‘What’s your name again?' he said raising his right eyebrow.
‘This is the first time you asked’ she said with lowering her eyes.
‘Rohini Dev Burman’she said after a brief pause.
‘R D Burman eh?’he said puffing smoke rings.
‘Yes Rohini Dev Burman’.
‘Do you have the talent like him, can you sing like him?’ he said narrowing his eyes.
‘I am a woman’
‘So you re like Asha?’
No sir, I am Rohini’ she said looking up.
'Confidence sir’ she said lowering her head again.
‘You can wait outside’ he said gesturing towards the door.
‘Its been 6 months,she comes in every single day to meet me -she'd do anything to get a chance to sing - I bet ten bucks she will be better than Asha’ he said while stubbing his fifth cigarette.
‘Rajinder, don’t be silly, you’re just infatuated with her looks, not her voice’ said producer Ramnathan.
‘Anna,ten bucks,the most precious ten bucks in the history of this music industry – why don’t you take the bet?’ Rajinder said.
‘Raji, relax,how can you forget your history of losing bets?’
‘Ten bucks, and I will make this ordinary nobody, in to the next superstar of playback singing’ he said.
‘I am not taking any bets, its an open and shut case, she will sing a few songs here and there, and then she’ll be forgotten just like hundreds before. We will probably see her at some award functions or some jokers marriage ceremony standing in a corner desperately trying to get some attention with her failing body and ageless voice’ Ramanathan opined and stood up to leave.
‘Wait – ten bucks, the last time I dare you – don’t chicken out -my heart will weep’ Rajinder said.
Rajinder knew exactly how to entice Producer Ramanathan into a deal,this was not the first time.But this time he needed this to work more than ever.
‘Is she doing you ? Are you sleeping with her ? Is she pregnant or something?’ Ramanathan said.
There was silence and the two exchanged glances for the first time.
‘OK done – but we'll do it my way -ten bucks it is.Here is my ten bucks right on the soft-board.It stays there only till one month – I will collect this back on 30th April and you will lose your house, your job, your life and of course the ten bucks – deal?’
‘It’s a deal’ Rajinder said.
Producer Ramanathan smirked ‘Let the games begin.’
‘Rohini come in’ Rajinder gestured standing at the door.
‘You are going to be the next superstar of playback singing - I got you your deal - a chance to sing in Ramanathan's next movie' he said looking deeply into her eyes.
‘I know’ she said.
‘What is it that you, want?’ Rajinder asked.
‘I couldve said you heart, but its Money that I really want. Regular money and if you miss a payment, the photographs go to the press.’
The mood in the room had changed.
‘Ah so you are going to blackmail me?’he said.
‘Yes if I need to’ she said.
‘Let’s just say I don’t agree to your terms and conditions’ he said.
‘Why are you bent on getting screwed, no pun intended Rajinder’ she said.
‘Ah darling its not me, its you who is going to get screwed – I have those negatives with me.’Rajinder said with a hint of a crooked smile.
‘That’s impossible – you can never get to them – show it to me if you really have them?’she said.
‘You can go to the press with your negatives, that is if you can find them again’ he said winking.
‘You are lying you can never have those negatives, ever’
‘And why so my dear?’
‘Because they are…’
‘Yes…they are..What? Let me tell you my dear – those negatives were picked up from your now ransacked home, and right now they’re on their way here’Rajinder said looking at his watch.
‘What?’ Rohini exclaimed wide eyed.
‘Now you will do exactly what I say – take off your clothes.’
Rohini stood still for a while and then obeyed instructions. Rajinder didn’t take too long to get into the act and soon he was panting for breath. He expected her to resist a bit, but she did not. Instead,it seemed like she was enjoying. The momentum increased, he rode her well, she moaned and asked for more.
'Faster,faster,you bastard,do it to me,now faster...'Rohini screamed.
The heartbeats knew no bounds and at a point they choked.Rajinder died of a cardiac arrest in the middle of their torrid love making session.
Rohini sat up on the bed breathing heavy and said ‘Rama sir – you can come in now, the job is done – where’s my ten bucks?’
Gyanban Thoughts - a quirky love story after a long time.The double cross was the key point,and the setting deliberate.