The Chess Master

The Chess Master

Published on: 2023-11-11 13:38:15

The personal impact of a recession can bring out the best or the worst in people. In my case, it was both. But on balance, whether it good or bad, I still haven't been able to figure it out. Only time will tell, I guess. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me start at the beginning. My name is Prerna and until a few months back, my husband Dhruv and I were living the vaunted Indian middle class dream. We were both working in mid-level positions in the same small but influential financial corporation. In fact we met as colleagues, became friends, then fell in love, and then got married. We had decided to postpone having children until I got promoted to a managerial position. So two decent incomes without any children translated into a pretty comfortable lifestyle. We had both grown up in families with financial troubles, so when we had a good income, we spared no expense at acquiring any luxuries. A sea-side 2 bedroom rented apartment in Juhu equipped with every luxury from a flat screen TV to a washing machine and even a drier. An expensive foreign-made sedan. Frequent foreign trips in Europe and East Asia. And of course, the services of a drive, a maid and a cook.

The problem is, we started living more like middle class Americans than middle class Indians. And by that, I mean, we racked up quite a debt. Our salaries were decent, but not lavish enough to pay for all these luxuries out of our pocket. So almost everything had been financed by loans, and most of our incomes went in paying the monthly installments, credit card bills, and the rent. The thought of saving for a rainy day did cross our minds occasionally, but Dhruv and I always said that we'd start saving once we get promoted to senior positions and our salaries grew really big. After all, the stock markets worldwide were booming, our bonuses every year were growing, our stock option value was multiplying, and our company was considered one of the rising stars in the financial sector. So we thought that as long as we were both young, we should enjoy our lives, and start saving later. The later, as it happened, was really bad.

In late 2008, the meltdown hit. Almost overnight, our company went belly up. Our shares in the company were not worth the paper they were printed on. And both Dhruv and I found ourselves unemployed. Even after that rude shock, we waded in our delusions for a few months. Surely, we would get a job elsewhere. Of course, we probably wouldn't have the convenience of working in the same office, having lunch together, and commuting together. But given that we had worked in such an awesome firm, we would find jobs soon. We sent our resumes to all the big banks and financial institutions, and continued charging our expenses to our credit cards.

Three months later, our credit cards were maxed out and neither of us had a job. We had been called for the occasional interview, but the niche nature of our previous jobs meant that there were few positions available in the top firms. And neither of us wanted to "taint" our resumes by working in a second tier firm. So we kept our fingers crossed and prayed to the lord.

The next month is when we really found our backs to the wall. We had only enough money left in our joint account to pay two months rent. We could not make any of our installments, from the car to the flat screen TV to the fancy three door fridge. It was impossible to pay the massive credit card bills. And of course, we had no money left to pay the driver, maid or the cook. That is when we were forced to take a realistic look at our situation. That is when we truly understood the meaning of the proverb "beggars can't be choosers".

There was however, a small sliver of hope. One of Dhruv's old bosses, who had also lost his job, had been hired in a mid-level privately-owned bank that had been largely unaffected by the meltdown. There was a position on his team, and he called up Dhruv to ask if he was interested. Normally, Dhruv would have laughed at the idea of working in what we called the "lalaji" firms. The salary was barely half of what he made at our old firm. And the company was in Powai, so the commute from Juhu would be horribly long. But like I said, beggars can't be choosers. So Dhruv took the job.

In one week, we were living "downgraded" lifestyles. With a heavy heart, we returned the car, the flat screen TV and all the other fancy gadgets that demanded monthly installments. We told our servants that their services were no longer needed. At this point, if we had no debt, we could have still lived reasonably well. But the credit card bills were massive, we had to live well within the lifestyle Dhruv's new salary could have afforded us. So the unkindest cut of them all - we had to leave our darling apartment in the posh seaside Juhu building, and rent a one bedroom apartment in an old building in Kanjurmarg.

Although Dhruv asked his boss to look for a job for me in the company, his boss said that simply was not possible. My experience was in a different sub-sector and there was no way I could be hired by them. So I was still unemployed, still sending out resumes, and waiting for the occasional interview call. But fortunately or unfortunately, thanks to our new low-brow lifestyle, that did not mean I was sitting at home with nothing to do. I had been forced into the life I had always dreaded - the busy housewife. We could just about afford a maid for washing the clothes and the dishes, but I had to clean the house and cook. Even though it was a small house and it was just the two of us, a decade-long break from any kind of housework meant that it all took up most of my day.

Things got worse in other ways too. Experiencing financial troubles for the first time, we started bickering about every little thing. Fights between us, once a rare twice-a-year phenomenon, now became an almost daily thing. We fought mainly about how to spend or not spend the little money we had. But also about other things. Working in the same company meant that even if we worked long days and nights, we were close to each other. But now, when Dhruv had to work late hours, and I had to sit at home waiting for him to return, it started annoying me. Dhruv started getting annoyed by how "housewifely" I was acting. It was the nadir of our previously rosy relationship.

That Wednesday, it felt even worse. Dhruv and I had a long three-part argument before he left for work. First, he got upset at me for spending too much money on food, by buying imported chess, expensive baked goods, and such. Then I got upset at him when he told me he would be working the whole weekend. And then we both got upset, blaming each other for the situation we were in, blaming each other for not wanting to save any money when times were good. Dhruv stormed off to work without touching his breakfast, and I sat there, ready to burst into tears.

Once I got over the fight, I realized that it was now almost 10 and the maid had still not come. She usually came to our house at 8, so she was two hours late. I prayed that she was not taking the day off. I really was not in the mood to wash clothes and do the dishes by myself. Another hour passed and still no sign of the maid. That got me worried. I decided to ask around. From what Ratna told me, she worked in only one other apartment in our building. Some old man in 43A on the fourth floor. So I trekked up to the fourth floor to check if Ratna was there.

The door on 43A looked different than all the others in our building. First, it was spotlessly clean, unlike other old dust-ridden doors in the building, including ours. Second, instead of a doorbell, it had an ornate brass knocker on it. And third, instead of the small cheap plastic nameplates on the other doors, this one had a big copper plate, and etched in it was the name "Lt. Col. H.D. Mehra, Retd."

I grabbed the knocker and hammered it a couple of times, and immediately a booming voice shouted, "COME IN!!" Surprised, I pushed the door slightly and it swung back a little. "COME IN I SAY!!" the voice boomed again, and I pushed the door open and walked in. Inside, I saw two old men sitting in armchairs, facing each other, looking downwards. As I took a few more steps, I saw that they were staring at a chess board laid out on the coffee table between them. The men paid no attention to me as I walked up to them.

"Excuse me, I stay in..." I said, but one of the men, bald with a thick handlebar mustache and a pipe in his mouth, held up his outstretched palm as if telling me to stop, so I stopped mid-sentence. He kept his hand up, so I stood there silently, shifting on my feet for a few seconds, and then finally started looking at the chess board too. It was clearly an expensive "designer" chess set, not a tawdry plastic one you see in stores. The board was made of wood, probably mahogany, and had hand crafted patterns along the edges. The big pieces looked like they were made of ivory. Next to the board was an ancient-looking chess timer. Under the timer were two crisp 100 rupee notes. I admired the ornate board and pieces for a few seconds and then started examining the game itself. The mustache-pipe guy, almost certainly Col. Mehra, was playing with black, and seemed to have gobbled up most of white pieces, played by his opponent, also an old man with a heavy white beard and neatly combed white hair.

"Just one more second." the colonel said, picked up a rook, took it to the last row, placed it there and hit the clock. He then looked at me and asked, "Yes, young lady, how may I help you?"

Instead of answering his question, I kept my gaze on the chess board and instinctively drew my breath inside audibly. The colonel and his friend heard me and started looking at the board with puzzlement. Meanwhile, my brain registered his question, and I replied,

"I stay in 32B, and my maid Ratna hasn't come to work yet. I was wondering if she came to work here today.              


"Ratna...Ratna..." the colonel said absentmindedly examining the board, "Yes, that stupid cow. Hasn't come yet. Goes AWOL like this regularly."

"Okay. Thank you." I said, turning to leave, but with my gaze still on the board. The colonel noticed this and said,

"Why did you react like that when I moved the rook?"

I looked at him and then at his opponent who also looked back at me, confused.

"Well?" the colonel asked.

"I don't know if I should say it. You are obviously playing for money and I don't want to butt in." I answered.

"No, please, go ahead." the colonel said.

"Okay, if you say so." I said and stepped towards the board. I picked up white knight that was languishing in a corner surrounded by pawns and killed a pawn with it. "You did not protect against this move. If white plays this, your queen is doomed."

"What?" the colonel said. "No, I can still move her to.....ohhhh....if I do that.... yes, I see your point."

"Thank you!" the other man said to me with a broad smile, hit the clock and said, "Your move, sir."

"Lucky break for you, Major!" the colonel said and moved his bishop to threaten the knight for damage control. But his queen was toast, and the Major gobbled it up straight away. The loss of the queen also opened up the colonel's king to attack, and the major did not need me to point that out. From then on, they made their moves rapidly, and I watched as, within a few minutes, the colonel had no choice but to knock over his own king in submission.

"I will take that, sir, thank you very much." the major took the money from under the timer, and then extending a 100 rupee note towards me said, "This is rightfully yours."

Surprised at this offering, I said, "No, no, it's okay. It was your game."

"Nonsense. you've earned it." the major said and pressed the hundred in my hand. I looked at the note in my hand, realizing that for the first time in months, I had actually earned some money.

"So you're good at chess, then? Ever played competitively? Been formally trained?" the colonel asked, as he started rearranging the pieces for a new game.

"No, not really. I just played it with my father, for fun. Never got any formal training." I lied. I don't know what made me lie. Maybe false modesty. But in a previous life, I had played chess competitively. Yes, I started off playing with my father for fun, when I was in middle school. But then, I got good enough at it for him to send me to a chess coach. And I was quite good at under-15 and under-17 levels. After finishing high school, I actually had the option of making a career in chess, trying for a WM norm. But like I said before, my family was not financially flush, so instead I took the well-trodden and safe path of academics, degree, and so on. But in our living room cabinet and on the walls, I still proudly displayed my chess trophies and a picture of Vishwanathan Anand handing one of them to me.

"Really? The way you spotted that move, you sure you're not some Judith Polgar in disguise?" the colonel said and let out a booming laughter at his own feeble joke. The major joined in with his own moderately booming laughter. I smiled.

"No, in fact I haven't played chess in years. In fact gosh, it's been many years since I even saw a chess board." This was not a lie. After going to college, I lost track of my chess buddies. In college, none of my friends were really into chess. Occasionally if I did find someone interested in chess, they were not very good. I would beat them with ease and then they would stop playing me, saying I was too good. The same thing happened with Dhruv too. He was moderately good at chess, but no match for me. In the initial days of our courtship, he would play with me, mainly, I suspected, to make me happy enough to let him do stuff to me. Once we were committed to each other, or in other words, slept together, he refused to play chess with me, saying I was too good at it. It had really been almost 5 years since I even saw a chess board.

"Is that so? Then come on, let's play a game. If you're not busy that is." the colonel said.

"Well, if Ratna is not coming, I will have to do all the work myself....." I said tentatively.

"Oh come now!" the colonel said emphatically, taking the pipe out of his mouth and reaching for his tobacco bag. "Just one game. We play with a 15 minute time limit. What do you say?"

"Do stay for one game." the major politely added with a smile.

"Oh what the heck. Sure." I said. The major got up and moved to the couch next to the table. I sat down in the armchair. The colonel finished filling his pipe and then started winding up the timer. It was one of those old analog timers with the flipping numbers. It looked older than me, to be honest.

"Your choice, my lady. Blacks or whites?" the colonel asked.

"Whites are fine." I said. Actually, I was always stronger playing blacks. But I didn't want to show off.

"And dear me! Where are my manners?" he stretched his hand in my direction and said, "Introductions! I am Colonel Harchand Dayal Mehra, formerly of the Maratha Light Infantry. This is Major Shakeel Raslan who used to serve under me. Also retired."

I gave him my hand and he pressed it gently but firmly.

"I am Prerna Soni-Mahajan." I said, and also shook hands with Major Raslan who got up from the couch to greet me.

"Soni-Mahajan? Hyphenated name! One of those empowered modern women, I see. Does not give up her maiden name. And teaches army men how to play chess." the colonel said, stayed silent for a second and then again, that booming laughter. The major and I joined in. Yes, I was very possessive of my maiden name. Even the nameplate on our door said 'Dhruv Mahajan, Prerna Soni-Mahajan'.

"So Mrs. that what I should call you?" he continued.

"Prerna is fine." I said.

"So Prerna, care to make it interesting?" he asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you just got that hundred from the major. Put that up in the stakes. You win, you get my hundred. I win, I get yours." he said.

"What do you think, major?" I asked. "It is your money after all."

"Well Prerna, I always find that a game without anything at stake is a boring one." he smiled and said.

"Okay colonel. You're on." I said and put the hundred next to the timer.

"Your move, then." he said, and I moved my king's pawn two squares ahead.

Over the years, whenever I have played chess with amateurs, I assess their abilities using what I call the "4-move-checkmate test". The 4 move checkmate is the most hackneyed tactic that newbies use. They move the king's pawn ahead, then the king's bishop three squares, then the queen two squares, and then try to checkmate you with the queen. The more evolved amateurs can neutralize the threat easily. The experts can actually neutralize the threat by being on the defensive in a tantalizing way that makes the opponent keep pushing for that win, and then corner their queen.

The colonel started with the 4-move maneuver. Amused at his newbie-ness, I drew him in, and within minutes had cornered the queen.

"Holy hell!" the colonel exclaimed. "You've got my queen again!"

With a smile, I moved the big ivory queen off the board. And then I mounted my offensive. Nothing too sophisticated. Just advanced my troops deep into his territory. The major was chuckling at the worried look on the colonel's face. That got the colonel even more riled up.

"What's so funny, major??" he said hotly.

"Sir, nothing, sir." the major said and suppressed his chuckle.

He had lost any chance he had just eight moves into the game. But he gamely fought on, as I took both his bishops, both his knights, and one rook in addition to the queen. Actually, I could have ended the game long ago. But I was enjoying playing chess after so many years. And I loved how the pretty ivory chess pieces felt against my fingers. So I strung him along. Also, I made the moves almost instantly, while he labored over his. After a while, I had used up barely two minutes of my time and he had used up 13 minutes of his.

"Prerna." the major said.

"Yes, major?" I asked.

"Just end his misery. This is like torturing ants using a magnifying glass."

I laughed at the analogy but the colonel, clearly not amused, scowled. He glared at the major for a few seconds and then went back to thinking his next move. After he moved his rook in a futile attempt to threaten my king, I decided to have mercy, and went in for the kill. Two more moves, and it was checkmate.

"Nice game, colonel." I said, with a smile.

"One more!" He boomed, chewing on his pipe in annoyance. "One more game. Double or nothing!"

"Colonel, I really have a lot of work to get to. The clothes and the dishes." I said.

"Oh stop being so damn effete!" he exclaimed.

"I am a woman!" I responded with a chuckle, and the major burst out laughing.

"Oh you know what I mean. Have some balls. No, I mean...." he said, searching for a gender-neutral metaphor for being brave.

"Alright colonel. One more game. Double or nothing." I said. Actually I had been hoping for another game. I just didn't want to sound too eager. There were two reasons I wanted another game, if not many more. One, playing chess was very relaxing for me, and it was melting away all the worries I had about my comatose career and the financial troubles with my husband. And secondly, without taking any significant effort, I had won 200 rupees. Given how cash-strapped we were, that was a welcome addition. And the colonel was clearly no match for me in terms of chess abilities. If a fool was so eager to be parted from his money, why shouldn't I be the one to take advantage?

And we played on. The second game, the colonel decided to try the 4-move-checkmate again. He seemed convinced that my capturing his queen that early had been a lucky break. This time, he made sure I could not play the same trick on him.              

But I had other tricks up my sleeve. It took three more moves than the last game to take his queen. This time I played mercilessly fast, and it was checkmate soon. The beaten colonel refused to stay down. He made a demand for another double or nothing game. And after losing that, another.

At the end of the fourth game, the colonel sat there looking as surly as a cat forced into water. I expected him to say "double or nothing" again, but he did not.

"Well, colonel?" I asked. "Should I rearrange the pieces for another game?"

The colonel took a deep puff from his pipe and shook his head. He got up, went to the mantle, picked up his wallet and took out three 500-rupee notes. He approached me silently and offered them to me. I took it and got up. The major and I were clearly amused at the proceedings, but the colonel seemed like a sore loser who was not used to being beaten. And I suspect my being a woman, that too a much younger woman than him, hurt his male ego.

"Can I offer you something to drink, Prerna? Tea, coffee, juice.." he said with what was clearly courtesy shown with a lot of effort.

"Thank you, colonel, but I really must get going." I said, and got up. The major, in line with the army's chivalrous norms, got up to bid me goodbye. The colonel forced a smile and shook hands with me as he wished me goodbye.

I almost hopped and skipped my way down the stairs with delight. Four games of chess had made me feel more alive and pumped than I had felt in ages. I had a broad smile on my face for a change as I went home. I kept the colonel's 1600 rupees in my purse, and started thinking about what I should buy with it. I decided to buy something nice for Dhruv. And also to apologize for how surly I had been all day. But first I needed to wash clothes.

I was surprised at how much more exhausting hand-washing clothes was than I remembered it to be. In our Juhu apartment, we had a maid, as well as a washing machine and a dryer. Which meant all the maid had to was use the washing machine and the dryer. And here, I was forced to wash the clothes myself, on my haunches in the bathroom, using the rough soap bar. And then hang them out to dry in our tiny balcony. By the end of it all, I was so exhausted that I had to take a nap. I plonked myself on the couch and within minutes, I was asleep.

I woke up to the sound of the door bell's incessant ringing. I looked at the clock and it said almost 6. I had slept through the whole afternoon! I rushed to the door and opened it to see an annoyed Dhruv standing there.

"What the fuck, Prerna???" he said testily, "I have been ringing the bell for almost ten minutes now."

He stormed in past me and threw his bag on the couch.

"You complain that I work late. And when I get home on time, you take so long to open the door?" he said as he started taking his shoes off.

"I am sorry Dhruv. I guess I dozed off." I said.

Dhruv took his shoes and socks off and pushed them in a corner. He then walked into the kitchen. I followed him to tell him about how I had won the money playing chess today.

"Dhruv, listen, today..."

"You haven't cooked anything?" Dhruv said as he surveyed the kitchen counter.

"No, but listen..."

"And these dishes in the sink...they're stinking!" he said.

"Yes, the maid did not come today. But listen..."

"So the maid did not come. So what? It's not like you have anything to do all day. Why couldn't you do them?" Dhruv said, raising his voice.

Until then, I had been ignoring his comments and his behavior because the chess warmth was still keeping me happy. But his last comment made me snap.

"Why couldn't I do them? Why couldn't I do them?" I shouted, fighting back tears. "Fuck you, Dhruv! I am not your kaamwali bai. I am your wife. Why do you have to be so disrespectful?"

"Oh don't give me that disrespectful crap!" Dhruv yelled and stormed out of the kitchen. I followed him.

"Why am I supposed to do the grunt work. While act like a spoilt mama's boy. Flinging your bag on the couch, and your shoes and socks in the corner. Why don't you put them in their place like an adult?"

"Don't bring my mother into it!" he yelled.

"How the fuck is that bringing your mother into it????" I yelled back.

And that's how it went. We yelled at each other for a while, and then I ran into the bedroom to cry and slammed the door shut. Dhruv went into the kitchen and started making instant noodles for himself. For the rest of the night, neither of us said a word to the other person. We both kept waiting for the other person to apologize, but the apologies never came. At night, we slept on two edges of our bed, backs turned towards each other, like we often did these days.

Our cold war continued the next morning. We spoke to each other only when absolutely needed. Dhruv ate his breakfast buried in the newspaper, and ignored me, while I watched TV. He left without giving me the usual goodbye kiss, and I didn't remind him about it.

The one bright spot of the morning was, Ratna had turned up. She apologized for "going AWOL" as the colonel called it. She gave some wishy washy excuse about her son being sick, and it was obvious to me that she was lying. But I didn't press her on it. She was here, doing the dishes from the previous day, and that's all that mattered.

After Ratna left, when I was cleaning the living room, I noticed my chess trophies. And I was reminded of how much fun I had the previous day playing chess with the colonel. I wondered if I should go up to his apartment and ask him he wanted to play. But he had seemed so devastated at losing to me, I decided not to push it. Instead I started thinking about the money I had won. After Dhruv's behavior, there was no chance in hell I'd buy a present for him. I was going to stash it away and spend it on myself. There was this pretty summer dress I had fallen in love with at a designer boutique in Bandra. It cost 3000 rupees. In my previous life, I would not have hesitated for a second before buying it. But given our current situation, it was out of the question. I decided to put the 1600 towards my "dress fund". Once I saved up the remaining 1400 somehow, I would buy it.

A week passed by, and things between Dhruv and me veered along. We got over that big fight, but had several small ones occasionally. He started coming home from work later and later, and I started wondering if he really had that much work, or if he was just using it as an excuse to stay away from me. Things were especially cold in the bedroom. It had now been over a month since we had sex. Some times when I was in the mood, we would be too tired from working late hours. Occasionally when he did come home early and make the first move, I was tired from all the housework. The timing was always bad, and we had our longest dry spell ever. Life seemed like a murky stagnant pond and I was just going bobbing in it like deadwood.

Then one day, a small glimmer of pleasure. I had just finished cleaning the house and was about to start cooking, when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and found the smiling Major Raslan standing there.

"Hello Prerna. How are you today?" he said pleasantly.

"I am good, Major. How are you? How is the colonel?" I asked.

"The colonel is in the mood for some payback, to be honest. He has been practicing with me for the last week. And he wants to know if you'd give him a chance to win his money back. He's sent me to invite you for another double or nothing game of chess."

"Hmmm." I pretended to consider the invitation, but of course, I was ready to jump at it. Another chance to play some chess? Of course! And a chance to beat the doddering old colonel and turn the 1600 into 3200? Of course! But I played it cool. "Let me think about it."

"If you decide to join us, you know where to come." the major said, and started walking up the stairs.

Call it gamesmanship if you will, but I decided to get the colonel restless by making him wait. I skimmed through the paper and watched TV until an hour had passed when I took the money from my purse and finally made my way up the stairs and knocked on his door.

"COME IN!!" the booming voice said, and I walked in.

The colonel was sitting in his armchair in front of the chessboard. The major was on the couch.

"Glad you decided to come, Prerna." the colonel said jovially, "I admire your fortitude. let me warn you though. I am going to win my money back. Do you have it with you?"

I took the money out of my pocket and showed it to him, with a smile.

"Good. Then, let us begin. But before that, I wonder if you're alright if we extend the time limit to 30 minutes." he said.

"Sure, no problem, colonel." I said, while thinking to myself, take 300 minutes if you want, you old fool, I'm still going to wipe the board with you.

And we started. We had a toss this time and the colonel chose whites which suited me well. I noticed that the colonel had given up on the 4-move-checkmate. Instead, he started with a more evolved textbook opening - Ruy Lopez. The good old Spanish torture. It did seem like he had done his homework, and was actually thinking a few moves ahead this time. He also seemed to know the standard defensive as well as counter-attacking strategies that black can adopt and thwarted them when I tried. But ten moves or so later, I still had control over my pawn structure and he still had not gotten the upper hand that white playing Ruy Lopez would normally aim for. To his credit though, he was making me think a lot more than the last time. And although he had still used up way more time than me, I was noticeably slower than the previous week.

Anyway, I had been setting up for the Schliemann defense. And once I fortified my positions, I went on attack on the king's side. After that, the colonel was clearly punching above his weight. He had clearly run out the moves and counter-moves he had memorized and now was back to playing on instinct.              

Thinking just one or two moves ahead. Needless to say, it all ended soon after. I relieved him of his knight, and then his bishop. And then finishing him off was just a formality which I did not dwell over. This time, the colonel did not actually wait for a checkmate like amateurs do, and resigned 3 moves in advance.

"Well played, colonel. I mean it." I said, trying to be charitable, mindful of how surly he had been after the last time I beat him. But he seemed to be taking it well.

"You're really good, young lady. You should take part in competitions and all. Maybe get formal coaching." he said. I felt a pang of guilt. He was still taking me at my word. That I played chess only for fun and had never been formally coached. It was clear what was happening. I had been hustling this old man. And taking his money from his well-earned armyman's pension. I should not be this selfish. I decided to come clean and return his money. I opened my mouth to confess when he said something so offensive that I changed my mind,

"I mean, you're really good for a woman." he said, barely suppressing a smirk.

"For a woman???" I asked, eyebrows raised.

"Yes, I mean, sure you beat me. But I am an old man. My grey cells are not what they used to be. But you can't keep beating me. I mean honestly major, do you think a woman can keep beating me at chess for long?" he looked at the major.

"Sir?" The major looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He clearly did not want to agree with something that sexist, but he did not want to openly disagree with a superior officer, albeit retired.

"You heard me, major." the colonel boomed.

"I don't know, Sir. I mean, she is good." he trailed off when the colonel looked at him sharply.

"Okay, so let's have another double-or-nothing rematch." the colonel said, slamming his fist on his thigh.

"Right now? Sure!" I couldn't wait to take more money off this misogynist old bastard.

"Not now." the colonel looked taken aback at my eagerness. "I need to practice some more. One week from today. And in the morning. I always think better in the mornings than afternoons. So a rematch at 0800 hours next Thursday."

"I can't make it that early. I have to make breakfast for my husband, and wait for Ratna to finish her work and...." I protested.

"Okay, so what time works for you?" he interrupted me impatiently.

"Maybe 930-10. Whenever Ratna is done, I'll come over." I said.

"Excellent! It is decided then." the colonel took his wallet and took out 1600 rupees and handed them to me. "This is just for safekeeping Prerna. Don't spend it. Remember, I am definitely going to win next time. So you'll have to return this money to me."

"We'll see." I said, trying not to gloat or sound cocky.              

When I left the colonel's house, I was elated. I now had 3200 rupees. I could finally buy my beloved summer dress. I decided to go to Bandra right away, in case someone else bought the dress before me. As I got ready to go to Bandra, I paused awhile. There was going to be a rematch. And what if I lost? Maybe I should wait till the next week, I thought. But then horned and tailed little me on my shoulder reminded me that the boutique might sell the dress. So I could not delay buying it by even a minute.

Two hours later, I was back home, wearing my new dress and admiring myself in the mirror. The dress really suited my body well. And I thought it to be poetic justice that my chess earnings bought me the dress. Here's why. Growing up, I always was a bit of an ugly duckling. I was always tall for my age, but was very late filling out. My height also meant that I was very awkward, and everyone teased me about looking like a boy. To make matters worse, my mother always made me cut my hair short, to save money on frequent trips to the hair salon. And I got glasses at an early age, and given how clumsy I was, my parents got me thick plastic rims that I would not accidentally smash.

By the time I was 15, while other girls in my school started blossoming, filling out, and getting attention from boys, I was 5 ft 9, with short hair, thick glasses and an almost flat chest. My nickname was "giraffe", and no boys ever passed me any notes in class. I found solace in chess. The other girls were better at me in everything else, but no one could beat me in chess. I started taking chess really seriously, started practising for hours, and became the proverbial "chess nerd". My nerdiness and chess love fed into each other spirally. I was picked on by girls and ignored by guys even more at school. To the extent that I stopped even trying to look good. I was happy with my loose shirts and loose-fit jeans or salwar kameez.

College is when my metamorphosis started. I had started filling out late and filled out substantially by the time I was 18. Not many guys in my school realized it, but under my loose shirts and kameezes, were now hidden 38C knockers. And the rest of my body had also shaped up pretty well, I thought. Before college started, I finally pestered my parents into buying me contact lens. I put my foot down and refused to have my hair cut short. And I saved up my allowance to buy well fitting but cheap stylish clothes from the street side Linking Road.

And sure enough, in college, I turned many heads. I am not supermodel material by any stretch of the imagination, but I do look good enough to take a second and even a third look. My tops and dresses now accentuated my big boobs. The jeans, capris or dresses I wore fit well enough to highlight what a great ass I had. And my height, far from acting as an inhibitor, now actually started helping my looks. When the students council wanted to put on a fashion show to raise funds, they asked me to take part. I started getting hit on by all sorts of guys. The ugly duckling was no more. Coincidentally, chess was also no more. So in my head, I always thought of my chess-phase as my ugly phase, and my post-chess phase as my pretty phase. And now, I could have it both.

After preening in front of the mirror for a couple of hours, I changed into my usual jeans and started preparing for dinner. I was on top of the world today. A relatively hard chess win, followed by buying an expensive dress. What more could a girl want? Even Dhruv's bickering couldn't bring me down today.

The week rolled by slowly, and things between Dhruv and me actually seemed to be improving. We didn't fight too much, and he actually started keeping his stuff in the right place. He still worked late, but was at least not surly when he got home. The ceasefire might also have had to do with the fact that I was in a much better mood. I put on the dress everyday for a little while when I was home, and started making plans for spending the next 3200 rupees. Shoes, I told myself. Definitely shoes.

On Monday, an odd thing happened. I was sitting in the living room reading the paper when Ratna got done with her work. She walked to the door, put on her chappals, and then just stood for a while. I noticed her standing there and saw that she seemed nervous fidgeting with her sari in her fingers and looking down.

"What's the matter, Ratna?" I asked in hindi.

"Memsaab....." she started and trailed off.

"Yes, what is it?" I asked.

"Memsaab...I don't know how to say it...." she seemed uncomfortable.

"What is it? Do you need an advance on your pay or something?" I said, unable to think of anything else that she might want.

" is just that...colonel saab..."

"Colonel saab?" I asked, puzzled.

"Memsaab, just stay away from him." she said, and started opening the door to leave.

"What!??" I said, surprised. "Wait!" I said and sprinted to the door. "What do you mean by stay away from him?"

"Memsaab, I think you are very nice. So I am telling you. Don't get involved with him." she said.... actually the exact words she used were - uske lafde mein mat pado. Now "lafda" could mean many things. It could mean mess, situation, issue, and very often, affair. I assumed she was implying I was having an affair with the colonel.

"What? How dare you? I am not having any "lafda" with the colonel. Who told you that?" I said angrily.

"Memsaab, you misunderstand. I didn't mean it like...." she started apologizing.

"I know what you mean. Okay, I go to his place to play chess some times. But come on, he is old enough to be my father. What nonsense is all this about a lafda?" I asked.

"Sorry memsaab, forget I said anything." she said, pulled door and almost ran out.

I was annoyed at Ratna. And I wondered....people in buildings like these have nothing better to do than spread false rumors and gossip. Maybe someone had seen me visit the colonel, and decided I was having an affair. And Ratna heard of it. Small minded people and their small minded mentality, I fumed. The next day when Ratna came to work, she stayed tactfully silent and I didn't bring up the topic either.

Finally, it was thursday. The day of my big match with the colonel. The day when I would get another 3200 rupees to splurge. I got up, took a shower and wore my designer dress. I decided that the chess match was a good occasion to wear the dress bought from the winnings of a previous match. I wore an apron while cooking breakfast to make sure nothing splattered on the dress. If Ratna, who was doing the dishes next to me, noticed my new dress, she did not seem to indicate it. I almost always wore t-shirts and jeans or sweatpants at home. Wearing such a pretty dress in the morning at home was rare. I was on cloud nine, wearing my new dress, and anticipating another big cash win. I was so excited that I didn't realize that my mind wasn't entirely on cooking.

I laid out the breakfast on the table and called Dhruv to join me. He walked to the table, and took no note of the new dress at all. He was always bad at these things, and I knew he would not notice it. He had some printouts in his hand, and a busy look on his face as he read them. Without saying anything to me, he sat down, cut off a piece of the omelette and put it on his mouth.

"Thoo!!!" he said as he spat it out. "What the fuck!!!"

"What happened?" I asked, worried.

"There is no salt in this omelette. It is completely tasteless." Dhruv said, in an annoyed voice. He then picked up the cup of tea, took a sip and made a face. "And there is no sugar in the tea!"

"Oh shit! I am so sorry, Dhruv. I was distracted." I said, running to the kitchen to get sugar and salt.

"Distracted? Hahh!" Dhruv said derisively raising his voice. "What the hell do you have to be distracted by? You sit at home all day doing nothing. And you can't even do simple things like adding salt and sugar where they belong."

"Shut up Dhruv!" I shot back, struggling to not cry in front of Ratna. "Don't make a mountain out of a molehill."

"Hmpff..mountains...molehills..." he mumbled as I walked out with the salt and sugar. "Let it be. I am leaving. I'll get breakfast on the way."

"Come on, Dhruv. I made it for you. Don't walk away from food."

"You're saying you made it for me as if it is some gourmet delicacy. It's fucking omelette, Prerna. Even kids can get it right, but you can't." he said, putting his shoes on.

"Fine, you don't want to eat? Don't eat!" I screamed. Ratna, who was standing at the kitchen door, looked surprised, and rushed back inside the kitchen.

"There comes another tantrum. I can't deal with this stupidity right now." Dhruv said, picked up his bag and started walking out. I got so peeved at his calling me stupid, I picked up the plate with his uneaten omelette and threw it at him. But he had already closed the door behind him and the plate hit the door with a loud clang.

As I saw the mess that I made on the floor, I sat on the chair and started crying, not caring that Ratna could see it. Ratna gingerly walked out of the kitchen after a while and went to the door. Although cleaning was not part of her job, she started picking up the omelette and toast pieces from the floor and put them on the plate. She then got a rag from the kitchen and wiped the floor. By then I had stopped crying.

"It happens, memsaab. This is what marriage is." she feebly said. I stayed silent.

"My husband also acts like this. And so I have made mistakes." she continued. "But you are intelligent, educated. You should not make mistakes."

"Mistakes?" I said. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Any mistakes. Just because our husbands act badly at times, we should not do something wrong." she said.

"Ratna." I said, pressing my forehead. "I am really not in the mood for this mumbo jumbo. Don't you have clothes to wash?"

"Yes. Okay." she went to the bathroom to wash the clothes.              

I was feeling like crap. I thought of telling the colonel to postpone our chess match. But then decided against it. A game of chess and winning some money is exactly what I needed to get Dhruv's nonsense out of my head. I needed to unwind and chess helped me unwind. In fact I needed to unwind before I started getting weepy and upset again.

So I went to the sink, washed my face and wiped it. I then took off the apron, and went to the bathroom,

"Ratna, I am going out. When you're done with the clothes, just pull the door shut when you leave, and the latch will lock." I said, and turned to leave when,

"Wait!" Ratna said. "Where are you going?"

"What? it's none of your business where I am going. Focus on your work, Ratna." I said, pissed off at her nosiness.

"You are going to his house, aren't you? Don't go, memsaab. Just stay away from him." Ratna started saying. But I was already walking away. She was still saying something, but I was out of earshot, walking out of the apartment and closing the door behind me.

"You're early!" the colonel said with a smile when I walked in through his unlocked door.

"Yes. Let's get on with it." I said curtly and walked to the chair.

"No hello? No good morning?" the colonel said smirking as he sat down in his chair.

"I am really not in the mood, colonel. Let's just play chess." I shot back.

"Okay. Okay. But first, let me see the money." he said.

"What?" I asked.

"The money. The 3200 rupees. Let's have it on the table." he said.

"I don't have it with me right now." I said.

"Why not? And what do I get if I win, then?" he asked.

"Trust me, you won't win." I said arrogantly.

"Yes, but what if I do?"

"You won't!" I said.

"Yes, but what if I do? Why don't you just go to your house and get it?" he said. I stayed silent. "What happened?"

"I don't have it. I spent it all. On this dress." I pointed to it. "I bought this dress."

"For 3200 rupees? That's one heck of an expensive dress!" the major who had been silent until now piped up.

"So what? What is it to you?" I snapped at him.

"Okay, you don't have that money. But you must have some money at home. Get that." the colonel said.

"I... it won't be much." I said.

"Fine. Whatever it is, we'll play for it. But we're not playing unless you put some money on the table."

I looked at him angrily for a few seconds and then walked out of the apartment without a word. I went back to the house, into the bedroom and opened the cupboard. This is where we kept the money for our daily expenses. I could at least double that, I thought. I counted it - 2135 rupees. I grabbed the money, and went back to the colonel's apartment.

"Here." I put the money on the table. "2135 rupees. The money for daily expenses. Happy?"

"I will be happy only when I beat you, Prerna. But yes, for now, satisfied and ready to play."

And we started. I won the toss and picked black. The colonel started. He pushed the king and queen pawns ahead, and then brought his knights out to the middle rows. King's Indian Attack, I immediately thought. Not a bad choice. I responded with Caro-Kann's Karpov variation. We got each others pawns and then knights, and then I thought it would be a good time to bring out my bishops. But a queen push from the colonel made me change tactics. And I went into a more prolonged mode of defence than I had originally planned. the colonel had used the week well, I realized. I set up some traps to encourage him to go on an offence, and render his queen ineffective. But he stuck to defensive moves and did not take my baits. As the number of moves entered the 20s, the board had gotten really complex, with both of us focusing on defence. The major not pulled a chair from the dining table and sat close to us, watching in rapt attention. Our clocks were almost even.

I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and try a risky tactic. The risk was a lot if you were playing an accomplished player. Basically, it involved drawing out his kingside rook and the pawns in front of it by offering my queen as a sacrifice. If he took the bait, yes, I lost my queen, but it opened up his king to an attack from my rook and bishop that was almost impossible to stave off. I had tried this tactic in my competitive days and met with success more often than not. The risk was, I would have to execute the checkmate soon. If his king did find an escape route, then I was queenless, in a bad position, and basically screwed. As I thought about all this, the colonel said,

"This is the longest I have ever seen you think before a move." and he chuckled.

"Yeah well...." I started to say something clever in response but couldn't think of anything, so turned my attention back to the board.

And I made the play. Moved my rook, bishop and a pawn into position for an attack and then offered my queen in a vulnerable position. It wasn't a straightforward sacrifice. He would have to work through a few moves to get my queen. And he'd have to spot that opportunity. He did. And yes, he bit. In three moves, he took my queen.

"Wow, Sir, you got her queen!!!" the major said in amazement. But the colonel still had a serious look on his face. That was the first time I felt the fear of defeat flash through my mind. He was not elated at taking the queen. So he clearly knew what was coming next. I had to be swift and ruthless.

I pushed my bishop and rook forward. He brought his second bishop into play. And that's when I realized...FUCK!!! I had stupidly thought it was a black-square bishop, when it was clearly white-square. It was a silly mistake, with the potential to be fatal. It made one of my rook moves impossible. I tried a couple of moves to corner his king nonetheless, and was shocked when he managed to snag my bishop. I was now down a queen and a bishop, with no way to threaten his king effectively.

Immediately, the colonel went into exchange mode. And I watched, with a sinking feeling in my stomach, as the board started getting cleared up. I could feel defeat gaining on me when he forced me into a rook exchange that I did not want to do. It now left me only with a solitary rook and a few pawns, while he also had his queen and bishop. I looked up at his face. It had a broad smile on it. He knew he was going to win. And how he decided to gloat.

"I told you, major. A woman can not keep beating me. Now I have her figured out, and she can never....I repeat NEVER beat me." he said.

"I guess you were right, sir." the major said.

I should have kept my mind focused on the game and still tried to play for a mistake by him. But I let that gloating get to me. I glared at him angrily and said,

"Never? I can NEVER beat you? What nonsense. You got a lucky break this time."

"Your move, young lady." he responded.

"And stop calling me young lady. Who calls anyone that anymore?"

"Your time is running out." he said.

"You know what? Fine. You win this." I said, and flicked over my king with my finger. "But only because I made the silly mistake of confusing the square of your bishop."

"That helped, sure." the colonel said nonchalantly as he picked up my money from the table. "But I would have still beaten you."

"No way. Let's have a rematch." I said.

"With what?" he asked.

"With what? Double or nothing." I shot back.

"Young lady....sorry...Prerna... I don't think you realize how double or nothing works. In this situation, I have won. This was already a double or nothing game. Which means you owe me back the money you got from me. You are already about a 1000 rupees in the red." the colonel said.

"So? If I win the next one, I get it back." I said.

"Yes, but what do I get if I win the next one?" he asked, with a tone of finality. And he was right. I had no more money left. Heck, I had given him all the money for the month's expenses. What would I tell Dhruv?

"I can owe you." I said, almost pleading.

"Sorry, I don't deal in credit while betting." the colonel said.

"Come on, colonel." I said. "You have to give me a chance to win that money back. It is for day to day expenses like groceries and bills. My husband will kill me if he finds out I lost it all."

The colonel stared at me for a few seconds. He then picked up his pipe and took a puff.

"So let me get this straight. You are someone who has only over 2000 rupees for expenses, and nothing extra to spare. Your family income is that limited. And yet, when you got 3200 rupees, you spent it all on one dress? Doesn't that strike you as kind of irresponsible, major?"

"Very irresponsible, sir." the major nodded.

"Clearly that dress means a lot to you. Does it?" the colonel asked.

"Well, I like it." I said, sounding defensive.

The colonel chewed on his pipe and looked at the ceiling for a couple of minutes and then said,

"Here are your options, Prerna. Option A - you get up, leave, go home empty-handed, and explain to your husband why you lost all the money. And option B - we play. I bet your expense money, and just out of the goodness of my heart, another 1000 rupees from my pocket. And you bet something worth the same amount - your dress." he said.

"Okay, sure!" I said at once. That sounded like a good deal. I liked the dress, but I didn't mind risking it to earn back the money.

"Wait, I don't think you understand what I am saying." the colonel said. "If you win, I hand over the money to you, right away. If I win, you hand over the dress to me.....right away."

I looked at him, confused. Then I said,

"Yes, if I lose, I will go to my house right away, change into something else and give you this...." and I stopped when he started shaking his head.

"That is not right away. Right away is, well, right away. You lose, you take off the dress and hand it over to me." the colonel said. I think I understood what he was getting at, but I could not believe that's what it was.              

"What he means is, you take off the dress in front of us." the major helpfully added. I stared at both of them for a while.

"You're crazy!" I said. "You expect me to get half naked in front of you? Are you insane? You're old enough to..."

"I am old enough" the colonel interrupted me. "to know that I will never get to see a beautiful woman your age in that state of undress ever again. So can you blame me for at least taking a chance at it?"

I shook my head in disbelief and kept staring at the board.

"You need time to think? I understand. The major and I will go the balcony for five minutes and come back. After that, let me know what you decide. If you're not here when we come back, I'll understand." the colonel and the major got up and went to the balcony. I sat there, wrestling with a major decision.

A part of me wanted to get the hell out of there. Yes, I had lost the money. I could just admit my mistake to Dhruv and maybe he would understand. On the other hand, he had been getting pissed at me for reasons as minor as forgetting to put salt in the omelette. Something this big, he would keep bringing up every time we had a fight to shut me up. But still, risking what the colonel was asking for? Of course, I was confident I could beat him. I just needed to play cautiously and avoid making the kind of silly mistake I had made in the last game. And if I won, I got the money back. And Dhruv didn't need to know anything. But what if I lost? But I could not lose. Five minutes ticked by and I was still in the throes of dilemma, when the major and colonel came back.

"So what is your decision, Prerna?" the colonel asked. I looked at his cocksure face. And I recalled his arrogant statements. He would be overconfident, and thus easy to defeat. And if I won, that was it. I take the money and go home. I finally made up my mind.

"Okay, I'll do it." I said.

"You will do what?"

"What you said."

"Spell out the terms of the bet so we all hear you say it." he insisted.

"If I win, I get back my money, plus an extra 1000 rupees. If you win, I will take off my dress in front of you and give it to you." I said.

"In front of me and the major. He is an old man too, you know." the colonel said.

"Okay fine." I said.

"Alright then. Let's play." the colonel said and took his positions. "You choose."

I opted for white. This way, I could set the tone and go on the attack straight away. And I decided on the aggressive Evans gambit to start with. The one made famous by Kasparov, especially when he beat Anand in 25 moves. Back when I played chess competitively, my opponents found it difficult to count my Evans gambit. And a few moves into our game, the colonel was having trouble too. But he was still managing to hold on. Knowing fully well the humiliation that was at stake if I lost, I played cautiously. The colonel, probably eager to win, played rapidly and riskily.

A couple of times, his rapid moves almost led him into my traps, but he escaped with minimal damage, a pawn and a knight. Something is better than nothing I though, and went into full scale exchange mode. First our queens went, then a knight each, and then two pawns. The problem was, I did not have a specific endgame in mind when making the exchanges. I was just focused on leveraging the pawn-and-knight advantage I had gotten. So once the board cleared up after the exchanges, I had to formulate my attacks from scratch. And be cautious. So it took up time.

"You know you have only four minutes left, right?" the major asked. And I almost twisted my neck as jerked it to look at the clock. Was that right? The colonel was always slower than me, and our games always ended before time ran out, so I never looked at the clock. But now I saw that I had only four minutes left, and counting down. While the colonel was sitting pretty on 9 minutes. The last thing I wanted to do was lose on time. I was about to bring my king's rook into play when at the last second I realized that there was a threat from a pawn 3 moves down the line. A silly mistake averted. But I had to play fast.

So I went for a defensive empty move to buy time. The colonel realizing I was buying time, responded with a rapid empty move of his own. I decided to parallel process. Think about a foolproof attack strategy as I made rapid safe moves to buy time. But the colonel matched my rapid moves. As I wracked my brains for a smart attack strategy, I realized with panic that the clock was now down to under two minutes. I had to stop looking for a foolproof endgame and go for a high percentage one. So I pushed two pawns and a rook ahead to corner his king, with the simultaneous threat of turning the pawn into a queen.

After three of my moves, the colonel paused. And he started thinking. He still had about seven minutes left, so he could afford the luxury. Almost two minutes ticked by for him as he thought. And finally he made a move that confused the hell out of me. He moved the rook behind this king, effectively restricting its movement. I tried to think about the implications of his move, and the major said,

"Under one minute now." The anticipation in his voice was apparent.

This was it. I had no choice but to go for it. I pushed forth. The colonel responded with an unrelated move that cleared the way for my pawn to become queen in three steps. He had decided to let me have the queen, and that puzzled me. As I turned my pawn into queen and moved my rook into an attacking position, I realized what he had been going for. He next forced upon me a rook exchange. With time running out, I took the exchange, hoping to nail him with my queen and the other pawn.

"Twenty seconds, Prerna." the major said.

After this, all you could hear was the thuds of me and the colonel hitting the clock buttons. I had to move fast enough to nail him. I was now in a position from where only I could win. If time weren't an issue, he would have resigned long back. I could see the moves in front of me. But time was the problem. I stopped looking at the clock and played frantically. He responded fast. I was almost there. Almost there. A few more moves and he was toast. But then,

"Time's up!" the major said, and then in a very uncharacteristic manner, yelled, "HURRAHHHH!!"

The colonel sat back with a smug smile on his face. and all I could do was stare at the clock, which, sure enough, had all zeros on my half. The two old men exchanged high fives with a youthful exuberance. And I just sat there, dreading the inevitable.

"Could I have my winnings please..." the colonel said, and then as if to emphasize his dominant position added, "young lady?"

As I look back on that moment, I realize I had options. I could refuse to honor the bet. I could just walk out of their house. What could they have done? Nothing. But at that time, my mind treated the next step as inevitable. Which makes me wonder now....maybe I wanted to do it. Given the long dry spell and constant bickering between Dhruv and me, maybe I was yearning for some male attention. And the idea of letting two old men get excited seeing me in a state of undress probably excited me. Maybe.

Silently, I got up from the chair. Reached behind my back and pulled down the zipper. Then, very slowly, more out of trepidation than with any intention to tantalize, I started slipping my dress down. As the dress dropped below my chest, a stunning realization hit the three of us. Their being stunned, which was obvious from their wide eyes, was not unexpected. How could they have known? But how could I not have remembered that the dress had a slim but sturdy padding support at the bosom that extended to the back. Which meant that you didn't need to wear a bra with the dress, even if you had breasts as big as mine. If you did decide to wear a bra, it'd have to be strapless, or the straps were visible in an ungainly manner near the shoulders. And in the morning, in the hurry to get ready and cook breakfast, I could not find my strapless bras, and had decided to go bra-less. The padding was good, so it's not like my nipples would poke through the front or anything. And obviously, I had not expected to take the dress off in front of two men.

"Oh wow!" the major said, breaking the silence that had enveloped the room since my breasts came into full view of the two men.

"Well, this is an unexpected surprise." the colonel said. "I thought I'd have to win another game to see that."

"I...I forgot...I am sorry" I weakly said, holding the dress around my waist. The two men stared at my boobs with hungry eyes, looking almost ready to leap at them. Luckily, they did not. They stayed where they were and kept staring. Finally, the colonel said,

"Well, you still need to give me the dress. So take it all off."

Reluctantly, I pulled the dress all the way down and stepped out of it.

"Aww, for a moment I thought she had no panties on either." the major said. Luckily, that was not the case. I did have panties on, although given the situation, I wish they had been more modest. They were black lacy panties that were partially transparent. Nothing of note was visible, but the meshed appearance did always send Dhruv's imagination into overdrive and I could see it was having the same effect on the two old men.

"Give it to me." the colonel held out his hand and I gave him the dress. He took the dress and walked to his bedroom. I heard the sound of a cupboard being opened, and then shut, and a jangling of keys indicated it had been locked. The major meanwhile walked past me and behind me, and I realized he was checking out my butt.

"Ohhhh...I can not tell you how much I appreciate watching you like this, Prerna." the major said. "I wish I could see your front and back at the same time. I am having a tough time deciding."

The colonel came back to the living room, and came close to me. He did not touch me, but looked at me carefully real close.              

He then gave a nod of approval, and sat down on his chair.

"So young lady, what now?" he asked.

"What now?" I dumbly echoed.

"If you're planning on going home...well... I say it'd be a bold thing to do, dressed like that, in the middle of the day." he said.

"What??" I said, and then it hit me. I had been so sure of winning that game and was so engrossed thinking a few moves ahead on the board, I had completely forgotten to think a few moves ahead off the board. Once I lost my dress, how would I go back home? I had not thought about it at all. Walking back in bra and panties would have been unthinkable enough. To do it wearing just these revealing panties with my tits hanging out?

"Come on, colonel." I said. "You got the dress. You got to see what you wanted to see, and even more. Now, just give me my dress back. Please!"

"You are right. I have gotten to see what I wanted to see, and more. But it has whetted my appetite. Hasn't it whetted your appetite, major?" the colonel said.

"It sure has." the major agreed, now standing behind me and checking out my ass again. "I'd sure like to get a look at that."

"So what do you say, Prerna? Another game?" the colonel asked.

"Huh?" I asked. Whatever was happening had still not sunk in fully. I could not believe I was actually standing, almost naked, in front of two men over twice my age. And I could not bring my brain to register what the colonel's suggestion was. That I wager the last piece of fabric separating me from complete nudity.

"Okay, the deck is really stacked against you. So let me even it out. If I beat you in 20 moves or less, you get naked. If you manage to survive past 20 moves, I give you back your dress and the money. And forget the timer. No time limit. Think as long as you want." he said. "Does that sound like a fair bargain?"

I stared at him dumbly and thought about what he said. It did sound like very fair, in fact very stacked in my favor. No matter how well he played, I could last more than 20 moves. especially with no time limit. If there was no time limit on the last game, I would have beaten him. There was no way I could lose. But still, the thought of putting on the line my nakedness was too much to swallow. As if reading my mind, the major said,

"Prerna, this is obviously a deal that you will win. You are only hesitating because you're scared of getting fully naked. But really, how much of a difference is there between what you are wearing now, and not wearing it? Think rationally? It's not like you can walk home wearing this"

I was about to say something in response, when there was a knock on the door. I almost jumped out of my skin with fright as I remembered, the door was unlocked like it always was. If the colonel yelled "COME IN!", whoever was outside would walk in and see me, standing there in just my black panties, and my tits swinging free. Fortunately, the colonel did not do that. He said to me,

"Go to the kitchen so you're out of sight. I'll see who it is."

I sprinted to the kitchen and stood leaning against a wall, my heart pounding as I wondered how this ordeal would end. I tried to listen to what was being said, but the voices were too muffled. About a minute passed and I heard footsteps coming in my direction. I assumed it would be one of the two men, so imagine my shock when in walked Ratna, holding a broom. I gave a start on seeing her and instinctively folded my arms to hide my boobs. She looked surprised, but not for long. Just a few seconds. Then she stared at me, shook her head sadly, and walked into the room.

"I told you. But you wouldn't listen. Now go. They're calling you." she said.

"What?" I dumbly said, my arms still crossed across my chest.

"I told you to keep away when you could. When you were still on control. Now, you can't do anything." she said as she started sweeping the kitchen.

"It's not how it looks. It's..." I struggled to find words to explain how I had ended up almost naked in an old man's kitchen.

"With him, it is never how it looks. Anyway, it is too late now. Go and face your fate. They're calling you." she said, crouching next to me as she swept the floor.

I stepped over her broom and started walking out, when she said,

"And memsaab..."

I stopped and looked back.

"Just remember. I am helpless. Whatever I will do, I rather would not. But now I have no choice." she said, looking at the floor.

"What do you mean?"

"Just go." she said.

I walked back to the living room, where the two old men were sitting in their positions.              

"So Prerna, what have you decided?" the colonel asked, chewing on his pipe, "If I can't checkmate you in 20 moves, in a no-time-limit game, you get it all back. If I can, you lose those cute panties."

I looked at him and then at the major, surprised that neither of them had thought it fit to explain to me why they had let the maid into the house where she could see me the way I was. But it was pointless now, since she had seen me anyway. The best thing to do now was minimize the damage. Win my clothes and money back, and go home. I knew there was no way he could beat me in 20 moves.

"Okay, you're on." I said, and sat down in my chair.

The colonel had white and I had black. Our first few moves were very rapid. And after 4 moves each, I was confused. The colonel was going for the 4-move-checkmate again. What the hell? Was this a trap? I knew of no way he could save his queen after I made those moves. And after that all I had to do was force exchanges and it would be impossible for him to beat me in 20 moves. Since there was no time limit, I though long and hard after his queen move, wracking my brain for any scenario I knew where he could beat me. I kept thinking.

Meanwhile, Ratna came to the living room and started sweeping it. She was not looking at any one of us, and nonchalantly sweeping. As if the room did not have an almost naked young woman playing chess with an old man. Her entry into the room made me think about the confusing things she had said about being helpless and having no choice. I started thinking more about it when I reminded myself not to get distracted and to focus on the game.

Finally I decided to make a move for his queen. By the 8th move, it was an almost exact replica of one of our earlier games when he kept trying that opening. At my ninth move, I took his queen and triumphantly put it on the side.

"Oh no, I lost my queen." the colonel said in a sad voice.

"Don't tell me you didn't see that coming." I said suspiciously. But the colonel ignored me and said,

"I am so sad. My queen is dead."

"You look sad, Sir." the major said, in a rehearsed manner.

"Won't someone do something to make me feel happy?" the colonel said, switching to Hindi.

And I watched, perplexed as Ratna dropped the broom, sighed and walked to the colonel. I went from being perplexed to shocked as Ratna started taking her sari off, with all three of us watching her. She put the bunched up sari on the couch next to the major and then unbuttoned her blouse, exposing her small but perky bra-less breasts. I watched, my mouth wide open, as she then got on her knees next to the colonel and started unbuttoning his pants.

The colonel kept staring at the chess board, feigning a sad face, as Ratna opened his pants, reached into his underwear and took out a semi-erect dick. I looked away, but even from the corner of my eyes, I could see that it was sizeable even in that semi-erect stage. What caught my attention was the thick bush of gray pubic hair around it.

"What the hell, colonel?" I said in an upset voice.

"Oh right, it is my turn to make a move." the colonel said as Ratna took his dick in her mouth and started sucking it hard, making audible slurping noises. He picked up a pawn and moved it one square ahead.

"Why is she....why are you....what the..." I tried to string together an outraged sentence, still averting my eyes from that debauched scene of our maid giving him a blowjob.

"Your move, Prerna." the colonel replied. "Don't pay any attention to Ratna. She does this all the time."

"Yes, she does it all the time." the major added, suppressing a giggle.

I considered my options. Whatever was happening in front of me was very wrong. But I figured he was doing it just to distract me from the game. I had his queen and could not lose in 20 moves. Maybe all I should do is keep playing, survive the 20 moves, get my dress back, and get the hell out of this bizarre place.

I turned my gaze back to the chess board, and focused on my next move, trying my best to ignore the slurping and gagging noises that Ratna was making. Both my knights were in a position from where they could wreak a lot of havoc. I moved one of them forward, threatening his bishop.

"Tell me when you make the movie. My eyes are closed." the colonel said in a voice that sounded as normal as if Ratna was doing nothing more than mopping the floor near him.

I finally turned my eyes towards him. His head was thrown back, his eyes were closed, and he had a peaceful smile on his face. Then, despite trying not to, I looked downwards, towards his crotch. Ratna's head was bobbing up and down, as she gagged and slurped, and between those bobs, I could see the colonel's now fully erect dick. It was reasonably big, maybe about 7 inches or so. But what caught my attention was how thick it was. Ratna lips were almost stretched to their maximum, wrapped around the dick. It was at least twice as thick as my husband's.

"Have you made your move?" the colonel asked as I was staring at his dick.

"Yes. Yes, I have." I said, and looked away. My eyes met the major's. He was looking at me with a wry smile on his face.

"Ok, hold on Ratna." he said, pushing her head away. He then got up, pushed down his pants and underwear and stepped out of them. He then unbuttoned his shirt and took it off. And sitting down naked, reached for another pawn on the chessboard and moved it ahead, completely ignoring my threat to his bishop. "Your move."

I alternated from looking with amazement at the colonel's naked body and the chessboard. I was surprised at how fit the colonel was even at this age. Not an ounce of fat on his torso, although it was covered with thick gray hair. And I was surprised at his move, because he had now gifted me, not only his queen, but a bishop. How the hell did he think he would win from here, forget winning in 20 moves? Was there some trap? Meanwhile, Ratna got back to blowing the colonel, so I turned my focus to the chess board full time.

"Major, I am so sorry." the colonel said as I kept considering my next move. "Where are my manners? Please, help yourself."

I was puzzled and looked at the colonel and then to the major.

"Thank you, Sir." the major said, and got up from the couch. I watched in surprise as he started undressing too. He neatly folded every garment as he removed it and put it on the couch. As he took off his underwear, out sprang an erect, circumcised dick, about nine inches long, but not as thick as the colonel's.

I watched, spellbound, as the major then got on his knees behind Ratna, reached under her waist and untied the petticoat's knot. She kept on sucking the colonel's dick, and made no move to resist as the major started pulling the petticoat down. She had no panties under there, and in a few seconds Ratna too, like the other two men, was completely naked.

With my panties on, a few minutes back, I had been a ridiculously exposed woman in the company of three fully clothed individuals. Now they were all naked, while I still retained some shred of dignity. But far from feeling comforted by it, I was feeling alarmed. And honestly, a little turned on. The long-lasting arguments with Dhruv meant that I had been starved of sex for a while. And here, in front of me, fully naked were two men with really good bodies and impressive looking dicks. Yes, old men more than twice my age and with gray hair all over their bodies. But still, good fit bodies and impressive dicks.

The major then pulled his knees closer to Ratna's behind, and I wasn't surprised when he started inserting his long circumcised dick into her. Ratna let out a long moan as the major's dick slid into her gradually. And I felt a dampness developing between my legs as the major buried his cock into her completely and then started fucking her in a slow gentle motion. The major noticed me staring at what he was doing, smiled and said,

"Isn't it about time you made your move, Prerna?"

The double entendre in his question was so blindingly obvious, the colonel could not help let out a short chuckle. I shifted y gaze back to the chess board and took the colonel's bishop.

"Your move, colonel." As I said that, I was surprised at how hoarse and breathless my own voice sounded. Without realizing it, I had been breathing heavily, and my mouth felt dry. But if my voice gave something away to the colonel, he did not indicate it. His eyes were still closed.

"Did she take the bishop, Major?" he asked.

"Yes, Sir."

"Move the pawn to a3." he said. The major, without taking a pause from his rhythmic pounding of Ratna's cunt, reached over and moved the pawn.

Another move which made no sense whatsoever. If there was some crafty elaborate gambit that he had in mind, I could not see it. From here on, I could beat him within 20 moves. I tried to focus on a way to finish the game off as early as possible, and leave this bizarre scene. But what was happening near me was very distracting.

The major had now started hammering Ratna's cunt really hard, making her yelp with every stroke. Of course, her yelps were muffled by the colonel's dick which was still going in and out of her mouth. The muffled yelps soon turned into muffled grunts, and added to them was the sound of loud thuds of the major's thighs hitting Ratna's. As the perverted scene in front of my hit a higher gear, I could feel what was just a dampness in my pussy, turning rapidly into a wetness. Thankfully, I thought to myself, my panties were black, so it wasn't obvious. But nevertheless, I pressed my already closed thighs even tightly against each other. And just to make sure, no one was looking there, I looked around.

I saw the major's eyes, even as he fucked Ratna hard, were focused on me. But not down there. I followed his gaze to my breasts, which he was staring at. And I almost let out a yelp myself, as I realized why he was staring. My nipples were very visibly and completely erect.              

My nipples were always sensitive to any sort of sensuous stimulus, whether by touch, visual or even thought-based. Even if I got a little turned on, my nipples stood at attention. And now, considering the scene that was unfolding in front of me, obviously, I was beyond just a little turned on.

I slowly moved my left arm up to cover my nipples, and with my right hand, moved my other knight forward. I told myself that it was important that I finish this game fast and get out of this place. Not because I feared that either of the two men would force themselves on me. If they wanted to do that, they would have done that long ago. But because with each passing moment, I was losing the self-belief to stop myself from giving in to the situation.

"Your move, Sir." the major said.

The colonel opened his eyes, and looked into mine with a piercing gaze. A gaze to piercing that I was unable to look away despite wanting to. he then tapped Ratna on her shoulder twice. As soon as he did that, the major took his dick out of her cunt and stood up, his dick erect and tilted slightly upwards, glistening with Ratna's juices. Ratna took the colonel's dick out of her mouth and got up.

The colonel made a move on the chess board. But I was not looking at the board. Ratna, moving with an ease that suggested she had been doing this for a long time, straddled the colonel. She put her knees on the chair on either side of the colonel's thighs, and lowered herself, taking his obscenely thick dick into her cunt without needing her hands to guide it in. She then started moving up and down on the colonel's dick, and he wrapped his hairy arms around her back, hugging her tightly as they fucked. I wanted to look away. But I could not. I kept staring at them.

The colonel was still staring at me. He then smiled and said,

"Your move, Prerna." and then added, "You might want to just save everyone's time by toppling your king."

That second sentence made me jerk my neck and shift my gaze to the chess board. He was saying that he was so close to winning that I should resign? How did that happen? What magical move did he make? As I looked at the board, I saw that his move had been very benign. He had moved another pawn forward. There was not even a remote threat to my king. On the contrary, the pawn move had opened up his king and I had to just move my queen and checkmate him. There seemed no way he could avoid checkmate. I made sure there was nothing on the board that I had missed and looked back at the colonel, confused.

"Don't look so confused." the colonel said. "You know that you should just topple your king."

"But why.." I started saying when the major's voice said,

"Yes, just topple your king."

I hadn't even realized when the major had moved so close to me. He was now standing barely half a foot away from me, still naked, and his erect dick a few inches from my face. As I registered his presence so close to me, I also detected a musky scent on his dick, of his precum, combined with the bitter smell of Ratna's juices on it. From so close, it looked even bigger, with the thick veins running along it taught and visible, and its thick uncircumcised purple head staring at me like a one-eyed monster. I should have looked away, but I kept staring.

The major, realizing that I had been spellbound by his magnificent cock, took another step closer until it was barely an inch away from touching my lips. He then said,

"Topple your king, Prerna. Just give up already."

I looked up from his dick to his face and into his eyes. They had a fiery, almost animalistic look in them, the raw desire in them almost hitting me like a stream of bullets. He then put his hand on my bare shoulder, and squeezed it gently, his touch sending a bolt of electricity up and down my body, and making my legs part involuntarily.

No matter how much resolve I had been muster up until then, I could sense I was at a breaking point. I could hear the colonel fucking Ratna hard, and now that her mouth was unencumbered by the presence of anything, she was grunting loudly and passionately. The major's touch had made my body respond, and the goose bumps on it were there for everyone to see. And his big beautiful dick, so close to my face and shooting its scent up my nose, was adding to the effect.

All I had to do to get my dress and money back and leave this place with my dignity regained, was move my queen and checkmate the colonel. No other chess player in the world, even with a gun to their head, would play any other move. And there wasn't a gun to my head. No, not a gun, but something a lot more.....dangerous.

I looked away from the major and turned back to face the chess board. As I reached towards the board with my hand, the colonel stopped fucking Ratna and held her in place, his eyes following my hand. Ratna also turned her head and looked at the board. I picked up my queen, and as I did so, the major squeezed my shoulder with his hand. In response to his squeeze, my body shivered visibly, as if it were freezing. My hand shook just as I was about to place the queen next to his king and checkmate the colonel. And my hand paused.

I then watched, as if watching some other woman move, as I moved the queen back to her original place. I put my index finger on top of my king. I looked at the major's face, then his oozing dick. Then I let out a loud sigh and flicked the king forward.

It almost seemed as the king fell to the board in slow motion. Gradually. With each passing microsecond, I knew that I had resigned way more than just a chess game. From here on, nothing in my life would ever be the same again. Nothing.

If the falling of the king seemed to happen in slow motion, what happened after my king stopped rolling and lay there, resigned and humiliated, seemed to proceed in fast forward mode. The major pushed my chair behind with a firm shove, and moved in front, between me and the chess board. He bent down, dug his fingers into my panties and gave them a downward tug. I didn't even realize how or when I raised my butt off the chair to allow him to slip the panties down, and didn't even register the exact moment when I became fully naked. Like I said, it all seemed to be happening in fast forward.

The major then put both his strong rough hands on my waist and pulled me forward, so my ass was on the edge of the seat and my head resting against the back. He got down on his knees in front of me, pulled my thighs apart, and lunged forward, his long dick entering me in one swift motion. I was surprised that I had become wet enough for that big dick to enter me so easily. He took it out just as easily and rammed it in again hard, hitting spots inside me that Dhruv's average but respectable dick had never been able to.

As he kept fucking me, I heard a loud and high pitched moan which sounded nothing like Ratna, and it took me a few moments to register that it was coming from my mouth. The fire in my cunt was being stoked by the second as the major kept hammering it, and all I could do was look looking at the wild and resolute expression on his face. And moan. The major looked into my eyes for a few moments, and even as he kept pounding my cunt, bent down and kissed me. The gentleness of his kiss was in sharp contrast with the merciless fury with which he was shafting my cunt.

He took one hand off my thigh, and pressed it to the back of my head, making our kiss even more intimate and passionate. Our tongues played with each other and our salivas mingled and our lips kept wrestling with each other. The kiss made time slow down. Or at least it felt that way because the kiss seemed to last forever. My body, starved of any sexual contact, was enjoying the double pleasure of a passionate kiss and a primal fuck.

When the major finally broke our kiss and pushed his head back, I saw the colonel and Ratna standing next to the chair. The colonel had an eager and pleased look on his face, while Ratna's face was bathed in a mixture of sadness and arousal. She was clearly conflicted by how she felt about her memsaab getting fucked like this in front of her. Our eyes met and we stared at each other for several moments.

That intense mutual stare seemed to be saying a lot to each other. I tilted my head slightly and my lips formed a sad smile, as if to say that she was right, and had done her best to warn me from ending up where I had ended up - naked on an arm chair, with my legs pointing upwards, getting fucked hard by an old man I barely knew. And yet, Ratna seemed to understand that I did not regret it much, at least not at that moment. Her eyes conveyed a greater regret for my situation than I had been feeling.

Nevertheless, the aroused look on her face as she also smiled, showed that she was also pleased by this development. And it seemed like she was as aware as me, that the dick that had been ramming her cunt just minutes ago, was now pounding mine. That we were no longer in the memsaab-maid relationship, and were somehow bonded forever by being fucked one after another by this old man whom we were not married to, and who was about twice our age.

"Don't you have work to finish, Ratna?" the colonel said, interrupting our locked gazes.

Ratna looked away from me, and at the colonel. She nodded and said,

"Yes, saab."

"Major." the colonel pointed said, and immediately the major stopped fucking me and stepped away. I lay there, breathless with the shafting I had just gotten, each of my legs wrapped over the armrests, leaving my wet cunt open for everyone to see. I stared at the colonel as he took a few steps and was in front of me, and I expected him to now take the major's place and start fucking me. His thick dick certainly looked ready to do so.

But instead, the colonel grabbed my legs with both his hands and brought them down from over the armrest. He then put one arm under my knees, and another under my back, and picked me up effortlessly.              

My naked boobs pressed against each other as my body, bent at the waist, was suspended in the colonel's arms. My cheek was pressed against the thick gray hair on his chest. And I could feel his dick poking gently at my ass.

As I described before, I am not fat, but neither am I a petite little waif. My height combined with my normal non-skinny build means that I weigh enough for most men to be unable to just pick up easily. When Dhruv had wanted to ceremonially carry me over the threshold of our apartment after we got married, he had been able to hold on to me only for a few seconds, and had put me down almost at once.

The colonel however, was carrying me with surprising ease. Holding my naked body in his arms, he quietly walked into his bedroom, the major following one step behind as if they were a 2 man marching formation. In the bedroom, he put me down gently on a big kingsized bed with crisp and neatly tucked in white sheets. I lay there on the bed, my fingers playing with my hair, staring at the colonel.

He got on the bed on his knees, and then bent down and started roughly massaging my boobs. He then started biting my boobs all over as I felt his thick rough moustache rub against my nipples. I put a hand on his bald head and rubbed it gently. He played with my boobs for a couple of minutes, and then pushed on my back. As I lay there, he moved on his knees behind me, wordlessly, making it clear what was expected of me. I got on my hands and knees, my shapely ass pointing at the colonel.

The colonel's dick was rubbing against my inner thighs as his hands now started massaging my ass cheeks. He grabbed my ass, pinched it, fondled it for a while and then spanked both my cheeks hard a couple of times. The loud smacking noise of the spanks brought a chuckle out of him, as well as the major who was standing next to the bed in deference. As the colonel kept playing with my ass, I was waiting, on my hands on knees, desperate for his thick cock to fuck me. The ass foreplay was nice, but what I needed right now was a good fucking.

But the colonel was taking his time. After spanking my ass a few more times and admiring the way it jiggled, he put his thumb on my waist just above by ass. He then moved the thumb down, along my ass crack, parting my cheeks as I felt the flesh of his thumb and nail move downwards. The thumb paused just as it was at my asshole. He pressed it gently with the front of his thumb, almost inquiringly, waiting to see how I reacted. I did not react, just waited on all fours for him to finally get on with fucking me.

He then slowly inserted the top of his thumb into my anus without too much trouble, and I drew my breath in sharply. Dhruv liked to occasionally fuck me in the ass, and although I did not enjoy it too much, I let him. It had taken him a couple of years of convincing me to let him. Initially it had been painful. But by now, it was mostly painfree, and still not pleasant. But Dhruv's normal cock was one thing, and the colonel freakishly thick monster was a different matter altogether. I was about to say something to stop him when,

"Don't worry. Not going there." he said his first words since the chess game very calmly, "At least not yet. Just wanted to assess the possibilities."

"Please just...." I said and stopped.

"Just what?" he asked in a naughty tone.

"Please just get on with it." I said impatiently.

"Get on with what?" he asked, being a total brat.

"Just fuck me already, colonel." I said.

"As the lady says." the colonel said and thrust his dick into my cunt hard.

My cunt had considerably more discomfort at the colonel's first entry than the major's. The major's had been long, and although accommodating that length in itself was unusual, the colonel's girth was a different ballgame altogether. I let out a loud screech, as the walls of my cunt, even with the leftover natural lubrication from the major's fuck, were stretched to their limits. But the colonel paid no attention to my discomfort and started fucking me, although gently after the first hard thrust.

I let out a few more wails as the battering-ram that was the colonel's dick continued its assault on my cunt. But in a dozen or two strokes, my cunt walls seemed to have adapted to the girth, and the pain and discomfort subsides. Sensing that I had now gotten used to the colonel's dick, from the fact that my wails had turned into moans of pleasure, the major got on the bed on his knees in front of me.

The long uncircumcised dick that had been fucking me just minutes ago was now back in front of my face. The major did not need to spell out what he wanted, and I opened my mouth wide. The major grabbed hold of my hair, and then thrust his dick into my mouth very hard, much like he had done with my cunt. Almost at once, the dick hit the back of my throat and I gagged and tried to take it out. But the major, anticipating the reaction, had gripped my hair tightly and I was unable to move my head.

Instead of me sucking his dick, his dick started fucking my mouth. After that first thrust though, the major moved his dick and held my head in a way that did not elicit that big a gag reaction. The tip would slide down my throat, and it still felt weird but I got used to it very soon. The major had after all probably been fucking mouths since before I was born. After all these years, he had clearly perfected the art of mouth fucking.

As the gag reflexes subsided, or started seeming bearable, my brain now started registering the assault of the monster dicks on both my ends. A thick fat one hammering my cunt and a long one screwing my mouth and throat. Even in that state of unprecedented arousal, I could help but think "Laurel and Hardy". I chuckled to myself. Or rather, tried to chuckle, but could not, because the major's dick had invaded and occupied my mouth with the resoluteness of Hitler invading Poland.

I was getting fucked on both ends, or as they say spit-roasted, by two dicks that were sizeable in different ways. After I got used to the size of both those monster cocks in the two antipodal holes of my body, and also got used to the odd feeling of their big balls slapping against my thighs and my chin, the pleasure started seeping through. My increasing breathlessness was not only because of the workout their assaults were putting me through, but also because of my body reacting to them. From weeks, even months of minimal sex to such an arduous ménage a trois was a big leap that my body and mind both were enthralled by.

For ten minutes or so, as the men kept pounding both my ends, my body was building itself up into a state of sexual frenzy, until finally my first orgasm of the day...of the week..of the month..started bearing down on me like a hurricane. Just the initial rumblings were enough for me to realize it was going to be a massive one. I shuddered and shook a the approach, and the major, realizing what was coming, let go of my hair and didn't stop me when I took his dick out of my mouth.

I gasped for fresh air, but only momentarily, because the colonel, also sensing where I was, doubled the tempo of his fucking, and it pushed me over the edge very fast. I am always a noisy cummer, but the way I hollered and quaked at the orgasm was so intense, that Ratna came running into the room in concern. I grabbed on to the major's erect dick for support, making him yelp in pain for a change, arched my back and let the torrid orgasm sweep over me like a tsunami. My breasts swung back and forth like giant pendulums. If the colonel had not been grabbing on to my waist firmly, I probably would have been knocked off my knees by the sheer gale force of that orgasm. It hit, peaked, and continued at the peak for what seemed like ages.

Finally, when it started subsiding, I let go of the major's dick, much to his relief, my elbows gave way and my shoulders slumped to the bed. As my head was resting on my left cheek, and I realized that I was looking at the major and Ratna through a blurry vision. No orgasm before this in my life had been intense enough to make me involuntarily cry. The major and my maid looked at me with mouths open in amazement as I wiped the tears from my eyes.

And plop, I felt my ass hit the bed sideways. The colonel had taken his dick out from my cunt and let go of my waist. I lay there in a fetal position, breathing heavily, still moaning from the after-effects of the orgasm, and wiping my eyes as I tried hard to stop crying. My mouth was hurting and my cunt was sore. And the tears kept coming. And the possible reason for the tears made its way into my head belatedly. I realized, with an unbearably sharp pang of guilt, that I had cheated on my husband, and cheated quite earth-shattering. By being fucked by two old men.

And the events of the day cascaded through my head. I still could not believe that in the course of a couple of hours, I had gone from confidently going for a profitable chess game, to being fucked simultaneously by two men I barely knew. And my crying got louder.

My two lovers however, were not waiting around for my guilt attack to subside. Nor were they interested in comforting or consoling me. They watched me curiously for a while, and then let me lay there, squirming and crying, as they pulled Ratna on to the bed. After I finally got done crying, and wiped the last of my tears, I got an idea of how I must have looked minutes ago. Ratna was on all fours just inches away from me, the colonel fucking her in the cunt, and the major roughly screwing her mouth.

I sat up slowly, and stared at them, trying to decide what to do next. But the major made the decision for me. As soon as he saw me sit up, he took his dick out of Ratna's mouth, and crawled towards me. He took me into his arms, and kissed me, once more very gently and passionately, and the comforting passion of his kiss melted away any thoughts of guilt that I had.              

Within seconds, I knew it and he knew it, that I was ready to continue.

And there I was, laid on my back, perpendicular to Ratna, looking up at her face which was directly above mine. The major was continuing where he had left off, fucking me rapidly missionary style. Ratna and I stared into each others eyes, both of us moving in similar rapid rhythms being fucked by the two old army men. As I looked up and Ratna's face above me, my mind again made a symbolic note. Until a few hours back, in a sense, I had been above Ratna, her employer, her memsaab, several rungs higher in the socio-economic ladder. And here, as these men on the same bed were shafting both of our sweaty bodies, she was in a way on top of me.

As if to rub in the egalitarian nature of this orgy, quite literally, something else happened. Ratna's mouth had been wide open as the colonel fucked her. And a stream of spit came out of her mouth, and dropped down, splashing my nose, cheeks and some of it entering my mouth. Instead of being revolted, I felt a little turned on. I rubbed my fingers into her spit and licked them.

The major, who had noticed what had happened and my reaction to it, bent forward and pushed Ratna's head down towards mine. And the two of us kissed. And kept kissing. My maid and I were lip locked in a passionate kiss as two men who were not our husbands kept fucking us at the same time. Could it get any more perverted?

Ratna and I kept kissing on and off for about ten minutes when we both had an orgasm at about the same time, probably spurred by this taboo tongue tennis. My orgasm was not as intense as the first one, but was still pretty intense. Ratna's however, seemed more moderate. After that orgasm subsided, a realization struck me. These men were still going at it! Neither of them seemed even close to cumming. I had read that old men take a long time to cum, but this seemed unnatural. Surely, they had to cum very soon.

But forget cumming soon, the colonel decided it was time for a partner swap. Now he was fucking me in the missionary position and the major was fucking Ratna doggy style. That went on for fifteen minutes, and it was back to me and the major, and Ratna and the colonel, both missionary style. Both Ratna and I were exhausted by the multiple orgasms that had swept over us and were now just moving along to the thrusts of the men. Finally, after well over an hour, the colonel made a guttural noise. He took out his dick from Ratna's cunt and pointed it towards our faces. A thick stream of what seemed like a liter of cum rained on our faces and our hair.

I was too stunned to react for a few seconds, but Ratna, obviously used to it by now, first licked and swallowed the cum on her face and then started licking mine. A minute later, the major also did the same thing. This time, I reciprocated by licking Ratna's face clean.

I was tired and breathless, but Ratna looked positively beat. After I finished licking the cum off her face, she just rolled over, put a pillow under her head, and fell asleep almost instantly. She was probably used to doing it. I decided to get up, get cleaned and maybe head home, but as I tried to get up, I realized my thighs were hurting too much. So I lay back on the bed, with my eyes open. The major came over gave me a short kiss.

"Have some rest." he said, and walked out of the bedroom. The colonel too got up and left the room. It was amazing how the two old men had barely broken a sweat. I decided to rest for a while and then leave. But I had no idea when I also, much like Ratna, fell asleep.

I woke up, roughly an hour later according to the wall clock. And I was awakened by Ratna's grunts. I did not think anything else could shock me today. But the sight in front of me did manage to knock my socks off... or would have, had I been wearing socks. I had seen stuff like this occasionally in porn films. But I never thought people actually did this in normal life. Not that any of what had happened before was normal. Still, I was shocked to see Ratna, lying face down on top of the colonel as he fucked her cunt, and the major on top of her ramming her asshole. Ratna's face wore a mixture of pain and pleasure that was unmatched by anything I had seen earlier that day.

I sat up and stared at this unbelievable scene of double penetration in front of me. Ratna noticed me sit up and flashed me a smile. The two men ignored me for the moment. I watched them fuck her for a few minutes and then felt an urgent need to pee. So I walked to the bathroom attached to the bedroom to relieve myself.

When I walked out, the threeway seemed to have ended. Ratna was sitting on her knees in a corner of the bed. And the two men were sitting on the edge of the bed, facing the bathroom door. I walked out, thought of something to say, but words failed me. Wordlessly, the colonel took me by the hand and got me back on the bed. He lay down on his back and pulled me on top of him. I put my knees on either side of his hips and took his thick dick inside my cunt.

I knew what was about to happen. As I had watched them fuck Ratna, I had started off thinking, no way am I going to let them do that to me. But the look on Ratna's face showed how much she was loving it. That it was a completely different kind of a high from just plain anal sex, which I always found boring. And within minutes, I had changed my mind to, well maybe, if they try. As I fucked colonel in the cowgirl position, I knew that the major would soon make his move. He waited for a few minutes, let me get into the frenzy of the fuck, and then picked up a tube of lubricant that was next to the pillow.

He approached me from the back gingerly, expecting some resistance. But was delighted to find none. He then squirted a generous dollop of the lubricant on my asshole, smeared it all around, and pushed a finger inside. He seemed pleased to note that my asshole was not virgin. That I had done it there before.

It still hurt when he started pushing his dick inside slowly. I winced and moaned, but did not tell him to stop. The major poured some more lubricant around his dick and pressed forth. After about half his dick was inside my asshole, he decided that was as far as he would go. He poured some more lubricant and started fucking my ass with half his dick. As both of my holes down there were getting fucked, I could identify with the mix of pain and pleasure I had seen on Ratna's face. It did have the pain of anal sex, but the penetration seemed a lot more pleasurable when combined with cunt fucking. Ratna got on her knees next to me and started licking my nipples. And very soon, I was about to orgasm for the umpteenth time that day.

After ten minutes of double penetration, the men decided to have mercy on my battered body, and withdrew. The colonel thrust his dick inside my mouth, and the major put his inside Ratna's mouth, as we both sat next to each other on the side of the bed. We both sucked their dicks expertly, as if in a race to see who wins first, and Ratna got the major to orgasm a minute before I got the colonel to cum in my mouth.

After both of us swallowed their loads entirely, we all just sat there dumbly for a couple of minutes, neither of us saying a word. Even if I had wanted to say something, I would not know what to say.

"I have to go. My kids will be home from school soon." Ratna said and got up.

I got up without saying anything and walked to the bathroom. My thighs were still hurting, and I limped a little. I could barely recognize the person in the mirror. Hair disheveled and streaked with cum. Face covered with patches of dried cum and spit. But it wasn't just the physical appearance that made me unrecognizable. It was what I had turned into in a matter of hours.

When I washed up and came out of the bathroom, the bedroom was empty. I walked out to the living room naked, where the two old men, fully dressed, had started a game of chess. Uncertainly I walked up to them. My panties were lying on the floor. I picked them up and put them on.

"Another game?" the colonel asked.

"No thank you. I should get going." I said.

"As you wish." the colonel said. I stood there and stared at him pointedly. "What?"

"Can I have my dress back?" I said.

"Well... you know... you toppled your king. So technically, I did beat you in under 20 moves." the colonel said flatly.

I looked at him incredulously, my face going red in anger. I was about to open my mouth and scream something unintelligible when the colonel said,

"Just kidding, young lady."

I seethed in anger as he walked into the bedroom, unlocked the cupboard, took the dress out and handed it to me. In the living room, he also handed me the money. And without any sort of comment or discussion about all the sex we had been having, I left the apartment and went home.              


The next morning when I opened the door for Ratna, neither of us could look the other in the eyes. She rushed to the kitchen to do her work and I went back to the bedroom. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep some more, but I could not. The events of the previous day kept repeating themselves in my head.

Fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on the bedroom door. I opened the door and Ratna was standing there.

"Where is saab? There are no clothes of his for washing." she asked worriedly.

"He left." I answered.

"Where?" she asked.

"I don't know. Maybe a friend's place." I said, staring at my feet and fighting back tears. Realization swept across Ratna's face.

"You told him???" she asked incredulously. I nodded. "Why???"

"I just had to." I said, fighting back tears. But instead of me, Ratna started wailing and crying. She sank to the floor and kept crying, saying,

"It's all my fault. It's all my fault."

"No Ratna." I consoled her. "It is not your fault. In fact you tried to warn me."

She cried silently for a couple of minutes. And then,

"It is my fault. It is because of me that all this started." she said. And then I listened with a combination of rage and amazement as Ratna told me the whole story. The pieces that she could not provide, fell in place later when I confronted the colonel and he confessed too.

The colonel had, often with the major, slept with at least half the women in the building. It was not too difficult. Most of those women were in their 40s and 50s, fat and frumpy, in loveless marriages with husbands who were either too busy or impotent. Showering some attention, and the occasional gift was usually enough to get them into bed when their husbands were away at work. Ratna too had been seduced similarly, with a combination of attention and gifts.

Then I moved into the building. I was not only much younger than any other housewives, but I was also good looking and educated. When the colonel saw me around the building, he had his sights set on me. There was also gossip in the building about how Dhruv and I had fights regularly, and neighbors heard us yelling at each other. So my marriage being in trouble was common knowledge. But both he and the major knew that the usual tricks would not work with me. they tried to discuss a few different plans to lure me in, but none of them seemed to be realistic. So they had decided to not even try, and be satisfied with the frumpy older women. The one day, after both men had fucked Ratna, they sat down to play a game of chess which they occasionally did. Apparently both men were really good at it. In fact the colonel used to run a chess coaching camp in the summers and often participated in contests. Ratna while leaving, made a comment in passing that she had seen some trophies in my house with chessboards or chess pieces on them. That intrigued the colonel.

He already knew my maiden name from the name plate. He did a google search and found my mention in newspapers and websites from the late 90s. But he also saw that for a decade or so, there was no more mention of me related to chess. Which meant I had probably given up chess. So he decided to try and use chess to draw me in.

The first day that I went to his place to inquire about Ratna, she had gone AWOL from work at his behest. And he told her not to tell me either. Ratna found the whole idea far fetched, but went along with it. Since he was the only other person in the building she worked for, he knew I would go over to ask them sooner or later. So both the men were waiting for me to turn up. In fact they had even laid out the game as a bait for me to interfere and suggest a move to the major.

That day, the colonel played like an amateur on purpose. Partly to lull me into a false sense of superiority, and partly to gauge my style. Ratna had also mentioned that Dhruv and I argued about money. So he put up cash as another bait, knowing how much it would mean to me. He also acted petulant on being beaten by me, to give him an excuse to take a week long break.

In that break, he really did some homework. But homework that was a lot more involved than I had expected. All chess tournaments keep archives of previous games. For the next week, both he and the major visited chess clubs and organizations that used to conduct the tournaments. They got copies of almost all my previous games. And pored over them to figure out my favorite openings and defenses. And gauged some recurring patterns they could exploit.

The game in the second week was for "data collection" purposes. The colonel played a few different moves to gauge how my playing style had changed, and ten years on, if I had kept up with the game or knew any recent variations. It became clear to them that although I was still damn good at chess, I had stayed abreast of the recent developments. It was possible to beat me with enough preparation and by emulating some grandmaster's recent game. Although I won that day, they got enough pointers about which tactics to employ. And figured out at least 4 recent games that they could replicate and have a chance to beat me with.

So the next week, they felt confident enough to gamble more money. It was still possible that I would win. And the colonel would lose more money. But that was their only shot and they had to take the chance. And the preparation paid off. He knew my queen sacrifice tactic and was able to counter it. I did make a mistake about the bishop, but without it, chances are he would have won. Not only did I lose all the money, but I also made life easy for him by buying a dress with my previous winnings and then wearing the dress to the game. Initially, they had thought it would take more games to get me to a place where I would bet my clothing. But one win did it.

After it, the colonel just had to challenge my feminist pride by acting cocky, and that was enough to get me to bet the dress. And of course, the accidental oversight of not wearing a bra made stripping me even easier.

The men were sure that even if I agreed to betting clothes on the game, I would never put sex on the line. For that I had to be enticed into it. They decided that once I was in at least partial state of undress, they would have Ratna come in, and have sex with them in front of me. It was a risky move again. I could have been scandalized enough to just leave. But again, a gambit they had to play. They had to bet that having sex with her in front of me, combined with the sight of their big dicks, would turn me on enough to go along. And it is turned out, every gamble they took paid off. And in bed, I had been more willing and eager than they had expected.

These revelations pissed me off no end. I fired Ratna, and had a big fight with the colonel. He and I were on the outs for a while. He tried to apologize, and coax me into spending time with him but I was too upset.

On the home front, honesty really hadn't turned out to be the best policy. Dhruv, who had packed up his stuff and left after I confessed everything to him. made up his mind to divorce me and never came back. His lawyer told me up front that since I had been unfaithful to Dhruv, I could not ask for alimony. If I did, they would bring up my infidelity in court, bring the two old men and Ratna as witnesses, and make a public spectacle of the whole thing with details. I agreed to a period of separation followed by a divorce without any demands.

A month later, I had no job, no savings, no husband, and an apartment whose rent I could not afford to pay. I could not go back to my parents. And I had no real friends left who could put me up. All of my friends were also Dhruv's friends who had decided to side with him because I was the one who had cheated. I was at my wits' end, with no actionable plan for my future except to move into a working women's hostel, and take up a low paid job as a receptionist or a secretary. It was in that desolate period of my life that the colonel came to my house again, saying he could help me, begging me to just listen to him. I let him in, and when I heard what he had to say, it seemed like a better alternative than anything else I could do.

He and the major had always wanted to start a chess coaching class. He had enough savings to rent a small room for it. And there was enough demand in Kanjurmarg for chess coaching. If I joined them, they would share the profits with me. I figured that making a living with chess, something I loved, was better than answering phones or making tea for someone. So after a couple of days of thinking, I agreed.

Ten days were spent working together with the colonel and the major on setting up the chess coaching, renting the space, buying the equipment and designing ways to promote and advertise our coaching. Both men knew I was still a little upset about their manipulating and hustling me, so they kept it strictly professional. On the eleventh day, a friday, when we got done designing pamphlets at 10 in the night, the major finally decided to make a move and kissed me. I did not resist. The three of us had sex all night. By 6 am, when the two men finally got tired enough to stop pounding my cunt and ass, I was too exhausted to even walk back to my apartment. I woke up in the afternoon to find a naked colonel next to me, his thick dick poking against my ass.

We spent the weekend just fucking, eating and sleeping, Ratna joining us on one of the mornings. When I finally went back to my apartment after a gap of 3 days, it was for the last time. I packed up all my clothes, books, and other things including my chess trophies. And I moved in with the colonel. No point in paying rent for two apartments when most of your days are spent in one.

It's not like the building wasn't already abuzz with gossip about us. After I vacated my apartment and moved in with him, the buzz reached new levels. Everyone started calling me the colonel's "mistress" which I guess I technically was.              

And I got thrice as many dirty looks from the building women than I already did. But I am sure at least half of those dirty looks were from women who were jealous that they could not fuck the colonel any more because of me.

Life hasn't exactly turned out the way I expected it to. When making plans in college, I had decided that my 30th birthday would be spent in some exotic foreign vacation spot, toasting expensive champagne with my beloved qualified and successful husband, maybe with a kid, in the company of my friends and my parents whom I could all fly over for the celebrations because I would be working in a great enough job to afford it. My husband would buy me expensive jewelry as the gift but the real secret gift would be a BMW he bought as a surprise.

Instead, on my 30th birthday, I was woken up, still in Kanjurmarg, by the major and the colonel both naked except for red ribbons tied in a bow around their dicks. That was their gift to me. Something I got everyday. Sex with them. Instead of toasting expensive champagne, we all got drunk on the godawful Indian made rum that they get for free from the army stores. And my parents, upset over "besmirching the family name by living like a harlot", did not even call up to wish me.

So no, life has not exactly turned out the way I expected it to. But it's still not bad. I make a decent living doing what I love, which is much more satisfying that earning a million rupees doing something you hate. I have two erudite, well-behaved and virile men to have sex with, without any pretense of love, which is better than being in a painful charade of a marriage with a husband when the love has long died. And the sex is better than it ever was.