing light-colored pants and a sky blue shirt, neatly tucked in and a brown belt around his waist and was looking at her standing near the pole.
Malar’s eyes were on him and his eyes were on her until she turned to get inside the lodge. After a few hours, she returned back to board the bus and saw the same man standing there.
The man in the sky blue shirt didn’t make an effort to talk to her but just kept staring and Malar was curious but scared to talk to him.
Days passed, yet this is the routine. Malar and the man in the sky blue shirt keep staring at each other with no interaction. Malar was so irritated now but she didn’t do anything about it.
One day, the regular customer who used to sleep with her in the lodge didn’t turn up. She waited for him, tried calling him, but there was no response.
She left the lodge and walked back to the stop to catch her bus back home. The man in the sky blue shirt was watching her while she was waiting for the bus. Today she had the time to talk to him, she went to him and asked “Do you want to...” even before Malar could finish the question, he took a 10K from his wallet and raised it towards her.