From the old site, a story inspired by a good friend from India
By Kenny Walters
Jaya Patakala yawned. She was bored, and tired too, having worked in the shop all day since it opened at 8.30. The afternoon had been particularly quiet although in another ten minutes or so, when the schools closed and some of the local businesses followed suit, she could expect to be busy again.
“Jaya! Why are you sitting there yawning? Why don’t you get a cloth out and dust the merchandise and tidy things up? I don’t pay you to sit around day-dreaming you know.”
“Yes, Aunt Malla.”
Jaya did as she was told, knowing only too well it was pointless arguing with her aunt. Just turned eighteen and not long having left school, she was fortunate to have a job in her aunt’s stationery shop. Even though her back ached and her legs were tired, at least it was clean and relatively easy work. Her best friend, Sitara, had to work in her family’s tannery where the work was dirty and very smelly, and the hides very heavy.
Taking the opportunity to move to the front of the shop, in reality a large open-fronted concrete floored room secured by roller shutters at night, Jaya looked idly up and down the street as she dusted some packs of white computer paper. The street was deserted apart from a couple of women chatting together on the opposite side and a man unloading fresh vegetables from a small Suzuki van into another shop about a hundred yards away.
With the computer paper dusted and neatly restacked on the table, Jaya moved along the front of the shop to the next table which held several bundles of pale yellow rattan cane, all neatly cut into three feet lengths and bound together according to their thickness with rough green twine. The canes had been selling well and the bundles were loose where some had been pulled out for customers. Jaya took the opportunity to untie each bundle, wipe each cane and then re-secure it neatly.
“How much longer are you going to keep me waiting, Jaya?”
Jaya jumped as she was awakened from her daydream by an authoritative female voice bellowing into her right ear. She looked round to see whose displeasure she’d incurred this time.
“Sitara! You made me jump!” Jaya grinned in spite of her mock show of annoyance as she recognised her best friend. “What are you doing here at this time? Haven’t you any work to do?”
“No, Jaya. I’m a good girl who gets on with her work instead of standing around daydreaming. That means I can get off early when all the work is done for the day.”
“Your father spoils you, you mean. He should be stricter with you. I think I’ll take some of these canes around to his workshop and recommend he buys a few.”
“I’m afraid you’re a little too late, Jaya. My father already has a good collection, thank you.”
“Really, Sitara?” A twinkle in Jaya’s eye both teased Sitara and urged her to offer a fuller explanation.
“Yes. Oh gracious! I must get home and get the supper on.” Sitara looked pointedly at her watch.
Before Jaya could reply, Sitara had turned away. Then a customer arrived requiring Jaya’s assistance.
“I need several pens for my students to try doing some pen and ink drawings. Do you have any? I’m looking for the old-fashioned sort with wood handles and a separate nib.”
“Yes, we have some in a drawer at the back of the shop. Come with me and I’ll show you.”
Jaya led the middle-aged woman toward an old painted pine unit that had twelve rows of eight drawers each row that a relative had made specially for her aunt. She opened a small drawer in the second row and took out a small paper package. “We have three sizes of nib – small, medium and large.” Jaya held out examples of each size in the palm of her hand.
“What about the holders? The nibs are no good to me without the holders.”
Jaya looked again in the same drawer. This time she brought out a bundle of wooden pen handles, all painted red and secured together by a rubber band. “I’m afraid we have just the one colour of holder. We used to have some blue ones too but they sold out.”
“These will be fine. I’ll take eight holders and ten each of the largest and smallest nibs, please. Students are so careless these days. They’re bound to break the nibs sooner or later.”
Jaya counted out the holders and the nibs, then put them all into a paper bag for the customer. “What about ink? Do you need any ink? We have very good quality ink in black, blue, red and green.”
“What size bottles do you have?”
“We have 14 ml, 28 ml and 42 ml bottles, madam. They’re over here on these shelves.”
“I’ll take two each of the largest size. And it’s miss, not madam.”
“I’m sorry.” Jaya started selecting bottles to meet the customer’s order. “Oh dear, I’m afraid we’ve run out of the largest size of black ink. Would the 28 ml size do for now? We’ll be getting the larger size in very soon.”
“Yes, I’m sure we’ll manage.” The woman smiled and Jaya instantly felt more at ease.
“That’s a total of Rs. 47/-, miss.” Jaya put the customer’s purchases into a larger bag with handles. “Was there anything else that you needed? We have very good stocks of paper at the moment.”
“Quite the little saleswoman, aren’t you?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”
“Don’t worry! I’m only joking with you. I’m very grateful for your help.”
Jaya smiled weakly, not totally certain she liked being the subject of this woman’s teasing. As the woman left the shop, Jaya followed her so that she could resume her tidying of the canes at the front.
“I’ve been told I should consider buying a few of those.” The woman said, as she watched Jaya. “Do you think they are any good?”
Jaya flushed. “I, er, don’t know. They are quite popular. They sell very well.”
The woman smiled. “I see I have embarrassed you. Come. You can’t have left school so very long ago yourself. How old are you? Eighteen? I bet you know only too well how effective they are, from personal experience. Am I right?”
“No, I never got the cane at school, actually.”
“At home then?”
Jaya suddenly felt very hot. She didn’t answer the customer, preferring to look down at the toes of her feet, protruding from hard leather-soled sandals.
The woman customer chuckled. “I’m sorry, I’m teasing you. I’ll leave you in peace now.”
As the woman finally went on her way down the street, Jaya was joined by her aunt.
“I hope you looked after that customer properly, Jaya. She could be very important to us.”
“Why? Who is she?”
“Her name is Hamsani Thankamma. She’s the new headmistress at the school just to the west of town. I’m hoping she’ll become a very good customer. Now, have you finished dusting? If so, you can start putting some new stock onto the tables.”
The following day, Jaya was sent on an errand by her aunt and had to pass by the tannery where Sitara worked with her father. She found her friend taking a break, leaning against the wall of the single story building.
“Whenever I see you, you are always taking it easy, Sitara.”
“I’ve been scraping the hides, Jaya. It’s so tough to do. It’s really hard work.”
“Yes, I’m lucky. Working in my aunt’s shop isn’t so bad really.”
“Would you like a cup of tea, Jaya?”
“Won’t your father mind?”
Sitara smiled. “No, he’s okay actually. I’ll make him one too. Then he’ll be very happy. Come on into the office.”
Sitara led Jaya through part of the workshop area, where Jaya put a handkerchief to her nose against the smell of the hides being cured in large tanks, and into a white walled office containing a desk and several chairs.
“Take a seat. I’ll put the kettle on.” Sitara left the room through another door and Jaya could hear the metallic sound of a kettle being filled and put on a stove.
Jaya remained standing, looking around and focusing on a large scenic photo on a calendar pinned to the wall. After a few minutes, Sitara returned holding two cups of tea.
“Here, I’ve taken my father a cup too. He’s cutting some hides into strips for a belt maker we sell to.”
“He won’t mind us being here?”
“No. Why should he?”
“I don’t know. I find your father quite intimidating, actually.”
“My father? Intimidating?” Sitara giggled. “Why?”
He never says very much and he always seems to frown. And you said he is very strict with you.”
“No more than any father.” Sitara answered thoughtfully. “Anyway, we girls always have our fathers wrapped round our little fingers, don’t we?”
“Do we? I thought you said your father beat you when you were naughty.”
Sitara blushed. “Well, occasionally. When I was younger, mostly. Didn’t yours?”
“My father was away for much of the time. He still is. So, no, he never beat me. I’ve often wondered what it would be like.”
“Doesn’t your aunt beat you, Jaya?”
“No, never.” Jaya replied, looking into her cup of tea.
Early the following week, Jaya was as usual working in her aunt’s shop when she saw Hamsani Thankamma approaching.
“Good afternoon, Miss. That’s a lovely sari you’re wearing. That deep blue colour really suits you.”
“Thank you, Jaya. You don’t sell material as well, do you?”
“Er, no. This is just a stationery shop, miss.”
“I’m teasing you again, Jaya.” Hamsani smiled.
Jaya looked down. She felt awkward in this woman’s presence, although she didn’t know why. After a few moments, she recovered her composure and asked: “How can I help you, miss?”
The woman looked up and down the street, apparently checking no-one was near enough to be able to hear their conversation. “It’s a little bit difficult, actually. I expect you’ve met this problem before.”
“Problem, miss?” Jaya appeared baffled as indeed she was.
“I need to buy some canes. Probably at least two, maybe more.”
“Okay. Well, we have a good selection. We sell a lot of them.”
Jaya turned to the canes on display on a table at the front of the shop and stood to one side so the customer could look at them. “They vary from four millimetres thick right up to fourteen millimetres. Which ones would you like?”
Hamsani hesitated. “Which ones would you recommend? My girls are mainly in their later teens.”
“Well, I don’t really know, miss. I suppose the very thin ones would be best suited to younger children. Perhaps something like the eight, the ten or the twelve sizes for older girls?”
“You don’t seem very sure, girl. I’m sorry, I don’t know your name. I feel I need your experience in these matters.”
“My name is Jaya, miss. Jaya Patakala. I’m afraid I have never received a caning.”
Hamsani chuckled. “That wasn’t quite what I meant, Jaya. What I meant was, in your dealings with your other customers, have you learnt which are the best, or perhaps the most popular, of your canes.”
“Yes, of course. I’d say the smaller sizes are more whippy and preferred to those who just want to impose a nasty little sting, whereas the thicker ones are better for a more severe punishment.”
“Which would you prefer to receive, Jaya? If you ever did need to be punished.”
“I suppose I’d prefer the stinging strokes from the thinner canes, miss.”
“Ah, but which would be most effective in making you mend your ways?”
Jaya thought carefully. “I’m really not sure, miss. In some ways the thicker canes might be more bruising but then again the thinner ones would give a sharper sting. Without having experienced either, it’s really hard to say.”
“Perhaps I ought to give you a few strokes with both sorts. Then we’d both know which would be best.”
While Hamsani Thankamma struggled to keep a straight face and thus reveal her teasing, Jaya was deep in thought.
“You are so right, miss.” Jaya jumped, not having seen her friend, Sitara, approaching them. “She is spoilt rotten. It would do her good to have a good thrashing. It might stop her spending so much of her time day-dreaming when she’s supposed to be working.”
Jaya stuck her tongue out at her friend. “Ignore her, miss. She’s just a nasty little trouble-maker.”
“She knows I speak the truth, miss.” Sitara told Hamsani. “Anyway, she’s such a coward she’d run a mile if she thought there was any chance she would be caned.”
“Oh no I wouldn’t!” Jaya declared forthrightly.
“Jaya! Did you deliver those cardboard boxes to Mr Patel? He needed them before three o’clock today.”
Jaya looked round, worried. “Oh, no Aunt Malla! I’m so sorry, I forgot. I’ll do it now.”
“Too late, Jaya. I’ve already had to do it myself. You really are such a dreamer these days. Good job I anticipated you forgetting otherwise we might have lost Mr Patel as a customer.”
“Sorry, Aunt Malla. I don’t know how to make it up to you.”
“Perhaps I ought to let this lady try a couple of canes on you.” Aunt Malla glanced at Hamsani Thankamma, both of them struggling to keep straight faces.
“That’s a very good idea.” Sitara added.
“Okay.” Jaya said, much to everyone’s surprise. What they didn’t realise was that Jaya, too, was finding it difficult to conceal her true feelings. “Can we go into your office to do it, please Aunt Malla? I really don’t think I should be punished in public.
“Jaya. This really isn’t necessary. We’re only teasing you.” Aunt Malla finally let on. Both Hamsani and Sitara looked disappointed, but realised the joke had gone far enough.
“No. Please, Aunt Malla. I’m eighteen now and this is probably my last chance to be punished like a child. It really is something I want to experience.” The expression on Jaya’s face left no-one in any doubt of her sincerity. “And I do deserve it.” She added for good measure.
Sitara, a pretty slim girl like Jaya, looked questioningly at both of the older women. It seemed inappropriate for her to comment, but secretly inside she was urging them to agree.
Aunt Malla shrugged. “If the silly girl wants her backside tanned, then why should I stand in her way?” She told Hamsani Thankamma.
The headmistress hesitated. “I’ve never actually caned anyone in my life before.” She said, with her eye fixed firmly on Jaya.
“Then it will be a good learning experience for both of us.” The girl answered.
“Why don’t you choose the canes, Jaya?” Hamsani suggested. “It somehow seems appropriate you should select the implements with which you are to be punished.”
Jaya immediately turned to the bundles of canes on the table at the front of the shop, looking over them as a child gazes at candy.
“I think I would like to try eight and twelve millimetre examples. They are towards each end of the range without being stupidly inappropriate for someone of my age. Would those be okay with you, miss?”
“They would be fine, Jaya.”
“Okay. Let’s have this one and… this one.” Jaya selected two canes from the relevant bundles and pulled them free. She held them out for Hamsani Thankamma to take.
“They will be fine, Jaya. No, you take them.”
“The office is this way.” Jaya started to lead Hamsani Thankamma towards the back of the shop. Aunt Malla stood back to let them pass, but Sitara followed closely behind the headmistress. They went through a rear storeroom and out through an open rear door, at which point Jaya noticed Sitara was coming with them. “It’s all right, Sitara. You don’t need to come too.”
“Are you kidding? I’m not missing this!” Sitara neatly sidestepped around Jaya and continued round a corner where there was a small wooden building attached to the back of the shop. “Here we are. This is the office.” She announced to Hamsani, and held the door open.
“Sitara!” Jaya protested.
“Oh shut up and get in there!” Sitara gave her friend a push. “You wouldn’t want to deprive me, your best friend, of the chance to see you getting the good hiding you richly deserve.”
“Sitara, this is no time for joking.”
“Who is joking?”
Inside the office, there was little more than a desk, two chairs and a tall wooden cupboard.
Hamsani Thankamma clapped her hands and said: “Stop squabbling, girls. Otherwise there will be two of you to test my new canes on. Put the canes down, Jaya, and let’s get organised.”
“Oh, you’re so strict!” Sitara said dreamily, a broad grin on her face.
Jaya stared at her friend with her bright brown eyes wide open as the reality of what she had let herself in for began to sink in. She placed the two canes down on the desk.
“How are we going to do this?” Hamsani asked.
“Let’s bend her across the desk.” Sitara suggested. “That’s how I get, I mean got, punished by my father. Then we can hold her down if she struggles.”
“I’m sure that won’t be necessary, will it Jaya?” The headmistress looked uncertainly at Jaya.
Jaya just shook her head.
“But that does seem a good way to proceed.” Hamsani continued. “Let us try the thinner cane first.” She picked up the smaller cane from the desk, placed the other one on a chair and stood clear of the end of the desk to make way for Jaya.
As Jaya hesitated, a ghostly silence permeated throughout the small room and when Sitara licked her dry lips the sound seemed almost deafening. “Oh, for goodness sakes!” Jaya muttered and approached the end of the desk where she leaned down across it.
“Be patient with me, I’ve never done this before.” Hamsani said as she shuffled her feet in order to position herself correctly to apply the first stroke.
“No, no! This is not right.” Sitara held her hand up to stop the headmistress swinging the cane down. “Jaya, you must bend over the desk more, and you’ll never feel a thing through all that clothing.”
To help make it clear what she meant, Sitara pushed Jaya between her shoulder blades forcing her down onto the wooden desk top. Then she lifted Jaya’s pretty blue patterned churidar (an embroidered smock-like garment) and folded it well up the girl’s back. Underneath, Jaya wore pale tan coloured trousers, quite tight fitting like jodhpurs.
“These are too thick. They will have to come down.” Sitara smacked her friend across the bottom.
“Thick?” Jaya protested. “They aren’t at all thick. They are quite thin actually.”
“No matter. Come along. Undo your trousers and I will pull them down for you.”
“This is ridiculous!” Jaya declared, although straight away she began unfastening her trousers. As soon as they became loose, Sitara took hold of the waistband and yanked them down to Jaya’s ankles.
“Ooh! Nice underwear. I’m extremely jealous.” Jaya’s underwear comprised pale blue brief panties hand embroidered with white silk. “Did you do the needlework yourself?”
“You know, it would be such a shame if it got damaged by the cane whacking your bottom. Don’t you think?”
“Well, yes, I suppose… Hey!”
“Come on, we’re all girls together, aren’t we?” Sitara, in a flash, had slipped Jaya’s knickers down so that her friend’s creamy smooth bottom was totally exposed.
“When you two girls have quite finished, I have two canes to test and other things to do before sundown.” Hamsani Thankamma said testily, although a satisfied smile on her face suggested her irritability was less than genuine.
Sitara responded by smacking Jaya sharply on her bare bottom. “There! She’s at your mercy.”
Jaya scowled at her friend, and even Hamsani gave Sitara an odd look.
“Are you ready, Jaya?” The headmistress asked gently.
“Yes.” Jaya squeaked and braced herself.
Hamsani swung the cane back and sent it forward in an arc that landed in little more than a tap across Jaya’s bottom.
“Gracious me!” Sitara exclaimed. “You’re supposed to be punishing her! Look! There’s hardly a mark on her bottom.”
“Perhaps a little harder?” Hamsani suggested, conscious that Jaya was actually a volunteer for this exercise.
“Okay.” Jaya agreed.
The headmistress swung the cane further back and swung it sharply across Jaya’s bare bottom where it landed with quite a sharp crack.
“Oooww!!” Jaya cried, at the same time smiling excitedly at Sitara.
“Stronger! Use more force!” Encouraged Sitara.
Hamsani willingly complied with the suggestion and quickly delivered an even harder stroke.
“Yeeeooww!!” Jaya cried out. “That really stings!”
“It’s supposed to.” Her friend replied. “These thinner canes really do smart. Sometimes I think they’re worse than the thicker ones.”
“I can see little red lines on your bottom, Jaya.” Hamsani added. “Where the cane has smacked your bottom.”
“Oh, that’s nothing.” Sitara said contemptuously. “Give her a few more and really lay it on good.”
“You reckon?” Hamsani asked, but didn’t wait for an answer. Instead she delivered five firm strokes in quick succession, although she concentrated hard on spreading them out down Jaya’s firm young bottom.
“Ouch! Ouucchh!! Oooww!! Aaaaahh!! Yeeeoouch!!”
“That’s much better.” Sitara encouraged. “Keep going.”
“Hold on one moment!” Jaya protested. “We are only trying these canes out. I can assure you the thinner one works very well indeed.”
Hamsani Thankamma chuckled. “Sorry, Jaya. Perhaps we were getting a little carried away there. If you’ll bear with us, I’ll try the thicker cane now.”
“Okay.” While Hamsani changed canes, Jaya took the opportunity the ease herself up from the desk and rub her sore bottom. She also found time to glare angrily at Sitara when her friend grinned at her.
“Okay, when you’re ready Jaya.” The headmistress returned to her position and looked down at Jaya’s bare bottom, now criss-crossed with several thin but sore looking red lines.
Jaya blushed as she looked round and caught Hamsani looking down at her bare bottom. At the same time, Jaya also noted the rather thicker and firmer looking rod with which she was about to be chastised. Nonetheless, she dutifully flopped back down across the desk and offered her bottom up for punishment.
“Good girl.” Hamsani commented as she lined up another stroke, brought the cane back and then sent it down with a sharp jerk of her arm.
“Unh!” Jaya grunted.
“It’s certainly less whippy and perhaps a little better to control.” Hamsani explained to no-one in particular.
“Rather duller whack too.” Jaya added.
“Perhaps you should try hitting a bit harder.” Sitara suggested, and immediately attracted another of her friend’s angry glares.
Hamsani ignored Sitara and sent another similar stroke rattling down across Jaya’s bare bottom.
The next stroke was indeed a little harder, but still brought little more than a grunt from the bending girl.
“Ooh! You’re bottom is getting quite red, Jaya. Does this cane not hurt as much as the thinner one?” Hamsani asked.
“It’s different.” Jaya explained. “Not as sharp and stingy, more of a duller longer lasting pain.”
“Let’s try another couple.” Hamsani raised the cane rather higher and delivered a harder whack across Jaya’s bare bottom, followed in quite quick succession by a second similarly hard stroke.
“Aaaahh!! Ooooohhhh!! That hurts!”
“Your bottom is getting very red, Jaya.” Sitara told her. “Really very red indeed.”
“I think two more, then we will call it a day.” Hamsani decided.
“Oooocchh!!” The headmistress brought the cane sharply down before Jaya was really expecting it. She kept herself on guard for the final one.
“Aaaaaahh!” Jaya gasped as the cane struck her fine naked backside for the final time. Immediately she eased herself up from the hard wooden desk top and began rubbing her bottom frantically.
“Are you okay, Jaya?” Hamsani asked, a little worried by the girl’s reaction.
“She’s fine.” Sitara answered for her friend. “She might need a cushion to sit on later though.” Sitara failed to disguise a broad grin as she spoke.
“This isn’t funny!” Jaya exclaimed as she pulled up her underwear and her trousers. “My bottom is damn well sore!”
“I’m sorry but you looked so cute with your well smacked bottom on display.”
“Cute!” Jaya exclaimed. “Cute?”
“Come along, girls.” Hamsani Thankamma brought a hint of authority to quieten the two friends and prevent any unpleasantness that might have ensued. “I think I prefer the thinner, more whippy canes actually. Jaya, in view of your admirable assistance I will take a dozen of them, plus just two of the thicker ones in case I get a really difficult student who needs something a bit firmer.”
With Jaya now fully dressed, Hamsani led them back to the front of the shop where Jaya was able to fill her customer’s order.
“We can make that Rs 120/-, miss. We can allow some discount because of your very kind and sizeable order.”
“You’re very kind, Jaya, and many thanks for your wonderful assistance.” The headmistress said as she handed over the cash.
“You’ve made a good friend there.” Sitara told her friend when the headmistress was walking away down the street and safely out of earshot.
“You think so?”
“Oh yes. She’ll be back to buy plenty more goods from you. You just wait and see.”
“I hope she needs stuff like paper and pens long before she needs some more canes.” Jaya answered, rubbing her bottom tenderly.