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It was the commotion made by a few women talking agitatedly among themselves near our house that first attracted my attention to the event. Otherwise in the placid morning atmosphere of an Indian village it would have gone easily unnoticed. Television was then unheard of and the whole village consisting of nearly two hundred people had just one or two radio sets and just one copy of a vernacular newspaper. So effectually, people had just one source of entertainment or information, namely talking among themselves. It didn’t matter how insignificant or useless that information was that got passed on or one learnt from one’s conversations. What mattered was that each shared with the other whatever one knew at the moment. I think man’s nature hasn’t changed much even now. Whatelse we are doing now even though surrounded by all kinds of gadgets like TVs, mobile phones, computers and internet except sharing things with others?

So in that morning stirred by the commotion among some women I asked the one who seemed the most agited,”What was the matter, auntie?”
In the village none called his senior in age by name. If it was a man, he was to be called an uncle, if woman an auntie.
I was twenty three then, recently appointed as a lecturer in a newly established nearby college and the auntie I asked to had a son who was of my age and had read with me upto high school when he quit study for doing a job.

Auntie said,”A goat of mine has been going through labour pain for the last two days and we feel concerned. This is her first pregnancy.”

It was about nine in the morning. I was preparing myself for the college. I had to take my bath and my lunch too. I had to ride the distance of about 5 kilometers by my bicycle. So I excused my self and after me the assemblage also dispersed.

Half an hour later as I was ready to set out for the college I rode on the bicycle. But as soon as I reached that auntie’s house on the way I thought to quickly pay her a visit and inspect the goat. So I got down at her house and walked up to the place where the goat stood tied to a post and auntie was standing beside her with some other men and women. Auntie smiled at me and showed me the goat. She said the goat had been taking nothing since the last two days. I saw that once in a while the goat was holding up one or the other of her front legs against her chest, obviously in pain. Strangely unlike us, the human beings, she was making no noises of crying or bleating. I felt sad for such a dumb creature and suggested Auntie to call for Ananta, the old man of a nearby village who had the reputation of having to his credit successful deliveries of hundres of goats, ewes, cows etc. who for some reasons had difficulty in labor. Auntie replied that the old man was greedy and would demand a hefty fee for his service.

I told her to think it over again and left for the college.

When I returned home slightly before the sunset the first thing that I did after taking a few bites of parched rice, an Indian food, was to go straight to the auntie’s house to see the goat. This time the goat was tethered to a post inside the house as the night was approaching. I saw again the assemblage of human beings around the goat and obviously the goat hadn’t delivered. I asked auntie whether she had called for Ananta, the countryside delivery specialist, and she denied by just shaking her head. I thought it strange! So many people incessantly talking and chatting around the goat and there was none to do the thing that could really save the goat and her kid ! I told auntie,” I am going to the nearby village to call for Ananta.”
The whole assemblage looked at me but I continued my focus of attention on the auntie herself who seemed as if she had lost some blood at my announcement. I knew the hefty fee of Ananta to be levied on her was a real cause of concern and it was weighing on her mind. But I became determined to stop this farce of showing one’s sympathy and solidarity by just incessantly talking and chatting around someone. Above all I sincerely wanted to end the suffering of a dumb animal and if possible give a happy ending to the whole episode. So I was preparing myself to foot the bill if she really became unable to pay. I knew whatever fees the old man charged for his service would be at least one third of the fees a govt veterinary doctor charged only for his visit. The cost for delivering was extra.

So I set out for the old man’s house in a nearby village. It had already become night and I had to cross a river in between which, at that time of the year, was fortunately carrying a stream of water which was only knee deep. This was the very river, the very place and the very time of the night where and when once a decade or so before I had met a holyman, almost like the Buddha himself who had a deep impact on my life. As I have already written about that beautiful experience in my story ” An unforgettable, holy encounter,” suffice it to say here that whenever I reached or crossed that spot I was instantly reminded of that incidence, that regal personage. But that was a full moon night and this time on my mission to the old man’s house it was early part of a dark night.

I reached the old man’s house. His wife was at the door. I asked for him. The old woman went in and a little later the old man, Ananta, came out. I introduced myself and told him the whole story and requested him to accompany me for helping the animal to deliver. Surprisingly he turned me down and became adamant that he would never do anything for that family to which the goat belonged. When I pressed him to know the reason of his refusal he alleged that he had been cheated time and again by the members of that family. They had availed of his services and never paid his fees in full. I promised him that this time I stood guarantee. He needn’t even ask them for his fees, he would get them from me. Then he relented. I asked what was his fees. He said fifteen rupees. That was exactly equivalent to three days pay that I got from the newly established college. But I agreed. The deal was struck. He went into his house, I thought, to bring his box of instruments with him to help him at the delivery and possibly to change his loin cloth and to drape something over his torso which was bare at the time. But when he returned a minute later he had changed nothing, added nothing. He was only holding a meter length of a thin rope of dried sawai grass. I was barely able to control myself from bursting out in a loud laughter at the contrast of what I had imagined a country doctor to look like and what I really found before me. I could also not connect the metre- length rope with the process of delivery at any stage.

However I liked the man though I met him for the first time. On the way to my village while talking with the old man I found he had many fond memories of both my paternal grandfather and maternal grand father. That explained why he trusted me. Even though scantlly clad and ill-equipped and not upto the mark in my imagination of what a man in his profession should look like, yet I trusted him because he was a legend in the area he lived. So he couldn’t fail this time.

When we reached the auntie’s house the place had become even more crowded. Every one that had heard my announcement had spread the word throughout the village. All were waiting for us. Ananta saw the goat and immediately put himself to work. Then I saw the uses of the thin rope. He put one end of the rope in between his right hand index and middle finger and inserted the fingers slowly through the vulva into the vagina of the goat. I imagined through that path he went into the mouth of the uterus and searched for the neck of the kid. After ten minutes or so he slowly pulled out his hand. But the rope had been fixed around the neck of the kid.How he pulled off that feat by just inserting two fingers with a thin rope in between was a mystery to me. Then he began to pull the rope hard outward without any jerk with both of his hands. He never asked for any assistance. It was a one man show all through. With that forceful pull of the tight rope one end of which was around the neck of the kid I thought we were going to see the emergence of a severed head. But surprising me and all the sixty odd spectators around, a perfectly unharmed,living black kid emerged and took his breaths for the first time. Then I knew Ananta hadn’t been ill-equipped; he was exactly equipped for the occasion. Throughout the painful process the mother goat never bleated once nor she was made to lie down. She gave birth while standing. Now as the kid began to bleat with his first breath I heard the mothergoat’s bleats for the first time.She became lively and was all concern for her kid. She began to lick the kid and a few moments later the kid unerringly reached for her tits at the rear end. It was a joy to watch the mother out of his pains and with her new bundle of joy.

In the meanwhile Ananta, my hero of the hour, had washed his hands and was asking me for his fees. I went to the auntie and took her aside and asked for fifteen rupees towards Ananta’s fees. she said she hadn’t any. I told her to forget it and never to worry about it at all. I went to my home, brought fifteen rupees and paid Ananta. I profusely thanked Ananta for having obliged me and pulling a dumb creature out of her pain.

As night had much advanced by then I volunteered to walk with Ananta till he safely reached his home. I hadn’t forgotten that I had almost forcibly taken out an old man in the night from an old woman with inducement of money and I thought it was my duty to hand over her husband safely back to her. But Ananta would listen none of that. He said he knew the area as well as he knew the palms of his hands. After we both crossed the river at the outskirt of the village he sent me back home.

While I was returning home I thought I had met a most remarkable man in Ananta who helped me doing something I would most likely remember to the last.

To surprise me, one day a week later, the auntie came to me and handed me the fifteen Rupees I had told her to forget about. I wondered was it the same woman whose family members had cheated Ananta and bothered him so much? What made her change?

Suppressing my surprise I asked her,” Auntie, how is the kid?”

As she replied I found that I had never seen her so happy before. She said,” Paresh, you should see how the kid is running around? How beautiful he is? What a joy it is to watch him play?”

Then I knew. That was not just the birth of a kid. It was the birth of a mother too, a human mother that too.

Once in my childhood when I was reading in class 6 I had been so infatuated with a male singer and dancer who was reading four classes higher in the high school in that same compound that for days I wandered dazed by his performances on the stage during a school annual function. During those  heady days Gandhiji and Buddha, my permanent evergreen heroes, too seemed to lose their high pedestal. That boy occupied the centre stage of my admiration and hero-worship for a full month. I incessantly talked about him and his performances only to one and all around me.

One day at about noon when I was all alone in the hostel kitchen to guard over the cooked food from the depredation of stray dogs and cats for a while in keeping with the request of the cook who had gone to fetch two bucketful of water from a tube well inside the nearby village, to my surprised and disbelieving eyes the very boy, my hero, came to the kitchen and finding none else asked me for a glass of water. I can’t express with what happiness, pride and joy I fetched him that glass of water. I was simultaneously mentally taking notes of his slightest actions, movements, expressions and articulations to spread them to one and all in the school the next day with a view to earn their appreciation and encomium, to see their raised unbelieving eyes and to confirm my claim that I had not only actually met my hero but also fetched him a glass of water with my own hands. I saw that he was wearing dark goggles and from such close range for the first time I discovered that he had puckered cheeks. As he was drinking the glass of water just a foot away from my disbelieving, praising eyes I was overwhelmed with so much love and admiration for him that I felt it was impossible to hold so much feeling without expressing any of that in any manner to him. On an impulse I gave him the gentlest slap on one of his cheeks as I had seen my elders and friends did out of affection and admiration for someone and said, “How superbly you danced and sang that duet that night!” Actually I had wanted to say so many words of praises to him but words failed to come. With others praising him was so natural and effortless. But surprisingly face to face I could manage only these words.  So few and meager and yet I wished those to carry the mountainous praise, appreciation and love in my heart from me to him. He said nothing, finished the glass of water he held with his left hand and with the right hand gave me such a resounding slap on my left cheek with all his might that I recoiled a few feet at its impact till I steadied myself by a wall behind me. Then he glared and grimaced at me and thumped the glass down on my dazed, lifeless hands and left on a huff.

The impact of that slap was very hard on my face and I saw instantly many glowworms flying around my eyes. Yet compared to the impact on my feelings and emotions even that pain was nothing. The sorrow was too deep for tears. For the first time in my life I realized in vivid detail and in such an unforgettable manner that a good singer or a dancer or a writer with the gift of words or an actor or speaker with the gift of the gab may not be a good man also. Ultimately, it became clear to me, that being a good man was the greatest art of all. And also it needed a good man to understand another good man because even good men also sometimes committed mistakes. Forgiving the mistake of the other was also an essential nature of good man. So while steering oneself through the right path, doing no harm to anyone, yet always prepared to make allowance for the other’s mistakes and poor judgments and forgiving him that harmed him; such is the lot of a good man. Therefore, a good man is hard to find in all societies. Therefore instantly Buddha regained his place in my heart which was so recently usurped by just an ordinary man.

Well, anyone of you my readers who has gone through a similar disillusionment he/ she is most welcome to share that experience here. I would love to read it.

It was only a few days after I opened an account in Facebook that I found Saritha right in its very pages. Though it is now a little over three years since I found her, I can clearly recollect that I invited her friendship. She readily accepted without asking any questions. But our friendship seemed to be permanently grounded. It showed no signs of take- off except that I had not taken into account the mysterious ways of nature that consisted sometimes of having to pass through miles of rocky, sandy and barren lands before one came across surprisingly lavish patches of unexpected verdant pastures, gardens of beautiful flowers and mellow fruit orchards. Life sometimes included an overdose of surprises and twists in the tails after too many and too long boring and dry spells.

One of the most important lessons I have learnt from life is that one has only to endure those barren, boring, sometimes seemingly endless periods of desolations and despairs, those dry, uncreative and merely repetitive spells to be blessed with that light at the end of the tunnel, which invariably comes only if you have the patience to wait. When the blessing at the end comes to you, you should be at your place, ready for it. I don’t know If it was because by then my “dry, barren and bad spell” had continued for enough time to have run its full course or because I was ready for the miracle, the light at the end of “the dark night of the soul”, because one is never able to know when that state is reached, but with the very first conversation with Saritha I felt that unknowingly I had come in contact with a live wire that instantly made all my motors running and compelled me to shake all my lethargy, my moribund creativity, my dullness and despair at life. I am going to share here, in the following lines, my experiences with Saritha, one of the three great women of India who have exerted tremendous influences over me. The other two being Nisha, the only woman with whom I had enjoyed some sexual escapades too before I got finally married to someone else and about whom I have already devoted three articles in this blog, and the other is Jewel, one of my office colleagues about whom I have a wish to write an article some day.

One of the aspects of creative writing, like writing a novel or a short story, is to illustrate your point by enough details, by creating situations and individuals who are to bear the burden of the story, by giving them names and places, in other words putting everything and everybody in contexts so that the reader is given “a slice of life itself” as it were to make his understanding easy and complete. If the story teller’s idea and its execution are good enough then the reader may exclaim, “Yes, life is like this not otherwise”. That becomes the writer’s reward. A writer enriches his otherwise outwardly deficient and unglamorous social life by giving some happy, joyful moments to his readers by his creativity. Otherwise most writers of the world were of poor origin and thus automatically were deprived of many things that money could buy. As great a man as Dr. Samuel Johnson once said, “Nobody but a blockhead ever wrote anything not for money.” To this immortal statement and its immortal writer I may humbly make a rejoinder that yes, though everyone writes with some monetary considerations in his mind but money is not the sole consideration. Writing also is an exercise of one’s creativity and any act of creativity is a joy in itself. Otherwise I would have ceased to write long before as I have not earned even a shilling so far out my writing.

The world is not what it seems to be. Seemingly I should not be getting any joy out of writing as it doesn’t fetch me any money but it really gives me lot of joy. Similarly my small Job in a Govt. office should give me all the joys because my livelihood and the wellbeing of my family depend solely on the earning, however meager, from it, but it doesn’t. My job helps me to make a living but sadly I have not been able to make a life out it. I say ‘sadly’ because ten hours of my life daily for the last thirty three years have been largely wastage because the nature of the work was so ordinary that any other man with an average education and ability could have also done it. But the stories I write here could not have been written by just anyone. I consider it as a quirk of nature or as in illness of the society at large that a person who should be encouraged and paid for his creativity is actually wasted in book keeping or accountancy in the process of earning his livelihood. Osho once very correctly had observed that no one was happy in the society because no one was doing what he was created for, what he enjoyed. The one who should have been a dancer was keeping account of a rich man or corporation. So when life came knocking at his door, he was not there. He was at somewhere else, behind some other door waiting for life to knock there for his joy, for his salvation which would never be. Anyway, one can’t change the go of the world; one can’t change the social system even though it is littered with numerous victims of its own people. One can only endeavor to remain creative in spite of it and in the midst of all these. I consider it as a great act of creativity in itself wherever and whomever I have seen it with. The only other equally great act of human creativity is to think of oneself as a spiritual being despite so many evidences, like murders, crimes and corruptions in public life etc., to the contrary.

One early morning as I was engrossed in reading some posts in Facebook, reading all kinds of posts in Facebook was one of my passions those days because I had not been seriously into creative writing by then, all of a sudden my chat window popped open and I was abruptly sucked into the eye of this tornado named Saritha. I cannot call her by any other name because that won’t fit. Her arrival in my life and departure from it was as tumultuous, unexpected and upsetting as a tornado. Well, it happened like this. Her ‘Hi, old man’ was flashing in the chat box window waiting for my reply. As I wrote ‘Hi’ I was wondering who this woman really was and why was she offering me this privilege of holding a person to person private chat which up to that time no woman had given me in Facebook from her side unasked. It was difficult to correctly identify or place her as I was inviting friendship from at least ten men and women each day. However, a few lines later she would clarify that too.
At the outset I asked her to tell me something about herself; especially why she thought of chatting with me.
She replied, “Aren’t you from Bhubaneswar?’’
I said, “Yes, I am. But what has this place got to do with you?”
Completely surprising me by her informal, easy and intimate manner she said, “Once I was almost engaged to a man from your city.”
I asked, “Who is he? Let me see if I know him.”
She replied, “No, that was a long time ago and marriage with that man never materialized. However, now I am happily married with my wonderful husband and have been living in U.S A for the last sixteen years. My husband is an engineer with an MNC. He holds a top post. I have a son and a daughter too.”
I wrote on my chat window with all my wickedness, simplicity, vulnerability and candor unfurled, “Why do all others get the most wonderful spouses except me?”
Without batting an eyelid, as it were, she wrote,” Are you whining?”
I said, “Yes. Why am I stuck with someone who only abuses me, criticizes me and loses no opportunity to put me down? Why has she filled my life with so many problems which were absent before she had come into my life? Why can’t I say like all others that I have got the most wonderful spouse?”
She said, “Don’t whine, don’t grumble and don’t complain. Accept life as it is. What you call as problems are in fact opportunities in disguises. After all, you have chosen her. It is your choice also to continue to live with her. In all cases and at all times you have choices. I don’t believe that anybody is a victim. Come out of this victim mindset and see that you are always free and you have always choices. I don’t like blaming others for one’s miseries. If your wife accuses you of any of your acts of commissions or omissions then know that she is your true friend, even more she is your teacher. Pay heed to her advises and do accordingly. You will be fine. By the way, I can see from your date of birth that you are fifty five; actually for how many years have you been married?”
I said “We are married for a little over 25 years by now. We have two children like you, a daughter and a son. But there the similarity ends. I hold no top jobs. I am a mere accountant in a vast govt. organization where three thousand people like me worked. ”
She said, “You are in Govt.? Then a lot of mullah must be coming your way as kickbacks, bribes or under the table change of money to grease your palms?”

I laughed and said I have never taken any bribe ever. Till today I ride my bicycle to duty. I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house. I don’t have much bank balances either.

She said, ” O.K., O.K. I was speaking in jest. Seriously, a marriage to have lasted that long as yours must have some solid foundations. Find out what are those in your case and nurture them. Most marriages here in America don’t last half as much. Here individual freedom is more and family bonds are a lot less feeble also. Count your blessings”.
I blurted out cutting her short,” I want that kind of individual freedom, I am dying to be free of such family bonds that extinguishes one’s life out of oneself just as a python’s coil does to its victim. Damn with all such hollow Indian pride that we have the lowest divorce rate in the world, just 2 per cent. No one counts how many are killed or get killed by their spouses.”

She said,” I say again that I don’t accept that anyone is a victim. You always have choices. You are always free. You are free to divorce her also.”

I said,” I am not free, I don’t have choices and I can’t divorce her because she won’t give me one. For the last 25 years I have only begged her for a divorce in return of anything she might ask, but she won’t give it. She says she can’t live in the society as a divorcee. It would be a great shame on her and her family. It would be much better, easier and much preferred way for her to kill me or get me killed instead. That way she would not only get whatever I own as my legal heir, she would be entitled for a Govt. job on compassionate ground and family pension also. She needed only to be a little bit careful for not getting caught in the act. This is not her opinion only, it is widely shared. Instead, she advises me to continue living the rest of my life with her, in her grip, as we have till now. I am not killed only because where from she would get the money which I place in her hand on the last day of every month as my pay. So in such a society where your spouse would rather kill you than give you divorce, where is my freedom, where are my choices? Indian court will not give me divorce without her consent. In my situation, won’t you feel as a victim?”

But she stuck to her position that I was always free, I had choices and she considered nobody as a victim. To conclude the chat she said,” I am to quit you now to take my car to a garage”. I requested her to wait a minute longer and let me know in which place of US of A she resided.
She replied,” Which place? Why do you need that unimportant, worthless piece of information? Even what I had in breakfast yesterday is more important information. Don’t ever ask such a silly question again. Bye and take care.”

So much had happened in a first meeting with a woman who had been almost a total stranger till a short while ago. The words and phrases she employed like “ you are always free’’, “you always have choices”, “ nobody is a victim”, “problems are actually opportunities”, “count your blessings”, “your wife is your teacher” were so novel to me that when she had abruptly ended the chat I wondered if by any chance I had met the wisest and the wittiest woman alive. I longed to have more such chats with her. I was in fact dazzled by her wit, her spontaneity and her ready mind. She had typed very fast and words were coming from her like torrents. I had a distinct feeling that while I was typing my long sentences in my slow, novice way she must be getting impatient and so must be reading some other posts till I finished. I was left wondering where she had learned all those exquisite gems from. Was she a genius or a realized soul? Considering her being an Indian her command over English was even more admirable. I began to hold her in very high esteem. One thing just rankled in my mind. What was wrong in my asking her the name of the place in America she lived in? Why should the place one lived in be far less in importance than even what one ate in breakfast yesterday? I thought maybe that was because America was a lot more mobile nation than I had imagined and people there gave the slightest importance to the place they lived. Perhaps none took any pride with any place nor identified oneself with any place. But whenever I asked any American themselves about the places they lived in they invariably gave me that information which of course I always forgot. So her not giving the information stood her out. The information in itself didn’t mean much, but her holding it back was curious. I was all admiration for her and simultaneously a bit puzzled too by her last reply.

A few days later again in an early morning here in India she invited me for another chat and I readily joined.
She straightforwardly asked, “Hi, old man, are you still whining?”
I said, “Yes I am. How can anybody be happy if constantly nagged, harassed and tortured by one’s partner? Worst of all she has succeeded in setting my two children too against me. She also abused my parents, brothers and sisters and their spouses and made me cut off all relationship with them. Sometimes finding me non retaliating and non violent she also beats me. One day for just promising my youngest brother that I will give him my mobile number, she beat me for half an hour with her shoes, a rolling pin, a broomstick, a spoon with a large handle besides kicking and slapping me with her hands and legs for innumerable times while all the time swearing and calling me all sorts of names. She didn’t want anyone of my brothers, sisters or parents should be in contact with me. That day like many other such days my belief in nonviolence and in the words of Buddha and Gandhiji , my all time heroes, were put to severe test and I didn’t fail neither in their eyes nor in my eyes even once. I want separation from her but not with the help of any kind of violence on her. I sincerely wish her well. But I am thoroughly disgusted and fed up with her violent, cowardly behaviors. I tell her, “Can you behave in the way you behave with me with anyone else in the whole world? You know that you can’t. You are a coward that beats a nonviolent man.” As usual I get some more harsh words only. Sometimes I feel with the removal of her uterus and ovaries a decade back all vestiges of humanity have also been removed out of her. Tell me what choices do I have in a country where divorce is almost non- existent and she won’t listen to any talk of divorce?”
She stuck to her earlier lines. Nobody was a victim. All that I suffered was due to the choices I had made. Really, I was free all the while. She even wrote that life manifested in vivid detail only those things which were present in my thoughts in atomic or very subtle forms much earlier even before her appearance in my life. In that sense I should be thankful to my wife for precipitating the process and events which were going on silently in my unconscious for a long time. In her opinion there were really no quarrels between the husbands and wives; there were only quarrels within oneself. The contradictions in our own thoughts and behaviors were the cause of most of our quarrels which married people projected on each other. She said I should stop considering myself forthwith as the victim and my wife as my tormentor. Actually I was tormenting myself. In real we get only what we deserve, not more not less. She said she would never project anything on any one. She took the responsibility for all her happiness and sorrows on herself. To emphasize her point she said nobody could give her pain or unhappiness. She won’t allow anyone to have that power over her. You only get treated by the way you ask for. Nobody would dare to treat her the way I was being treated. None could ride on a straight back. People needed a supine back to ride rough shod over. Instead of feeling that I was a victim I should show some spine. And lastly don’t make a fetish out of nonviolence. It is just a technique; if it didn’t work discard it. It can’t be a religion or a goal in itself.

To a man who had been already feeling himself as a heap of dirt by constant abuses and tortures for twenty five years her words of wisdom only made him doubly sure that what he got was only what he truly deserved. Not only that I asked for the type of treatment I was getting! I was awe-struck by her assertiveness, her surefootedness, her wisdom and understanding of the ways of the world. Such was her power of wit and words that I put aside all such questions to a corner of my mind that were coming to me at the time as whether people like Gandhiji, Jesus or Socrates also really asked to be put to death because that was how they had been treated. Were they too spineless? But before her torrent of hitherto unfamiliar new age words I was awestruck. As the chat came to an end I began to profusely admire her and admitted without any qualification that she might be true in her observations about me and my problems. I sincerely wished I had such clarity of mind on all matters related to me. Afterwards for many days in my conversations with others I avoided using the word ”problem’’ as if it was a four letter word. Instead like her I substituted it with words such as “opportunities” or “challenges”. In short she exerted tremendous influence over me the like of which very few women had ever exercised. I visited her page in Facebook a number of times daily and under each of her photograph, there were a lot of them, I wrote a long paragraph in appreciation which were, to say the least, extremely eulogistic. At various times in those comments I compared her with a powerhouse, the Sun, the goddess Durga, Mother Kali, St. Jones and with some other great women of the east and west. Of course, as soon as she had seen and read them she deleted them all. When I asked her why she had deleted those nicest of words about her she replied that I didn’t know the “shitty society” we lived in which could cause her a lot of embarrassment and explaining for my eulogistic comments. Moreover, she said she was still not ready for deification or canonization. She said she was only 36 and she hoped she had a number of more years to live and kick around. She added that I had not seen her in anger, in her foul moods yet and therefore I should suspend all my judgments on her till then otherwise I might go through many thorough revisions subsequently and repent my earlier generosity. To sum it all up she said I was a good man but I was a poor judge of women including herself and my wife. One I admired uncritically and without any reservations and the other I vilified in similar fashion.

Slowly and gradually without any conscious willing or effort on my part my admiration for her developed into love. I easily fell in love with anyone that showed some excellence in any area of art and life. Once in my childhood when I was reading in class 6 I had been so infatuated with a male singer and dancer who was reading four classes higher in the high school in that same compound that for days I wandered dazed by his performances on the stage during a school annual function. In similar fashion I fell in love with Saritha. There was an age gap of twenty years between us but when did the heart take note of such outward differences? In age I was her senior, but in all else she was the senior and I was the junior partner. I knew she was young, witty and beautiful and she had a way with the words which few could match. Therefore I expected her to be in great demand in social networking sites such as Facebook. So although I wished to talk with her daily, I dared not invite her for chat too often. I always abided for my turn patiently. Why disturb someone so fiery, so idealistic with my mundane, “challenging” existence? But surprisingly at least thrice in a week she invited me for chat. Whenever I received such invitations I was overjoyed. In all such chats my only duty was as if to praise her because that was what I did in abundance. All her words, all her sentences were music to my ears. At the turn of a beautiful phrase from her I would go gaga on her. One day she asked me, “What do you think of my educational qualification?”
I replied a bit sycophantically,” You must be a college Professor” because I knew she couldn’t have been one considering her age, her marriage of more than 16 years etc.
She replied, “A college professor? Do you know I have never set foot in a college?”
The pressure to praise her was so hard that I didn’t budge an inch from my position even after this information. Yes, like the bladder pressure, the bowel pressure there was another strong pressure I felt at times. It was the pressure to praise someone. Under the throe of this pressure I have written so many articles at various times of my life. Buddha, Mahavir, Gandhiji, Kabir, Osho, Raman Maharshi, Tagore, Vivekananda, Orwell, Emerson, Thoreau, Bertrand Russel, Wayne Dyer, Eckhert Tolle and many more great men and women both of the East and West have been the receptacle of such praises. I have not been able to preserve all such articles. Only one article in praise of SriRamakrishna and Mother Sarada, namely “I have had her” has survived because it was included in this blog. Not that always the pressure to praise was released through writing articles only. In most cases it was done through spoken words too. Observing my generous praise of her in the pages of Facebook a western lady once remarked that I was essentially a “Bhakta”. By that word she brought to my conscious attention an aspect of my character I had never known till then. But I loved her description, nonetheless.

So when Saritha said that she had not even set her feet in any colleges for study I replied without flinching,” You may not have. But you surely could put many professors to shame by the words you use and at your command. Certainly none of the colleges and universities I had gone to had one Professor like you.”
She said, ”You may be right, in a way, for reading in a college and knowing things and life are two separate things. Bye the way, I was an ordinary homemaker till just four years ago. Then I heard Marianne Williamson and life changed for me. Then I read many new age spiritual gurus and went to listen to them when any of them visited my city. Thus I have listened to many such brilliant men and women of America. Have you heard of Marianne Williamson?”
I said,”No, but certainly I will listen to some of her audios and videos in YouTube. But I think you must have surpassed her by now because the words at your command are awesome. By the way, do you do any kind of job outside your home? Otherwise so much of talent must go in waste.”

She replied,” Paresh, you are too generous. I don’t have any talents. However, for the last few years finding so much time at my hand I have been teaching in a school for spastic children. I get enormous joy by interacting with such innocent children. I also get paid for my work, though compared to my husband’s salary it is just a pittance. Yet I am happy doing it. The director of the school and the parents also appreciate my work”.
I said,”I had hoped so. One day you will go very far in your newly started career. You deserve all this and lot more.”

Another day as she invited me for a chat I happily joined. But after one or two sentences of by now customary praise and appreciation of her she said something which surprised me.
She said,” Paresh, please don’t love me; please don’t say you love me.”
I replied,” Saritha, I am shocked and surprised at your allegation. Please tell me the words I have used which made you think so. You know that I am in awe of your intelligence, learning and wit and everything. I am all praise and appreciation for you. But to want to be romantically linked to you is something completely out of my mind. I know my limitations, I don’t deserve you. It would be like the desire of the moth for the star. So I have never thought of you in that sense.”
If ever I have told any lie to anyone then this was that. Truthfully speaking, not only I was all praise and appreciation for her but also I was in deep love for her. But aware as I was of my serious limitations, even though I consciously refrained from using all such romantic words of love, her intuitive knowledge as a woman very correctly and accurately found me out. It is true my spirited defense of myself saved the day for me but I took heed of the message. She was off limit for the like of me. Though I have become old now, the same game of seduction and conquest that I have been playing since I was a boy of, say, 15 and which up till now has never been able to bring any woman to me or my bed continued in spite of no conscious effort from me. I am astounded by the power of samskaras or the past impressions. In other words I am astounded by my unconsciousness.

To my spirited defense of my innocence she had to yield. She said something to save her face but really she entangled herself more. I too was surprised again.

She said,” Paresh, actually I didn’t mean you. I know you are a nice chap. There are some others who have been speaking “I love you” and I am bothered by them. I had meant to say you that please don’t be one more in the crowd. Please excuse me if I have hurt you. Can I confide in you something?”

I said just go ahead without any fear or apprehension.
She said,” I myself am in love with someone.”
I asked, ”Who is that extremely fortunate man?”
She said, “It is a secret for now. So don’t ask me for any details.”
I said,” I am sure he must be a white American. At least confirm this much.”
She said,” Please don’t ask me for any details. It is a secret.”
I said, “As you wish. I knew there would be a crowd pining for you.”
She said,” Paresh, you are so nice. Thank you. Bye.”

One day thereafter as I opened my page in Facebook I was surprised to find a friend request from Saritha herself. It was enough of a shock and puzzle for me. However, I immediately accepted her request and wrote on her wall,” Saritha, I thought we were friends already. Then, why is this defriending and requesting again for friendship? Please don’t be so mysterious.”

The next day the first thing that I did after I woke up in the morning was I went straight to Saritha’s page in Facebook to see what she had written as reply to my question. By chance she was present in the Facebook at that time. Instead of writing on her wall she instantly came online and invited me for a chat. She explained that her husband had deleted the names of all her male friends from her list of friends. He thought she was spending too much time on the net chatting with them. He also suspected her of having an affair with somebody. She said she was again painstakingly requesting all to reconnect with her. She begged excuse for the trouble and went off.

I thought what a strange coincidence! Just the other day I was wondering how correctly and accurately Saritha could catch my true feelings for her using her intuitive wisdom as a woman though I had laboriously guarded and camouflaged it by using the smokescreen of words of praises and appreciation. I had thought only women were capable of such intuitive wisdom. Lo! See here a man too, Saritha’s husband, could equally correctly and accurately caught her, I hope not with her pants down, with her romantic or amorous leanings towards someone else although she too must have tried her best to camouflage her feelings by employing as much smokescreens of words as I had employed. Now I knew that the physical and mental differences between men and women were just superficial. All those talks of womanly wisdom or jealousy were just bullshit. All life is one, Buddha said. That is only what I needed to remember.

The next day as I switched on the computer and went straight to my Facebook page I found as if Saritha had been waiting there for me. She instantly came on the chat and said,” Paresh, something serious has happened. I have had a violent quarrel with my husband. He wanted to control me; he would have me curtail my time on the net to the minimum. I would tolerate no such dictates. So he called me all sorts of abusive names. He put a question mark on my character. He has again deleted so many friends from my list. He ordered me to keep away from Facebook altogether. He has threatened me with dire consequences if I disobey. What should I do?”

Her anger was so palpable that it seemed to me as if I could feel her agitated, irregular, excited , hot breathings all over me. It seemed as if she was spewing fire. It seemed as if a Royal Bengal tigress has been attacked by a man with bare hands and she was about to bit him to pieces. Interrupting my thoughts, she asked,” Paresh, are you there? What are you thinking of? What should I do?”

For the first time advices were sought from the very man who always needed them most. And advising a fiery, witty, wise woman like Saritha was something I was most unwilling, hesitant and incapable of. Yet as she went on pressing me for a reply, I asked her first about the thing that I had been receiving regularly in similar or even much lighter situations,” Saritha, did he beat you?”
She said,” He won’t dare to beat me. Because if he did I would holler till the whole of America listened to me.”
I said,” Then what do you fear? I am sure in verbal duels he couldn’t be a match for you. Before your torrent of words how long can any man stand? But did you, by any chance, take things lying down?”

She said, ” Never. I am not the one to take things lying down. As he shouted I also shouted and he fled. But before he fled I had given him a piece of my mind. I abused him more than he had possibly bargained for. I could be nasty and vicious too when occasion arises. You should have seen me in that state. Then you won’t be writing such nice angelic stuff about me. But that is not the thing worrying me. I worry because I have very little money with me. What should I do now?”

I asked,” Do you fear that he might ask for a divorce?”
She said,” Suppose he does? Then what should I do?”
I said, “Then he is a goner. First give him ten slaps and as many kicks. If he still insists on a divorce then tear four of his beloved books to pieces and break or burn whichever things he likes most. If he still continues to be adamant then threaten him to kill or get killed so that you could inherit all that he owns and then marry the one you love. Alternately, if he directly goes to court, the court wouldn’t give him divorce without your consent. Demand as much money as he would never be able to earn in his life. The divorce proceeding will go on for two decades. In the mean while you go on living in his house with his money like a queen and treat him like dirt. Each month on the day he gets his pay you insist that he draws his whole pay from the bank and puts that in your hand. If he ever disobeys you complain to the police that he tortures you to bring him more dowries. That would put him behind bars for a year, with his parents and siblings if at all they stay with him, because that is a non- bail -able offence. You needn’t prove anything, mere bringing in the allegation is enough. It’s so simple. God save him”.
She said,” Paresh, be serious. This is not India, this is America. Divorce is not so difficult to get here. He has all the money with him. I don’t have much. For God’s sake be serious and tell me what I should do.”
For the first time it occurred to me that I should treat her with her own medicines.
I said,” Then also you have your choices. The choices include the choice for agreeing for a divorce. But you have also the choice of considering him as your teacher and accepting his advises and taking heed to his warnings. As he is holding a top job he must be bringing in lots of dollars to home and a considerable part of it must be going to you and your children’s upkeep and wellbeing. So you have the choice for making a compromise with him in order that you keep on enjoying things that you have been enjoying for the last sixteen years. Alternately you have the choice to be recalcitrant and rebel and walk out of the home and face the consequences. You have always choices, you are always free, and never consider yourself as the victim and your husband as your tormentor. See this not as a problem but as an opportunity.”

I would have gone on for some more time till I had emptied out the full medicine chest on her. But intelligent as she was she quickly understood my design. She cut me short and interjected,” I had sought an advice from you but I didn’t ask you to lecture me. Sometimes I have a feeling that you are working for my husband. It seems by endearing yourself to me you have been knowing my secrets and passing them on to my husband. Otherwise how does he know all my moves? Are you in his pay roll?”

I was aghast at her allegation. I, who was her greatest admirer, greatest fan, how could she think of me betraying her to her husband. I have never had any kind of communication with him. I just saw him in her pages among her photographs. However, I thought it was better to play along with her a little more on that line because she might have told all those in jest.
So I replied, suppressing all my bewilderment,” Yes, truly I am on his pay roll. He has employed me for the purpose you have correctly guessed. Poor and underemployed as I am, I thought I could do with a little more money from any source available to supplement my meager income.”
She quipped,” Yes, he will pay you in dollars too.”
I replied,” Yes, I hope a few more dollars won’t harm me much.”

Actually I would never know whether her allegation against me was made in jest or in all seriousness. But there might be a suspicion in her mind that someone might be betraying her trust or passing on her secrets to her husband. A suspicious mind sometimes sees enemy where there is none. It becomes even more serious when you have never seen your friends whom you have got from social networking sites. Whom to believe and who to disbelieve becomes very important when you have really something to hide. Saritha had, I hope by her “choice”, a word she so much loved to use, come to a state where she had something to hide. As she had by chance, in an off guarded moment perhaps, confided in me only what she had had to hide thereafter from everyone else, she thereafter perhaps saw in me a potential enemy. From that suspicious, fearful mind only negative thoughts could emerge. To quote a wit, “Fear is the darkroom where only negatives are developed”. As a result of such negative thoughts one day she defriended me for a flimsy cause.

One day in the course of a conversation, I asked her,” Saritha, do you come to India?”
She replied,” Yes, we go there once in almost every two years.”
I asked, “Do you have your parents?”
She replied, “Yes, both of them are alive.”
I asked,” Where are they? Where were you born, in which state of India?”
She replied,” Which place? Why do you ask for such worthless pieces of information? Even what I had in yesterday’s breakfast is a more important piece of information. Don’t again ask such unimportant questions.”
Her answer reminded me of a similar reply at the start of our friendship when I had asked for the name of the place of USA she lived in. A thought came to my mind that probably she had something to hide which is related to the place she was born and the place she has been presently living in. Was she in love with a man when she got married to someone else and left India? Just like the man she is presently in love with in the place she lived with her husband? Is it a case of broken hearts? Why each woman I loved admired or praised had had a history of broken hearts? Are sorrows, grieves and broken heart the prices one paid for being a good man or woman?
I asked her,” Saritha, please tell me the place you were born because there is nothing to fear from me. The place you were born or the places you live in are not as unimportant as you say. So please tell?”
From her side there came no response. I continued to wait for her reply. About three minutes later a notice appeared on my chat window that you cannot chat with this person because she is not your friend.

Since then more than three years have gone by. But there has never been a day in which I have not thought of her. I have felt her loss very deeply. Each day I have been missing her. Facebook lost much of its charm for me after her loss. The urge to rise up at 4.30 in the morning and coming straight to the computer and Facebook, because that was the time she was mostly available, only to be greeted by her warm, affectionate words ”Hi, old man, are you still whining?” is no more. Now I sleep up to seven or eight. Once during my chat with her, in the midst of my usual profuse praises for her, she had said, “You also write well and I appreciate your English”. That sentence had later on given me much confidence to come out of my cocoon and try my hands at creative writings for which I have been thinking, preparing but postponing for ages. Our friendship had lasted for only four or five months. Apart from chats with her and a few short statuses and some comments here and there I had written nothing till then to show her. I wish she read some of my posts, especially this one which is nothing but my homage to her. She is still in Facebook. She is still with her husband as I can still see her smiling alongside her husband in her profile picture. Of course, I have to see her from another account. So I guess, she weighed all the pros and cons of her situation and finally chose to compromise and stick to her husband. Thereby I knew another truth of life. All such talk of “I have the most wonderful husband/wife” etc. was not true, after all. After a few years even the most wonderful spouse started to gall like mine did. The truth is everyone compromised in life, some a little less and some lot more. Saritha was no exception, though I had thought her to be one. I wish her all happiness, peace and success in life.

Two years ago having seen me write in the pages of facebook  as comments on others’ posts and some of my very short pieces of writings as statuses on my wall  an American woman friend suggested that I should have a blog of my own. To make her proposition more attractive and as if to entice me some more she added that if the blog ran well and by any chance it became somehow popular then she knew how to “monetize” it, the secret of which of course she would tell me in due time. When I expressed my ignorance about the technicalities involved in starting a blog and straightaway confessed my illiteracy with regard to computer, she replied that Facebook’s “Notes” itself was a very good place to start writing for a beginner.  Thanks to her suggestion I started writing in the “Notes” section of my page in Facebook. I sent my stories and other writings to various people who had become my friends by then by tagging them for knowing their responses and comments.  I had by then spent a little more than six months in Facebook . So I thought  it was appropriate to share about the quality of my experience in Facebook  or the quality time I had spent in its pages , in my interactions with other people in it and what a heady, wonderful experience It all  had been. So when my first story “Two Hundred Days in the Wonder World of Facebook and what I have learnt From It” came out the response was mind-blowing for me.  So much praise and appreciation for such a small piece of writing! It was all very pleasant and humbling for me. I discovered that even in this age when the audiovisual media reigned there was still a place for writing, for the expression of the “still, small voice of the humanity”.

Thereafter I went on writing in “Notes’ of Facebook and got some of the best and illuminating comments from various friends from various walks of life.  I say “illuminating” because I have spent as much time on reading those comments as my articles themselves. I recollect once that on reading some very valuable comments on one of my stories named “Insecure Husband and Unfaithful Wife Syndrome Or IHUWS” I went on changing and altering at first some lines, then some paragraphs and then I had to rewrite the whole story itself. By the time It was finished the story had taken a life of its own apart from my original design. All the while as I was modifying the story and the words to describe it so as to incorporate more and more valid points of observations and criticisms from my friends the story was taking its own shape to walk around and kick around on its own. The most surprising part was that the story came out lot better, lot more interesting and lot more beautifully as I finally took my hands off it and called it a day. It was so much fun and learning. I learnt thereby a most important lesson that the process of writing was a collaborative experience. Both the writer and the readers were the equal progenitors of a successful story or writing. A writer didn’t write in a vacuum. People and the situations in the society and the readers who read his works all gave him very valuable inputs which made his writings richer and of lasting value. I am so much grateful to my friends, readers and commentators for bringing such fresh perspectives and insights  to my writings without which I could not have written as much or as good as I have.

Time passed by. Life had its surprises as always. One day two American women who ran a blog of their own  requested for permission to publish my stories in  their blog. I told them  to go ahead.  One by one all my stories which had first appeared in “Notes”of Facebook got published in their journal. Both the women became good friends of mine. All my writings which had never seen any editing by anyone other than me saw some editing. The long paragraphs were divided into more than one paragraph so as not ‘to let go of the interest of the readers who have very short span of attention in any way and so many other contending things to attend to”. My stories were profusely illustrated by some very captivating pictures. Again, let me admit here that all those were very educative experiences for me too and I was benefitted by those aesthetic and visual modifications.

One day one of the two women suggested me that I should have a blog of my own. To emphasize her point she wrote that “should” was a word she used very rarely and in her opinion mine was a fit enough case for using the word. I replied that of late I had been also thinking in similar lines. When I asked her for a few suggestions with regard to starting of a blog, she advised that I should write the kind of writings that gave some kind of solutions to peoples’ problems. For that I should search in me deeply as to what I knew, in which area of life, which could be of use to others. She had very casually, it seemed to me then, given her suggestion. But later on as I pondered over her advice I found to my shame, disbelief and horror that I held no solutions to peoples’ problems in any area of life whatsoever. In fact I myself was riddled with problems. Though to keep up with the Joneses I used to tell others in conversations or glib talks that there were no problems, there were only opportunities in life. But actually I knew very well that I had real problems, that  a million people took their own lives  each year for not being able to solve their own problems, that another million or two each year killed others  who they thought were responsible for their problems. In desperation I thought it was better to quit the idea of having a blog of one’s own as I thought I was not qualified or fit enough for the job.

Again days went by. One day while surfing the net I chanced upon the site of WordPress.com where I noticed a line that said something like “378875 bloggers with 455623 blogs and you too can have your own blog in a minute”. Instantly it was clear to me that not all of those bloggers were doling out life saving solutions to peoples’ problems. Because if they did then there won’t be any suicides, murders, deaths due to starvations or shelterless people on the earth. And WordPress.com was just one of many blogging or social networking sites! Now it was clear to me that people also blogged for the sheer joy of sharing, for the sheer ecstasy of expression. This discovery enabled me to cross another hurdle. As one of my loveliest friends wrote in her page in facebook,”It is only me Mrs._ sharing my life, my experiences; not the Moses laying down his Laws.” Also I thought let the people first solve their problems by reading of other blogs or on their own; let me be contented with only those few who returned to my blog when their problems were already solved or whenever some ‘saw’ that they had to live with problems throughout their lives, in anyway.

Now I was again ready for the start of the blog. The naming of the blog remained an issue for some time. It was also due to one her suggestions. She had suggested that when I finally decided for a blog I should leave it to her to find a few names out which I could select one. She had said that she knew the technique of keeping my blog’s name at the top of the list when somebody searched for similar words in a search engine. But I let that offer go because it sounded too technical.

All my life I have felt that it is the people who ultimately mattered most. For any kind of work or job, whether good or bad, I needed people to help me. On my own I can’t even exist what to speak of living happily. Sometimes when a new bike or car is introduced it is the vehicle and its look that get noticed for some days. After some days it is invariably the man that rides the bike or the woman that drives the car becomes the focus of my attention. The dazzling bike or the gorgeous car takes the back seat in my attention. As we all are social beings, good or bad communicators; how long could we talk to a car or a bike? We need people to talk to. Of course I have heard it said about American women that most of them secretly or openly say, “Husbands are good but cars are better.”  But I know it is said in jest. At least most of my American women friends know that it is the people in their lives or they are in relationship with who mattered most to them.

So I kept the name of my blog as”Peoplemattermost”. Thereafter I imported all my articles published elsewhere including in Facebook and put them in one place in this blog. Apart from just one article ‘Obama and Osama’ I have refrained from writing on political topics, though political articles get the most readers and also the most responses and comments. I have also refrained from writing for and about greener, cleaner and pollution free environment because millions others are doing a very good job of it. Thereby also I have forfeited many readers or circumscribed myself to a few only. In similar fashion I have avoided writing about sports and films also. I have chosen to write only stories, the kind Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Maughm, O’Henry, Saki,  D.H.Lawrence, Premchand or Fakirmohan from my own country and of course the two of my all time favorite rascals, Sashthi  Brata and Roald Dahl wrote. It doesn’t only matter how many read me today, it does matter for how many I still remain readable a hundred years from now. For that I should be prepared to forego the only present chance to keep my head above poverty and ignominy  by “monetizing” my blog by writing on popular topics on the lines suggested by my kind American women friends, and I think that I am. I humbly think that my stories like “God lay dead under a wall”, “The first love of my life”, “A sacred, unforgettable encounter”, “Life in the jaws of death”, “A journey by train in which everything that could go wrong actually did” or “so many forms of Love” are the kind of stories Chekhov would have loved to read. And “The woman who danced only to the tune of her heartbeats” is the kind of story my favorite Shasthi Brata and Roald Dahl would have loved to read. That itself is a very uplifting thought in itself. When I am the creator of my thoughts and their associated feelings why should I not think of and about the greatest in my craft ? Blog writing has its rewards and sweet surprises too. One story named”The story of my anus itching” which I was most hesitant and diffident while writing earned me so much appreciation and encomium that I was left bewildered and surprised by the response. Thereby too I learnt a lesson. I should never underestimate the intelligence and perceptiveness of my readers.

I love to end my articles by quoting some lines from the Buddha, my most favorite man ever.

“Everyone should work diligently for his salvation”.

My salvation lies in the kind of writings that come naturally to me. Of course my writings always need more polishing, more finetuning so as to reach that perfection in thought and execution for being the perfect medium for carrying that universal, impersonal message to illustrate the truth that Life is one, Love is one, although so many forms of life and love are seen as Its expressions.

I remember vividly something otherworldly that I had experienced when I was a boy of ten. Not out of the body experiences as some experience but something mysterious and vivid yet. And this happened just once only. Let me narrate it. It happened in an evening. There was a river flowing beside the village I was born. Every evening we, 5 to 10 boys of the village, gathered on the sandy bank of the river to play and run about. That was a full moon evening. That evening as I reached there for playing I found no one which was unusual. The whole river and the landscape were filled with bright moonlight but no one was there. As that was my usual playground I was little afraid of anything or anyone. A fair weather road of sand, mud and red morhum pebbles passed through the river but it was very sparsely populated at that hour. I waited for my friends. After about an hour as none turned up I began to sing a kirtan out of frustration. In the beginning it was to amuse myself, to keep my mind occupied, to shed some of my nervousness which a ten year old felt when forced to be on his own, may be for the first time of his life. But as the evening wore on and yet not a soul was to be seen anywhere then I began to sing loudly, as loud as I could be, “with full-throated ease” as Keats would have described. I think I must have sung loudly for about half an hour, more out of boredom and loneliness than because of any religious fervor. Why I chose to sing kirtan was easy to explain; it was because kirtan was the only form of poetry I had seen people sing in groups in public. A few years later I would be initiated into the films and film songs and then all the vestiges of poetry of any other kind including the kirtans would simply recede into the background of my mind as a result of the strong gales of Hindi film songs. But that was yet to come. At the age of ten kirtans ruled.

But Though I liked kirtans yet I didn’t pay much attention to their words nor I was serious enough to make myself commit them to memory painstakingly. As a result, that evening when it became my lot to fall on my resources to amuse myself I discovered that the paucity, the poverty or the scantiness of my resources was glaring. I couldn’t sing even a single kirtan in its entirety; I couldn’t proceed beyond the opening stanza of any song. So within that half an hour of singing “with full-throated ease” I must have sung the opening stanzas of five or six kirtan songs whereas only one full kirtan would have been sufficient to fill that much of time. However, what is the use of judging the activities of a ten year old from the vantage point of a mature man? Suffice it to say that I was trying my best to keep away my nervousness and boredom by singing and by filling the empty, lonely time of the evening as best as I could possibly think of. Suddenly I noticed a man passing on the road stop in his track and take a turn to face me. He was nobody I knew of, none of my relatives or acquaintances.

He was on the road, about 25 feet away from me. He called me to himself accompanied with a few gestures of his hands and I could see the movements of his hands from that distance quite clearly in that moonlit evening. I obeyed not without a considerable amount of curiously. Also in that hither -to -unusual lonely evening even the presence or company of a complete stranger was better than no company at all. So I complied unhesitatingly. As I came to him the first thing that stroke me was his face. It was unlike any I had seen. He was handsome, noble and as urbane and majestic as the Buddha himself. Unlike many young men who finding me alone called me to themselves and asked many frivolous, spurious and salacious questions; there was not a trace of frivolity in him. There was only an honesty, a nobility of purpose and manner with him and he had that intangible quality that I found in some rare men which invariably I could recognize but failed to describe in words that made me respect, revere and love the person before me. He straightforwardly without any ado asked me to sing the song/kirtan that I was singing as he came. That mysterious request made me nervous and shy. But as he insisted on listening, I had to comply. As I sang the song I found I was extremely shy and all my earlier spontaneity when I was alone and singing to myself was gone. I knew I must have cut a very sorry and awkward figure to him as I seemed to myself too. Yet surprisingly I found him listening intently with rapt attention, with his eyes closed. As I finished he opened his eyes and requested me to sing the song again. This time I complied most willingly and happily but not without considerable amount of disbelief. Such a poor singer and such a bad memorizer like me and yet this kind of unalloyed, pure interest and a flame like steady attention! From a person with such a royal and upright demeanor! For the first time in my life I experienced in those moments the cleansing, overwhelming and overpowering power of unconditional and uncritical listening. It filled me with a joy and lightness of being which I had never experienced before. Let me remind you again that I was not a good singer but that hitherto unknown feeling of being accepted completely as I was with all my shortcomings and deficits by someone so noble made me much more relaxed and at home. So this time I tried to sing as I had been singing when I was alone just before he had appeared on the scene. He was all ears to my song in that unforgettable moonlit night and he was the kind of listener every great or small singer always wished for. As a premonition and foretaste of things to come much ahead in future it served me well when I found the same kind of acceptance from some western men and women to some of my stories and writings.

As I finished my song, actually It was only a stanza from a kirtan for that was all I could remember, for the first time in my life how I wished that I had remembered the whole song to myself so that I could have served him more, sung him more, made it possible for him to listen to me more. I would have loved to sing to him the entirety of that kirtan itself. What a lovely experience it was! In fact what wonderful experiences all such sharings were which broke down all the barriers between two human beings and opened up all the possibilities for a heart to heart communication that established that “all life was one”, that “the Buddhas and all the other sentient beings are but aspects of the Universal Mind only,” that “all distinctions are but falsely imagined”.

At the end of my singing he nodded his head vigorously in appreciation, opened his eyes and after a bit of fumbling in his shirt pocket mysteriously fished out something and while offering it to me with an extended hand I saw that it was a coin. As I eagerly extended my hand towards his hand that held the coin, it seemed to me he dropped the coin in front of me just as my hand was about to touch his. To this day I am not sure whether the coin had just slipped out of his hand just before I could hold it or it was deliberately dropped on the sand so that he could make good his escape while I was furiously searching for the coin which was submerged in the sand as it fell from his hand. I had never expected any reward or money from him; it was a pure joy to serve him. Such a perfect listener I had never seen before. Nor did I know the power of unconditioned, attentive listening that shook me to my roots and filled me with such peace and emotions as I had never known before. So expecting any other reward or remuneration from him was out of my mind. But as the shiny coin flashed in the bright moonlight I was so overwhelmed by a feeling of having been considered worthy of a reward from such a tall, erect and noble personage that my joy knew no bound and as I looked around to say a thank you or a namaste to him who meant so much to me he was of course nowhere to be found. I should have run half a mile on the road in the direction he was going when I first saw him, but the lucre in my hand had begun to work its magic. Relegating the man who could have been my savior, my benefactor, my Buddha, to a corner of my mind I hurriedly ran to one of the village stores and bought the largest sugar candy in that store. The joy on getting that coin as a reward has not been lost on me even today almost after half a century and the intensity of that joy could only be experienced by a ten year old child whom none had given a coin till that day. The joy of buying the largest sugar candy in that store was also a dream come true for him. So the sugar candy gave much joy till it lasted. But afterwards I was filled with remorse. For a piece of sugar candy I lost sight of a holy man! I wonder why did I always have to find myself digging up a coin in the sand just at the moment I was very near to my nirvana? Why do I have to always lose myself in satisfying a long standing or a passing craving, say like buying the largest sugar candy in a store, while right before me was the Buddha himself whose feet I could have washed with my tears or at whose feet I could have learnt the wisdom that delivered one from all sufferings? Why did I have to bury all my talents in sands while trying to find out a coin? I am saying this because this has been a recurring, sad feature in my life.

At that moment the importance of the event was lost on me, I was only overjoyed by the monetary reward/benefit. But as days went by I began to wonder who that mysterious listener was. As we never met again, I wondered if he was an angel. If so what was his message to me? To sing God’s name the rest of my life? To serve human beings as best as I could, in the way and manner available to me? To be like him, noble, upright, aristocratic and yet fully attentive to poetic, spiritual, creative and finer aspects of life wherever and whomever it might be found with? I won’t know. But as Marshal McLuhan said,”The medium is the message”; what a lovely,noble, upright medium was he! To this day as I recollect the incident a deep peace fills me. I feel as if I saw the Buddha that night. That incident has also found a prominent place among my nightly dreams with that Buddha-like regal figure raptly listening to my song with closed eyes, nodding peacefully his head in complete understanding of my foible and frailties, forgiving all my deficits and deficiencies, in the back ground of that moonlight flooded night on that solitary river bank of sand and sand dunes. Then a deep peace fills me. My eyes get blinded with golden light. When I wake up the dream goes away, but the peace stays with me. How could it be otherwise? Is not peace my real nature, my true self? Is not my small self but an aspect of the Self, the Impersonal, Universal Self?

Buddha said,”One must work diligently for one’s salvation.”
He also said that he didn’t want Nirvana till even the last blade of grass had not attained it.

I am sure one day the craving for the sugar candy will be gone. Even the craving for the salvation or the Nirvana will also be gone. The journey, the working diligently for the salvation,the effort, the process and the progress towards realization is a reward enough in itself. I think the mysterious listener of that night was a reminder to me of our potentialities and what we all are; peaceful, pure, wise, full of loving kindness and equanimity, compassionate souls.

May all find their peace and salvation. May all enjoy and experience the lightness of their beings. May all become spontaneous, trusting and joyful. I trust that Life will give us many opportunities to experience what we really are, at first hand. Thereafter there will be no prop of second hand knowledge needed. Till that time even a borrowed light is better in the dark to find our way than no light at all. Meeting that stranger was nothing less than a sacred encounter, a holy pilgrimmage.

It was one of my wife’s nephews who persuaded us, me, my wife and our two children aged 12 and 10, to make the journey from our home town, Balasore to my work place, Bhubaneswar by train. The distance between the two places was about two hundred kilometers and for decades we had been using buses to make the journey. During my student days I used to make the journeys by trains on concessional  rates for students during vacations. But after I had begun to earn I had almost abandoned the trains. On one occasion during my post-graduate college days I along with a small group of my hostel mates was returning home on vacation by train. We were chatting among ourselves while occasionally looking outside to see the trees, paddy fields, hills, villages, rivers and small stations passing by. Then night fell. Nothing was visible outside. So we continued chatting among ourselves. Suddenly a friend gave a shrill cry from five or six feet away from us. Even after thirty five years that blood curdling cry has been ringing in my ears. As we immediately reached by his side, we found him rolling on the floor, from one side of the train to the other. At first I thought the worst had happened; he had probably been stabbed. But suddenly he started crying loudly ”Shankara,(the friend who was sitting with me and his roommate) I have lost everything. Someone snatched my bag that contained all my certificates and jumped out of the train. I am ruined now. Tell me what should I do? What should I do? What should I do?” He was growing hysterical. We lifted him up, told him to calm down, assured him that duplicate certificates could be had for a fee and made him sit with us till he got down at his home town. But that incident left a very bad taste in my mouth. I had quit journeying by trains since that day.

 

So when returning to Bhubaneswar from my wife’s parents’, as one of her nephews persuaded us to make the journey by train I expressed my extreme reluctance and the cause of it. As that failed to cut much ice with him I expressed my helplessness. I said that decades of disuse had made me completely ignorant about the time tables of the trains, which were the ones running that day in that route, whether tickets would be available or not at such short notice etc. But he won’t take a no for answer. He said he would take care of all that. He would make us sit in the right train with proper tickets. We should just be prepared for a relaxed journey leaving all arrangements to him. Now I had no reason to demur. Little did I know that I was being inexorably and relentlessly drawn to meet my fate, may be to settle some karmic past account just as a ship getting sucked into a vortex.

 

So the next day early morning found us with our entire luggage at the ticket counter of the railway station at Balasore. The unmarried nephew had kept his words and taken charge of the situation. Within a couple of minutes we got tickets for the four of us and as we consulted the time table we found our train was to arrive at the station after an hour. So leisurely we walked to the platform carrying the luggage with us. I was at the front carrying two bags, followed by my two children, then my wife with two more bags and then the nephew bringing up the rear with the rest of the luggage.  As I reached the platform I was surprised to find that the Falaknama Express which should have departed the station almost forty five minutes before was still in the station. I got excited at the prospect of not having to wait for another hour at the platform. So I shouted to the nephew at the rear to hurry pointing him at the train and searched for a door to enter the train. We were at the rear end of the half a kilometer long train. Strangely as far as I could hurriedly scan I couldn’t find anyone in that train. It had a deserted look. All windows were closed. I reached a door, looked inside and finding no one inside I became confused and suspicious. Was that a train stranded there for repair of some mechanical defects?  What was the use of entering into a stranded or abandoned train? What was the matter? What should I do? I was getting nervous and restless. All these must have passed through my mind within a minute. In my confusion I ran ahead  to the door of the next compartment to see if anyone was inside who could tell if the train was o.k. or not. Just as I was getting near the door I heard the conductor’s whistle which signaled that the train was to leave in a moment. My mind went blank. I forgot for a moment that I was not alone; my entire family was in the platform following me. I forgot that for the last decade and a half I had not used the trains. Just in that moment I heard the creaking of the wheels as the train was straining to move. I jumped on to the door steps and entered the compartment. As I turned my back I saw the train move and simultaneously saw both the children at the steps. Hurriedly I put my bags down and reached for their hands and took both of them in. As far as I could see inside I found all the compartments were interlinked and so had a common corridor. A thought came as a consolation that the nephew must have known it and must have made my wife enter the train with the luggage from the nearest compartment at the rear. What a foolish man was I that I frantically ran ahead instead of entering the train from the nearest door! The train was on the move. Suddenly my wife appeared at the door running on the platform with two bags in hands pointed at my direction. My consolation thought evaporated into thin air. As usual she was wearing a sari which was not at all suitable for the kind of athletic job she was performing at that moment. I became jittery. I took the bags from her hand and called her in. She said nothing and disappeared from my view. I began to curse myself. How selfish of me to jump into the train first! I should have been the last.  What a disgraceful and irresponsible behavior that was; I have not behaved like a family man. Now, it served me right to cut a miserable, sorry figure.

 

The Phalaknama Express, one of the superfast trains of India lived to its name. It was catching speed by the seconds. I had wanted to shout to my wife not to run and unnecessarily risk her life; she had better wait there for the next train that we had originally intended to catch. But I couldn’t say anything. I stood there, a couple of feet inside, at the door of the compartment transfixed; not even daring to come to the door to see what frantic action was going on in the platform behind me. The train was gaining even more momentum by the seconds.  To put an end to my thought, again she appeared with two other bags. Immediately like a drowning man catching even a reed to stay afloat, I took those bags in. Next moment for the first time since the beginning of this crisis I saw the nephew running with two other bags. So all the while during this time he was running carrying with him the entire luggage of which my wife was relieving him two by twos! I felt pity for the boy and shame and guilt for me. I took those bags in too. All the bags and luggage were inside the train now.

 The time came for her to jump in but the train had gathered much speed by that time. I could see her running with all her might to catch the handle of the door. My mind was also running with her in great speed; one moment I was thinking of shouting at her to abandon the dangerous risk of getting into a running train, the second moment I was weighing the option of pulling the chain to stop the train and getting ready to pay a hefty fine for that, the next moment I was thinking of extending my hand to her and lifting her up into the train as a superman but I couldn’t do anything. I had been petrified with horror. A thought was crystallizing in me that If I interfered in any way, either by words or actions, then her plan of actions would be seriously disturbed and an accident would definitely happen.  So by remaining passive as a witness only I could let things take their own course and thus might enable them to make it possible to give birth to that one in ten chances of landing her safely inside the train and ending everything well. I had become literally a deaf and dumb spectator at his wit’s end at the turn of the event. All the while she was running with her small legs, with her small frame of 4’10”. As she got parallel to the door she reached for the handle and with a tremendous effort and by a surprising last moment show of feat she heaved herself in and landed smack on the floor of the compartment. Till that time I had not moved an inch from the place I stood lest by my slightest movement the fine balance of the universe got disturbed.

 

During the moments she was running on the platform beside the train to get a hold of the door handle the time had stopped for me. My mind after a hectic run among thoughts and at last finding the futility, the uselessness of them all had gone into a swoon as it were and I was emptied of that constant static noise of thoughts that ran always at the back of the mind. Suddenly all grumblings, complaining, fault findings, adversely comparing her with others that characterized the relationship between us from the beginning; all the disharmonious noises coming out of  an ill-matched chain and sprocket  like relationship evaporated into thin air at the prospect of great danger and imminent death or dismemberment. Once I had seen the dead and dismembered body of a woman lying on the railway track beside the platform at Bhubaneswar.

 

And then as if to put a full stop to my helplessness  she made the huge jump that could put many athletes to shame and all the moves she made somehow turned right and she reached safe and whole inside the compartment with a huge smile at me as if to announce, “Look, we have come through”. It was such a huge relief! It seemed to me the radiance of that smile spread to all corners of the universe and as I was at its nearest it filled me with such peace as I had experienced never before. It was like a drought of fresh air. It was like bathing in cool water after a very sweaty, grimy, hot day. It removed all my worries and anxieties, self accusations and self incrimination and remorse in a second and made me fresh and virgin. As all life was one and hence the cough of a polar bear affected the grains of sands of the Sahara desert, so also I thought that radiant smile of my wife must have affected the polar bears and some might have confusedly giggled for not knowing the reason of their inexplicable mirth. I smiled at her too and felt the lightness of our being. Thus that exchange of smile became a mile stone of my life flanked on both sides by long stretches of barren periods in which that kind of smile, uncontaminated by any other considerations than for the purpose for which a smile was genuinely meant, an expression of joy, wonder, a thankfulness for being alive together through the thick and thins of life, remained conspicuous by their absence. At that moment she seemed beyond comparisons and quite lovable too. I now understood the truth of the Buddhist statement, “All distinctions are falsely imagined.”

 

Again the time would come, in fact it has already come so many times, when the realization of the truth that all living beings are one would be lost, the vision of beauty and love in the other would be gone, that perception into the heart of things that united one to the other would vanish and again the two of us would feel lost under the illusion of separation and again we would burn in the fire of hatred, lust and greed. But that feeling of having emerged out of a potentially threatening, grim, death like situation remained for days. Since then many years have gone past. On many nights the scenes of my wife running on the platform beside the train have visited me in nightmarish dreams. Since then we both have fought hundreds of times on many issues and non issues which has convinced both of us that we were not made for each other. But on any day any time if I want to experience oneness with her, to be rid of the illusion of separation, our separate selves, our separate and incompatible identities then I have to just visualize in my mind the scene of her running beside the train, trying to catch hold of the door handle and make a huge effort to heave herself in and finally landing safely inside the compartment to greet me with a triumphant smile uncontaminated by any other considerations not becoming of a soul mate.Since then I have considered her as a gift to me from the Existence notwithstanding her follies and foibles, her demerits and deficits.I have my own vices too to match hers. Her being spared whole and unscathed from that deadly situation where slender was the thread between life and death was enough of a gift to me. She could have lost her grip and anything could have happened to her and I would been left to curse myself for my serious lapses on that day. But as the things stand she has not even once pointed at them till this day, she who never loses any opportunity to blame, criticize or accuse me. The fact is that one of the greatest errors of my life has escaped her ever vigilant critical notice and thereby doubling my gratitude to the Existence. After such knowledge how can acceptance, compassion and love be far behind?

So in a way the heading of this story is a misnomer. Everything actually went wrong till the last scene when by a sleight of hand which only the Existence is capable of It turned an almost tragic ending into a happy one. For that I can’t be grateful enough. Kindly take note of it that I am most hesitant to use words such as “happy”, “joy” and “love” to describe my state of mind ever, but that day For once I had no hesitation whatsoever to apply all such terms liberally in my context.

May all my readers experience such happiness, joy, love, peace and bliss in their lives always or at least some times.

If anyone wishes to share such experiences he/she is cordially invited to do so here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nisha was taking bath in the open on the small platform raised around the only well in the compound where both males and some old females drew water and bathed. Invariably all the young females took a couple of bucketful of water into a rickety bathroom beside the well and bathed there, except Nisha. Unaccountably Nisha frequently chose to take bath in the open and thereby causing considerable flutter in the hearts of all males present in the compound. I didn’t know why she was so nonchalant to the male eyes that scanned her lovely body inch by inch while she was engrossed deeply in bathing. I suppose she was practicing a kind of meditation in which one was supposed to make only the most deliberate and conscious movements in complete disregard of one’s immediate surroundings for she never wavered for a moment her attention away from her body. Who watched her and for how long and from which angle and corner she never bothered herself to know or verify.
Normally I didn’t watch her bathing. No no, please don’t think of me as morally or ethically so erect and tall that I won’t stoop to watch this kind of free and full public display. On the contrary I enjoyed to the brim such lovely sights and consciously sought for more. But Nisha’s case was something else. She was mine for the asking. I knew a few hours later she would present herself before me with that well-soaped and well-toned body for my/our enjoyment. But for a different kind of taste and for novelty’s sake one day I wanted to watch her bath in the open from the beginning to the end. I thought if all others could watch her in that state why couldn’t I? But how to watch her without being watched by others, that was the problem. For others to watch her could be understood and forgiven but how could my interest and behavior be accounted for when all suspected that I was having a rocking and tumultuous affair with her? The compound was full of people with a lot of prying eyes. I had to be extra careful. I decided to watch her secretly from a safe and secure position.

And I discovered such a safe and secret place right inside my room. I needn’t venture out to do the romantic job. Someone defined romanticism as ‘ amorous of the far’. Yes, I wanted to see Nisha’s body from afar, at least from the perspective of fifty yards, a sort of ringside view not the usual close ups. More importantly I wanted to see her as she appeared to others. Habit is a great deadener. One needs to see sometimes even things and people belonging to oneself from the perspectives of others in order to keep their novelty, freshness, charm, innocence, virginity, purity and appeal alive. I have seen how a book lying unopened for decades in my shelf suddenly acquired a life of its own and became extremely interesting when viewed and commented favorably by someone I valued. After all things and people, in short the whole Samsar itself is the creation of the mind only. It is all a mind game. Sorry, even watching beloved Nisha’s semi naked body was a mind game too. I was about to see not her as she was, not even what was there to be seen but what I chose to see or put in her. S.T. Coleridge’s famous line, “Oh Lady, you receive only what you give” was only etched in my mind in indelible ink.

So one day I stood on the chair placed on the table ( I hope readers will recollect this pair of stark, inseparable furniture that adorned my room which Nisha consecrated with her daily presence and which I described in some detail in my earlier story,” The woman who would dance only to the tune of her heart’s beats) and thus successfully bringing my eyes on a level with a small window that opened directly on the well in the compound. She pulled water from the well and poured on herself with a mug. Then she soaped her body very slowly and deliberately trying to reach all the crannies and crevices of her body as much as could be done politely standing in a public place. Well, to put it bluntly, leaving that small place about three inches in diameter around her genital she covered all other places in suds and bubbles of soap and water. She lathered her body very freely. Ten minutes of rubbing over the whole body with a terry towel followed by pouring of bucketful after bucketful of water on herself as she slowly moved her bare hands over the length and breadth of her body completed her bath. The most exciting part of her bath for which I had put so much effort and strain to witness turned into an anti-climax and passed most prosaically. I had mesmerizedly watched several times how Indian rural women took bath in river Ghats and how deftly and swiftly they changed saris with twinkling of an eye, as it were, as they finished their baths, all the while remaining in the full public view. Nobody could see any of those private parts men hungered to witness for which a woman’s body was the most beautiful and desirable thing for a human male.

With Nisha nothing of the sort happened. There was no deftness, no dexterity of hands. I was inclined to think of her as pitiable in the sari changing act. It was quite evident she had no one to teach her this common lesson. After her bath was over she wore the sari at one of its end and just piled the rest of it on her chest that covered barely her breasts, keeping her back completely exposed. I had never seen four or five yards of cloth being put to so little use, covering such a little space of one’s body. But it had one seemingly unintended effect. Nisha’s very fair, rounded shoulders and bare back aroused me. I had tried to witness the event with as much detachment as I could muster. But at what stage of my observation I had let off my guards I didn’t know. The result was that the rounded and curvaceous contour of her body, her braless undulating breasts shaking like two dancing butterflies in the air as she took measured steps to her house from the well holding a bucketful of water in each hand, made me long her so totally for an urgent engagement in sex. I confess I had a monstrous erection at hand that demanded attention and urgent satisfaction.

I waited in my room for her. In this kind of situations a belief held me together; that if I could wait patiently then things would turn in my favor, that everything could be mine, that everything right would happen only at the right moment, that the world might pour itself at my feet if I just could be endlessly patient. If, at the end of the day, nothing came to my hand then I would at least gain myself; for patience and trust in patience is my true nature. All impatience is the result of impurity. I couldn’t afford to be impatient. Patience was my opener by which I would at last succeed in opening the oyster that was the world. I told myself repeatedly to be more patient, more organized even when under the thrall of a highly amorous nature and at the moment trying to cope with a huge, recalcitrant erection. I told myself that Nisha would surely come. I was just to silently wait for a while longer before she threw herself at my feet to be explored even more fully and deeply.

That day unlike other days, she took a lot more time to come to my room, as if knowingly testing my patience. An hour later she emerged out of her house well dressed and well-coiffure. I thought she would come directly to my room as was her wont after her husband had left for office. Instead she went outside the gated compound. When I watched her from my rear window I could see some novelties with her. She had tucked in a small Turkish towel to her sari fold at the waist and as she walked very leisurely the dangling towel was swaying side to side with each of her steps giving her a bohemian, gypsy kind of look. And I liked that. That also stoked the fire raging in me. Just as anything could be fodder for a raging inferno like a jungle fire, so also it was with lust. No wonder, Buddhism considered lust as one of the three fires in which the suffering humanity got burnt. The other two being hatred and illusion. Illusion meant the illusion of separation; the inexorable and often unconscious desire to think of oneself as separate and superior to all others. I was in lust and I was burning. How I wished I had been a Buddha, morally and ethically pure, perfect and serene or a Confucius never leaving for a moment the Golden Mean. No more would I be burnt by the three fires.

She was walking to a laundry at a little distance. I could see her talk with the laundry man, possibly to get some of her laundry done urgently. Then she returned with the same leisured steps. When one had the whole life to spend as one liked like the millions of Indian urban middle class house wives freed from the burdensome duties and responsibilities of joint families, without the modern day distractions like T.Vs, mobiles or video games that are engineered or structured to fill up or eat up one’s time, it was wise to go about life leisurely, deliberately and consciously which was what Nisha was precisely doing. It had become her habit which has been rightly called as second nature. Sometimes I think that no matter how much consciously, deliberately or leisurely one performed one’s daily routine, monotony and boredom would set in one day sooner or later unless some varieties or novelties were also there in one’s life. Possibly Nisha started her affair with me when her life had fallen into one such monotonous rut. Why she chose me out of so many eligible males present in the compound would remain a mystery for me. Probably she had that uncanny ability to recognize in me the same kind of a victim of boredom and monotony. Yes, my life too had fallen into a repetitious pattern that lacked joy and creativity. That probably explained the bond that was formed and forged between us as we came closer. Sex was the glue that held us together but what attracted us to each other was probably like that of a drowning man’s wish for life-giving air, just to be out of the water. She was like fresh air for me as I suppose I was for her. That’s why we enjoyed each other’s company so much. Or we might have some residual karmic past to settle; in some past life we might have been a couple. I won’t ever know. But one thing I am certain that a man or a woman would surely sacrifice anything including the serenity, peace of a moral and ethical conjugal life unless that life also left some scope for creativity, enjoyment and zest for living. I think most of the extra-marital affairs are hence less to deal with sexual problems and more with spiritual ones.

So she was returning from the laundry. I could unmistakably see that typical womanly swing of hips which came so naturally to women, especially the Indian women. I guess the special kind of arrangement of pelvic bones with which the women are naturally endowed to facilitate the birth of their babies might have got something to account for that womanly shape and swings of hips and buttocks. To a horny man in the driving seat of a mountainous libido even that swaying gait acted like gasoline. It made me fire from all cylinders.
And then she entered my room and silently shut the door behind her. That she always did whenever she was unusually late in coming. I knew she must have surveyed the whole scenario outside and decided that now the coast was clear enough to sail our little amorous boat into the ocean of passion. To say that I fell on her like a bull who had smelt the oestrum of a cow on the heat or a male insect who had smelt the pheromone of an ovulating female would not be far off the mark. I confess there was nothing refined, human or civilized about my behavior on that day; it was rank and out bestiality on display. Where was that man with “exceptional restraint,” as Nisha once had spontaneously pronounced about me? That man was nowhere to be found. Inside the room there was only a beast. Without much ado I began to undress her and fondled her breasts and sucked her teats and lips for a long time. Inevitably with Nisha a time came after fifteen or twenty minutes of lips and nipples sucking when she would signal me to stop. That meant she was successfully brought to the same stratospheric libidinal orbit in which I had been orbiting for a long while. That also meant time had come to take our lovemaking to a deeper level or to the next higher level. We couldn’t afford to tarry any longer at a particular stage of the lovemaking act without attracting monotony to ourselves. So her signal was to move on with nature. We were nature’s children. In the lovemaking act we were relentlessly prodded and goaded to move on till the goal of orgasm was reached. We were also given numerous clues to synchronize our acts and anticipating each other’s moves, responses and adjusting oneself accordingly were the high points in the art of lovemaking.

If I wanted a tell tale physiological sign that would confirm me her readiness to mate, her state of heightened sexual arousal, I had just to lift her sari and inspect her vaginal region which unmistakably showed a small rivulet in spate. It is her seminal fluid gone wild and berserk, it usually breached all dams and jumped both shores. So without making any more delays and to put an end to my pulsating libido, I mounted her on the bed. She was looking happy; a joyful smile was evident on her face. As I shoved in my erect penis and made just five or six deep thrusts, something stung me nastily from inside her vagina.
I blurted out an “Ahh” in pain and said, “Nisha, your cunt stings!”
As I immediately pulled out my penis in pain what I saw I couldn’t at first believe. Deep gash had been made on the foreskin and red blood was spurting out. The pain was sharp and throbbing. Seeing this Nisha too sat upon the bed and remarked that it had happened once with her husband too.
I asked, “What for this sting is? Who is stinging?”
Nisha laughed and replied that no one was there to sting. It was her copper T, an IUD, which had somehow come down so low from its usual position that it had scarred my thing on contact.
I asked, “What is the remedy?”
She replied,”Nothing. Just push the thing a little deeper with your finger. All will be O.K. But you may have to take a day or two of rest from sex in order to heal the wound and not to rupture the wound again.”
I said, “I am not going to take rest even for a day. A few minutes rest at the most and then whether the bleeding stops or not I will resume the act from where I had left.
As we both watched red blood spurting by, I said,”Nisha, so much blood is going waste and I am also experiencing a throbbing pain. Couldn’t you take the thing in your mouth and suck the blood dry? I would also feel very comfortable and relieved in your warm and moist mouth.”
I didn’t think she would comply. But surprisingly and most touchingly she did exactly that. Without wasting even a second she brought her mouth to my loin and very tenderly and lovingly took my thing into her mouth and sucked it exactly in the fashion I sucked her lips and teats regularly and religiously for a long long while in which the world outside just ceased to exist. Her act of sucking my penis was even more commendable. While I sucked her clean, freshly bathed breasts, she sucked my penis which was bleeding and was liberally laced with vaginal fluids at that time. She didn’t even wipe it clean before inserting it into her mouth. She had no such squeamishness or undue concern for hygiene. In that very touching gesture I felt completely one with her.

My view of the world, especially the world between our loins, surprisingly coincided with her. My view was that our mouth contained more germs, bacteria and other microorganisms than either our anus or the sexual organs. So whenever I kissed or sucked Nisha’s body I did it with a kind of abandonment which might seem shocking to some or be considered as unclean or unhygienic to some others. But surprisingly Nisha had no such qualms and she seemed almost a cloned copy of mine as far as the acceptance of each other’s body was concerned. The only visible difference between us was that Nisha did all such acts while keeping her eyes shut and I did keeping my eyes wide open. I didn’t want to lose even a second of this kind of intense act by failing to register it in my consciousness. It could be said Nisha felt me more in her shut-eye position while I ‘saw’ her more in my wide-eyed open position. I can’t say who was the gainer or who was the loser. All I can say was that while she was sucking my bleeding and slimy penis in her shut-eye position I felt a very strong surge of tender emotions welling up in me for her. I stroked her hairs; I stroked her face and for umpteenth time kissed her face bending awkwardly from my sitting position on the bed. Again I felt that oneness with her and through her with the whole universe; the same oneness, devoid of all sense of separation from the other, which is so desirable by all mystics, seers and by many lay men and women of all religions. Who has not experienced the burning pain of separation at sometime or other in life, who has not been deluded by the illusion of separation and hasn’t longed for peace, harmony by becoming whole again by a vision of our essential oneness? Buddha said, “All life is one”. Through such acts of kindness and closeness and deep feeling and concern for others Oneness could also be realized. We are just to see the other through the uncontaminated and unselfish eyes where we didn’t have any personal axes to grind.

Nisha came to my life towards the fag end of a decade old reign of depression. I was weak, pessimistic and despondent after a decade of straining with all my might to break free from the vice like grip of the depression. What kept me alive during that period were some books and I fought on to keep the monster at bay without ever taking the help of drugs of any kind. During that period when I was hopelessly plodding my weary way, a line from Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” came to my mind often. “I can’t go on; I must go on.” I must have uttered that line hundreds of times to myself especially during those days when the vice like grip was most complete and total. To that scenario of my life Nisha entered like a breath of fresh air. I was already enjoying periods of peace and calmness but Nisha gave that human touch, especially the womanly touch which I so badly needed. As for her she too went through similar angst almost for an equal period for different reasons but nevertheless as authentic as mine. So in a sense we complemented, supported and boosted each other. That explained while I repeatedly told her that she had chosen a bad, lousy lover for herself she stuck to her view that I was almost perfect for her. She corrected me by saying that she had not chosen me; I had been returned to her after a decade. When I still insisted that she had made a poor choice; to my unbelieving ears she declared that if I needed proof of my worthiness, future would only give ample evidence of them. To someone who had just managed to emerge out of a pall of gloom and darkness this was light and life. She reposed full faith and confidence in me at a time when I didn’t have any on me. That was when I was thirty. Now I am nearing sixty. Only two years from hence I will be retired from Govt. service. I don’t think her prophecy has been fulfilled in any way. I don’t think I have a future. Just coping with the demands of the present moments and situations has been a full time job for me. I hope she hadn’t meant that seriously. I have also not taken it seriously. That way lies less frustration and disillusionment.

I don’t know if I deserved her love, confidence and trust in the first place. All I can say is that I am grateful for her reposing so much confidence in me, her bestowal of so much love on me. My association with her lasted exactly two hundred days. Then the Existence which had so miraculously and unaccountably brought us together also devised a game of separation to make us drift apart till we were out of each other’s lives. But so long we were together I experienced repeatedly those moments of Oneness, togetherness, that merging of the personal and private self in the universal, impersonal Self where we existed not for attainment of any personal and selfish ambitions and achievements but for consciously being our true self which is being kind, compassionate and good towards all living beings. Eastern mysticism which is so much distrustful of sensuality and sensuous pleasure utterly lacks the experiential confirmation. Even animals, birds and insects know better and hence discard the nonsexual way of living altogether. It is only the megalomaniac human ego which wants to attain the elevated status of imaginary gods where sexlessness or celibacy is associated or synonymous with godliness or divineness. I know what celibate priests and God men have been doing throughout the world and throughout the ages. I have no taste for such divine life. The sacrifice is so enormous; the reward is so puny, trite and mostly consisted of rehash of old, secondhand opinions and experiences. Of course, there have been exceptions; a Buddha, a Ramana, a Shankaracharya, a Ramakrishna or a Vivekananda. They were great not because of their celibacy but in spite of it.

Nisha was not only an excellent mate of mine but a good wife to her husband too. It fell to her lot that she had to choose to live for some time the kind of life she lived. She had to do a lot of balancing act during that time under the stress of which many lesser mortals would have caved. She never talked or encouraged me to talk against her husband. In her words,” I cannot tolerate my husband belittling my lover nor can I tolerate my lover belittling my husband.” Circumstances so conspired with her that she was forced to lead a life where her husband and her lover were not the same person. But she tried to make the best out of her situation. She never intentionally hurt anyone. She was even extremely unwilling to hurt a mosquito sucking her blood. She must have suffered some poisoned barbs from her husband for her too close for comfort kind of association with me. But she never shot back nor gave any opportunity for him to feel slighted. She never compared one with the other. Each one was equally important for her, so she never took any step that would jeopardize the fine balance of peace and harmony in her home. She kept her relationship with me a secret in her heart, tucked away safely from all prying eyes with all her customary diligence and meticulousness. Discussing about it with anyone else, including her husband was like dragging a very precious, personal and private thing to the marketplace for public display and thereby doing a sacrilege on it. She would never do it. I too never discussed our love with anyone else.

It is only after more than a quarter of a century after our affair was over and after protecting the identities of all main characters by changing their names I am writing about this love story. A few lines before I mentioned that she never compared me with her husband or anybody else. But the same cannot be said about me. For instance, once I asked her, “Please tell me about the love life between you and your husband”.
She replied, “It would be better for you if you don’t press me for an answer because I know you will be hurt and what you will hear may not be to your liking.”
I replied,”Nisha, your reply may hurt me; nonetheless I should like to hear it.”
She said, “Take today itself for an example. Within the last 18 hours we have had sex three times.”
I asked, “Please tell me exactly when you had those three sessions?”
She said, “The first time happened in the dawn just after I came back from the garden after plucking some flowers for the Puja. When I had gone out he was asleep. But as I came in he was awake and finding the children still asleep expressed his desire for sex which I complied as always. By the way, I have never refused him sex. The next time it was in the afternoon after we had taken our lunch. You know today is his holiday and unlike the other days I am available to him throughout the day. The third time it was in the evening when the boys were still out playing crickets. So this is my answer. Are you happy hearing it? I know you can’t be because you love me so much. That’s why I was so reluctant to reply.”
Strangely, though I had thought of me as incapable of being shocked by whatever might be her reply, yet frankly I admitted that I was shocked and had a feeling as if I had eaten a bundle of grass. Such is the power of illusion. Almost everyone is under the illusion that his brain power is the best; and a corollary to that is his sexual prowess is also the best under the sun. Nisha’s candid reply just decimated that illusion for some time. I said sometime because fragments of the illusion would again coalesce and come together and again enshroud the human mind. Myths, beliefs and illusions are hard to discard or obliterate.
I replied, “Yes, I am feeling a bit uneasy. But the question is not how I feel at hearing a fact. The question for me is to know the facts, however pleasant or unpleasant they may be. So just tell me whatever the truth is. I know I am in love with a married woman who must be having sex with her husband. I ought to have been prepared to hear such truths.”
Days passed by. My curiosity, as usual, in matters of sex knew no bounds. One day I asked her the question which had been lurking at the back of mind always.
I asked her,”Nisha, please tell me how do I stand in comparison to your husband in the matter of sex. Please give me a frank, true and as far as possible emotionally detached or uninvolved answer with no concern whatever to my personal reactions, from all angles and sides of the issue including an assessment of my instrument vis-à-vis your husband’s.”
She replied, “What you will hear may not please you because you might be unfavorably compared. It is better if you don’t press me for an answer.”
I said, “You know I have always wanted to know the truth in all matters. It doesn’t matter if I cut a sorry figure in comparison with your husband. I know a decade of depression has severely affected my health. I also know your husband has an athletic body and he is far more handsome than me. So I won’t feel slighted however you may describe me or my instrument.”

I don’t think the world would have been as wise and well-informed had not someone took the courage in his hands and asked the difficult question that lurked in many peoples’ mind but none had dared to ask. I am led to think so because what came as a reply to my difficult question was like so many gems cascading from Nisha’s lips. I think mankind would be richer by taking heed to it. I certainly have.

What she replied took my breath away. But after the initial shock I recovered ground surprisingly fast in her estimate because after all her entire statement and the vivid descriptions in it were not against me. Towards the later part of her almost clinical description of our private parts I scored some brownie points whereas I had prepared myself for thorough drubbings.
She said, “So far as size is concerned my husband has a bigger penis than you. Even in the completely erect state you show some infirmity unlike my husband’s which is almost like a ramrod. But what you lack in size and firmness you make up, I should say more than make up, by your prolonged impassioned kisses, strokes and especially sucking of my lips and breasts. He doesn’t like all these elaborate foreplays. He doesn’t have the necessary patience. It seems he doesn’t get much pleasure out of kissing and sucking. For you foreplay is as much important as the sex act itself. Coincidentally that also pleases me more. I reach orgasm with both of you. But to speak honestly, I reach orgasm more number of times with you than him. But I must warn you here against thinking that I come to you for orgasms. I come because I love you and because you make me feel important, valuable and precious. So this is my answer. Did you like it?”
I said, “I did more than just like it. You gave me very valuable insights into the workings of a woman’s mind, what she likes and what she would love to be done with her to give her the maximum pleasure out of the sex act. By sharing this information you have made me a better human being, a better lover because I consider the sex act as a way of giving one’s partner and oneself as much happiness as possible with all considerations for the other in the common pursuit of mutual love and oneness.”

I have digressed a little. Even digressions and detours one takes in the pursuit of love, peace, happiness and oneness are lovely. I was stung viciously in my penis from inside Nisha’s cunt and so had to take a halt in the middle of the sex act to stem the blood flow and recuperate from the pain, both simultaneously getting done by her glad insertion of the full penis into her mouth. With her moist and warm mouth around my penis I felt much better. The libido had returned with renewed vigor for the mouth treatment was novel and any novelty in the bed was a great aphrodisiac. All misgivings regarding not being able to perform or having to take a day or two of rest had disappeared. I could feel my penis hardening again insider Nisha’s mouth and as if it were straining at the lease to go and perforate and snugly fit, where it should, inside her cunt. I could hear it sing,” I think I can; I think I can”. It couldn’t be restrained any more. Exactly five minutes had past after she put it into her mouth.

So I withdrew my penis from her mouth and without seeing whether the bleeding had stopped or not I let it jab into her equally wet and moist cunt. Believe me or not, even after this bloody affair, my throbbing penis immediately swung into action and very swiftly engorged itself with blood and transformed itself into the most monstrous erection I have ever had. Sex with that kind of erection and with a mate like Nisha was a thing for which many Presidents including the President of US of A would envy.
To keep the danger element alive and to make the sex act resemble the game of Roulette I had not pushed the IUD deeper with fingers. The danger of the IUD gashing the glans of my penis was so real. But I was willing to take the risk as that was a welcome novelty. Moreover, I was experiencing the highs of a heightened sexual excitement that stifled or muffled pain, so I couldn’t be risk averse.
I was initially a little afraid of the sting from the IUD, but with each deep and forceful thrust I regained confidence. In order to give me even more courage and boost my morale, after a few deep thrusts I began to utter the words,” Oh Cunt, where is thy sting?”
Nisha giggled at that turn of the words and phrases. A few more deep thrusts and again I would say,”Oh Cunt, where is thy sting?” I continued going deeper and deeper as if I was possessed, as if I was chasing after a demon. With that kind of hard erection I couldn’t afford to just skim the surface. To my serious, determined face Nisha gave the complete contrast. She was all the while giggling, laughing and stroking my back, face and neck. To me she looked as if she was the most beautiful, the most perfect woman on the Earth. Not a trace of the awkwardness at the change of sari on the platform of the well could be associated with her; as if that was some other person. Now she was only at her best and strangely I too, notwithstanding the danger from the murderous IUD, was at my best. Things couldn’t have been better or more perfect. The world, it seemed, had no better sight to show than a contented pair of lovers like Nisha and me. All our moves were so appropriate and synchronized that not only we felt oneness in our minds and hearts but in our loins too. As always, as we reached orgasm almost simultaneously, Nisha’s was a muted affair but mine was most mind shattering and noisy, to speak the least. Nisha always deliberately muffled her intensity in orgasming as she said she got a migraine triggered simultaneously with intense ones.

Two days later I met the friend who was instrumental in finding me that house. He called me from the back and as he drew level he informed me that he had been to my housing colony. I asked why he didn’t drop in. As he replied I was taken aback. What a lousy person had I been! In the midst of the bloody game of love we had exceeded time limit, made noises, giggled noisily and for once had thrown all cautions to the wind. We couldn’t afford to be so careless again. Nor the Existence might be so sparing always.But sometimes I didn’t want to care. Didn’t the Patriarch of Zen Buddhism say,”From the beginning not a thing is”? I believe we are but aspects of the universal Mind only which always knew. So why be unnecessarily worried and anxious? We could relax and rest in that Mind peacefully.

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I was thirty. Yet I was single though I was very much willing and open to mingle. One obstacle remained. I was not willing to marry in the timetested Indian way of marrying what is called as an arranged marriage. You get a bride chosen or selected by your parents and elders. I was for love marriage, the western way. The problem was I was extremely shy so far as interactions of any nature with women were concerned. So days passed by and I had almost resigned myself to a permanent bachelor’s life. Parents were concerned as I was the eldest of their five sons. My younger brothers were each just 1 and half year younger than the immediately preceding ones. So for them I was unnecessarily causing delay in their marraiges as being the eldest I enjoyed the privilege to marry first. I could feel their frustrations and told…

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It was the beginning of a week in 1970 at Ajodhya high School Balasore, Orissa, India. I was studying in class 10. For many years till then there used to be a short period of prayer followed by reading of a few lines from the Gita before the classes started. In a significant departure from the usual routine, the venue of the prayer class had been changed recently from the school verandah to the Science Hall, the only hall in the school. All these changes were taking place at the behest of the school Headmaster, Mr. Prusty. It was his idea also to read aloud some selected lines from the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi on some days in addition to the lines from Bhagabad Gita. It fell to the lot of Hindi and Sanskrit teacher Shri Brajabandhu Pani to read those lines from the Gita and “My experiment with truth” as Gandhiji’s autobiography was in Hindi, a translation from the original Gujrati.
That day all things proceeded as usual; first the prayer, then readings from the Gita and Gandhiji’s autobiography at the last. But just as we were about to disperse and return to our respective classes the Headmaster’s stentorian voice rang out loud and clear in our ears. He called out the name of Niranjan, a boy of my class, and ordered him to come to the dais. Niranjan came unto the dais where the Headmaster was standing to a side along with all the teachers behind a large table on which scientific experiments were usually demonstrated. The Headmaster, Mr. Prusty asked him “Why didn’t you bend your head and say Namaste on Saturday”? Niranjan replied in a most feeble and terrified voice, “Sir, I couldn’t understand your instructions”. Then what followed was something beyond my imagination. Even now as I am writing about that episode my blood is boiling within me in shock, anger and rage. Mr. Prusty beat Niranjan more than 100 times with all his might using both his hands simultaneously. Sometimes there were slaps raining and sometimes there were blows. The beating continued for full 15 minutes in front of the whole congregated students and teachers of the school. During that time the Headmaster’s wristwatch with a steel band unclasped five times of itself due to the force of the blows and slaps. Each time he took a breather for a few seconds to clasp the strap and resumed beating. It seemed the beating would be interminable. One hundred students and seven teachers stood there as dumb and mute spectators. Not a single voice was raised against the most barbaric act. Such was the tyrannical power and authority this headmaster wielded! By the time the beating had ended Mr. Prusty was as exhausted by beating as Niranjan was from being beaten up. I think that the periodically unclasping strap of the wristwatch had saved Niranjan from another fifty blows and slaps. The violence of the beatings was so severe that Niranjan’s shirt was torn into tatters and was loosely hanging from his body.
I knew what had happened. On the Saturday before, after the school had been over, some of us boys from the school hostel were filing past towards the playground situated just outside the school campus to play. I was bringing up the rear of the line and Niranjan was at its head. Just when he was about to cross the gate, two outsiders came inside the school campus accompanied by the Headmaster. As it turned out later, they were the P.E.T(Physical Education Teachers) inspectors. What went on at the front was not as visible and audible from my viewpoint at the rear as the whole incident passed in a second or two. Our line moved on, we never stopped for a second. As I collected and pieced all evidences and fragments together after the beating, it emerged that Mr. Prusty had signaled by some gesture to Niranjan to bend his head and say Namaste to those PET inspectors which Niranjan failed to do. Had Niranjan bowed his head and said Namaste to those strangers then the next boy would have also taken the cue and all the boys down the line would have bowed their heads and said Namaste. That would have pleased the Headmaster. According to Niranjan he couldn’t correctly interpret Mr. Prusty’s sign language. He thought the Headmaster was gesturing to bow down to himself which Niranjan found preposterous as during the course of the day he had already done that much earlier. But the Headmaster took that as willful disobedience and insubordination.
Whatever that may be, during and after that beating my attitude to Mr. Prusty changed into disgust and hatred. Since then 42 years have passed. But the scene is as fresh in my memory as ever. I was a very shy boy then and Mr. Prusty was a tyrant. I have shed a lot of my shyness as I grew up. With my present mental makeup, if I had witnessed that event, I would surely have reported the matter to NIranjan’s parents and probably would have gone with them to the police. I would have written petitions to the higher authorities. But as I was then I could do nothing. NIranjan’s tattered shirt and bruised body have haunted me since then in so many of my dreams. I promised that day I would never be a teacher like the Headmaster. Subsequently I became a lecturer in Mitrapur College, Balasore and BITS, Pilani, Rajasthan. I have never hurt any student in any way. I condemn corporal punishment and of the view that it should be banned from all schools. Only the perverts and cowards terrorize students and wards in their charges. Wise do things differently.
So much punishment, beating and humiliation before the whole school for just failing to say Namaste to two total strangers! It just doesn’t make any sense. This incident of beating was also not an unusual or exceptional behavior from the Headmaster. For the sake of brevity only I am confining this article to this single incident; but I can write a whole book on the barbaric and inhuman treatment of the students, especially the boys, in the hands of this tyrant. Sadly, there were many parents who encouraged the teachers not to be sparing with their rods while dealing with their children or wards. The most dangerous and complicated thing was that the Headmaster did have some sterling qualities. He was the most energetic, dynamic, and knowledgeable and the most widely read among all the teachers of the school. That was his trump card. By flaunting his knowledge and eloquence he wielded such power over students that fell just short of awarding death sentence and could silence all the signs of revolts from the students and some guardians with an iron hand for more than a decade. He just lacked compassion which is also called as wisdom in action. In all else he shared much commonality with many tyrants in history; many brilliant qualities and capabilities combined with much cruelties and a false sense of honor and prestige.

Sometimes I wonder why such senseless events occur. Why such otherwise brilliant and dynamic persons turn into tyrants? The best possible answer that comes to my mind is that perhaps Life was making Mr. Prusty play the role of a tyrant, that hideous monster lurking within all of us, and letting us see how ugly, inhuman and macabre we all could be if we became unaware of the monster lodged deeply in our unconscious. The tyrant in us could be found in action in schools, in homes, in offices, in playgrounds, in business, in all places, in all relationships and in all roles. The tyrant like a rapist only seeks an opportunity and a suitable environment to manifest itself. The weak, the children, the old, the unprotected and the vulnerable are the ones whom the tyrant pounces upon as its preys because they can’t retaliate. In truth every tyrant is a coward, it can’t face up to its equals. It too is insidious, manipulative and capable of disguising itself in honorable robes. Therefore none of us is secure against it. Mr. Prusty that day by his actions gave free play to it and brought out the tyrant in us from the darkness of our unconscious to the light of the consciousness so that we all could take heed and bring all our actions and motivations under the microscope of alert awareness. Gandhiji said that a man can be known by the way he treats his servants; by the way he addresses the waiters in a hotel. Only in conscious and deliberate actions lies our freedom and Nirvana. As the Buddha said, “Ignorance is the cause of all our miseries and bondages. Only wisdom frees”.

Do you know any tyrant or bully ? How did you like his/her bullying? Would you like to share ?

“There is an incredible intelligence and power within you constantly responding to your thoughts and words. As you learn to control your mind by the conscious choice of thoughts, you align yourself with this power”.
Today I am to align myself with this power by consciously choosing to think and write about Nisha, my wonderful and mysterious muse, a woman of many dimensions and complexities who was never ashamed of her difference from most others. What others thought of as the things “wrong” with her, she considered those as the expressions of her individuality, her uniqueness and her specialty. Of course, she never claimed herself as someone special, but to me she was certainly special. She thought we were meant to be different. Hence, for her there was no competition or comparison. It was as if, we all had come to this planet just to express the uniqueness of ourselves.
It was another of her greatness that while she actually granted me her sexual favor, she made me feel always as if I was obliging her. As if I was not the beneficiary of her favor but her benefactor. As if she was the one receiving while in real conferring this great honor and privilege to me. Her joy was in sharing everything she had with me. As a result, our sexual escapades, after that first encounter during the course of an afternoon about which I have already told in an earlier story, became regular ones. But like everything else in life, the sex between us too had its ups and downs, its valleys, plateaus and bottomless pits. Once, during the initial days, I lost erection consecutively for two days. Howsoever I tried, my thing remained unmoved and lifeless. I told Nisha to take the thing in her hands and especially in her mouth. She sincerely did her utmost to revive the flagging, lifeless thing that had almost turned into a vestige of a penis. On the second day, while sitting astride me, after half an hour of all sorts of cuddling and cajoling, she finally called it a day and we lost all hope of resurrection. Even though this episode came very early in the course of our sexual intimacy I behaved as though I had been prepared all along for such a thing to happen, as though it were quite normal and ordinary and there was nothing much in it to write home about. The fact is I had heard from a friend in detail what had happened to him and his wife on their first night. In short, as his erection failed that night, his new bride after making all attempts to revive his libido concluded that “her life was finished” as she had unwittingly married an impotent man. Thereafter she became hysterical and cried, shouted and threw so much tantrum in and around the house that my friend reached the depth of despair and thought of committing suicide. It was very fortunate that he confided everything to me and I advised him to consult a doctor and assured him that his erectile dysfunction was curable. I also said that his problem would have sorted out itself of its own accord in course of time even if untreated, with patience and understanding from both. But as his wife had gone hysterical and was not in a positive frame of mind herself to render the cooperation and understanding needed, it would be better if they both sought medical advice and treatment which fortunately they did. In fact she was brought to the doctor by force. But such was her hysterical state of mind that it took a year of medical treatment to bring her to normalcy. I knew my friend from infancy and as we reached puberty we had experienced and explored our sexuality together. One of our pastimes was to masturbate simultaneously before each other to reach the goal of the quickest ejaculations. From those sessions I knew from the first hand that my friend’s erectile dysfunction was not organic or congenital and hence easily curable.

When the same thing happened to me with Nisha I was not at all worried or scared. I knew, with understanding and patience, it would very soon go away. I had the most understanding sexual partner any man could ever hope for. I had also the Buddha on my side. He said, “I don’t say enjoy life or be happy. Just allow the “suchness” of things to be. That’s enough”. In other words when there is an erection and a sexual mate around then have and enjoy sex; but when your thing doesn’t move in spite of being goaded, cajoled and cuddled a lot then enjoy even the non-moving, non-stirring, non-penetrative sexual state also. You have the whole body of the other before you to explore, to bathe, to soak, to stroke and marvel at. Why confine your imagination to only a few inches of her/his body between the thighs, you are now released free to roam around the sky of his/her whole body. I was precisely doing that. There was not even a trace of the feeling that opportunities for penetrative sex were going by. I had surrendered myself to the moment and had let the isness of life to be. In short, even in that surrendered, seemingly awkward state, I was experiencing some grace in the shape of a relaxed, quiet and serene state of mind while I could have been extremely tense, frantic and even crestfallen had I believed in the false notion that an overpowering burden of proving my manhood in the eyes of Nisha was heavily upon me. But there was no such heaviness in me; rather I was in a most playful mood. After all, if sex was not a play, what else it was for? Being shorn of the heavy responsibility of parenthood by the invention of contraceptives, it was only comparatively recently mankind has reached this stage of enjoying the sex act as a play. But alas, even now there are millions who are ignorant of or careless about using contraceptives and spoiling their mental, social and physical wellbeing. I was thinking about like this when all of a sudden Nisha did a thing which was beyond my imagination. I recollect it vividly till this day. All of a sudden, she lay over me with her belly down, bringing her face above mine and her whole body straddling above mine, matching limb for limb. At first I thought she was up to the game of pressing her breasts against mine, a very pleasurable activity for me at all hours of the day, to compensate me for my supposed loss of joy from sex. But she, the mysterious one, had no such thought in her mind that day. Therefore what followed was a complete surprise for me. The first drop of her tear fell on my left cheek. Then it fell like a torrent on both of my cheeks. I became flabbergasted at her tears. Sheepishly I asked, “Have I let you down so badly? Are you so much aroused that you badly need an orgasm?” What came in reply was nothing short of a bolt from the blue. She shook her head twice and said, “Can I not see you well, healthy and strong for once? When you came to this colony your face was so big and you were looking so strong and stout. Within a month and a half you have shed so much weight. Your face looks so small and your cheeks hollow and eyes so sunken that I feel pain at looking at you. You look so pulled down. I feel guilty for bringing you to this state. I wish you soon regained your health and strength as before. ” She was right. A month and a half of hectic life with her with all my routines and schedules thrown to the winds and leading a kind of life with gay abandonment as if to demonstrate to the whole world that taking food was something that men did just out of an unnecessary, primitive bad habit that could be easily and safely dispensed with, more especially on the altar of love, without any consequences whatsoever. All these had no doubt taken their toll on me. The immutable laws of life had reasserted themselves and had shown that my life in imagination should be and could be borne on the shoulders of reality only; it couldn’t exist in and as itself. In fact nothing could exist in and as itself; everything in the universe is interconnected. In short, the food that I eat or don’t eat, the thought I think or don’t think, the words I speak or don’t speak, the silences and stillnesses that give the depth and spaciousness to a relationship I maintain or don’t, all have a bearing on the kind of erection I get or don’t get. I had also been suffering from amoebiasis for long despite all kind of medication. To confound the matter, I had been repeatedly refusing to take any food whatsoever from Nisha’s house that she had generously been offering to me, on the ground that those foods rightfully belonged to her children and husband. However, she made me promise to take more care of my health. For treatment of amoebiasis she referred me to a doctor who turned out to be an excellent one at his profession. Nisha’s knowledge of doctors and drugs was tremendous. Those of my readers who have read my story “The story of my anus itching” may remember a reference to a woman who recommended me the drug Albendazole to put an end to my discomfort and she was none other than Nisha. Considering that her schooling or formal education had been finished when she was forcibly married at the age of seventeen; I am often amazed by her knowledge. I wonder what she could have been if she had been allowed to complete her education. She could easily have been a doctor.

Instead of diagnosing me as a patient suffering from amoebiasis like many other docs before, this doctor diagnosed my dysentery as due to “Loss of vegetable spores in the intestines due to prolonged antibacterial and antiprotozoal treatment.” He radically changed the medicines, the course and regime of the treatment. I followed all his instructions religiously. I paid more heed to my diet. Then the problem of general weakness and erectile dysfunction went away for good within a week. She was right. When I myself couldn’t stand properly how my thing could be expected to stand? And thereafter, what a plethora of juicy sex sessions we had! By and by Nisha’s name got associated in my mind with lots of love and juicy sex. Juicy sex because she exuded a lot of juice, along with love and tenderness, while lovemaking. Those sessions of juicy sex were so pleasurable, powerful and intoxicating that I would, not imagined at that point of my life, be left pining for them for the rest of my life. Buddha said, “Conquering the craving for sensual pleasure is great. But even greater is the conquest of craving itself.” During those heady days I was heedless of all such maxims. I read those from the books and thought those were best left buried there. What was wrong with sexual pleasure? Why should one stop craving? Especially if a juicy sexual mate like Nisha was around and available? I thought my favorite seer Buddha was wrong for once. But alas! That was not to be. Buddha could never be wrong. But that is the subject for another story.

There is nothing in my life that could be termed as exclusively mine, in the sense that something or some quality could be attributed to me only and to nobody else. All ideas, sensations, feelings and emotions, desires and impressions I have, I share those all with others. Those are from the common pool of existence. We all are one. We have more things in common than we can think of. The Yogi and the Commissar, the saint and the sinner are all in me. As my friend Bill once wrote, “The life we live and the love that we are, is the same.” Sex is not opposite of saintliness or Godliness. The way out is the way through. The way to Godliness can be traversed with sex too. Buddha, of course, had a different view. For him life has no joy. What mankind called joy is only a short gap between two sorrows. Later on Thomas Hardy also said in similar vein that happiness is but a short episode in the general drama of pain that is called life. Buddha said that all our sorrows are due to the reason that we are all “joined to the unloved and separated from the loved’. In other words what or whom we love we never get, and we get what or whom we never love. This in short is the cause of our miseries. In real, the world has nothing of lasting value to offer us. The best we can do to end our suffering is to love whatever or whomever we have got as though we have consciously chosen it/him/her. In surrender lie the peace, harmony and grace. But that surrendered state is not so easy to come by. Because that would be the death of our egoic self that thrives on wants, fears, comparisons, interpretations, and feeling in some way separate from and superior to all others. If I can’t be superior in any other aspect then I can claim to be the most miserable man of all. But the truth is that even if there are much sorrows in my life; they are not the real me. My past, my history, my story are the contents that unfold in the consciousness that I am. As I go about my life can I remember that I am the awareness, the field of alert stillness in which all perceptions, memories and experiences happen? Can I shift my focus from the world of forms and objects to the one who perceives? From the world of impermanence and change to the One who is unchanged and abiding? The One who is of lasting value in a world of flux and change? All my stories try to illustrate this. I write only from and about my experiences. If only I can make a truthful rendition of them in my writings then in some miraculous ways that would strike a chord in your hearts too. After all, we are not separate selves, but only under a powerful illusion that we are so. It is only the existence experiencing through us in myriad ways. It only fell to my lot to record this particular experiencing as truthfully as I can. Once out of me it is as much yours as mine. As I write of Nisha I am trying to show not only her formal aspect or dimension but more about her eternal, abiding, spiritual aspect; Nisha as part of the knowing consciousness, full of beauty and love.

Now back to the story. The juice or seminal fluids flew freely out of Nisha during sex, so much so that sometimes I thought I was drowning. One day, halting in the middle of lovemaking, I said,”Nisha, you are in flood and in full spate again. I am drowning. Is there any way to dam this flood?”She understood my plight and as in many other situations before, took the reins in her hands. She wrapped a portion of her petticoat around her right middle finger and shoved it deep into her vagina and rotated it clockwise and anticlockwise till she thought the field was just suitable enough for me to sail through. I had not known till then that among the many uses of the versatile Indian petticoat, the garment Indian women wore under their saris, one was to clean dry the hallowed chamber of love during sex as and when required. She remarked that that was a demonstration for me and I was to replicate the procedure subsequently as and when I needed one. I admit, I had to dip my right middle finger with a portion of her petticoat wrapped around it into her vagina many a time after that and each time as I did that I was filled with an enormous amount of love, tenderness and gratitude to her for granting me the privilege to do so. Indeed it was a privilege granted to me by her very generously with no strings attached. By this one privilege she made me feel a lot of good about myself. To a confidence lacking youth of thirty this acted like oxygen and fired my imagination like nothing else in life ever had. She showed me my strengths. Up till then I had thought of myself as a bundle of weaknesses and frailties. As if by a magic wand, she proved with kindness and untold love that all so called weaknesses were just long- held thoughts in my head and thoughts could be changed. Indeed she changed a lot many of them. Being smothered with love above and under her, nestled in her body in sex, sucking her nipples in my mouth on the slightest pretext and opportunity as children do chocolates and sometimes dipping my right middle finger inside her, I began to bloom and thought of ways of making her and myself proud. It was no mean transformation for an extremely shy and diffident youth whom many had forsaken as hopeless and beyond redemption.

She made me feel prosperous too, though I didn’t have a great deal of money with me. She brought out in vivid illustration a truth about which I had only read somewhere but hadn’t been able to grasp its real importance so far. “True prosperity begins with feeling good about yourself. It is also the freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. It is never an amount of money; it is a state of mind. Prosperity or the lack of it is an outer expression of the ideas in your head.” She put all the right ideas in my head that induced a calm, stable and happy state of mind and a prosperity consciousness which was foreign to me till then. Each time just before sex, she would make me sit straight on the bed beside her for a couple of minutes and instruct me to inhale deeply and repeat with her these three sentences silently:
1) Everything I need comes to me.
2) Everything I need to know is revealed to me.
3) All is well in my life.
I wish I had kept up that habit of repeating those powerful affirmations to myself as many times as I could in a day till this day. But Nisha having gone out of my life just as suddenly as she had appeared and my disastrous plunge into the mission impossible which is also called as marriage and its catastrophic consequences on my life, one of which was to render me into a forced celibate at the grand old age of forty and having to bear many scars on my body and psyche as a result of that misadventure, all this made me drift asunder and I was again cast away in the ocean of aimlessness and hopelessness. Just when I needed those affirmations most I let them slip off my mind and memory and reaped a heavy harvest of sorrows, despondencies and sufferings.

Again life has its balances and blessings. It gives us an opportunity to turn every mistake into a learning experience if we accept it in the right spirit with grace. These stories about Nisha, which are consciously written to put myself in the trajectory of love again where Nisha had showed me that we both belonged and indeed all of mankind, animals, birds, insects, fishes and trees also do really belong, should hold me in good stead and give me enough courage to repeat to myself “All is well in my life” notwithstanding my Quixotic adventure into the mission impossible. After all, all the commotions and agitations of life are on the surface. In the depth, all is only calm and no agitation or disturbance can reach there.

So in a sense, all is really well in my life, in your lives too, dear readers, if anyone of you should be feeling low or lost at the moment for any reason. If there are some sorrows, unhappiness in our lives we are just to find out what attracted those to our lives in the first place. If I am enmeshed in a relationship with a person who is wrong for me, then also I am to find out the causes that attracted her to my life. If my thoughts and beliefs had been on a higher level to hers then she could not have attracted me, she would have had little appeal for me. Nothing happens by chance in life. Whatever is and whatever happens are the result of a chain of innumerable causes and effects. There is inevitability about everything and every happening. So I have to first accept my lot forsaking all bitterness, whining and complaining. I know acceptance of a bad situation is the first step towards improving it or bringing a happy solution. In acceptance there is peace and grace. Grumbling and complaining only brings more of those bad fortunes, bad things and negative energies. Nisha had done her part in improving me a lot in a pleasant way. Who knows the one with whom I am currently having a most painful relationship might have been entrusted with a lesson equally or even more important for me to be delivered for which painful surgery is the only way, I won’t know. Who knows how much role the pains and sufferings have played in shaping me as I am at the moment. Life has its own ways of teaching us. Learning is less painful when we accept it graciously. With resistance the learning process drags on and much suffering ensues. Therefore, I have to accept things. I have to maintain serenity, peace and mental quietude at all times because stillness is required for wellbeing and creativity. I too believe in the words of the Buddha that one that remains serene even when reviled not only stays calm but also helps bring the other person calm down. That in itself is a “shining victory” in Buddha’s words. Of course, it hasn’t worked in that way in my case always. But one lifetime is not enough for spiritual practices. Creation of a marvel like the Taj Mahal for example, even on a physical or material plane, takes time. Or I might have much more bad karma to suffer till the equilibrium of the pendulum I might have caused to upset is neutralized on repeatedly hitting, knocking, beating and finally stopping on me. I am only doing my part, offering a little bit of olive branch to all, fostering peaceful thoughts for all, including those who hurt me. I can’t change others. I want to be the change that I want to see. It is all a self purification effort purported to be accomplished with understanding and right awareness. Each one is a soldier here for conducting himself in the best way that his understanding dictates.

Now let us be back to the story, the story woven around juicy sex, to be precise. This kind of journeying through past, present and future, through facts and speculations will continue. At the bottom and in the depth only the juice counts. Juicy women not only symbolize good sex but also have warm and loving personality. Intellectually they are vivacious and their conversations are stimulating. They are liberal and flexible. They are also compassionate, sociable and wide in heart. Dryness in women symbolizes frigidity, rigidity. Something in their system is not working. Wise among them consult a physician. Some have the sense to use on advice artificial gels, either water-based or silicon-based, for lubrication during sex. They avoid using petroleum jelly in there as it is harmful for vaginal environment. These women though born dry or have acquired dryness later on in life as a result of some infections still keep the thoughts of the happiness of their partners and the stability of their relationship in mind and thus are actually warm and loving. I count them as juicy too. A little bit of intelligent use of a good artificial gel would surely bring them many notches higher almost to the level of juicy women. But there are some, who would refuse to use any gel, however safe and comfortable they might be, for the barren pleasure of just spiting their partners. I think this specie in the west is already on their way out for extinction under the threat of divorce and a lifetime of loneliness. But here in India where divorce is a social taboo and almost a four letter word, the members of this tribe thrive. Sometimes I weep for myself, after having been on the receiving end of one of the members of this tribe but mostly I laugh at the foolishness of such women who would deprive themselves of a healthy, natural joy and spend their lives in search of joy from acquisition of things like gold, silver, dresses, crockery, shoes, rugs, junk food, fat and what not just to spite their partners. A strange kind of vengeance or there might be some method in their madness which a lesser mortal like me can’t understand.
What a contrast was Nisha from this mad, unintelligible and unknowable world! Whereas just living with a dry, loveless woman is prone to bring about a serious bout of neurosis on oneself, spending a couple of hours with a juicy woman like Nisha was a joy in itself. At the end of the hour with Nisha I would be feeling good and great about myself. Silently I would be repeating to myself that I approved of myself in all ways. And those sessions of lovemaking following those affirmations on the bed with her were so powerful and incredibly joyful that it seemed to me as if with each intercourse I was being flooded with powerful chemicals in my brain and in my system which not only induced supreme joy in me but also fostered a powerful and deep bond between us that knew no fear, no misgiving and no serious thoughts about consequences. We were just deeply into each other and playfully exploring the joys of sex in its entire splendor. Strangely but happily, regarding sex, bodily parts in general and sexual organs in particular, we both believed the same kind of thoughts and ideas which could be summarized thus:
“Every organ of our body is a magnificent expression of life with its own special functions. The anus is as beautiful as the ear. Without our anus we would have no way to release what the body no longer needs, and we would die very quickly. Every part of our body and its function is perfect, normal and beautiful. Our sexual organs were created as the most pleasurable part of our body to give us pleasure. To deny this is to create pain and punishment. Sex is not only okay, it is glorious and wonderful. It is as normal for us to have sex as it is for us to breathe or eat”.
The joys of sex I and Nisha were exploring included a lot of foreplay, like cuddling, stroking and manipulating her whole body and especially kissing and sucking her lips, tongue and breasts. All this foreplay took much time and we didn’t have a safe place to ourselves for that much of time. After that first afternoon of sex in her room and a few sessions thereafter we got bolder and thought my place too would suit us equally well or even better. We truncated the sexual act into two parts. The foreplay part was done in my small kitchen while both of us stood erect. She leaned slightly on the wall and received my impassioned kisses on her lips and breasts. She was not cold or passive either. She responded completely to my commands or requests. During one of these foreplay sessions while both of us stood erect, after half an hour of tongue, lips and breast sucking, I had an inspiration to inspect her genital. I wanted to see the condition in there in response to our impassioned kisses. As I sat down at her feet and tried to lift her sari up to her waist she unexpectedly held on to it firmly in between her clenched knees and thighs and won’t let me see her genital. This was novel and instantly I knew I was in for a surprising discovery. I became determined to unravel the mystery. I tried to separate her legs with force initially but as that failed I requested her to let go and show me all which she obliged with a smile which I have not yet forgotten. Happy memories associated with a good sexual partner are so deeply imprinted and etched in our mind that even a quarter of a century of time has not been able to dislodge them! What I saw there was beyond my imagination. The whole area between her thighs and around her genital was flooded with juice and it had trickled down in a neat stream to her feet where it had touched ground. I remarked in surprise and joy, “You are in flood again. It promises a very slippery journey ahead.”
Sometimes in the midst of our impassioned kisses, strangely, she would start crying. Those crying were without gasping, sobbing or making any noises. She would stop kissing and copious tears would just start flowing from her eyes. On being asked about the reason of her unaccountable tear-shedding, she would invariably just shake her head or say that that was nothing. But I always thought that probably she had been reminded of Hari and his passionate kisses of yore. Or the shock of his tragic death came home to her most vividly and forcefully during those times. Or she might be having some kind of a mystical experience, I would never know.

We performed the second and the final part of the sexual act on the bed. On reaching this stage only we shut the doors and windows of my room so as to minimize as much as possible the time when my room actually remained completely shut. I think it never exceeded twenty or thirty minutes at the most. But, that much of time was just sufficient for us to make a relaxed sexual act complete. Almost always we both came out of the act having been thoroughly relaxed and deeply satisfied. My reaching of the orgasm was invariably a violently explosive event while strangely Nisha’s had been a much muted and subdued one, so subdued as to be hardly noticed from the outside. In fact, if she didn’t almost always report in the affirmative to my query, after sex, if she just experienced an orgasm, I won’t have known. Sometimes I thought she was lying to make me happy. A peculiar and strange habit of the human male! Unlike males of any other species we suck female breasts before, during and after sex and worry if she did or didn’t have an orgasm. And proud like a king and happy like a god is the man who has been just confirmed of his mate’s orgasm! The gait of that man for the next forty eight hour assumes a cockiness that sets him apart from the rest of the mere mortals. One day to clarify my doubt I asked her the cause of her so subdued and muted climaxes. She replied that she was fine with them. Any spectacular, violently explosive orgasm like mine would only bring her a migraine which she dreaded most. I was relieved. An unusual woman with an unusual symptom! So juicy, so loving and yet burdened with a curse, or so I thought.

Mating with a juicy woman has many rewards besides being bombarded with lavish doses of chemicals that fill one with feel good emotions which is an experience by itself. It keeps the youth in you alive. Each sexual act with Nisha assumed a life of its own with its own novel experience, its own set of anecdotes and stories woven around that experience to describe it. Here I think it is fit to share an anecdote woven around a particular sex act. I was on her that day and relaxedly humping and pumping away just to keep my erection alive and keep the sex act a going concern. I was in no mood to bring an early, hasty end to the act. That irritable reaching after a swift climax, so prevalent in the animal kingdom and among humans too, most probably inherited through our genes from generations of practices and racial consciousness born out of the need for quick sex as a survival tactic which in the changed circumstances of twentieth century has become an anachronism, was playing spoilsport to my resolve for prolonged sex. In my quest for prolonged sex I had made Nisha take the active role on top of me so many times before and usually it had worked. Like a perfect partner she obeyed all my requests. But that day I was on the active mode and fully in charge. Or so I thought. After a silent count of a hundred pelvic thrusts and a good deal of humping and pumping I felt the powerful pull of inertia and breathlessness bringing me to an abrupt halt. In fact I halted so abruptly that a pelvic thrust was cut short half on its way home. In that restful state I was about to consign myself to a state of forgetfulness for a couple of minutes, to think of everything except sex, in order to nip in the bud that well-known sensation of impending ejaculation welling up from deep within me like a rising crescendo, that dreaded enemy of the much sought after prolonged sex, when exactly a second later I felt a distinctly discernible upward pelvic thrust from below me, from Nisha, and a distinct sound of the creaking of the cot going along with the thrust. In the midst of a rhythmical swing of thrusts and counterthrusts while she was ready for another of my thrust and when that was missing due to my abrupt stop she could not halt herself and her upward pelvic thrust was the result. And what a pleasant surprise that was for me! It uncovered a world of wonder to me right inside her.

I have treasured the touch of that upward pelvic thrust and the crisp and clear sound of the creaking of the bed till this date and will continue to treasure it till my last. In fact I don’t consciously hold it but it gets held. Such is the power of sex and joy and wonder in life! It may not be an earthshaking event for the world but it was immensely important for me. For some, mounting the peaks of the Himalayas or the Alps, going on a long cross-country long drive or dining on a fifty course dinner followed by a bottle of vintage excellent wine may be more important. But to me getting a glimpse of human nature from a very ordinary act or behavior has been more important and a constant source of joy. That missed pelvic thrust from Nisha that day was an eye opener for me. It brought home to me in vivid detail that women too enjoyed sex as much as men and one could be actively contributing to the joys of sex even while seemingly passive and in spite of having been pinned down under a humping and pumping gorilla. For unknown to me and unthinkable for me at that point of life, Nisha was not only enjoying my pelvic thrusts she was also actively preparing her pelvic area perfectly so as to receive the full impact of each thrust that would stimulate her clitoris and other spots deep inside her maximally. In this participatory universe of love she was deeply into a joyful, participatory sexual experience which many women with outlandish ideas and outmoded thoughts might not have an inkling of. That day with that pelvic thrust which exposed her sexuality so beautifully she became my most preferred mate. I had an unexpected glimpse into her mind through that missed pelvic thrust that melted away all the remaining vestiges of differences, separateness and I felt at one with her and the universe. Didn’t I say that even through sex that highest feeling of Oneness can be reached and our most tenacious illusions of separateness can also be dropped?

She asked not without a visible trace of embarrassment, while incredulously opening and blinking her eyes which she always kept shut during the entire duration of sex leading me to think that she enjoyed sex most in that shut-eye, dark position, “Why have you stopped?”
I said smiling,” If I didn’t stop I would have missed a masterpiece which you created from the world of your imagination that you kept firmly shut from the rest of the world including me so far. Now I know what went on behind those shut eyes during sex. Now I know sex is less on the outside and more in the imagination. It is all in the head, behind those shut eyes more specifically. You are an artiste in there.”
She just smiled shutting her eyes again.
I went on looking at her face, so loving, innocent, pure and alive with that touch of embarrassment for having been found out at her secret joy. Little did she know that I had just discovered the perfect match for me, thrust for thrust, thought by thought.
She asked,” Will you do something or continue to just look at me?”
I smiled and said,”Oh dear, you are just perfect. I love you so much.”
Then I resumed and completed the unfinished joy.
I was thirty then. Little did I know that I was rapidly exhausting my quota of joy from the outside world, the world of physical sex. My joyful days with any sexual partner were hurtling down to an abrupt close. Thereafter was to loom before me the prospect of a lifetime of wandering and inhabiting in the world of imagination behind the firmly shut eyes. Now I create my joys by discovering them in myself, in my imagination. During these two decades I have had innumerable times of sex and almost ninety nine percent of those had been imaginary. There is a whole world to discover within, all the beautiful women and all the joys are there within me. I have already discovered that even forced celibacy is not without its blessings. It compels one to go within, to dig within where all joys, all blessings, all love, all welcome reside. Our loving mates, whether from life or from the imagination only become an occasion, a medium and an opportunity to bring those to the surface. If those emotions were not there, no mates however loving and beautiful would be able to make us see, feel or experience love. In fact, the whole world becomes the screen for projecting the very love and beauty that I have within myself. Loving love in the outside is good but seeing the projector of mind in operation is even better.
All that I need to know is revealed to me. All that I need comes to me. All is well in my life. Buddha said, ”Never forget any person, for howsoever a short moment you might have come across him.’ It meant that nothing that happens in and around you should escape your awareness. To that I only add that never forget or neglect even any tiny pelvic thrusts or counterthrusts; whether on target, missed or otherwise.