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The Dressing Table (standard:Psychological fiction, 1667 words)
Author: Shamoil AhmadAdded: Jan 26 2010Views/Reads: 2672/1201Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The Dressing Table’ is an offbeat story - advocating strongly the ‘’reality’’ how the objects that we think , are lifeless – absorb human vibrations and energy so intensely that they can influence human life adversely as we

The Dressing Table 					Shamoil Ahmad 

Even prostitutes were not spared during the riots ... 

Brijmohan could only lay his hands on Naseem Jaan's dressing table. It
had a life-size mirror encased in an ivory frame. The mirror was cloudy 
and the hair oil, nail polish and lipstick stains on the frame gave it 
a rundown look. But when he reached home and his wife cleaned it with a 
wet rag, the mirror began to sparkle. Brijmohan's wife was delighted. 
Turning from side to side, she looked at herself from all angles. Her 
daughters too did the same. 

Brijmoan had installed the dressing table in his bedroom. Everyone
seemed to have fallen in love with it. At any given moment, some member 
of the family or the other was found in front of it. Brijmohan often 
wondered what secret lay behind the whore's dressing table that drew 
every beholder to it irresistibly. His daughters were glued to it, and 
his wife glazed at herself from different angels. Even he felt there 
was something attractive and appealing about his reflection in the 
full-length mirror. He wanted to go on looking at himself but it was 
difficult to stand face-to-face with it for long. 

Each time Naseem Jaan's image would appear before his eyes, crying and
cringing, "Bhaiya, don't take away the dressing table. It's a memento 
from my nani...." 

"Get lost, you whore!" Brijmohan would shake his head violently and move
away from the mirror. 

Gradually Brijmohan noticed a change in his daughters. They had stood in
the balcony in the past too, but not quite the same way. Now, even 
Chhoti, the youngest one, plastered her face with talcum powder and 
lipstick, and laughed at loud as she stood in the balcony. 

That day too, the three of them were out on the balcony amusing
themselves. Standing quietly on the road Brijmohan was watching their 
antics. Suddenly, Badi, the eldest one, stretched out her arms out 
provocatively, displaying the contours of her breasts. Manjhli, the 
middle one, bent over to look down and then started scratching her 
back. As if on cue, a young man standing near the paanwala smiled and 
looked up at the balcony. Chhoti nudged Manjhli and all three of them 
broke into laughter. Brijmohan's heart began to sink. His premonitions 
were coming true. 

He had experienced this fear the day he had robbed Naseem Jaan of her
dressing table. There was a veritable pandemonium when the rioters had 
entered the prostitute's kotha. Brijmoahn and his compankons barged 
into Naseem Jaan's quarters and grabbed what they could. As Brijmohan 
picked up the dressing table, Naseem Jaan began to scream and shout. 
When he did not heed her, she fell at his feet, "Bhaiya this is an 
heirloom. Please don't take it, let it be .... Bhaiyaji." 

"Get lost, you whore!" Brijmohan yelled, giving her a mighty shove with
his leg. As she fell, her sari rose up to her hips, but she quickly 
pulled it down and grabbed Brijmohan's legs. 

"Bhaiya, this is a momento from my nani ... bhaiya, leave it....!" 

Brijmohan pulled his leg free and kicked her hard. Naseem Jaan doubled
;up in pain. The buttons on her blouse burst open exposing her breasts. 
Brijmohan flashed hisknife. 

"Shall I chop them off!" 

Terrified, Naseem Jaan cowered in a corner. Brijmohan went down the
stairs carrying the dressing table, immensely pleased that he had 
robbed Naseem Jaan of an heirloom. It was obviously a prized 
possession. Her great-grandmother and mother would have dressed up 
before it to entice their clients. Naseem Jaan might buy a better 
dressing table but she could never get this one back, thought 
Brijmohan. Like the other rioters who had indulged in plundering and 
looting, he felt great satisfaction in the knowledge that they had 
succeeded in robbing a community of its heritage. 

Brijmohan noticed that each member of the family was changing subtly.

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