“What will it be tonight, my Aakah”, she asked me in chaste Arabic.
Turkey, for me was the colour of her skin, alleys marked like her slender fingers, the pulsating domes curved liked her body with promises never uttered beyond the spell of her eyes. Turkey lived in my mind with the name of Yasmine; Yasmine who brought to me delights untold.
“Have I ever known what to ask, my love?”
She smiled through the veil and soft harp strings were plucked. Yasmine’s is the world where singularity is an alien unless garbed as ecstasy.
“Would my Aakah prefer to sit down?”
With my will puppeted by her voice, I sank into the ostrich-feather couch. Like the reticent tear of happiness, she dropped with the rustle of silk to near my feet. She removed my shoes and placed them on hot lava stones while I shut my eyes. The walk of warmth up my body sang deep through the throb of my tired flesh. When I opened my eyes she was still at my feet but had produced a large shallow trough with special water (and how did she manage to not have a single ripple on it?). The candles swayed softly in the distant alcoves of her chamber, reflected by little mirrors appearing out of nowhere and rotating into a void. The floor danced to the long orange accompaniment of lamps housed in crevices in the wall and floor. One could walk on a flame and not be scorched while another step in a promising cooler corner might whisper an unexpected heat up your leg. Yasmine’s world was not meant to be guessed.
With her hand supporting my heels she moved the stones aside and let my feet sink into the trough of ice cold shock. I lurched forward a bit and she immediately held me back with a firm hand.
“Aah, my Aakah is impatient?”
I leaned back with a smile. Her hand was still on my torso and she slowly let it move up to my collar bone.
“A tired day doesn’t call for clothes, my lord”, she said and with one deft snap removed the first button of my tunic from its eye.
“Or were you merely playing to entice your love?”, and another.
“Could I ever forget the veins of my master?” Another
“Or are there new ones for me to play on the lute of my bosom?” Another was off and her palm rested flat on my navel.
“My ears do lust for new tunes, my Aakah.” Another fell off obedient to the masterful flick of her wrist. She leaned over with her light breath falling on my earlobe.
“My whole body awaits your song.”
I continued to feel that breath snake down my neck over my shoulder till I heard her voice from a distance.
“Would you prefer burgundy to black or red to emerald or …?”
The large candle she was facing glowed deeper with her smile and shook a wispy orange finger at me. She brought the silk scarf and extended it to me. I held it with both hands as she walked slowly to stand behind me.
“Black holds it all, my lord. All of it. The Gods created nights so that they could enjoy it all while we mortals groped around and fell asleep.”
“Your world is not of mortals, is it?”
“Nor of the Gods, because their delights are written down in books.”
She bent over, her long hair brushing my cheeks and the musk of her cleavage filling my being. While my body rose to meet that softness, the scarf was over my eyes and tied securely. Her feet whispered around me as she stood in front of me.
“What the eyes see is all the mind sees and hence, it is the Devil that leads man away from imagining, which is the seed of delight. Why do you need the Devil when you are with me, my lord!”
I smiled at her voice and she placed two finger on the scarf over the near corners of my eyes. Camphor? Whatever she had on her finger tips, seeped through the fabric and cooled my eyes and eased my entire being into a calm. While still holding the bridge of my nose her little finger traced the outline of my lips.
“How beautiful they are, my master! They spell lovely poems and tales and draw wet sagas along my breasts without uttering a word. One minute of sapping my breath with your verses and another of leaving me breathless.”
My tongue oozed out to meet her finger, but there was none. She gently held the tips of my earlobes and said, “What’s the hurry, when night such as these never end?”
She rustled to a distance and began playing her harp. I sat with a broad strip of nudity exposed to her with my hands lazily dangling on either side of the couch. As the tempo of her soft music increased, I felt something crawl up my shin.
“Don’t move, master. For your own good. It wouldn’t do well to be found dead in the house of Yasmine.”
I stiffened as I felt something long curl up and crawl up my thigh. Its sheer weight told me what it was and it was then that I realised that the room was warmer than usual. It lazily moved up my chest and with every contraction of its body my hair stood taller around my neck. It casually moved up to my shoulder and I think it lifted its head. I felt a wet hair flick my earlobe before a long motionless hour seemed to elapse till the next movement. The chant of the candle flames grew loud in my ear and the harp strings sounded like from a previous birth. The scarf separated a worried and perspiring head holding a spinning mind within, from a stiff face which was thoughtless and entirely watching the being on my right shoulder. It gave one last lick to my earlobe before slowly slithering away. The candles grew less loud and harp seemed more present.
“The scent of the Yarabahi flower draws snakes to them but the taste of them is not interesting. So it is with any woman other than Yasmine.”
She lifted my trembling hands and dipped them each in a jar of something which felt like soft wet flesh. I tried holding it between my fingers.
“Oh, you feel like pinching today?” and she laughed a tender cascading one.
Before I could say anything she rustled away.
“It wouldn’t be fair if you are the only one naked, my lord.”
I heard the soft sigh of clothes fall to the ground and felt every cell of my body alert and awaiting the next contact.
“Would you like to try this drink, my Aakah?”
She leaned over, resting her knee on the flesh of my thigh, and her breasts slowly grazing the hair on my chest.
“Na, na, na. No taking your hands out of the jars.”
I let them sink into the gel which seemed to slowly move around my fingers and cool and warm them alternately. She placed a wet finger on the corner of my mouth. I licked the fluid. The sting arrowed to the roof of my head and I jerked and tried to shake off the shock. She kissed me on my forehead and placed another wet finger on the other corner. I was reluctant to try it now but it was seeping into my mouth. It was fruity and cool. I licked it all and her finger. She licked and smacked her finger.
“Now open your mouth, my lord”
I did finding it difficult to hold back a smile. She slowly poured a liquid which tasted different from the ones I tasted earlier, but a little of each was there too.
“Now pinch with the thumb in middle finger of your left hand and then with the thumb and ring finger of your right. Alternating.”
I did as she told me, for who would not want to be led by the mistress of delight. As the liquid slowly fell into my mouth, each side of me gushed with a tingle as I released the pinching fingers. The liquid cooled in my mouth as it warmed down my throat. Yasmine slowly moved her hand and the liquid poured down my cheeks and chin, down the length of my body, pausing at my navel before moving further down. The throbs increased and I pinched vigorously. The marriage of the liquid, the warmth of the room, the gels in the jar, the nerves clenched with each pinch, my skin heating the wine as it rolled down and above all, Yasmine, yanked me from one high to another making me suddenly aware of each muscle and fibre of my being. The sweetness of the drink chimed in my tired chambers as I felt each drop of it sear my skin on its way down. As my breath grew shallower, I heard gentle flute notes waft around me. Yasmine was playing a tune which was vaguely familiar.
“Have you heard this before, my lord?”
“I… I think… I have.”
She continued playing the tune and I could smell wild orchids. I leaned back with my hands out of the jars and my feet out of the trough. The liquid was drying on my front. The gentle notes soothed my heaving torso. I wasn’t sure whether the smells of the flower were real or from the vague memories the tune evoked. She continued playing it while gentle faces rushed through my blackened mind; faces, mountains in the backdrop, tinkling laughter and children playing in the dirt, young women carrying pots of milk or river water, men working near large fires, soft yellow sunlight bouncing on every puddle and this tune from nowhere. People were busy selling their wares and having small market fights. Goats and chicken walked amidst them, occasionally startled at nothing in particular. Young boys grabbed their girls wrist and pulled them behind trees and resting carts. Elderly folks either shook their head or smiled in memory of days past. I was there watching all of this from above a huge haystack, writing in my notebook, when someone called out to me. I refused to acknowledge but the calls grew louder.
I know my bed without having to open my eyes. I smiled as the contours of my room drew themselves more clearly in my mind. She had managed to do it one more time.
“Come down, its already well into the morning.”
I pull myself on my elbows and undo my tunic. She has left just a little of her drink on my chest. I scrape it and lick my finger. I spit it out in disgust. I look at my inner thigh and see the mark of a pressed knee. How did she let herself be so careless this time? I pull out my journal to recount what I can, but Yasmine did say that these were not to be written in books. But what use is delight when it cannot be one’s trophy? What happens to a joy once it is put on one’s window sill beside the rose bush? I put my journal back. Yasmine!