Sometimes the curiosity in me gets the better of me and takes me into acts and directions that often get me into deep waters and then matters begin to slip out of my hands. On the throes of one such binges I decided to ask some of my virtual women friends about their past loves. I knew the risks involved, I might be immediately defriended which happened with a few to my misfortune, but the real risk was how to face the much dreaded question “ What is that to you, how is my past love(s) is ever going to be of any use to you? ” I really had no answer to that, knowing quite well that “ I am just curios ” was not at all a satisfactory answer. But curiosity always got the better of me, this time too, rejecting all the checks and warnings of good sense, it prevailed. I was whirled into one of the most dangerous ventures of my life, dangerous because I am probably the only human being in the universe of Facebook who has 2400 or more virtual friends and none of them I have ever seen personally and not a single friend or acquaintance in my personal life is there among my list of friends because none of them is interested in whiling away his/her time in a non-remunerative medium as Facebook. Yes, this venture, or to be accurate mission, was dangerous to me because I loathe to lose a single friend of mine for any of my foolish or silly act. So I set sail for this dangerous expedition not without considerable trepidations and misgivings.

Two things, I decided at the outset, were no no for me. The first, I would never ask any female friend of mine from my own country, India. My earlier experiences with some of them regarding such trivial questions as “ What did her husband did for a living?” or “Which state from India she came from ?” or “Which state of US of A she had been living in?” only resulted in my getting defriended instaneously. I have already dealt with such experiences in my article “Two hundred days in the wonder world of Facebook and my experiences in it,” so I desist here from going into it in more detail. As I have a feeling that India can be taken as a representative nation for Asia, so no questions regarding this intimate matter was to be asked to any Asian woman either. This was from the start a clear no. Another realm of no was also there, it was my personal predilection. That was no chatting to be had with anyone. I am a bit hesitant to chat unless it was something urgent, or somebody whom I consider so respectable or so loving and wise that interaction of any sort with him/her is a privilege. Otherwise I consider chatting a waste of time, a burning of time whereas the same things could have been conveyed in a relaxed manner through messaging to the inbox. Yes, invitations for chatting that pop open chat windows, like shrill phone calls, have a way of intruding into my privacies, my silences, my rapt attentiveness while reading some beautiful passages in Facebook and they upset me unless of course some urgencies, some important messages have to be passed or received. So what I myself don’t like why should I inflict that on others? So chatting was out. Instead I chose messaging. Messages don’t pop open a window while you are working raptly at something else, they just wait there patiently and silently till you open and receive them into your silent loving space. You can also ignore them, you may even not open them and you can, of course, always delete them after or without reading them. They are the least intrusive of all communications and precisely for this I have rarely let go of any of my friend’s messages unanswered. I take time but I have always replied to all messages from friends where messages were not meant to sell me something but to know of something personally or mutually important.

Another thing. While going through the posts of friends in Facebook daily, I always kept a mental note of things people themselves wrote about themselves, their inmost private lives. That also helped me in getting informations almost free of effort. If I had requested them to open themselves a little about their love lives, private lives, they may not have chosen to comply. Even those who discussed their private love lives in Facebook wrote as much as they only intended others to know, nothing more than that. Certainly, they have the right to divulge or not, as much as they wished. Here also my curiosity put me in dangers. One instance comes to my mind. One day a western woman was discussing about something extremely private in her posts and about ten others were sympathizing and expressing their support and solidarity with her. I read minutely about what they were talking about but other than the fact that she got her divorce that day or the day before, I could understand nothing. These discussions were flashing on my screen as she was a friend. She had also very favourably commented on some of my stories and I had thanked her for it. So I took up the courage to ask her what was she talking of. She replied that she was date raped and in her confused state she had agreed to marry the one who had raped her. Afterwards, she had rethought the matter over and sought for a divorce on the ground that the man had raped her and she got the divorce. I asked her, “ Why none was talking of the date-rape and only sympathizing you for the divorce ?”. She replied, “ Because everyone except yourself already knew of that”. So far everything went well. Then my curiosity compelled me to ask a question which fell like a bomb shell on her and I was immediately defriended. To this day I am not sure if my question was an inappropriate or too nosy one or she was just over- reactive unlike the generally tolerant, liberal and open responses of the women of the west. My question was, “ I don’t understand you. Living with a man a decade long as man and wife after the date-rape incident, he having fathered your two children in the meanwhile and then one day after all these years you hulled him to the court and sought divorce, pressing charges of date-rape against him ! Your excuse is that you had accepted marriage in a state of confusion. Is that fair and just?” Her reply, as I have already said, was not in words but a severance of all connection with me by defriending me. I miss her sometimes, she was otherwise a good friend, beautiful, vivacious, witty and charming. May be some cultural gap was there between us for me to understand her motive and issues involved in that action of hers that culminated in divorce, otherwise so many of her friends won’t be sympathizing and supporting her. Any way this risk of being defriended is what I have to accept as an occupational hazard; I don’t know how to control a curious mind that just wants to know everything, other than succumbing to it. Some good also ensues out of this inquisitive mind. I will give some such instances too.

One day I addressed to a western female friend my usual request for a summary, a story or a history of her past love life and the lovers that featured in it, if any. I profusely apologiged myself for harboring such a curious mind. I even held God responsible for giving me such a mind that loved to brood on love, loving and lovers instead of dwelling on Him only. She probably sympathized with me, for in her words I didn’t find any condemnation of me, my curiosity or my character. She only said that she no longer was interested in her past lovers neither they were in her. When I asked her how many lovers she had had in all. Her frank answer left me flabbergasted, “ My lovers are strewn around in seven countries in Europe and one in Israel too. When I finally married a couple of years back, of course you know to whom, he was not one of them. When I joined Facebook I invited all my past lovers to be my friends but none of them accepted. They all chickened out. So I have lost all touch with them. Now my concern is only with my husband and my children. They are my present and I don’t live in the past.” But my nosiness got emboldened by her frankness and goaded me to ask for more and more. I knew the threat of being defriended was hanging over my head like Damocle’s sword and I loathe getting chopped. Yet I persisted. I asked, ” If you had so many lovers in so many countries, you must have been quite wild in your youth? Won’t you tell me something about your wildness?”
She replied, ” What do you want to know ? Did I have sex with any of my past lovers?”
I Replied, “yes”.
She said, ” Yes, sex was part of the game. I had sex with most of my past lovers. You Indians are obsessed with sex in your thoughts, as you have very little opportunities or outlets. We Europeans and Americans are far freeer in that respect. We had sex as the situations both internal and external demanded it and as often as we wished. So I was as wild as any woman could be. But now that I am married and I have lovely children of my own, I have been constant with my husband only. No more wildness for me. I have told all these things to my husband after we began living together. He always thanks me for my wild past because as he says I could not have been so constant and loyal to him without my wild past. Now I feel as if all my wildness has been drained out of me. I will tell you one more thing, Paresh. Do you know why prostitutes become old so soon ? Why they look so haggard in their old age ? It is because when a woman opens her womb (it is her word, though I am tempted to substitute it with another) to a man during sex, not only much seminal fluids flow out of her but also lot of emotions too. That drains her. Imagine that happening daily with her and won’t she one day feel completely drained out? That was happening with me. I felt drained out after those years of sex with all my past lovers. I have put a firm stop to that. Now I have sex with my husband only and I feel that is adequate. I have no sense of lack”.

I had just one more question to ask thereafter. This time all my fears of being defriended had vanished like mist on the rising of the sun. The Damocle’s sword had receded to the farthest corner of my mind. So by the time I was preparing to ask my last question, an idea was beginning to crystallize in my mind that at last I have found my match, my competitor, my rival in her, as wild, as inquisitive, as experimenting as myself to the extent of jeopardizing her health, beauty, reputation everything to find out what was truth, what worked for her and what didn’t.

I asked my last question, “If you could be content with one husband, as you said that after marrying you have never had sex with anyone else other than your husband, why couldn’t you be satisfied with one lover, I mean any one of those eight lovers “strewn around those seven European countries and one in Israel?”

She replied, to me now she appeared as a woman who was candor itself, no the Truth Itself, for if the Truth could speak in human tongue how else could it be speaking other than what she was speaking, ” Paresh, I must clarify one thing first before I address your question. It is not that I have never fell in love with anyone else after I began living with my husband. In fact I have fallen in love with one or two men after my marriage but as the love in me arose for somebody else I became aware of it and before it could gather much force threatening my family, our domestic peace etc. I confessed it all to my husband without fail and together he and myself talked and sorted this matter among ourselves to both of our satisfaction. It never went out of hand and so these loves didn’t culminate into sex with those men. My husband has firm faith in me and he is efficient in his company work, he is mature in handling interpersonal issues, he is a good provider and fixer of all kinds of domestic things and appliances. I am lucky I have got such a gem of a husband. He is so sure of my loyalty and also his faith in himself. It never leaves me any reason to go astray. With an unsure, suspicious husband things could have been different. I tell you I would have then shown him the wild side of me. Ha ha ha . Now let’s come to your question. Why didn’t I stick to any of my past lovers? I had tried to. In fact with one I had a live-in-relationship for a year. But it didn’t work like it hadn’t for two others. All my relationships failed. All for just one reason. All my ex-lovers were Mamas’ boys. You know You were always competing with their Mamas in everything. You will be always unfavorably compared with their Mamas. When you finally wanted to have your man to yourself he was mentally not available to you. In their minds they were always with their Mamas. My husband is not a Mama’s boy and he is always available to me. Just a couple of years back I did something that put him back by a quarter of a million Euros. Do you know when I was mortally sorry for what I did, he took it so casually by saying “ Forget that, that was just some money, nothing more.” That is my husband and I am proud to have him and serve him in all ways. ”

My encounters with some remarkable western women, who in spite of my so many drawbacks received me as one of their own will continue to be told and retold in these pages. God, please keep your merciful hands on their heads always because they are the best of your creations.