Pats and Slights

Continued from “Gaffes of Youth”

“If love denied me the ecstasies of sex, it was sex that gave me the joys of love,’ he continued the intriguing account of his life. “Maybe vexed with the propensity of love to fail me at the threshold of possession, sex might’ve thought ‘enough is enough’; so, it seems to have induced fate to let Raju play his part in bestowing its final favor on me; we were in the same place then and didn’t drift fully apart still.”

“There lived a desirable girl, a block away from his; when I told him that I would like to try my luck with her, he felt that it would be a wild goose chase as she was already betrothed. Yet, as I pressed my suit, she resigned into agreeing; is it not said that there is no woman chaste enough to resist man’s seductive talk; that night, my long awaited first night in which baring our bodies and souls to each other when we sought to discover each other in the candlelight; she surrendered in ardor as I possessed her with passion; urged by her surge, as I entered into her with all my longing for a female, she took me in with all her wanting for a male; in that lovemaking, so to say, as she had a measure of her femininity, I had the grasp of my manhood; while the ecstasy of sex gripped us all night, the fulfillment of it eased my body for days; well, reminiscing about the nuances of our coition, I realized that the essence of sex lies, not in the physical release it affords the mates, but in the gratification of their union that it entails them. But it was my contentment—I wonder how I became insatiable in later years—coupled with the dangers of our liaison that kept me away from her until she turned into a gatecrasher.”

“When she said that she desperately wanted to have me again, I felt that I owed it to her to satiate her urge, never mind the risk I might be running in obliging her for I came to know that her father was a ferocious character. When I made it to the rendezvous, she said that she wanted more of me before her beau got the better of her; about her liaison on the verge of her nuptial, she said that she was only following the dictates of her heart amidst the realities of life. Maybe, you may say that she was romanticizing her lust, but I believe she had only rationalized the leanings of her heart.”

“Maybe lust features on the reverse side of love’s coin.”

“Beautifully put, but I may add that lust is the abettor of love for without it, there can be no lovemaking,” he said. “Well, I imbibed her philosophy of love, and all was okay till I wavered from it to impress Ruma, which was much later. As if sex gave me my due, it forthwith put a price for its favors, and I too was willing to pay for it as I had been on my own by then; and maybe, it was prognostic of my sex life that the first buy in a way was a rare buy; it’s a rickshaw-wallah doubling up as a pimp, who took me into a dimly lit middle-class brothel; how odd I felt as I came face to face with the madam! Though the way she received me was promising, to my disappointment the girls she fetched were no seductresses; so as I tried to excuse myself, a stunning dame stepped out of the shadow near the entrance; well, I failed to notice her as I made it there in the fashion of those who enter brothels, focused on avoiding the focus of the passerby. When she wondered how none of the girls impressed me, I told her it was possible that none of them might’ve liked me; saying she was bowled, she led me into her chamber.”

“Looks like you’re lucky with those.”

“Maybe, my innate love for women tended them to be affectionate towards me,” he said. “From then on, I sought her at every turn and she gave me the time of my life for long; but as she began to bloat, she said she was sad that her body could no more provide what her love craved to give me; how moved I was for her sensual concern for me, but when she offered to turn into a procuress for me, I told her that I wanted to remember her as a mate and not as a madam. How sad that the charms of these women are so short-lived; it’s as if by giving in to all, they lose all they have. Whatever, I always cherished the romantic times we have had.”

“Won’t it make an interesting contrast, your romantic negation of favors on offer with that of Devdas’s sexual abnegation of an alluring Chandramukhi?”

“More so to the sophists, who celebrate sentimentality,” he said. “Well, as in all walks of life, these women too present a mixed bag, and it’s not that brothels are the only slime-spots of society as there is a moral decay in every walk of life; if anything the world is in need of a moral revolution than ever before. So, before casting the proverbial first stone at them, it’s as well that we may count our own warts; whatever, after failing me in love and fulfilling me through sex, maybe life wanted to show me more of its variety in some of its mundane dimensions that was shortly after that rendezvous with Raju’s neighbor.”

“More conquests to follow, I suppose.”

“Oh, no, but there were encounters of another kind to recount,” he said, “Landing in a metropolis, I joined a small subsidiary of a big company, supervised by diploma holders and bossed over by a graduate engineer. It was as if to prevent any possible threat to his engineering preeminence, the boss dumped me in the inspection department, where I languished till I left the firm; oh, how smaller can small men in big chairs become! I might as well have died of ennui but for the hope induced in me by a cousin’s husband; he was wont to say that there was bound to be light at the end of the tunnel for a graduate engineer. I don’t know why, but he took a liking for me from the beginning, and when he asked me for a game of chess, I saw in it the chance of my life to prove that my scrape through degree was not the denominator of my gray matter. So, even before we began, I wanted to win, let Fischer be the opponent, but I found out soon enough that he was no mean a player either; from the see-saw struggle in that five-hour long tussle, it was apparent that he didn’t want to lose and I was determined to win; and at last, as he resigned, I felt vindicated. It was a different matter though that being an engineer in top gear, he was unable to tow my career wheel spiked by my pitiable score-card.”

“After all, it’s one’s limitations that set one’s course of life.”

“But life can be cruel even in our moments of triumph,” he continued. “As I won his admiration in addition to his affection, it was galling to my cousin who wasn’t enthused about me from the beginning; and to be fair to her, she made her position clear; it was an article of faith with her that relatives were suckers to be banished and friends were sweeteners to be added, and needless to say, she misconstrued my bonhomie with her man as my endeavor to buttress my hopeless position. Caught thus between her apathy and his empathy, how I had to put up with all those embarrassing moments in their scores! And it was their conflicting outlook about me, which led to that humiliating experience.”

“Aren’t likes and dislikes the nuances of our nature?”

“Maybe so, but surely they are the lamp posts of life that either aid or hinder your journey through it,” he said. “It was a five-day week for us at the workplace and on Saturdays it was my wont to go to their place for his sake; well at lunch time, as my cousin’s invitation to join them at the dining table used to personify formality, though inevitably famished by then, I invariably excused myself. On a weekend, he wanted me to accompany their daughter to a sporting event that evening; but my cousin, in an apparent abhorrence towards its possibility, began scouting for an appropriate candidate for the occasion; oh how frantic she had been in ringing up their friends and acquaintances in her frenetic search for the eluding character! Possibly in her view, apart from her weird perception of relatives, it was the lack of social status coupled with a bleak future that rendered me unfit for their daughter’s company.”

“Sadly as both didn’t renege on their respective positions, it was in deed a double squeeze for me in that embarrassing position, and I only knew how I had endured that humiliation until I was relieved by another cousin, who rang up for me to run an urgent errand for her. So, I left my tormentors taking my humiliation stoically and I’m sure that the ceasefire my exit would’ve occasioned could’ve relieved them as well; and thanks to my obsession with the charms of the fair sex, I was not on the rebound to settle scores over that slight. Whatever, I told her later that what matters is personal character and it’s unwise to discount relatives as if friends are infallible, after all, one’s friends are someone’s relatives; didn’t Raju proved it in my case; in the end though, I derived a sense of satisfaction as she began to see the value in my averment, and she was all the happier for her altered mind-set. Why her calls for lunch began to spell affection, and what sumptuous meals I have had with them.”

“It’s the proclivity of bigotry to be insensitive to others’ sensibilities.”

“But with her, it was not the falsity of the person as it was of perception,” he said having asked for one more drink, “nevertheless, much before she had a change of heart, her stilted attitude had induced a false sense of superiority in her daughter, who didn’t deem it fit to introduce me to her husband though I took the trouble of attending their wedding as I was a small fry then with no promise either.”

When I handed over his drink to him, as if still rankled by her slight, he raised his glass and said in pique, “Cheers to her falsity.”

Continued to “An Emotional Affair”


More by :  BS Murthy

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