Fiction: Crossing lines…

I touch you tentatively. You flinch at first, and then, as if taking a decision, nod at me, giving me permission to touch. I come close. I hold you close, my fingers gently cupping your shoulders, my right hand on your chest. You move gracefully to the sound of music.

I’m surprised. I didn’t know you danced. Your hand rests firmly on the small of my back, gently guiding my movements. I look up. Your eyes are almost closed, as though enjoying the pleasure of the moment. I can’t resist. I reach up and kiss your jawline.

A slow smile spreads on your lips as you open your eyes. You pull me in closer, as if to ask, “what next?” I’ve made my decision. Tonight is mine. I kiss you deeply, my fingers running through your hair. You return my kiss, with a passion that makes me believe you wanted this for longer than you cared to admit.

Your arms tighten around my waist, drawing me in. I can feel your desire, and my heart does a victory dance. I glance quickly around the room and realise that nobody is quite bothered if we’re there. As if reading my mind, you nod and pull me along towards the exit.

I can hardly contain my emotions, my mind is a whirlwind of thoughts. I hand over my parking card to the valet and wait. All the while, your arms are firmly around my hips, as if to reassure me that all will be well. As the car arrives, you take the keys and slide into the driver’s seat. I’m surprised, and don’t quite know what to expect. You take my hand and hold it to your chest for a second before starting. Twenty mins later, you’ve pulled into an apartment I’m unfamiliar with.

You park, come around and open my door as I sit frozen. It’s your place, it dawns on me. You’ve brought me home. Home. Not a nondescript hotel room. This begins to take on a whole new meaning. I get down from the car and fall into step with you. Minutes later, I’m in a beautiful apartment. It’s obvious that you live alone, but it’s exactly like I’d have wanted it to be: cozy, intimate. It’s clear that this is your space. Everything here feels like you. Feels like home.

As you shut the door behind us, I feel the excitement return. My heart races as you once again pull me close to you. And now, it’s no holds barred. I kiss you again, this time more passionately, more surely. My fingers caress your neck, wishing you weren’t wearing so many layers. You break the kiss and whisper into my ear, “Tonight, I surrender to your will.”

I need no more invitation. I unbutton your shirt, and run my fingers on your bare chest. You moan softly. I look up into your eyes to see raw passion. I realise with a jolt how much and how long I have wanted this. For as long as we have known each other, I’ve wanted this intimacy.

You unzip my dress, letting it fall in a heap around my feet. Now I know there’s no going back. I kiss you again, not getting enough of you. My own desires are impossible to deny. I know yours is too. You smell like soap and aftershave and a perfume that’s uniquely you. I reach down and undo your belt, letting your pants fall. You oblige by stepping out if it, and lifting me in one swift motion out of my clothes. Now, it’s just you and me.

I’m almost crying in anticipation and desire. You snap my bra open, even while gently guiding me to your room. We leave a trail of clothes in our wake, expensive garments carelessly discarded in the heat of desire. I pull you in, wrap one leg around your hips and nibble your earlobe. I hear a sharp intake of breath that indicates how pleasurable it is for you. I gently push you back on the bed and take charge.

I kiss every inch of you, relishing the feel of your skin, the hardness of your muscles and the heat of your desire. I can see you beginning to lose control. I see the lust in your eyes, threatening to overshadow everything else. I decide not to tease you any more.

I straddle your hip, gently guiding you into me. You gasp. You moan. And then, swept up in a wave of desire, you begin to stroke. I’m still in control but I realise that it’s not going to last much longer. You’re on the edge. You take control. I relinquish mine. As you take me, I ride on wave after wave of pure pleasure. Our bodies glisten with sweat despite the air conditioning.

Finally, you allow yourself to climax, filling me deep inside. Exhausted, I fall back onto the sheets. You draw me closer, pulling the sheet around us. As we fall asleep, I only see a contented smile on your face, signalling that this was an important line to cross.

Love…

Sometimes, when people ask me if S will “allow” this and that, it makes me wonder. Would you like to spend the rest of your life with someone who controls your every move, monitoring how you engage with the world, and what you do with your time? No right? Nobody would. Husbands who actively stop their wives from working, travelling, staying late and everything else belong in the same category: unpleasant to live with, and insecure in the relationship.

Why would you ask me if my husband with ok with all this? How would he have a say in whether and how frequently I travel, who I meet and how I spend my time while I am away? He does not and would not want to. The space is critical for the healthy relationship and he gives it to me.

Love is like that handful of sand that you hold on to. The tighter you hold, the quicker it will slip away, leaving you empty handed. If you simply cup your hands and let the sand be, it will stay within the confines of your palm, unresisting, forever.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. Love is free, it is accepting. If someone is possessive and controlling, they are not in love. They are in need and insecure that you will leave. And it’s not the same thing. They are not in love with you but in love with what you do for them and how you make them feel. If you really want something from life, love would let you go get it. It would stand by, waiting for you to come back. If it doesn’t or cannot, perhaps it is not love, and not what you need in life?

It is often said that the support of the family is paramount for a woman’s success. I would differ. The family matters much less than that one person who is willing to just let you be. That person who understand, empathises and stands by. That person who trusts your judgement on things even if he does not really understand what it is that you need. And perhaps, that’s why that person would be the one to make you happy.

If you do find that one person, don’t let him go. Hold him, as you would that handful of sand; cup your palms and let him be and you’ll find more fulfilment that ever before.

Fiction: New chapters

As I get past airport security and look around for a place to eat something, I feel a pair of eyes boring into my head. I turn to see him staring at me like he’s seen a ghost in the darkness. I freeze for a minute, and then gather my wits about me.

I nod an acknowledgement, smile and walk on in my pursuit of food. On the outside I appear calm and composed but who knows of the storms that brew within? It’s been three years since we spoke. Three years since I broke down and cried like a child at the unexpected end of this relationship. And then I gathered myself, rose from my ashes like the proverbial Phoenix and swore I’d never let a man hurt me again.

Yet, those storms seem to have merely taken a sabbatical, only to return with unexpected force in this characterless airport lounge. I swear at myself for being so vulnerable to him even after all these years.

I find a chair and sink into it, no longer even wanting any food or drink. All I want is to disappear from this place and never have to see him again. But I know that won’t happen.

Almost as if on cue, he finds me and approaches. He sits down next to me and calls out my name. I look up, expressionless, deadpan. He starts apologising. I hold a hand up asking him to stop. He pauses and then asks, “How are you?”

The rage bubbles. How dare he? How dare he ask me this after leaving me to pick up my pieces? I steel myself to face him. With the same deadpan expression, I nod and say, “Very well. Thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to finish.”

He looks taken aback but I’m sure I don’t want to engage in further conversation. I’m done. That chapter is over. And it will remain but a chapter in the book of my life.

I hear the boarding call and pick up my bag to take that flight I’d missed all those years ago. And a new chapter begins.

Fiction: A long-lost love

You step forward and turn me around in your arms. You look into my eyes and gently lean forward for a kiss. I melt. Into your arms. I return your kiss, gentle at first, more passionate and insistent later. My toes curl in anticipation of what pleasures you’ll give. A soft sigh escapes me, as I wish this moment would never end.

Finally, you break the kiss, look into my eyes and say, “I love you di!” I can hardly breathe. Wasn’t this what I’ve waited for all these years?

You lean back in for another kiss and this time, it’s more demanding, more insistent. I return your kisses with a passion I did not know I was capable of. I acknowledge, after years, the depth my own desire for you.

You push me against the wall and gently caress my hips. I offer myself up to you almost instinctively, like I know how my body fits into yours. You take me in your arms and ask, “Can we go to the bed please?” Before I can respond, you’ve swept me away to the bed we shared so many years ago. The bed I could never bring myself to share with anyone else in the years you were away

You reclaim what’s rightfully yours. The bed. My body. Every inch of my skin that yearns for your touch. And how? With an aggression I haven’t felt in all those years we were together.

You make love to me like it’s the last time you’ll ever touch me, like the proverbial drowning man clutching at straws. Your fingers, oh those beautiful fingers…trace the curves of my hips that you so love.

After all these years, I feel alive again. I feel beautiful again. You hold my hips and bring me close, pause a second, as if to give me a final chance to say no, and then take me. Now, I feel whole again. After all these years.

Fiction: A lovely summer day…

It's a lovely summer day, and here we are, cooped up in a damned meeting room. This is going nowhere. The conversations are frustrating as ever. I glare at you and you look away in embarrassment. You realise that asking me to join this meeting was a mistake. They have no idea what they want and we can't help them. You know I didn't want this client. You insisted.

Two hours later, we walk out in frustration at our time wasted and with no conclusion in sight. You turn around, asking if I want to grab a drink. It's 8 PM after all. And it's still bright, the European summer being at its sunny best. I nod, still unwilling to forgive you for the waste of my time.

You get me a drink, order some food and reach out to touch my fingers. I'm surprised, and quite confused at this sudden change in behaviour. I look up, only to see your eyes boring into mine. I raise my eyebrows slightly in silent enquiry. You smile. And something flips in me.

What is it that makes my heart flutter when you flash that gorgeous smile? And why suddenly? We've known each other for years, decades even. Why did I never notice?

Your breath on my neck interrupts my reverie as you whisper, "You were right. I'm sorry about today."

I turn to see you closer than you've ever been. You slightly lift my chin and kiss me. Now I know. It only takes a minute for one of the worst days of my life to become one of the best.

Mini fiction: The ephemeral and the ethereal

You hug me from behind, look into my eyes in the mirror and whisper, “You’re gorgeous”. Seconds later, I surrender to your will with love. I offer myself up to you, allowing you to explore at will, relinquishing control over myself. Never have I felt so loved, so desired.

You gently caress the flesh, willing it to respond. You gather me into your arms, bringing the sheets around us. I wish time would freeze.

Hours later, as we lay in each other’s arms, energies spent, you gently kiss my forehead and say, “how I wish this could last a lifetime.”

But my darling, the terrible and the most awful truth is that some things aren’t meant to last. Maybe that’s why they’re so beautiful. Because they’re ethereal and ephemeral.

Of Father’s Day and other things…

It’s Father’s Day. And my TLs, both on FB and Twitter have been flooded with thoughts, wishes and expressions of love. But how do I tell my father what he means. We are not part of that section that celebrates days and anniversaries, real and imagined. We belong to that section that quietly goes about its work, save for a quick phone call on a birthday or anniversary. We don’t tell each other how much we care. It is assumed. It is a given. I don’t quite know how else to be. I haven’t spoken to my father today. I haven’t told him how much he means to me, not because I don’t care, but because saying it is too difficult.

That said, today is perhaps as good a day as any other to remember the childhood years when Appa was everything. When Amma was the villain of the piece and Appa was the superhero. My earliest memories of my father involve talking about everything under the sun. They involve lying down in the terrace, on a beautiful starry night and learning to identify the stars. I remember learning to recognise Venus, the Pole Star and Ursa Major. I remember finding the Pleiades somewhere in the distance and trying to understand what they mean. I remember trying, and failing to distinguish between Sirius and some other distant star in the galaxy. Much later, I remember the discussions around the meaning of life. On whether the scriptures really spoke the truth. Whether there was really some such thing as the absolute truth. I will never forget what my father told me that day. That truth is always relative. That reality is often a grey area between the black and the white. That every single thing, every single human, even the gods are some shade of grey. That between the black and the white lie a million shades of grey, each unique, each special.

A second, more tangible memory of my childhood years is the way he engaged with me. I remember the games we played. I never had dolls and kitchen sets and makeup kits. Instead, he bought me books and crayons and brushes. He bought me pens and notebooks. He played hangman and word building when children my age were playing car racing games. He taught me to teach myself, to learn, to grasp and to understand. The greatest gift I have ever received from him is the ability to learn something out of my own volition. He taught me to enjoy the written word, to let my mind wander, far into mythical and fictional worlds, to explore and to travel into the deepest recesses of my heart. He taught me that failure is not just acceptable, but actually encouraged. He taught me that unless you make an attempt, you will never learn. And for this, I love him.

To this day, he engages me in ways nobody else quite can. In his mind, I am still his 3-year old who doesn’t quite understand what she wants. Yet, he lets me be. Lets me make my mistakes. He lets me fall so that I can pick myself up and emerge stronger from the experience. And most importantly, he has never once said I cannot do something I truly want to because I’m a girl. And for that, he’s the best father one can ask for.

Beauty lies…

…in the eyes of the beholder. Then why is it that we judge ourselves by the impossible standards set by the beauty industry all the time? How many of us have been told we’re too fat, too thin, too dark? How many of us have been shamed for wanting that one extra dollop of butter or that extra paratha? How many of us have been asked, “Where do you buy your groceries?” in an attempt to shame us for being us. I have. And I’m sure that at some point, you have too. This should have been a tweetstorm, inspired by this thread by Naomi Barton. But, I somehow felt this deserved a more detailed and larger discussion in the form of a blogpost. So, I am going to take the opportunity to answer some of her questions concerning body image.

1) How old were you when you realised your body was not good enough?

Maybe 8 or 9. Every time my cousin told me that I could be beautiful if only I scrubbed more and became whiter, every time someone called me gundoos or fatty. Every single time. Maybe, just maybe my body wasn’t good enough.

2) What’s the one thing about your body you’ve been wanting to change forever?

Unwanted body hair and height. I wished forever that I could be one of those beautiful women who’d just need to wash their faces and be ready. I wished I didn’t have to subject myself to the torture of having eyebrows tweezed and legs waxed each month. I still sometimes, but can live with it. The second was my height. I wished I weren’t so tall. Being mistaken for a 20-year old when you’re barely 12 isn’t fun.

3) What item of clothing are you forbidden from wearing Cuz ‘it doesn’t suit your body type’?

Anything tight I suppose. I used to shy away from wearing fitted clothes because I always felt I was too fat to carry it off well. Anyway, that’s history now and I’m happier for it.

4) What is the weirdest, most demented thought you’ve had about your body on a Fat Day?

I don’t think I’ve had such thoughts, except for an all-encompassing sadness about being too fat.

5) If you had a girl child and she came to you with that thought, what would you want to tell her?

I’d tell her she’s beautiful. Every single person on the face of this earth is beautiful in their own way. I’d tell her there’s no ideal of beauty, no matter what fairness cream commercials tell you. She needs to believe it. And believe it way sooner that I did.

6) As fucked up as it is, what are the things, on the fat days, that you tell yourself about why you are worthwhile to exist? Your mantra?

This too shall pass. Every time.

7) What do you want to see in the bodies billboards and hoardings and magazines and music videos, to make them look like yours?

I want to see fat bodies, thin ones, dark ones, the ones with stretch marks and cellulite. Every type of body. Every single type.

8) How many of you have stretch marks?

Am I even human if I don’t? I do. Because I’ve gained weight and I’ve lost it. I’ve been through changes, biological and emotional. I’ve binged, I’ve starved. I have stretch marks and happy for it because they tell me I’ve lived.

9) If you have to choices – one where you have the perfect body, and one where you no longer had to give a fuck, which would you pick?

Do you have to ask? The latter. What I wouldn’t give to be able to not give a fuck! I’m trying. I’m getting there. Slowly.

10) Do you think you are beautiful? Why?

I’m beautiful because I’ve lived. So have you. Each one of us is here after having fought our own battles. And that’s what makes us beautiful. I’m also beautiful because I’m happy. For myself and for those who care for me.

Of love, hate, passion and fury

Have you loved someone so much that when the relationship breaks, or is refused, it turns to hate? Love and hate are but two sides of the same coin. If you relate to this or think this sounds about right, you should probably read Andromache by Jean Racine.

A masterpiece of 17th Century French literature, Andromache is a story of love and hate. It’s a story of rage, fury and passion. For the most passionate are also the most ruthless. For we know that an object of affection can very quickly turn into an object of rage. It is a story of a heart torn between love and hate. Of a heart that refuses to recognise or respect one’s duty. Filial, national, royal duties mean nothing compared to the passion its characters possess for the people they love. A son can be murdered, a brother beheaded. Doesn’t matter. All the heart knows is love. A love so dangerous that when spurned, it could turn to murderous rage.

Andromache is a powerful story of human emotions, both fascinating and terrifying. For, how many of us have the ability to rein these emotions in? Not me. Not a vast majority of my fellow humans. Perhaps that’s why this resonates so deeply within our hearts even 300 years after it was written.

I was 20 when I first read it. I fell in love with the story, the raw honesty of the emotions. I could relate. I’ll even go so far as to say that I am probably the Hermione of Andromache. Capable of love and hate in equal intensity. Capable of destroying what I once loved. Age and experience may have tamed that fire, but hasn’t quite extinguished it. For the heart always wants what it wants. Right?

Fiction: New beginnings…

There comes a time in everyone’s life, when they can’t have what their heart truly desires. At such a time, any sane individual would walk away and give up. I did that too. All those years ago, when I realised that Adam would never truly be mine, I decided to walk away and give myself a chance to live my life without him. He didn’t want me to leave, but what could I do? Between my expectations and his commitments, our love quietly slipped out, unnoticed and without protest. If anyone had asked me then, I would have promised them, and myself in the process, that I was sure of what I was doing. I’d have convinced then, without really convincing myself that going away from him was the best thing to do in the circumstances.

That was 8 years ago. In these years, we’d both drifted apart, focused on career, become successful, made money. I had followed his career and his life closely, to the point of obsessively stalking his Facebook profile, refusing to accept suggestions from well-meaning friends that I should perhaps try to talk to him again. I couldn’t possibly do that. I couldn’t possibly reach out to him again. The fear of rejection was too strong. No. Scratch that. Rejection, I could take. What if he ignored me? That is something I couldn’t take. I knew from my passive stalking that he occasionally dated. I also knew he wasn’t married yet. Yet, something stopped me from reaching out.

And then, out of nowhere, I ran into him at the local supermarket yesterday. Pushing the cart along for my monthly groceries, I was busy trying to find my favourite brand of pasta when I literally ran the cart into him. Looking up to apologise, I froze. I couldn’t move. Or speak. The emotions of the past 8 years came rushing back, filling my eyes. Here was the man I’d have given anything for. Here he was in person, in front of me, his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

All I remember of the next 30 mins was billing my purchases and getting to my car, still sane enough to drive. As I got home, the realisation hit me. I had walked away, for the second time, from the man I loved most in life. I had walked away with no words to say, with no explanations. Not even basic pleasantries exchanged. As I dumped the shopping bags and turned to shut the door, I saw him again. At my doorstep. With an unspoken invitation to step into his arms and his life once again. Perhaps, this was how it was meant to be. Perhaps this second lifetime would finally last.