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Thursday, July 19, 2007

An Enchant of Love

1. Prologue

It was second year of engineering. The third semester had completed. I had a fifteen-day vacation. When I reached after a prolonged, strenuous, energy-sucking thirty six hours journey back home, I found out that my parents were planning a trip to Maharashtra & Goa. Exuberance unloaded inside me and began to surface on my face.

“Co’ on dad, you never told me about this!”

“Take that as a surprise!” Dad said.

“But dad, I haven’t got decent clothes!”

“Nothing to worry, you have plenty out here, here’s your time to utilize ‘em.”

I looked at my mom, meaningfully, as I knew she would definitely help me in choosing the right ones for the trip.

I have been visiting places with parents since I was a child. The very first place of visit was South India, when I was in the second standard. I still remember how vexed I used to get when people enquired back, “So, are you in KG -Two?” whenever I used to tell them that I studied in class two. I would retort back, making a funny face, “No! Standard two!” People used to giggle at such a cute expression from a kid.

We would normally move out once in four years as the LTA provided by dad’s office was a World Cup occurrence. So, I could boast of seeing almost every state in India. The enthusiasm to visit new places came entirely from mom, dad, though had some inertia, could be convinced (or rather overpowered) and hence the propositions were always accepted after a thorough feasibility analysis!

I decided to extend my vacation by another five days. I would be sick for those days (of course on paper). This was done so that we could get a very pleasant and uninterrupted stay in Goa. We planned our itinerary and allotted a straight seven-day to Goa. I requested dad to buy me some good Tees and jeans so that I would feel comfortable in the hot and humid weather of Goa.


2. The School Boys

It was the end of January when we commenced our tour. We hired a car from Bhusawal, to see Ajanta & Ellora followed by Aurangabad.

I felt as if Aurangabad was a medieval city. We visited the Daulatabad fort, where I had to go up straight, around 200 – 300 steps, in order to reach the top and get an aerial view of the picturesque old city. A series of secret, quizzical, subterranean passages lie coiled like a python amidst the fort, I was getting scared at times as I had to go all alone, since my dad and mom preferred to stay back in the car, seeing the height of the ancient structure their interest level had degraded all of a sudden. The Fort itself lies in the body of an isolated hill; the steep hill sides at the base falling so sharply to the moat that no hostile troops could scale the height. But given the enthusiasm and positive energy of guys of my age, the uphill task was cheerfully accepted.

I would have perceived some earthly pleasures as I thought I would be influenced and maneuvered by the existence of other physical (or virtual) entities around myself. Indeed I could see decent guys in considerable numbers, and in order to make everything look usual I avoided prolonging a stare at anyone. There was a group of boys, from some local school, who were all dressed in school uniforms. I tried following this group discreetly. From their conversations I found out they must have been studying in plus two. There were three guys in that bunch who were genuinely handsome with well built bodies and broad shoulders.

I always fantasized guys having spatial hair on their body, chest & legs, that makes them more masculine with a radiance of deep, pure & fresh touch of irreverence, and I was very happy that most of these guys had that facet.

There are small allies inside the fort and hence are pretty constrained in terms of passage space for a group of people passing through them. They had to jostle and help each other in this way, making room for the next step. So, the perverted soul in me tried to reap an advantage out of this, but, I was disallowed that privilege by their guide. He was taking care that no body could listen to his voice other than that group, as he was taking them far away from everybody else. So, what I would do was, to show an unintentional urge to get in touch with those school students. It just happened that I stroke a small conversation with one out from that trio. I didn’t have to initiate it, that boy named Ramu was having problems climbing a step due to poor visibility; I just gave him my hand as a gesture of support.

“Thank you, Sir,” Ramu said.

“No problem,” I said, and then added “By the way I am just few years older than you, no need to call me Sir.”

He smiled back. I reciprocated as well. I had a chance to get a closer look at him later as we walked down into a bright passage.

“So, which standard do you study in?” I was afraid to lose the track.

“Class twelve, this is a short trip organized by our class,” he replied.

“I can see only boys; don’t you have girls in your class?” I tried acting straight; just in order to get involved in a chit chat with this boy, who was moving near to the other two.

“Our’s is not a co-educational school, we don’t have any girls school even nearby!” he frowned.

“That must be boring for you boys.” I winked. Ramu and his friend chuckled. We didn’t need an introduction to proceed with the conversation further.

I chanced snick peeks at Ramu as we kept on communicating. In fact it was I who would ask them a lot of questions. Savoring & relishing the frame constructed out of mind-boggling entities was my favorite pastime. I wouldn’t at all lose that convenience there as well.

Ramu had a charming physique; he had a mole on his upper lip. I noticed the way his skin had become lighter beneath his second shirt button. He had a wheatish complexion. As I saw his armpit while he was climbing up a rock by holding my hand (once again!), I found that the lush outgrowth was quite satisfactory. This added to the masculine aura that he carried. I could sniff a faint smell of some soup mixed with sweat when I tried getting close to him. It was enticing to watch the way his hair had coiled near his ears, and the sparse hair on his chest, which was partially visible.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to initiate anything of interest with him or the other two, as they were in a group, and it would be really weird to even look for chances. The pleasure I had derived while being with those guys was something I would have to take back out of the day’s visit. Somehow my mind was not able to perceive this as I still tried looking out for avenues for seclusion of any one of them from that group at some nook of the mysterious fort. But, I couldn’t anyway discover any remote possibility of such a thing happening.

Happily, I was rewarded by at least a glimpse of their beauty, when two guys went for an open air disposal of their body liquid. I positioned favorably in order to get a fair view of Ramu and his friend. He had a nice organ, it was semi-erect then, around four inches, I just imagined the potential it had to elongate, and I would have just preferred the elasticity to be the maximum.

We finally came to the thirty-meter high Chand Minar (Tower). It has three circular galleries, and looks beautiful. Dusk was setting up, and in the partial darkness I watched the trio for the last time and waved them goodbye. My heart became a bit heavy thinking that I would never ever see them again. But then I thought, a considerable portion of trip was still in contention, so I would rather have the opportunity of watching even better guys, in Goa and may be Mumbai.

We left Aurangabad the next day morning for Pune, reached there in about four hours, and shifted to a hotel. The following day we had seen certain prominent places in Pune like Raja Kelkar Museum, Parvati Hill & temple, Shanivar Wada, and Aga Khan Palace.

3. Neel

My bird watching flair found itself at a better disposition as usual, and this time the results were even better. I imagined myself as a screening machine with the search criteria ‘Hot, handsome, sexy …’ I expected the server not to return “Too many parameters for search or your search returned 0 entries!” I found Pune decent enough to harbour good guys, I had developed a peculiar scale of rating a city based on the number of decent guys I saw while staying there. I knew this was very irrational, but why shouldn’t I think my own ways, after all I am just trying to rate a city based on my passion. While I vaguely defined my preferences and wouldn’t at all discriminate based on color or caste, but sometimes I really look confused as to what my parameters were for deciding whether a guy turned me on. I always felt I would be able to figure out my likings crystal clear, but every time I tried, it turned futile. And given the context of love, I had been a loser so far, especially when I had fallen in love with a straight boy. That calls for another discussion which I would prefer to jot down sometime later.

We had booked a night sleeper coach bus for our onward journey to Goa. I would rate this part of the prose interesting as by god’s grace I was lucky enough to have a twist in my mundane life. The bus started at around 8:00 pm. It was supposed to take ten hours to reach Goa. I was allotted one berth and my mom and dad another. I discovered that one berth was large enough for two people; in fact it was a double berth. So, I thought that I was lucky to get all over myself in a double berth. It made me happy as I thought I wouldn’t have any problems sleeping at night due to space constraints.

I could see two beautiful girls in the passengers’ lot. I was pleased that at least I would have some eye tonic to relish, if not better guys. The later clause really disappointed me as I could identify uncles and grandpas among the rest!

The bus stopped after sometime, and I heard more people boarding it. One boy crawled onto my berth. I was disturbed at the same time happy. I found out that the boy was of my age, and this made me feel good. I couldn’t see much of his body as he was wearing a woolen jacket. He kept his small bag, near our feet, and settled down in a more or less reclining position. “Hi!” he said.

Then it was very odd not to talk with somebody with whom I was supposed to spend the entire night. I started off, “Hi! Are you going to Goa?” It was a sheepish start as I should have guessed that the bus wouldn’t have any more stops before it reached, but couldn’t manage anything better.

“Yes, you have the same destination I believe?” he gestured.

I nodded and then introduced myself, “I am Mohan, I have just completed my third semester engineering exams, and now we are on a tour of Maharashtra and Goa.”

“Hey that’s cool, I am Neel. I am studying second year B.Com in Pune. Pleased to meet you,” he replied. I started thinking about my prospect with this boy for the rest of the night.

I couldn’t help but carry on chatting with him, somehow I wouldn’t act indifferent. Being introvert by nature, it was not always possible for me to build rapport with strangers, but given the current context, I got some enthusiasm to go ahead.

“Is your native Goa?” I asked.

“Yes, I was born and brought up there, what about you?”

“Well, I am from a so called state,” I added “Tell me something about Goa.”

“Where are you planning to stay?” he asked.

“Dad has booked a room in his company guest house near a place called Miramar.”

“Hey that’s great dude; my house is also near Miramar.”

“Oh, I see,” I said.

I found out from him that the bus would stop once more for dinner, and then it would move until it reached Ponda. He continued the discussion about places of interest in Goa. He talked about North Goa & South Goa, the various beaches and also the famous churches. We were growing friendly in this way.

“Be there at Calangute beach, it’s a place where you can see lots of foreign chicks having sun bath.”

“Oops! I need to be careful while watching, you know, my parents will be around!” I said.

“You better be careful,” he winked. We laughed at this point which made us cozier.

I was having a mixed feeling about Neel; I liked his poise. I also found out from our conversations that Neel was a Konkani. He would be staying in his home for the same period, i.e. seven days, the same as we would stay in Goa.

I was interested to know about the place where a particular scene of DCH was shot, the one in which the three guys were sitting on the border of a broken fort with the seamless sea in front.

“Its Chapora Fort, you have to climb a lot in order to get there, as private vehicles are not allowed after a certain point; this fort is near Vagator beach.” he was descriptive.

“You need to be with friends to enjoy Goa, no offences, but you would find it a bit boring with your parents,” he said.

Goa, from my perception, was a place for water sports & scuba diving. I was always ebullient whenever I saw scuba divers on National Geographic or Discovery. I asked, “Any idea about scuba diving near the beaches?”

“That’s a fantastic sport; I have not done myself, but have seen people doing it. They need some specialized paraphernalia.”

“So, does that require any training, before you can actually go on a real tour?” I asked.
“Of course dude, novices cannot dive in just for fun!”

“And what are the equipments required?"

“I have some idea; you require a mask for seeing clearly through water, a snorkel for breathing, a pair of fins for gliding, and a few more. Good equipments will accentuate your dive experience and keep you safe.” I liked the way the information was shared precisely by him.

“So, do you have plans for scuba diving?” he asked.

“My parents will never allow, I can’t just think of!” I frowned.

“That’s sad, but in a way that’s helpful as well, because you never get into any sort of trouble.”

“And what about water-biking?” I continued the discussion.

“Oh yes, you can definitely do that at Calangute, the spot boys are helpful and they will take care that you don’t fall off!”

“Hey! That sounds quite interesting,” I said and added “How much do they charge?”

“Guess around hundred bucks for fifteen minutes or so.”

“But that’s too much!” I exclaimed.

“That’s the going rate here dude!”

It was time for dinner. I introduced him to my parents. He felt comfortable even with my parents. My father was happy to find someone from Goa. So he started enquiring him about things we needed to know in order to enjoy our stay and visit the places of interest. Neel, as usual, was very informative and briefly discussed almost everything he was aware of.

My father had high regards for Neel’s branch of study. This was because my dad had done a Masters in Commerce, but he always relented about not having applied his knowledge the way he would have liked to at his current job. He used to encourage me a lot to read Economics. I remember those stressful nights when my father would explain me everything I needed to know for the ten-mark economics section in class ten board exams and I would say at the end, that I didn’t understand a major portion of it! The way he used to get pissed off, and then start all over again. I admired his tenacity and patience. I didn’t do justice to his efforts at the exams, not because I didn’t try, but some fool preferred not to give me what I deserved while awarding marks. Now seeing a person from the same line of study dad was really excited. They discussed the future course of career, something which I was not able to make heads or tails about.

My mom also discussed a couple of things with him, but not related to his course of study. We were sitting closely as a family, with Neel beside us. I noticed that he was tall and dark, taller than me by a few inches. He had solemn eyes, which sparkled with the intellectual brilliance in him, and a long nose.

A turbulence of thoughts had initiated in my mind with so much happening in front of me. I was scared to think that I would ever initiate anything spicy with this boy. If I would misbehave, firstly, he might find it very odd. Secondly, I wouldn’t get to see him for the rest of the tour. I was so comfortable talking to him, within such a short time, and I wanted him to be with me for the period of stay in Goa. I thought, I wouldn’t get bored, and it would be fun with him accompanying us during our sight-seeing. I didn’t want to spoil it doing anything unwarranted in the later portion of the night. I had to take a decision, and rightly so, I thought in the correct direction. I relinquished hopes of anything special happening that night. I wouldn’t give it a second thought even. I could figure out from the conversations we had, that he was not oriented otherwise.

So when we came back after dinner, I started gathering more information about him. I knew his college or course of study wouldn’t be of any special interest for me, so I didn’t prefer any discussions on that arena.

“Do you have siblings?”

“Yes, I do, one brother and one sister, what about you?”

“I am the single offspring of my parents.”

“That’s kind of cool, ain’t it? You get the complete share of love and care,” he mused.

I was not amused, I always felt the need of a brother or a sister, and I craved for that. I knew it was impossible. The special love and bonding one develops while growing with his siblings is a fantastic experience altogether. Subtle arguments, then making up, caring, all these touch of emotions had always haunted me. I would often feel an unfathomable emptiness lingering within me, which could never ever fill up. Deep in my soul a quiet amber knew, it was me against me, it was the apparent paradox that drove me on towards de-alienating, turning acquaintances into friends and sharing some true feelings with them.

So, I told him, “You don’t realize the value of people you have around you, I do, as I have none. Only a blind person can tell what it feels being able to see the slightest of worldly lights.”

“Co ‘on dude, I just said like that, don’t get sentimental.”

“Actually you know what; I have felt the solitude without a sibling, which even I had told my mom. My mom had tried to console me saying a few kind words but it doesn’t really help much.”

He understood the gravity of the discussion he had sparked off! In an attempt to change the topic he started asking me about college.

“I understand, anyway don’t worry much, friends are always there at the time of need. Tell me about your friends at college, do you have a girlfriend?”

“No, I didn’t have that luck, though I have some feelings for one in our class,” I sighed.

“Interesting! Why don’t you tell her?” he wondered.

“It’s a different story dude, will tell you if I get the opportunity,” I said.

“Ok, if you are not at ease now.”

“What about you Neel?” I quizzed.

“I had one, when I was at school, we broke off due to some differences, now I am single and not looking.”

“Why not looking? Haven’t you yet recovered from the break-off?” I asked.

“It’s not like that, there are some other problems, which I need to sort out now, I won’t burden you with my difficulties dude,” he smiled.

We kept quiet for sometime, respecting each other’s need of doing so. Meanwhile I started thinking about him as a prospective friend, even though we had been just acquaintances for a few hours. I gathered some courage and spoke again “Neel can I request you for something?”

“Sure, go ahead!”

“Would you please accompany us during our sight seeing?” I urged.

He thought for a moment, and then said “I am not sure, if I can be there with you all through, but yes of course I won’t say a complete ‘no’. I have some plans while I am at home.”

“What about tomorrow?” I enquired.

“I have a function at home, which would be over by evening.”

“No chances of meeting you then?”

“I didn’t say that, we can meet after dusk, may be, go out for a stroll on Miramar beach,” Neel proposed.

“Wow! Miramar has a beach, that’s great!” I was exuberant.

“There’s nothing wow about that beach dude, it’s not good enough for bathing. But that place is the confluence of Mandovi River with the Arabian Sea. You can also see a lighthouse in the distance – that’s the Aguada Fort,” Neel was eloquent as ever.

“Ok, then will I call you around, say 8:00 pm? Will that be fine?” I asked.

“Fair enough,” he said and wrote his number on a piece of paper and handed over the same to me.

“Thanks dude, time to sleep, Good night.”

He wished me back with a smile and turned the other way and made himself cozy. I decided not to think about Neel anymore, and so tried to get a wink of sleep. But then, he was so easy going, and friendly. The way he spoke with a Yankee accent, spelt specific information about anything briefly, the panache he carried, were really impressive. I felt at peace that I would be in touch with him throughout my stay in Goa. With that thought I didn’t even remember when I would have knocked the doors of sleep.

The next morning Neel woke me up “Dude! We have reached Panaji.”

We boarded a local bus to Miramar. Neel accompanied us, and got down before we reached the beach bus stand. He reassured meeting me at dusk. It was not a difficult proposition finding the guest house as it was pretty near to the beach. The room was facing the sea. There was a verandah in front of the room; from where we could get a comprehensive view of the beach. This provided a perfect location for a stress free holiday. We felt contented and took some time off for ablutions & refreshment.

4. Dona Paula

The manager of the guest house informed my father that a place called Dona Paula was very near to Miramar, and we could go there in the evening.

The place is around four kilometers away from Miramar beach. It’s a very popular sunset point, also known as “Lover’s Paradise”; a legend is associated with this place. There’s a myth that has been en plain air. It’s about a lady named Dona Paula de Menezes, the Viceroy’s daughter. She faced staunch objections from her family about her love affair with a poor fisherman and consequentially jumped of the cliff. Some scenes of the film “Ek Duje Ke Liye” were shot here.

Water-scooting fa
cility is available there. I hopped on to a scooty. The driver was controlling it from the back. It was an exhilarating experience to drive on water, and I reminisced the DCH scene in which Akash would jump off from the scooty seeing Deepa chasing him from behind.

The sunset point is on top of a short-height hillock, mainly rocky, with the igneous rocks bulging out into the sea. The sun was yet to kiss the horizon; it played hide-and-seek with the cumulus clouds, scattered willy-nilly. The red dot virtually represented the vermillion on the forehead of a typical Indian lady. The Mormugao harbor is in close proximity to this place, hence that is viewable towards the left. Ships of the coast guards were visible in the distance. A scarlet sky, smiled at me making me miss Neel all through, the way he smiled and talked. The reflection of the dying sun on the water created a mystique sector of vanishing crimson amalgamating with dark turquoise, signifying the end of one more uneventful day of life! A cool breeze blew across my face, slapping me with a whip of salty, misty spray. I wondered if there were coral reefs underneath, the corrugated, treacherous ones that they show on Discovery always provided a topic of interest to me. These also somehow related to the ups and downs in my life hitherto! In such a romantic ambience it didn’t make much sense getting submerged into a
deep ocean of thoughts, an understanding partner could have pulled me out of it!

Undulations on the sea surface were almost similar to those happening in my mind at that point of time. I realized Neel’s persona had some effect on me; otherwise I wouldn’t ever spare moments thinking about him.

What if I could ever discover a good friend in him, with whom I would share all my secrets, if I could speak my heart out which I hadn’t done till then. It’s the way Neel carried himself, which made me ponder in this way; I was surprised if I was even entitled to harbour such thoughts in my mind about a person who was still a stranger to me. I didn’t find a friend so far who could understand how difficult it was to be disoriented, how hard it was to reconcile the two outlooks with each other. On one hand I needed to act straight in front of friends, crack jokes with them about girls, and also discuss their body features; on the other hand I could never ever find a confidant, whom I could say how I liked discussing physical attributes of voluptuous guys.

After returning, I called up Neel at around 8:00 pm and we planned up a meeting after dinner.

5. At The Beach

Neel met me at Café Coffee Day, near to the Miramar beach circle. He was wearing a snug red half T-shirt, and a three quarter. He was looking very smart. But, he had a grim face, and was limping.

“Hi! It seems this is the wrong time to meet you! What happened?”

“Got a cramp while moving down the stairs,” he frowned.

“Oh! That’s bad. Use my shoulder dude, rest your hand here,” I was benign.

“Thanks dude!”

We swerved past the bamboo racks put up on the beach to prevent soil erosion. They had a notice board there urging us not to rest our back against them. We had to move slowly as Neel had a bad leg muscle. We reached near the water, and as I settled down he squatted awkwardly.

“Hey… you can’t do that way, it will make things worse, better sit down and stretch your legs,” I suggested.

Neel ensconced following what I had said, he croaked while doing that. I thought of providing more help and hence I pulled his affected leg and placed it on my lap and said “Let me massage your muscle a bit, might just help,” I offered. He was taken aback by surprise, but he was nonchalant as he was in severe pain. “I don’t have words to thank you buddy!”

“It’s nothing. Can we be good friends?” I asked.

“We already are, don’t you think? Otherwise you wouldn’t have met me today in the first place and helped me, the way you are doing now!”

I looked at him and smiled. My feet fetish began to show its ignominious head! As I began to feel his leg and consequently the foot, a deep desire started eating me within, to kiss his foot, suckle his toe fingers and lick the corners of the nails. His hirsute leg drove me out of my senses. I began stroking his toe fingers very slowly, as if, very casually in order to remove the sand particles. I abstained from amorous advances, “It’s not yet time,” I said to myself. There was spatial hair on the upper portion of his foot.

“How’s your day?” I asked as I rubbed his leg muscle.

“Today was my sister’s engagement, the program completed by late evening.”

“Wow! That’s great news, hearty congratulations to her from me. It must have been exciting for you then.”

Neel sighed “If only you knew anything about the excitement you are talking about!” He looked depressed.

I didn’t understand. “How could somebody be so sad on such a happy day?”

He didn’t reply. I felt the paucity of words, I somehow figured out just that “If you consider me your friend, you will do a lot of good to yourself if you unleash your grievances, unburden your heart a bit.”

Neel kept quiet. “Co’ on dude, please don’t do this to yourself, at least you can tell me, I am a good listener even if I won’t be of much help,” I screwed up.

“Dude! Why should I spoil your holiday telling about my woos? Do I mean anything to you?”

“Please Neel, that’s why I asked if we could be good friends, did you think I said just like that? You can surely add lots of meaning to life and ameliorate it favorably when you have friends whom you can trust and look forward to whenever you are down.”

I continued, “I don’t know but something about you tells me that you have never shared your problems with anyone!”

Neel was mum as ever, he couldn’t strike an accord with me. I felt the need to stop blabbering; I had to respect his silence as I still couldn’t comprehend his ambivalence. The moonlight flickered on the sea water at times, and the creamy frothy waves splashed relentlessly against the shore. The searchlight from the lighthouse on a distant hill pulsated continually. I moved away from him, into the water and I felt the lukewarm water caress my feet. Suddenly I misbalanced as a huge wave broke off near my thighs, and I fell in water. I realized I had moved in too deep, such that an apparently harmless sea had begun to pounce upon me. Neel looked disconcerted; he came to my rescue, as he limped his way down. I stood on my feet again before he could near me.

“Why did you come? Why should you be concerned about me? Who the hell am I for you?” I grudged.

He held my hand and hugged me. I felt the warmth of his body against mine, and was comfortable at his gesture, but I pulled away. I helped him to the ground once again.

He started delineating his tale of sorrow, as I would regard it. Though a hackneyed theme, still I had enough patience to listen to it completely.

His father died in a car accident when he was a kid. His mother married another guy who had two kids, both older than Neel. He had never ever felt at home, as his step siblings and his father hated him and abused him mentally and physically. His mother was a weak lady, she couldn’t protest much even though she loved him a lot. During a major portion of his childhood, his mother was totally oblivious of the punishments that his step father used to meet him with. So, staying at home and growing in such a hostile environment was like fighting hard with destiny, with the hope of survival against all odds, in the midst of estranged family ties. He was bereft of love, care and affection. His education was taken care of by his mother; as his step father didn’t spend a penny. He was facing financial crisis then, as his mother’s earnings had reduced, and was doubtful about continuing his studies. That was why he had also broken off with his girlfriend. His heart was a thirsty weathered earth, craving for a drop of kindness and sympathy for all these years of life.

“I feel as if I have lain off a stone from my heart,” Neel sobbed.

“I knew you would feel better. It always good speaking out, rather than keeping pains to you.”

Again I felt the dearth of words for consolation; I rebuked myself for being such a dumbo. “I guess you come to home just for your mother?”

“Rightly so, I came this time because it won’t look nice to outsiders/relatives if I was absent during my step-sister’s engagement. But, as usual our internal rift came out in front of everyone.”

I had already made Neel sad, with all these somber discussions, but I also didn’t know how I could change the track. He was, I guess, better equipped in those terms, to handle subtle emotions and mood swings. “Anyway dear, thanks for being a patient listener, now could you tell me about your mental block in terms of proposing the girl you like in your class?”

“Oh! You still remember that!”

“Of course I do, after all we have become friends, and guess we should share our sorrows, ain’t it?”

“There’s a girl named Shruti in my class,” I started narrating my share of gloom.
“She speaks my mother tongue, she’s beautiful, convent educated, good natured. She’s good at expressing herself. You will never get bored talking to her, she’s a real treat.” I told, how I craved stealing a moment to talk to her, how I watched her the entire day in class. This was not a crush, had it been, it would have got over in no time. I was harbouring feelings for her right from day one at college, and now it’s almost a year and a half. This was love, not lust, not even a momentary obsession. But, my parents were strictly against love marriage, discussions wouldn’t help at all changing their outlook; I would regard them as incorrigible. There I was, an utterly confused individual, stuck somewhere in between the two orientations, courtesy my parents. A gay relationship wouldn’t be acceptable at all to my parents or the so called Indian society, and then there were restrictions regarding even a straight love affair! Of course I didn’t discuss my alternate ways with him!

“Did you ever try talking with your parents regarding this girl?”

“Yes, I did, but not directly, I told everything with a big ‘if’,” I explained.
“And how was that ‘if’?” Neel wondered.
“If I fell in love with a girl having Shruti’s characteristics, and everything in those lines.”

“It’s your life, you shouldn’t compromise with your feelings, talk directly, convince them, give it a try.”

“I don’t know dude, the way my life would mould me, let’s see.”
I liked the way we discussed the complications in our life, sitting on a sea shore. I took his hand and placed it on mine “Neel, it’s just great the way I have shared things with you.” I wanted to kiss him, and yet again I restrained myself as we were having straight talks.

It was late, my mom would start worrying. So, we came back. Neel accompanied me to the guest house. We planned to visit North Goa the following day, I was happy that he agreed to come with us.

That night I found Neel in my dreams. He was driving a bike, I was sitting on the back seat, and I hugged him from behind, as a girl would do to her guy. I enjoyed doing that. I placed my hands on his chest, and felt him closely. Then, I stretched my hands fully; a gust of air blew past me.

6. A Day And Night

We hired a Wagon R for our trip; the driver agreed to visit North & South Goa for two consecutive days. We started early; Neel was wearing an immaculate white T – shirt and a grey colored three quarter. He looked awesome in such an outfit, like the previous night. I suffered from an inferiority complex as I didn’t look as smart as him. But the thought of having him by my side and consequently his presence elated me. He had somehow glued in with us, and my parents didn’t mind that.

Calangute beach is one of the major haute spots in North Goa. Water-biking and parachuting facilities are available, and we opted for the former. Sea-bathing was quite obvious proposition for us.

I watched Neel bare-chested for the first time. He was a visible wonder, his stature and body shape were impressive. The contours on his body, the well–developed pectorals and toned body muscles were really a treat to the eyes. He couldn’t boast of huge biceps or triceps, but there were definitive characteristic traits in him which made him attractive. There were sparse hair on his chest and armpits. His tanned skin glistened in the sun, and exuded a radiance, enough to fall for him, and I wondered whether he was a cutie pie for girls in his college. I was so obsessed with him then, I didn’t have enough time to watch other semi-nude boys in my milieu.

“You have a good figure; do you go to the gym?” I asked.
“Well, tried some time back, but am lazy, so couldn’t get going a long way,” he smiled.

We strolled on the beach for some time to discover chicks taking a sun bath, but all the while I kept on watching Neel. His lips were very thin as if someone had used a brown crayon to outline them. He had a chiseled chin, a broad temple and attached earlobes. His eye-brows were a work of art, as if painted in to position by a perfectionist. Spatial hair embraced his hands, the quantity being such that would coincide appropriately with my expectations.

We began to dabble in the sea water. I put my hands around Neel’s waist, and sometimes around his neck, he didn’t mind that, and gleefully reciprocated. We held our hands together and jumped whenever a big wave forced its way towards us. I started craving for more physical contacts with him. I felt as if I was in a dream, and hugged him a couple of times.

Our next target was Vagator beach, which we reached after lunch. I posed in a similar fashion like Urmila Matondkar in ‘Rangeela’, in front of the black rocks as Neel helped me with a few snaps. Then we trekked our way to Chapora Fort, which is at a distance from the beach. Our driver had taken us near to the place from where we could move up to the famous DCH fort. Neel pulled me up when I was exasperated, the path was full of numerous round pebbles, one would surely hurl down if one misstep on a couple of them. Finally, we could identify the spot, and sat there emulating the protagonists. One tourist helped us with the snap, taken in a similar fashion as shown in the film. The fort didn’t have much to offer, it was bound by a broken stone wall from all sides, and there were nothing in the compound other than weeds and rocks.

We preferred staying there for some time; we were spellbound by the ambience. The unbound sea lay in front of us, with myriad untold and undiscovered secrets. As the other people left the place an unexpected thing happened. Neel suddenly kissed on my cheek and said “Had I been a girl, I would have married you; you are so cute and good at heart. I really like you, dude.”

I blushed, and my mind went blank, I felt that my tongue was tied as I found it hard to speak out. I looked at Neel, a complete eye contact happened, I melted at that, “Does it really matter even if you are not a girl?”

It was then or never, I had to tell him how I liked him, how I had been thinking about him. I made a dramatic proposal at that moment of truth; I held his hand and went down on my knees and said “You only like me, but I love you, and am serious, I love you for the person you are more than anything else.” Only if I had a rose in my hand! He, I guessed, was stunned. He took some moments to realize what I said, and then he pulled me up to his chest. This time I kissed, I planted a very short one, not on his cheeks, but lips. How I had craved for this moment, all through. I realized I had unknowingly developed feelings for him, what seemingly started as a lustful approach ended up in love and I was absolutely enamored.

“I am really mad about you Neel; I don’t know how I can live without you.”

“You know Mohan, but for my mom, I never had anyone saying me that he/she loved me before this.” He continued “Not even my girlfriend; it was a one-sided affair, I think she didn’t have any feeling for me, she just feigned everything. It feels great dude, I am privileged to have you in my life, I am honored that somebody loves me so much.”

It was time I uncovered my gay feelings to him. I wouldn’t hide anything at all from him. As if I continued from where I left my previous discussion about Shruti, I explained my predicament. This was the very first time I was talking so freely. He was a patient listener.

“I don’t have any ill-feelings against any person based on his/her orientation, it’s in your genetic set-up dude, and you can’t help it. You won’t be able to control yourself even if you try.” Then he told me something which I didn’t ever know, and wouldn’t ever comprehend as well! “Have you heard about Oedipus complex?”

I nodded negatively. He continued “There’s a story about a person named Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother. It’s the same feeling which every straight person has in his sub-conscious mind. Man is attracted to any source of feminine beauty and it doesn’t even matter if that is his own mother. Similarly, a person who is a gay/girl may start liking his/her father.”

“Oh! My god, I can’t believe this!” I exclaimed.

“That’s all very hard to believe, but that is a fact. Do you know another thing? The gene of homosexuality is believed to be found on the ‘X’ chromosome, so you'd never inherited that from your father. You've the trait as that gene is dominant in you. Even I can also have that gene, but I wouldn’t show up anything if that is recessive in me.”

“But how do you know all this, you are not a science student!” I was surprised.

“Sure, I am not, one of my school friends told me this, I didn’t do a research, and I am not sure if that is absolutely correct.”

“So he has alternate orientation,” I inferred.

“No, I guess, I never heard anything about him.”

I never expected him to be so knowledgeable about these issues. Now, I became even more concerned about the future of our relationship. How could I ever think of losing him?

“Don’t feel bad dude, it’s not your fault. I understand your feelings for me, and I assure you I like you as much as you do,” he gave me a warm hug after saying this.

We hurried back to the car, as it was already too late, and we had to get into the cruise on Mandovi River by dusk. Santa Monica - that was our evening cruise’s name. This is one popular program in the evening on the river. It is an hour’s trip, where they would take people to the confluence of Mandovi with the Arabian Sea, and further. When the host invited ‘all bachelors’ to occupy the stage and dance; Neel and I went there instantaneously. We danced to the tune of ‘Brazil la la la’, which perfectly suited the atmosphere on the cruise.

“Would you stay with me tonight, I would show you some of my photographs, and books, we could also end up watching a movie.” Neel suggested. I happily accepted his offer after getting the permission to do so from my parents.

His house was very near to our Guest House. He introduced me to his mom; I noticed a striking similarity of Neel’s face with her’s. He didn’t care to talk with his step-siblings or dad and took me straight to his room. A pretty small room, stuffed with a whole bunch of books and a computer.

“Why don’t you take your pc to Pune?” I pondered.

“We have some space problems there, anyway I don’t miss this much.”
I saw a book on ‘Swarm Intelligence’. He told me that he had never read that, as it didn’t belong to him. He began to show his photographs, he was pretty good at his job. He also had an interest in numismatics; he had an extensive collection of coins. After a while, I felt sleepy, so I told him. We went to bed; he wore just a half pant. “Since it’s hot out here, I like sleeping bare chest, you can also be free.” I also did the same.

I hugged him. I had him completely in my mind & soul and then it felt really awesome to be in physical contact with him. I felt scintillation when his bare body touched mine, my heart started thumping very badly. He started kissing me; His lips were then interlocked with mine. His tongue began to explore my mouth like a snake; it touched the inner whorl of my teeth, our saliva united. I felt as if I was in a dream, the warm and wet kiss blew me out of my mind. I was flying on cloud nine, a place where I could see nothing but just discover the pleasure of touch. I started to explore his upper lip as he bit my lower one. The male virile fragrance of his body made me hug him more tightly, as it drove me crazy. I moved down and buried my face in his chest; I stayed like that for a long time. I kissed on his chest, how I had craved doing that, but then I realized I was doing that out of passion for him. I wanted to service him in every possible way; I moved further down and started chewing his toe fingers, and then slowly moved up kissing his foot, leg and finally stopped near his thigh.

Neel pulled me up and said “I don’t want you to do that dude, I don’t feel that’s appropriate, I like you and if you do that it would seem like I am your master.” He made me realize the difference between love and lust. I was in such a frame of mind that I wouldn’t mind doing anything for him, whatever he wanted me to do, I loved him so much. “I can do any damn thing you want, I am completely dedicated to you my dear,” I offered.

“I just want you to stay in my heart, nothing more. You have helped me emotionally yesterday, am grateful to you for that, I never expected anything of that sort from anyone.”

“Your personality had an impact on me right from the time we met, I started liking you, and I am really sorry about the way your family treats you, I feel bad for you.”

“That’s how I have to live; I can’t take my mom away from them, neither can I move away from her, I am in a vicious circle,” he sobbed. I didn’t let him cry and pulled him to my chest, we hugged each other again. I felt his warm breathe. I was experiencing the romanticism for the first time in life, and I never thought I would ever get involved with a boy in such a way. I could vaguely comprehend the love affair of a straight couple; while that between a straight person and a bisexual was something rare.

As our hearts pounded all through, I moved myself against him until I spilled all over his pant; he also finished off sooner, and then we went to sleep. I was fond of his characteristic smell; I was peaceful in his arms for the rest of the night.

7. Tailpiece

The next day we visited South Goa; Basillica of Bom Jesus, the Church of Our Lady of Rosary, Shanta Durga & Mangesh Temples. Neel didn’t come as he had some work.

We made love twice after that night. It was a joy ride for me. His solemn eyes always spoke a lot more than his words; mine were full of appreciation for him. I took one of his T-shirts, which embodied the sweet memories of him and his scent.

It was the end of our trip, and an end to my romantic honeymoon with Neel. He came to see me off at the bus stand. I was very sad; I couldn’t accept that it would be difficult to meet him henceforth.

“Please come to my place dear, I would also try to come to Pune sometime.”

“Remember dude, I am just an email or a phone call away, physical distance may separate us, but you will always stay here.” He pointed to his heart and then he said for once “I love you Mohan, I really do.”

I hugged him one last time and broke down into tears, “I will always miss you.” I wetted his shirt near his chest. He wiped my tears “Dude! You have to be strong, even I have a heavy heart,” he sighed. I felt that the void in me had filled up with the elixir of his love for a few moments; it would once again be same as earlier.

“Never say goodbye,” he waved me after a painful separation.

To phir aao, mujhko satao,
To phir aao, muhjko rulayo,
Aa bhi jaao, aa bhi jao…….