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The content below is copyrighted to me. I write about things that people only think about but are too afraid to accept, leave alone confront. Some of the topics might violate the conventional mindsets considering that people assume they are 'free in mind' but are merely a chip of the same conventional block. Do embark on soaking in the content below if you have an open mind (literally) and no weak heart. If on both those conditions you find you are in the negative, then I would suggest you refrain from dipping in my thoughts and its processes and go find yourself some candy from la la land to indulge yourself with.






IN A SPOT



Case 1

It was a friend’s farmhouse. I was at the bar getting myself a glass of whiskey when a woman scampered up to me. She flirted with me most fearlessly, and even before I could get to ask her name, she asked me if I was in the mood for some mutual pleasure. Appalled at the directness, I most politely declined her overture and wished her a good time so long as she was at the party. I had barely walked a few steps when I heard her ask me whether it was her that I did not fancy. Customarily, I would not care for such nonsense, but this was at a friend’s place, and she was an invitee, so I turned to face her and conveyed that it was not about her at all. “Is it you?” she asked me taking a sip of her vodka. “I am afraid it is about me,” I nodded. “Are you?” she asked. I wished her the very best once again for the evening and walked away.  

Case 2

A writer friend was visiting from Bombay. He was collecting data for a script on the youth and had therefore signed himself up on some of the dating sites. The first message he received merely stated – ‘Hi, my parents not home for the night. Come, we’ll fuck.’ Amused, my friend asked her how old she was. The prompt reply – ‘I am 16, though I pose as 18.’ In another instance, he received an email from woman who showered praise on his profile and solicited to meet. When he proposed that they first get to know one another a little more, she responded that she knew him more than he had probably known himself. “And this you gathered from the four lines of description I had published online?” my friend asked her. ‘Absolutely, just like you went weak in the knees for me by looking at my sexy pictures alone.’ My friend recalled each of these incidents with such hilarity, not ignoring the narcissism and delusion the current generation lives within. He decided to meet this second woman for kicks. Once they had finished their coffee, she proposed they go to her house and have sex. “I thought you said you are not those types.” My friend said, to which she giggled and announced. ‘You think we get online to talk, or drink coffee with men?’ She rounded the fingers of her right hand and made a gesture of copulation with the middle finger of her other hand. ‘We join those sites only to get some sex.’ When my friend refused to comply with her idea, she asked him that he had specified nowhere in his profile that he was gay. At this point my friend said that he burst out laughing so loudly that it caught the attention of some of the diners.  

Case 3

Two women and one man were at the table next to my table. They were speaking noisily. One woman was trying to convince the man that it isn’t sinful if he has an affair. The man was reluctant. He kept repeating that since he is married, it would be cheating on his wife. The woman said that it made no difference because men were not wired for monogamy. As I noticed from the corner of my eyes he kept shaking his head in dissent. ‘What is your problem, dude,’ said the woman agitatedly, ‘so long as you fuck your wife at night and fuck me during the day nobody needs to know anything unless you speak about it.’ The other woman who was sitting silent all along adjoined, ‘She’s right. Think about the variety. How long will you keep seeing the same cunt? You’ll soon grow tired of it.’

These three instances are quite the smallest reflections of our present-day society. One cannot say whether it is right or wrong, but, yes, this is certain: sex is not a pastime as it is being made out to be. It involves emotions. It involves people. It is not purely the coagulating of genitals. It is staggering how every other article or visual is an overt description of how to, and what to, of, and on sex, and the visuals are so explicit that they have pickpocketed the mystery that was prevalent in the very courtship and the build up before the bodies intertwined to make memories.

Gay has become such an overused and pointless word that I reckon it holds no meaning anymore. When someone is not married, the society speculates they are gay. If someone is not seeing someone for a long time, then the society speculates they are confused. If someone gets divorced, then the society speculates that the reason for the breakup was because one of them woke up one morning and thought that he or she was gay or bisexual. If someone does not want to indulge in sexual contact with their opposite sex on the very first date, they are branded as gay whether they like it or not. As one can infer, the very term gay has become more of a meaningless time-wasting-lifestyle joke. In my opinion if you are one of those niggled by it, pay absolutely no attention to it, because dogs bark at any automobile that passes their path, and it makes no difference to the automobile if you’ve recognised, or the people inside it, only to the throats of the barking dogs.

Men these days are finding it tough to cope with the over-explicitness of womenfolk. Women, who were once crying foul at the pressures and atrocities of the male, seem to have taken an oath to create mayhem in the lives of men under the garb of feminism. Like gay, feminism is too a term most clichéd. Feminism was introduced into the mainstream in order to bring equality for women, in certain professions and especially in places of work. It was not coined to demonstrate their power at home. Feminist or not, an independent, sensible woman knows that she need not take refuge under such labels to live her life respectfully. That she can attain her goals on her own merit. However, common sense isn’t that common as we all know, and the rest have violated the beauty of the idea by distorting what had been started with mighty good intentions to protect them. Biology and evolution have defined in us roles based on our mental and anatomical capacities, and when that equilibrium finds itself imbalanced, the world goes into a panic mode: something we are observing since the last few decades. Is there a solution to this? The words of my friend Mervyn ring true here. He said, “You know who you are, and what you are, so why the fuck do you care about what anyone else thinks, dude?”

I was sharing a drink with a friend who was happily married, or so it appeared. Both her sons were doing their masters in America. We had known each other for over two decades but hadn’t ventured into any personal conversations; the occasion never arose. Out of the blue she asked me, with careful caution of course, if I do not miss being married. My reply was in the negative. Her next question, I gathered, stemmed more out of curiosity, on why I hadn’t married until now. As procreation was not on my list, I told her, I didn’t think it prudent to jump into tying the knot when I was younger. She smiled as her slender fingers enfolded about the glass of wine. Were you ever confused about your sexuality at any given time in life? She asked. The tonality of this question resulted from an iota of self-doubt that she reflected, and I was not one to make her feel like I had picked up a scent, hence I smiled and asked her if she was asking me if I have watched gay porn? She grinned and bobbed her head in agreement. When it’s fine to see two women get on with it, I don’t see any internal protest in watching men do it on the screen I made known to her. Really? The sexual spectrum is never constant, I explained, just that we tend to find ourselves in a spot about various concerns that actually live in our heads, and we are afraid to chat about such concerns with the dread that those thoughts or actions would not be met with the approval of the people around us. Say I want to have sex with an animal, she asked, you think as a friend you would not object to it? Who are you or I to object to what people want to do? I said. People would think it to be abnormal, right? There the cat was slowly pawing itself out of the bag. You think so? I asked as I observed openness in her eyes now. She shrugged her shoulders. What’s abnormal? I asked her. She hesitated for a moment; you know how people think you weird if you have an interest in watching stuff that isn’t prescribed as normal, she said. It is a different thing that I do not fancy such content, or would seek for it on my own as it would do nothing to me, but if it were playing before me, I would not exit the room or shut my eyes considering it to be abnormal. So being a heterosexual when I do not have any qualms in watching anything, what’s niggling you about it? She inhaled deeply, thinking. I don’t know, she exclaimed, this entire normal, abnormal aspect is eating into me. Nothing is abnormal, unless of course, in the case of wanting to kill someone I said, and laughed to lighten her mood. She was silent for a while and I knew we had reached ‘confession time’. She admitted in slow, watchful speech that there had been two times when she had ventured into trying sex with her own sex and had enjoyed it very much and the guilt of it was needling her. I was quiet. I didn’t think it wise to disrupt her flow. Would you judge me that I am telling you the truth? I shook my head. Why? Look, I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, so I may not be able to tell you why you are feeling the way you are feeling, but from a friend’s perspective I would say why should it matter to you what I, or anyone else thinks? We live in a society, and we have to think of that society, she claimed, I have two teenage children for heaven’s sake. What if they get to know? I think you must do what your heart tells you to do, I said, and they are big enough to understand. You say such things because you are used to seeing women doing it in the movies, and what about you men? What about we men? I asked crisply. I wish men could accept the fact that if they gave each other a helping hand, unnecessary complications and pregnancies could be avoided, but they are so caught up in their manliness that they don’t know how beautiful it is to share something with someone who has your anatomy. I grinned at her honesty. Her next question was what I had expected – have you tried it, she asked with a little stammer. I haven’t really been faced with such a drought of women I told her, but someday if I felt like I was hopelessly attracted to a man, I would follow my feelings without any alarm. Wouldn’t you be scared of the world? She asked me gravely. Besides the analytical aftereffects, were you afraid when you actually indulged in it with the two women? She answered with a quick no. Exactly, I added. Like I said, there has never been an instance when I have been attracted to anyone of my own sex, and I do not see it happening in the future too, but the mind has a mind of its own, and if I wake up one day, and I think that I want to try something that my instincts tell me to try, I am not one to squelch such impulses simply because I am seldom afraid to embrace the new. How will we know more about ourselves if we don’t try and push the boundaries? She was paying attention to me intently, more with surprise than with agreement at my disclosure. I think I know myself, she said with a confident flair. Only the shallow know themselves, as Wilde aptly said, I said. She went crimson with embarrassment, collected herself and said, so? So, I said, as silence befell betwixt us, this is not about me, I kept my hand on her hands and conveyed with emotion so as to reduce her bewilderment, wanting something soft for the evening when you are bored of the hard isn’t an infringement of one’s own desires, I paused, you knew you wanted it, and you acted on it, so be proud of it. She stared into my eyes. Yes, I reassured her, the rest are all unnecessary details. Forget about them. What did you think of movies like the Brokeback Mountain? She asked, the people I knew watched it and were hush-hush about it. Good lord, from where to where have you jumped now, I chortled. She joined me with a chortle of equal passion. I think that was one of the few films that brought respect to the LGBT community. You think so? She asked. The moment you think homosexual or bisexual, the world thinks sex in big neon letters, and sexual orientation isn’t about sex alone. For me Brokeback Mountain was about love, and love has no gender, and it levies no limits. It was one of the most beautiful depictions of that expression of love where sex was not the focus. If only couples, regardless of their orientation, brought into their lives such love and maintained it unwaveringly, we would not be seeing the restlessness, the decay between individuals and the steady rise of divorces that we are witnessing lately. I see, she said letting what I was saying sink into her. If you look beyond the obvious, the movie had more teachings than any other school of life could teach you about such matters. I halted and took a sip of water. You creative ones are a crazy lot you know, she said with a titter. That we are, I said keeping away my glass. She thanked me profusely and ordered another glass of wine. The conversation that ensued over the next glass of wine was thus: Have you ever felt you had any other problems: emotionally or mentally? Fortunately, I have no such emotional or mental scar as some would like to think I told her. Then why do you come across as someone cold and distant? I am cold and distant if I don’t know you, and I am anything but, if I do. Wouldn’t that be something that would keep people at a distance from you? I think I am blessed with the most wonderful people I can imagine to ever know in my life, so I guess this demeanour keeps the chaff away. She smiled knowingly. We being we, older, surer, and fossilised, say you would not find the right fit, would you then miss not getting married at all? I never considered marriage to be of such significance in my life that if I didn’t marry then my world would fall apart I made clear. Also, even when I was young I was in my own zone. I was satisfied with the way my life was chugging along. Finding the right fit is indeed tougher as you grow older, but I am not rigid, I am only choosy, so if there is someone who is not fake and frothy, who is fine in an environment such as a ballroom and to sit on the roadside and sip tea, then age is no barrier to for me think of her as somebody I would like to spend my time with, but if it doesn’t happen, I would not live to regret it. So you don’t believe in permanence? Is there anything like that truly? She slapped my arm jocularly. I am perfectly happy alone than in the company of someone I cannot have a conversation with and that is how it should be for everyone.

I have a close friend. So close that I used to lark about with him that if one of us could change our sex it would solve the whole dance of finding the right woman because we could then marry each other. And he would respond in equal jest that once he had had the operation, or say even I had had the operation, and the female hormones did not find us as attractive, then it would be such a disaster. He lived abroad for the longest, and would visit home for Christmas every year. Last year he came down and left us friends stunned with the announcement of his wedding. “Is this the same girl you were unsure about?” I asked him. “Yes,” he said artlessly. The last we knew he was not comfy with this girl and the last we knew he was not somebody who would take an impulsive decision too, but time changes people, and before we could make sure what the matter was, none of us who knew him, decided to assume anything about what he had done. A month after his marriage we met. “What on earth happened?” I asked, not caring how he registered my angst because we were far too close to be formally civil for the sake of it. “I don’t know, dude,” he continued in a voice most devoid of any exhilaration, “my parents were chasing me for the longest as you know.” I nodded. “My mother woke me up at 3AM a week before Christmas and said that my father is taking ill a bit too frequently, and the remedy for fixing it would be agreeing to marry the girl they had chosen for him.” I wiped the sweat over my upper lip and said nothing. “Don’t do that,” he said irritably. I stared back at him with a similar shade of fury. “I had made it clear that I would say yes but if things don’t work out then I was not to be held responsible for it.” I was still livid. “She is not someone I can hate, but I am not attracted to her, dude, so as to even consummate our union.” He revealed. Now, this is a human being who is one of the freest I have known. He is someone who will pick his bag and walk away by switching off his digital devises and return when he wanted to return. You could get nothing out of him by coercion, only on his terms, and yet he had bitten the parental emotional bullet. “Didn’t you think before doing anything reckless,” I asked, “I mean you think a million times, weigh the pros and cons, before you do something, so what went wrong?” He sat still. “Dude, you know I am someone who will give my life for those whom I love.” I punched him hard on his chest, “That’s what’s astounding, that you, you had succumbed to some fucking peer pressure!” He hung his head down and kept playing with the salt and pepper holders on the table. For the traditional-minded, what he did would be applauded, but realistically speaking, you must marry if and only you are completely ready, heart and soul, to say I do, and not to meet anyone’s unreasonable demands. Agreed, it is the preoccupation of every parent to have their children settle down, but if parents actually cared for their children and not their own ego, then they would not push their children into an abyss. And it isn’t just your life, you have no right to play with the life of someone else who comes into your life simply for the sake of making your difficult parents happy. Such a situation throws light on how not everyone is strong enough to resist pressure. My friend was rushed into it no doubt, but he was not a toddler, or that very naïve so as to be forced into matrimony. And once he had agreed to it, and found it severer than he had imagined it, his row of, my parents harrowed me into it, is bollocks. He jumped into the waters because he wanted to feel the temperature. Marriage is not like going all decked up to a Christmas party. It is not about enjoying being the centre of attraction. It is a serious responsibility, and this is what my friend failed to understand that when you make a decision, then you have to be prepared to deal with the consequences as well. A classic case of those who think they are super intelligent and end up making the dimmest mistakes because the simple rule of life is that you cannot please all. I have said what I have said because he is someone I can speak freely about, but as human beings we can most certainly have an opinion, but being judgemental is utterly incorrect, so I apologise if I have acted that way here considering at the end of the day only he knows why he did what he did.

Today you are fit and fine, what would you do if you were to get old? Who would then cook for you? Take care of you? The house? Asked my friend. You are a woman, I said, most astounded by her strange questions, and you demean your own clan so much so that you lower yourself to that of a cook and maid? That was not what I was meaning she said in order to wriggle out of the quagmire she had fallen into and took a huge gulp of wine. That is the greatest misconception that people have, I said, that a woman will come and take charge of your house and your kitchen. For all you know, she may be unwilling to cook, and I might have to end up cooking for both of us, imagine if that happens then what does one do? My friend rubbed her forehead, I agree to what you are saying, she said, but that’s how it has been since the inception of mankind, has it not? I don’t know what to say, I said further flabbergasted, if I want a cook I’ll hire a cook, and if I want a maid, I’ll employ one. You women spoil men, and when men try to exercise that right, you wail that your freedom is being trampled upon. She laughed. Do you miss having your own children? Children annoy me more than allure me. That’s harsh. She said. A woman, as much as she would be clear that she would not want a child, can fall a prey to her instincts and begin asking for one with the progression of time. I was not prepared to take a chance. You could have got yourself operated? She suggested. I could have surely, but that procedure is reversible, as you know, I said.

Mervyn asked me one day why I found myself attracted to mature, older women right from the beginning. I don’t know why exactly, I said, just that I find it calming that they are mostly sorted considering that they have seen enough of life, and that is such a comfort as opposed to someone who is demanding, jealous, petty-minded, superficial and ersatz. He looked at me with concurrence and shared, ‘When I was on the ship, I met two couples. One of them was 90 years old. They had met at a park and decided that they connected with each other like they had never connected with anyone else in their lives. Both had remained unmarried until then, and both got together when they found each other at that park that day.’ Mervyn said it was a delight to see them head over heels even at that age. I was taking note. ‘The other couple was in love when they were in college and married. They realised that it was not working out between them 5 years after their marriage. They divorced, married other people, and later, when their respective spouses were deceased, they met each other at the church quite by chance.’ Don’t tell me, I said. He smiled. ‘Yes, they remarried, and were happiest now at the age of 80.’ I interrupted Mervyn at that point and read something out from an image I had on my iPhone. It said: I’ve lost people and found them again. The second time around, things just made more sense. Honestly, timing has a lot to do with everything. Sometimes you aren’t ready for each other yet. Oh, how very true, said Mervyn, if only people understood this.

My 25-year-old neighbour has now moved to Wellington, New Zealand. When he was here, he was dating a woman who was 45. A man dating an older woman or even getting married to one is not taken with great gusto in our double-faced society. The enclave I live in used to be rife on gossip about them, but what I adored is that it did not deter them from following their heart or caring for societal approval. And this is where I’d say it is imperative that one ought to find an intellectual, soulful and sexual match rather than concentrating only on the act of copulation. People do not understand that if you can be friends with the woman you love; the rest of the incompatibilities would seem trivial.

I met this girl at a party. Down a few drinks, I found her inhibitions wearing thin. We scampered to a bedroom where the foreplay was excellent, but I found myself unable to have an erection. My instinct was telling me that although I was letting the moment lead me where it was supposed to take me, somewhere, subconsciously, I was still not ready to make love to this woman, and I knew no better way then to listen to my body because it knew more about me than I thought I knew about myself. Lying on the bed with her legs spread, she asked me what was taking me this long. ‘I am sorry,’ I said as gently as I could, ‘I cannot do this.’ She rested on her elbows in the middle of the bed as her upper torso was in my clear view. ‘Are you confused?’ she asked me. I smiled because that was the sole defence people had these days, confused, gay, impotent, etcetera. It is not their doing that time has rendered them redundant to think. People are slaves of what they are told, and media is making a mess of their brains. Also, it was entirely my stupidity that I had ventured into something I normally do not venture into – I simply cannot fuck someone; I need to be emotionally connected to that person in order to make love to that person. I could sense her anguish, so I told her that if only she could stop spreading her legs like that and try to bring some meaning to her life, she would not find herself making rounds of a health clinic in the years to come to cure herself of the diseases she would have contracted by then due to her promiscuousness, not forgetting the emotional and mental impact such short-lived pleasure sojourns would leave her with feeling nothing but pure emptiness. ‘Fuck off.’ She yelled. This is where I would like to tell women that this radical coolness that the world brainwashes you with is making a fool out of you. Be real. Keep distance from that which takes you nowhere.

I had read in the Gentleman Journal – Doors. Seats. Jackets. Umbrellas. This list is long, but it’s the small acts of chivalry that separate the men from the gentlemen, so be the guy that offers his friend a jacket when it’s cold, or holds the umbrella for his mother in an unexpected rain shower and for God’s sake make sure you are the one holding open the door and offering your seat for women when no one else is – for your girlfriend and strangers alike.

And when you do this, if the present crude world thinks you anything but straight, then let them enjoy their moment of joy. You be you, happy and not gay, while they can be them, neither happy nor gay.

Also remember that however forward we are, our value system must be intact and more importantly, firmly embedded in propriety and character. It is unfortunate that there is indeed a short supply of such a value-based system these days and that is why we are finding more and more people lost and listless. Instead of letting ourselves be consumed by the disreputable, let us set an example by reintroducing into our lives the value system that once gave us meaning and purpose. Just because somebody makes fun of us let us not waver from the principles of gentlemanly manners where we conduct ourselves with panache when dealing with women or men alike. Let is not use our masculinity to oppress anyone. Let us not think that our manhood gives us the licence to do anything that has a hole to shove it in. Let us refrain by thinking of a woman purely as an object of sex. Let us be open and non-judgemental. Let us accept that some like girls, some like boys, some like both, and some like none. Let us keep away from the inquisitive briareus, as stopping them is not within our means. Let is strive to dispel the misconceptions about sexualities rather than drawing lines and making people feel excluded. Let us respect people for who they are. Let us respect love. Let us respect emotions, because those traits in an individual matter more than whom they court. Let us remember that each of us is uniquely diverse, and it is this very diversity that makes us attractive and gives us our distinctive personality. Let us be gentlemen.






CUDDLE UP PARTY



Last week I received an invitation to something called a Cuddle Up Party. The people who were behind it were friends of friends, and this was something they said they were trying for the first time considering how oxytocin deprived we were as a race living in the twenty-first century. I was made to understand that this party was designed strictly for heterosexual people. “Isn’t that unfair?” I asked, “Everyone ought to be given the right to feel good.” My friend apologised for being this stringent, but promised that they were organising such endeavours towards the end of the year for those who did not fall into the gamut of the heterosexual. “Is this an open invitation?” I enquired. “Not for now,” said my friend, “most of the people invited are from those whom we know, and yes, with a few strangers thrown in.” For novelty sake I thought to myself. “Fine, I am in,” I confirmed.

When I shared with a friend the theme of such an event and made known that I was going, one of them lashed out with astonishment, “Dude, you must be fucking out of your mind because cuddling is such a gay thing man!” I scanned my friend with surprise and advised him to stop being childish because in India people cuddled, held hands, and slept together in the most non-sexual way. “I think he’s lost his mind,” reacted my friend. I preferred not to say anything when another friend who had accompanied me kept his cup of coffee aside and asked, “When did this come to India?” My friend curved his eyebrows, “When did what come to India?” he asked coldly. “This entire gay bunkum,” adjoined my friend. “How am I supposed to know, man?” said my friend. “As I see it such markers started to do active and aggressive rounds in our society some fifteen years ago or so,” he shook his head to indicate how pathetic putting people in a sexual box was, “and after that everyone is gay and everything is gay.” I noticed how my friend who had raised an objection was not agreeable to what we were saying, and quite honestly, both of us at the table cared less for what he thought. For me, to even use the word ‘gay’ to categorise a human being, was a violation of one’s dignity. It only meant to signify in strong neon signs that the person using it was a twat, a partisan one at that, because being heterosexual or non-heterosexual was a matter of personal choice, and being a straight man, if I had no problem around people who were not of my orientation, then it was nobody else’s business to oppose it too. Moreover, I found this preoccupation of people with other peoples sexuality as more atrocious than lame. Were people actually that idle to speculate about who was dating whom? And what gender was developing romantic interests in their own gender?

I was glad that something like this was being attempted for starters, even if it were rather limited for now, because intimacy was awfully important in any relationship, and caught up in the rush to do and outdo, to keep safe within societal rubrics that are bollocks anyway, we forget that in order to survive both within our relationships, and as individuals, we need that touch of love, be it from a parent, a friend, a lover, a colleague and just about anybody who gives us that reassuring touch.

Problem with men in particular is that they are taught from an early age that physical touch is nearly always attributed to the touch of sex and the touch for sex. They grow up observing that to grope and grab is natural even if it is one of the most pathetic ways of showing one’s want for physical pleasure, but since it is done with those of the opposite sex, it is acceptable, while to touch a man is a violation (just as my friend had reacted when I told him I was going to this Cuddle Up Party). Coming to think of it, it is not entirely the fault of the generation, since a generation is indeed shaped very much by us. If we haven’t paid attention to the chasms, and we haven’t educated people on what is right and what is wrong, then we are intrinsically at fault too than to entirely blame the eras. I feel men must be taught that physical touch is not sinful, that once you reach an age of maturity, physical touch is about heightening the mental and emotional wellbeing of ones own self. That when it comes to the power of touch, then there is nothing more comforting than to have those who mean something to you touch you in a way that makes you feel nice. Keep in mind that it is not the nakedness of the human body that should be troubling you, everyone has the same anatomy, so to be around people of your gender, or the opposite sex, ought not to create this notion that nakedness is an invitation of sex or deviousness. View a body for a body. Similarly, let someone embrace you with their warmth by trusting them for what they are. Like eyes are the windows to one’s soul, touch is an indicator of what one is trying to convey, and not all who touch you want to have sex with you.

Also, this wall that men have erected around them has plenty to do with our behavioural evolution as well. Society nurtures men to be hunters, and women as prey, which the men go on to win and keep as coveted prizes for themselves. We cannot amend evolution, but we can amend the way at which we look at the world around us. Men do not kiss women unless they have dropped the veil of inhibition that they have built around them since their infancy. Likewise, a man does not curl his arm around a man’s neck unless he is infinitely comfortable in that space of brotherhood in a friendship. More than anything we ought to let go of the silly notions that have been ingrained in us by our elders (who were rather stiff about the expression of their affection), and in so doing we will gather that we have much to do with each other than merely peeling off our clothes and leaping into the bed with anybody who touches us.

I landed at the location on time. There was a pretty woman who greeted me warmly and invited me into a large hall that was done up cosily. There were headrests lining the walls. There were cushions of all sizes in lovely pastel shades strewn about on flat beds. The walls were covered in sage green self-design oriental wallpaper. The large chandelier that hung down from the high ceiling was certainly Italian or Spanish. Its dangling crystals shone like stars. I couldn’t find a single friend, barring a young woman sitting with her head burrowed between her folded knees, her back to the wall. Being an ambivert, to see someone new, suddenly struck me with a feeling of wanting to take to my heels, but I solicited my mind to take control of its impulses. My entering the venue might have alerted her senses and she looked up and smiled at me rather cordially. I returned her smile in like fashion. Her body language provided me the necessary ease that it was all right to exchange pleasantries with her. I learnt that she lived close by. We were chitchatting, superficially of course, when couple of my friends put in an appearance. Seeing them felt like life had been injected into my partially tense nerves. One of them sat next to me. “Doesn’t this seems like one of those days when we first went to school,” he said softly, leaning towards me. “I agree,” I replied. “I feel butterflies in my stomach,” said the young woman I had freshly met. My friend and I smiled quietly. “Are you nervous or anxious?” she asked. “I don’t think I feel any of both,” I said, “I am quite looking to see where this goes.” My friend too added a quick ‘ditto’ to it.  

In about half an hour we were thirty-two of us. Except for ten new faces, the rest of us were acquainted with each other. The pretty woman who had greeted me at the entrance entered and sat in the centre of the hall. She cleared her throat and welcomed us, going on to tell us that she would brief us about the rules of the evening.

The first thing we had to do was introduce ourselves, which we did.

“I am going to ask you some questions and you will have to try and answer me honestly,” said she.

Some of us looked at each other and smiled.

“Has everyone brought along the loose tee shirts and slacks that had been specified in the invitation?”

Yes, said everybody.

“I would request you to change into that,” she said kindly, “one by one in the male and female change rooms that are on the right and left of the hall,” she instructed.

Once we had changed into the loose tees and slacks, she asked us to relax and lean our backs towards the wall. We did as told.

She raced us through a whole general list of dos and don’ts and asked us if anyone had spooned with members of their own sex?”

Four hands went up.

“That’s nice,” said the lady, “could you describe how you felt about it.”

“It was uplifting,” said a woman I didn’t know.

“It made me feel good,” said a male friend of mine, while two other men who had raised their hands were quiet.

“Isn’t doing it with your own kind a bit odd?” asked a lady brusquely.

“It was closeness that was being shared after a game of rigorous football,” explained my friend who had announced that he had felt good about it, “every time we’d return to our dorm rooms, we would be so very drained that we’d fall asleep clutching onto each other without even realising it. I don’t think that something like that has anything to do with sex or sexuality.”

“Exactly,” said the chap who was quiet until then, “I agree that not everything has to be sexualised. It is only a way of being at ease around one another.”

“Argh,” said the lady who had asked the question, “I would not want to be cuddled with anyone of my own sex. It’s not only gross, it’s unethical, and I am not going to be a part of this shit.” Saying that she stood up and strode out of the door. With her followed another gentleman.

There was an awkward silence that engulfed the hall for a moment, and then the pretty woman shattered the silence, “So the first rule is no kissing,” she said.

Everyone absorbed what she had said without any resistance.

“The second rule is that you do not, and I repeat, you do not forcefully hug somebody. You ask for permission before you touch them,” she breathed, and her voice raised a notch up, “if you think yes, say yes, if you think no, say no, and if you think maybe, say no. You are here because you wanted to be here, but for some reason you suddenly feel that you do not belong here then it is all right to change your mind and leave.

Everyone understood what was being said, and honestly, it was too early to know if I was agreeable or disagreeable to what was going to unfold in the next three hours. Like me, I reckon the rest of them too seemed to agree, and embraced the newness of what was to come.

“Clothes stay on the whole time.”

Everyone agreed.

“Most of you already know each other, and as for those who are new, do not fear rejection. People have forgotten the art of touching, or being touched, and there is nothing sexual about it. It would take you a few minutes to accept the feelings you shall be feeling when you approach somebody you don’t know and ask to touch them or be touched by them. So be easy and be open to feel new feelings.”

“What if I get a boner?” asked a friend.

There was a wave of laughter.

“Then you wait for it subside without creating a stir about it,” said the pretty woman calmly.

Everyone smiled.  

“Could you write down on the paper before you why you agreed to come here,” she said, “and those who are comfortable with it, can even read out what they have written to everybody.”

I wrote that the reason I was there was because I was awfully annoyed with the double standards that people harboured about touching. It had nothing to do with sex as we all knew, and yet it was perceived to be a build up to sex. Also, I was there because unlike the old-fashioned individuals in the world who saw anything close between people of the same gender as abnormal needed help, I had no qualms considering how infinitely secure I was about my sexuality. I finished penning my thoughts and read it out. Once I was done, another friend read out her reason to be there as well.  

At the end of the oration by my friend, my eyes dropped upon this beautiful young lady who was sitting in front of me. She had the most attractive, drowning and almost hypnotic eyes. For a moment I found myself under a spell of sorts. “Are you an illusionist?” I asked no matter how idiotic it sounded. I mean, come on, a beautiful woman is known to do things like that to men – make a fool of themselves in the most ridiculously inane manner. She giggled, “May I hug you?” she asked. Albeit I was awaiting this most secretly, I found myself unexpectedly shy. “It’s just a hug,” she said most gently, sensing my hesitation. I smiled, and then we hugged. The sensation that overcame me was indescribable. I remembered somebody telling me that I was a bit too old for a crush. I don’t think anybody is too old for anything so long as one retains the purity of a sprightly spirit. A few seconds into the hugging, I became aware of what any man would have felt – an erection. She smiled as her eyes were fixed on my eyes, “I am known to arouse such a reaction,” she declared flirtatiously. I squinted thinking all sorts of things. “It is not what you are thinking,” she said giggling. “I am sorry,” I grinned, “the behaviour of my willy is not exactly under my control.” A friend nearby spotted my boner and whispered a faint ‘horny toad’. The three of us chuckled. I extricated myself from her cheery clutches and tried to divert my mind as I looked out of the window at the trees blooming in their reds and purples and yellows. As I felt my pecker unstiffen, I also thought to myself that as mixed as I had felt when I had stepped in there, it was an incredible feeling to be oneself with people of like minds.

Furthermore, such an affair was an icebreaker in order to overcome the initial inhibitions we had brought onto ourselves. It was a means to learn to become physical with the people we knew. It was a fabulous way to gain access to our inner selves, the doors to which we had closed largely due to pressing pressures and lack of human touch and interaction. As time elapsed, people became freer and let out grunts of joy when somebody hugged them tightly. As for me, I felt an unusual feeling of freedom. I didn’t feel any strangeness amidst any of the strangers present there. I felt that at the basest level of ourselves, we each crave such intimacy of touch. And touching people after this long, in this uninhibited manner, only cemented my belief that intimacy was not something that we had to give a tint of weirdness or sexuality as I had stated earlier. “Did you realise that two human beings could be physically intimate without having to have any amorous involvement?” asked the young woman who had given me the boner. “Touch has everything to do with love, and yet this kind of love has nothing to do with sex and how incredible it is, really.” I said.

The remaining two hours were bliss. I saw some of them resting their heads on the shoulders of their friends. Some heads were nestled affectionately in the folded laps. Some couples had spooned. Some were lying next to each other and bantering about the inconsequential. It was evident that nobody cared a fuck and that was how one had to live – liberated from public restraints.

Upon my return I could not find any data to support any study done on my soil for such behaviour amending patterns, but I did find this article in The Huffington Post by Emily Thomas, the associate editor and I am sharing the same.

93 Per Cent Of Straight Men In This Study Said They Have Cuddled With Another Guy

Yes, straight men sleep together.

That’s according to a new study out of Britain on the changing social habits of heterosexual males. Published in the journal of Men and Masculinities in March, the study revealed that 98 per cent of the study’s participants - all white, college-age male athletes - have shared a bed with another guy. In addition, 93 per cent also reported having spooned or cuddled with another man.

Study co-author and sociologist Mark McCormack, of Durham University, says the study’s results exemplify changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture. As homophobia decreases, McCormack says, straight men are acting “much softer” than those from older generations - something he and Eric Anderson, of the University of Winchester, set out to examine.

“We knew they [straight males] were hugging and cuddling, and we wanted to understand this phenomenon in more detail,” McCormack told The Huffington Post in an email. “How do men gain from rejecting the homophobia of previous generations?”

The two sociologists conducted in-depth interviews with 40 young male athletes - a sample they chose because of the group’s likelihood to be in closer physical contact with one another and because of the notion that athletes embody what it means to be traditionally masculine. McCormack told Huffington Post he was surprised by how uneventful and mundane participants viewed their behaviours.

“They don’t realise this is something that older men would find shocking,” he said. “It’s older generations that think men cuddling is taboo.”

Matt, one of the men interviewed for the study, explained his viewpoint on cuddling with his male friend Connor. The researchers noted the response in their study:

I feel comfortable with Connor and we spend a lot of time together. I happily rest my head on Connor’s shoulder when lying on the couch or hold him in bed. But he’s not the only one. The way I see it, is that we are all very good and close mates. We have a bromance where we are very comfortable around each other.

The history of homosocial relationships, or heterosexual male friendships, is deeply complex and steeped in social stigmas, myth, rejection and aggression, the authors explain in their research. But stigmas and traditional roles are going out the window as younger generations are becoming more open and accepting.

“The social taboo against cuddling has been because for two men to get close was traditionally seen as ‘gay’. Men wanted to avoid being the target of homophobic abuse, so they would be macho to distance themselves from any perception of homosexuality,” McCormack told Huffington Post. “But there is a generational effect here: Older men who grew up in the 1980s may still feel the need to present a very straight version of themselves, but more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in contemporary culture mean that younger men are simply less concerned about how other people view their behaviours.”

McCormack says Anderson, who expanded on the study, found similar behaviours across country lines, though American men were found to engage in those behaviours less frequently.

“British men are more advanced than American men in doing this, but these behaviours are still occurring, and we predict that increasing numbers of American men will engage in them as they realize the benefits of doing so,” McCormack said.

McCormack acknowledges that anti-gay sentiment is still around but that many guys don’t seem to mind expressing themselves however they want.

“Homophobia hasn’t disappeared, but straight men today are not expected to be homophobic like they were in the 1980s and 1990s,” he said. “This enables them to be [engaged] in softer gendered behaviours - they can cuddle and hug, wear fashionable clothes, care about looking good, and openly declare love for their friends.”


MODEL MINDS



This young, self-obsessed model frequents the gym. He thinks of himself as debonair, though he is manageably good-looking. One evening while we were working out at the same time, he asked me what I thought of the photographs he kept posting. I presented him with my honest summation. Perhaps he took an inward objection to my blatant method of expressing myself, that without any provocation, he told me that the pictures of him that I had liked were most popular with the gays in his world of modelling. I was flattered when he made that comparison simply because I had heard that people who are in love with people of the same sex did have a higher sense of artistic appreciation, and considering that I was straight, I seemed, yet to possess good artistic sensibilities. I further acquainted him with the fact that since I was surrounded by some of the finest names in the art and film world, I had arrived at my summation based on the technical soundness of the images. He seemed further miffed at the explanation I had offered, and maintained rather stringently that he loved the images I had disliked because those made him look like a man, and not a sculpture as the gays had described him in the pictures I had liked. I tried to educate him that a photograph, quite like anything else, had to reflect a certain character, and the ones he had liked were good no doubt, but not something that a trained eye would choose bearing in mind that they lacked the adequate light and composition that made a work of art, a work of art. He had become silent for a moment, as if he were taking in what I had said, and then he sniggered and remarked, “Like I said, the pictures I like are manly.” It was such an obvious spectacle of immaturity that he was displaying and not wanting to talk with him on the subject anymore I wished him all the best with his future work and moved along to complete my workout.  I recall reading somewhere that no subject of photography or painting speaks to us more directly than the human body. Nothing is more real to us, in that it is the part of reality we know most intimately. Yet there is no subject more elusive, for the body, as depicted at all times and in every culture, appears as a paradoxical and contradictory entity, combining matter and spirit, animality and divinity, selfhood and sociality. It is something that we inhabit, and yet see outside ourselves, in the bodies of others and in our own reflections.

Images of the human body can be highly controversial, in a wide range of contexts, both religious and secular, ranging from Judaic and Islamic prohibitions of image-worship to latter-day feminist critiques of the imaging of gender. To photograph or paint the human body, then, has entailed a use of divided means to depict something understood culturally as divided within itself, which is furthermore the focus of profound ideological and emotional conflicts.

In hindsight, I don’t know how he and many others like him assume that an image could be categorised as gay or straight unless it depicted people of the same sex or the opposite sex physically and sexually wrapped around each other, or, in the act of foreplay, or copulation? For all purposes, I reckon an image can be good or bad, and even the good and bad is purely a matter of perspective, which brings me to throw light on what two friends most recently discussed with me regarding this unusual fascination our society appears to have developed with matters that don’t quite matter. Alex, a young man from London is presently stationed in Bangalore with a British telecom major. He is in his late twenties and resides in an upscale zone of our city. Alex was stating how he finds it strange that the elite of Bangalore are occupied rather constantly with two topics: one, the uncanny fear of homophobia, and two, the inherent traces of racism. In his words, “These are the ranks of society that ought to be bereft of such narrow visions considering their exposure to academics, culture and teaching.” He further accounted how his office employs close to 300 people and he barely sees this sense of restriction in the men or women there. How they so uninhibitedly interact closely with each other, sometimes even holding hands (a trait he mentions is a common sight in India) without bothering about the implications it might entail on those in their immediate circles because such behaviour is not alien to them. Alex believes that Indians, much like many others in the world, are a predominantly demonstrative race, and it is mainly a certain percentage of the ‘cream of the crop’ who are contaminating the unsullied structure of the society by indulging in such trivialities of wanting to see everything in black and white.  

Nityn, my other friend, seems troubled with such a plaguing demeanour being injected into the nerve of our rather tolerant civilisation. He is a spirited and sparkling young man whose roots are firmly entrenched in the upper echelons of polite society. He is a product of one of Bangalore’s most elite schools and has, despite all affectations of modernity maintained his manners, which is also something that his family has handed down to him on a platter: his father is a stellar man with much energy that could light up a city on its own. After schooling, Nityn left for Delhi and spent a fair amount of his life in the capital. He says he was flabbergasted when he set foot back in Bangalore after he was done with college in Delhi and discovered a marked difference in the attitude of men and women towards their own brethren. He sensed this inherent resistance even when he did something as simple as hugging an old classmate or friend when he met them for a coffee or supper, something that he and his mates imparted with great warmth back in Delhi. In time, he was met with comments such as – “What’s with this sudden display of affection, bro?” or “Relax, dude, it is not like we are bidding farewell to one another for good.” He recounted with such surprise that this was something new that had invaded the local Bangalorean culture, and even though he had lived his entire life here, the years he spent in Delhi as a student and as a sportsman gave him no opportunity to entertain thoughts of homophobia that was rampantly prevalent in the minds of many in our society, an element he says, he too observed more so in the upper strata and not with the workforce who are on duty at his factories.

The above rumination enthused by actual events brings me to another hilarious incident that occurred about a year ago while I was at the Bangalore Club. A very prominent coffee planter who owns resorts and coffee shops all over India had some of his cousins join us for luncheon. I hadn’t been acquainted with these people. While everybody exchanged pleasantries and introduced themselves, I reached out for a cigarette and lit one for myself. A cousin of my coffee planter friend looked at me with relief and remarked, “Thank god you didn’t hold onto the cigarette while you were taking a puff, man.” I squinted; marvelling at his unusual observation and probed about what he meant by what he had just uttered. “Gays hold onto the body of the cigarette while taking a puff, while a straight man moves his fingers away from the body while taking a puff,” he said with such certainty that I could not but hold myself from asking him whether the villagers who have been smoking in such a way for eons would be gays in guise of straight men. “Maybe,” said my friend’s cousin without even batting an eyelid, caring any less that I might think of him as nothing less than stupid as my friend knew what I was thinking and gestured with his eyes that I let the poor fellow be.

Such incidents lead me to wonder what’s really happening to us? I shall discount the model’s theory of looking at everything as gay or straight. He was clearly childish. But what about the rest of us who hail from stable and sound backgrounds? I think we are sufficiently sensitive to discern between a sexual overture and a harmless hug. And I think that it would be unfair to blame the telly, or accuse the inflow of Western lifestyle as the cause of decay in our values. As adults we are responsible for our actions, and consequently at liberty to believe what we want to believe. So instead of speculating and examining everything via the tinted eyes of sexuality, which methinks is abnormal, I suppose the least we could do is rid ourselves of such baseless notions. And the sooner we do this, the better it is for everyone.




I THINK (BUT NOT WITH MY MEMBER)    




In today’s times, one observes the male species a bit troubled to commit, specifically to marriage. Not that in the past they felt any different, it is just that today we live in rather fluid times, and there are abundant reasons that gravitate towards men not committing. Loneliness, or confusion about one’s sexual preference is certainly not one of them. What else then, you might ask? Cautious and careful are the two watchwords that withhold men from commitment with the opposite sex, and nearly most of their life sciences seem somehow to revolve around those two factors.

Examined most pragmatically, the roles of men and women have been etched rather befittingly from the inception of mankind: men have been the bread earners, and women, the homemakers. One leading factor to have drilled a hole in the happiness was the woman’s liberation movement, followed by the financial independence that women have obtained in the last couple of decades. This has ruined the pattern that had been followed since centuries. Then again, it is not the fault of women alone. They have been repressed from eons, and it was but natural that they sought respect, and respect, they knew, could be earned if they stood on their own feet, and that would happen if they qualified and educated themselves, and that is what they went about doing. However, somewhere, in the pursuit of practising such unparalleled power, most women have found themselves confused – they have no clue whether they belong to an office, or to their homes, and this has lead to dissatisfaction, conflict, and a crack in something that would have been wonderful had this whole ‘I want equality’ not interfered with the equilibrium chartered out from time immemorial.

I read articles every now and then of people theorising about why something is this or that. I also hear discourses on self-help that say if you do this, this will happen, and if you do that, that will happen. Truth is nothing will happen unless you want it to happen, and you cannot make anything happen until it is the time for it to happen. The rest is nothing but a marketing and money laundering drama.

If I were to cite my own example, I would say that I am now a bit old to get married by basic Indian standards, and it has nothing to do with my sexual preference – I am perfectly and clearly heterosexual, but what had kept me from letting a woman into my comfort zone for a long time could be attributed to two reasons. My father inherited a great fortune, and did not consider keeping himself occupied with a day job. If that was not enough of a mental adjustment to not having a father to look up to as your idol, he was an immensely self-absorbed man. Secondly, my mother, from an equally illustrious family, was unable to cope with my father’s indifferent nature, and had to give up her profession and dress herself in the role of the proxy man in order to keep the semblance of the family intact. This image had established such asymmetry in me as a child that I found it incredibly tough to cope with changed gender roles, and as a consequence I escaped into a world of my own – my mind palace, as I would term it. In my palace I was free of conflict, and this is the crux of male mentality – they loathe conflict. However, with time, I did not permit the imbalance in my home distress me. Next, I asked myself whether I was threatened by commitment? Or whether I was caught between the devil and the deep sea, that to find a woman who would appreciate that I believed in the traditional role play of man the earner, and woman the homemaker, was something that was a bit too far fetched in the twenty first century? My inner voice provided me a negative for both and I came to realise that when I found the right fit, and my heart and mind said yes, and the similar bells tolled in her heart and mind too, then it were to be a connection built to last.

A friend said that by not having a wife in my life I was missing out on life. Do I ‘really’ think that life would have been any different had there been a woman in my life? Maybe, but, until the one who mattered had put in an appearance, there was no reason to stress myself with what had not happened. “Are you always this pedantic?” she asked. I didn’t know what to tell her, I mean we have no control over what we are doing this very instant, so how can we know what fate we would meet with in the future. As shrewd as we think we are, and plan for posterity, at least until we live, we should not fool ourselves into believing that the future can hold something glorious because it simply cannot. One must organise one’s life, but one must not go blindly with the flow, since it is only the dead fish that go with the flow. The ones that are alive make their own path.

I don’t think that men in general are frightened of commitment. The smartest of the lot have schooled themselves sufficient enough to safeguard themselves from rushing into things. They have become cautious for they do not have the tolerance to deal with the strain of expectations that loving a woman, in particular a wrong one, would demand of them, and thus, they prefer to be safe than sorry. Also, one must be warned that this notion of negotiating with caution merely because one has been hurt once seems nonsensical. Each situation is different, just as each person is different, so we ought to get rid of comparisons by attempting to emboss one experience over the other. Who knows, in the fuss of letting hurt overpower us, we might just about fail to recognise the one who is meant to be the one for us. Core of the matter is that one must be mindful, but not rigid. One must be sensitive, but not over sensitive. One must be cautious, but certainly not excessively cautious.

I was reading an article that states that the more intelligent the man, the more investigative he is, and the more investigative he is, the more complex he is to get along with. While the people who have arrived at such conclusions would have their points to prove, I find such blanket statements a bit juvenile to digest. I do concur that intelligence confines us from intermingling freely with the multitudes for lack of wavelength, but it is not entirely true that clever people are problematic. Possibly, they are difficult in case they find themselves adjoined in the arms of those who do not stem from their own sensibilities, but otherwise I think it is just their own farsightedness that comes to their rescue. Prudence allows a certain luxury of seeing beyond the obvious, and when those principles are employed with respect to our partners, then the true nature of each other’s interest in one another is revealed most plainly, which indirectly helps in navigating through a relationship with caution. As a result what wisdom does is trigger the conscience to retain an upper hand than mere superficiality, and that is where the notion of ‘intelligent men’ are not prone to being fooled in a relationship has taken birth, when it is nothing but experience and arithmetic at work.

Before I go, I would like to reiterate that it is not sexual confusion as I abovementioned, or the fear of commitment that keeps men from committing. It is just the methodical reasoning that they are gifted with which allows them to remain single until they find somebody of their own liking. They know that a wrong turn could cost them their peace, and this wrong turn seldom happens considering the points discussed above. So the smart ones are single by well-thought-out choice, and certainly not the victims of circumstance.







SPRAINED SENSIBILITIES

The grotesque side of being a single, available, heterosexual man



My business partner and I were meeting a rather renowned marketing expert for coffee. When we gave him our visiting cards, the gentleman examined them carefully and asked, “What is the significance of the four numerals that constitute the name of your company?”
“They are birthdays,” answered my business partner.  
“Of?” asked the curious fifty-year-old man. 
“Both of us,” said my business partner.
“Oh, really,” said the man with some animation, “are you homos?” 
“I am afraid we are not,” replied my business partner calmly.  

I asked myself what on earth had made somebody who did not even know us want to leap to such an empty extrapolation. Surely, age should have given him a sense of healthier wisdom as opposed to such a petty perception. He was not at fault, because it was the wafer thin mentality that is currently in fashion regardless of age in which there is something fundamentally wired wrong that prods people in deriving cheap thrills by speaking with such stupidity.

If I was in the place of the man and was to set my eyes on a name as unique as that, I would have first complimented the duo on being remarkably innovative, and then I would have probed about how and why they had started their company with such an approach, and once concluded with drawing the reason behind such a name, a compliment inclined towards the closeness and bonding would have been my outcome than a gibe at sexuality.

The childishness of the situation triggered me to pen down a few points on notions that I feel have gone entirely amiss in the frothy society that we are living in today. 

Case 1: 


Mervin and Lawrence have been best friends since childhood. They studied together, were on the same football team, and quite inseparable if one were to put it in one word. After a gruelling game of football, Mervin had soaked himself in the Jacuzzi, and Lawrence had fallen asleep in soiled clothes in Mervin’s room. Seeing that Lawrence was napping, Mervin trotted to his wardrobe and was scouting for something to wear when Lawrence happened to wake up and saw Mervin’s unclothed back that was facing him. “Dude,” said Lawrence in jest, “I am surprised that you have such a puny butt in comparison to the rest of your toned body.” When Mervin narrated this to us over wine one day, we had had a hearty laugh, and the topic was never brought up again that evening because it did not make a difference to any of us, except, of course, to one friend, who whispered into the ears of another friend that Mervin and Lawrence were gay.  

I know of friends who have bantered harmlessly at their friends’ genitals. I know of women who have shared notes on their bosoms, and none of it even remotely infers that it has anything to do with sexual undertones. When we happen to, even by a slight chance, glimpse upon the penis of another man around us, we tend to inspect it for that dot of a second – this is a natural human tendency; something that has been hardwired into men since the inception of man. It was to do with the survival of the fittest. It was to do with the man who was the strongest, who was celebrated to be the most virile, and therefore, capable of expanding his family by planting his healthier genes. It was all about breeding then, and it is all about breeding now, so why then behave like we are puritans and that the we have sinned if we have seen another man’s member?

Case 2: 

A friend from Delhi recently moved to Bangalore and was frustrated at the unnecessary poking of people’s noses in the lives of others. “Bro,” he expressed one evening over a meal, “in Delhi we have this healthy culture of walking about in our briefs, or hugging our friends and not caring about anything,” he paused and dissolved into a grimace, “also I’ve lived in hostels since my school days so I care a hoot when I see bare butt, but the culture in the South is a bit stilted. Any sort of closeness with your male buddies raises eyebrows here. This is so fucked up, man!”

I could empathy with him – there undeniably is an absurd level of idiocy in people around here. They do not seem to mind their own business, and sexual discussions are rife on any occasion and almost with everybody. It startles me how the weasels find harmless camaraderie so shockingly violating to go about scandalmongering about it. They don’t understand that it is not about sexuality, but about brotherhood. 

Case 3:

My business partner and I are like Siamese twins. We are quite the endorsement of the misconception that if you are not born to the same parents, you cannot share the same bond that any two biological brothers would share for each other. A common friend had most aptly said years ago that we are like checks and balance. Such is our bond. And no, we are not sexually interested in each other, and we would not be sexually interested in each other as that is not what our sexual orientation is. We have had our fair share of women and wild sex, and since we are not answerable to anyone, we do not advertise our women, and that leads to these dense minds wanting to babble behind our backs.

Case 4:

M and V are two friends at our club. M is married and V is not. M and V are also inseparable. When M is not with his wife, he is with V, and when V is not with M, he is busy at work or playing cricket. When quizzed about why a smart lad like him is not with a girlfriend, his standard response is that he is not into casual flings and arm candy is not his style. As expected, it raises eyebrows in a society who is preoccupied with sexuality than bothering about their own lives. V is even cooler when it comes to such bigots; he asks them to come and join him for a threesome if they pry a bit more than required.

Case 5:

S and B are two brothers. They are firmly glued to each other. It was hilarious to hear the word wafting around one day that S and B are in an incestuous relationship.

This is where people are beyond redemption. I feel that they are ailing mentally, and one simply cannot apply a limit on their lunacy.

Some things to remember – 

I want to tell these blockheads that heterosexual men who are comfortable with their sexuality would not shy away from being around men of a sexual orientation different from their own.

That going to a gay bar, or being there for a bisexual friend would not make you one.

As a test case scenario I asked Sameer, who has been a close friend for the last twenty years, whether he thought of the closeness between my business partner and me, or the two brothers S and B could be misconstrued as all of us being couples. His instantaneous response was – “Are you serious someone even thought so about all of you, bro? Man, I’ve always envied you guys. About how closely knit you all are, and somewhere I always wanted that kind of connect with my own brothers or some of my male friends.” Hearing those words only ascertained in me the fact that healthy minds thought healthily, and yes, people might newsmonger, but such people with perverse beliefs are best left to rot with their sorts. Some might argue that I am giving more importance of Sameer’s opinion over the opinions of others simply because it was favourable to me. Well, to that, I have the same to say, and I repeat; such people with perverse beliefs are best left to rot with their sorts.

People do not get it that being ‘with’ men is entirely different than being ‘into’ men. And that if you want to hang about with men, do. And if you want to be a man’s man, be. There is nothing sexual about both, and so long as you know what you are, the rest of the world can take a hike with their assumptions and presumptions as such inquisitiveness is the fixation of the absurd. 

There might be other men out there who would be facing such situations, and might buckle under the pressure of, “What would people say?” My only advise to them is not to bother about such inconsequential arseholes. Do not be perturbed unless you think you have some issues to deal with regarding this issue. 

Most of these stigmas attached to the sexual spectrum would be null and void had we no society to judge us. If we were to develop a manner in which to supress the section that harbours such influences.

It is important to never forget that two people of the same gender can love each other like siblings do, and there is nothing wrong about it. People feel different things with different people, and just because it is beyond somebody’s capacity of understanding does not allow anyone any rights to judge or suspect, and if you find yourself in such an awkward situation then file such immature homophobes under the category of aliens. 

One of the most misconstrued and misused notions is this – “Oh he has passed the permissible age of marriage. Think he must be gay.” Or, “He and she were going just fine. The stories of incompatibility must be a façade, either he must have fallen in love with another man or she with a woman.” I find myself appalled at such reckless rants. People do not marry for various reasons. Freedom. Space. Or because they just enjoy their own company. I wish we could say with pride that gone are the days when one had to yield to parental pressure and find one encapsulated in a marriage that was more a prison than a heaven. Sadly, those days are very much prevalent and we lose so many souls to such atrocities. But the other side of it is that some of the people who have reached that stage of ‘I don’t care’ are impervious to such blether, but those who are weak, do let such blether influence them, and these are the very one’s who have to tell themselves that like they opted to do what they thought best for themselves, they ought to train themselves to discount the inquisitive. Remember, that humanity thrives on rumours, it is great fodder for them, and what it does at its barest level, is shows the world how ill one is in their heads with respect to such matters. 

My only advice is to live the way you feel you want to live. Love the way you want to love. Care two hoots about the world. What any two people feel only has to do with self-shared mental and physical intimacy, and that is why perhaps the word bosom buddies was coined to begin with in the first place. So go on, find your bosom buddy and live life on your terms.




 

Image Info. I found the image on Pinterest and could not find a link back to the photographer or the company who had shot it, or commissioned it. If the image belongs to you, you may kindly drop me a line via the contact form and I shall give you credits in case you are all right with my using it to supplement my article considering it is not for commercial use, OR if you want me to take it off, I would do it when I am able to reach my laptop at the earliest and in case of the Internet working. 



ASS err ARSE



The mass media is humming with enough and more material for a while now that advocates that the frequent usage of profanity is not only good for the health, but also a telling sign of soaring creativity, intelligence and what not.

Profanity might have its advantages, I am nobody to dispute that, but when crude and offensive words are used liberally for abuse, they tend to become a habit, and the habit tends to become a normal functioning of your nature and consequently a fragment of your day-to-day culture.

We live in an era where to refer to the penis as a cock and the vagina as the cunt is not considered offensive. Describing your elders as dumb fucks, or addressing somebody who has blundered as a bastard or a bitch is common custom. We are at liberty to express our anguish or anger, but there is decorum for that as well. Simply because the world considers that dung is gold, it certainly does not make dung gold. Likewise, employing profanity in the written or verbal medium is rather an indication of poor rearing and pathetic self-conditioning.

The people who use cocks and cunts might think it ‘cool’ to swear at a drop of a hat, and by all means they are free to think of themselves as such, but the cool ones must be rest assured that the thoroughbred would distance themselves from them simply because one becomes, in time, a reflection of those one surrounds oneself with.

On second thought, those vulgar in disposition would not ‘give a rats ass’ while we would shut our eyes and mouth silently, ‘God, when will they get it? When!’ And that is when it precisely dawns on us that much as we want to bridge it, there lives a glaring gulf, and to be concerned about the polite is not quite coded into the DNA of the vulgar like grace is hardcoded into every ounce of our blood even under the most trying situations.

It is imperative to preserve our values regardless of the transitory and dreadful drift of the world. Let those who think of you as old-fashioned or an oddball, think of you like that, you stay steadfast and do not dip in your endeavour to be an original. Always respect what you have been taught. Do not sway with the fickle. Do not erode your manners for those who do not quite know who they actually are.


LARGELY INNOCENT




Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better. 


~ ANNE LAMOTT


Bigotry is the best friend of ignorance. They quite go hand in hand I observe. To slay human beings has become such common custom that nearly everyone is rather desensitised to death, or the very idea of it.

Last night I was speaking with a psychologist friend on the recent killing of the people at the gay club in Orlando, when my father, who was nearby and clearly eavesdropping, dived into the conversation and mumbled that they deserved to die. I was well aware of the exact drift of his abhorrence when he referred to them as ‘they’, but I wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth and thus I asked my father who ‘they’ were. “The homosexual men,” he said without an iota of hesitation, “they are sinning by engaging in unnatural and unlawful acts,” he paused and continued with further emphasis, “and they deserved their death.”

I was appalled at my father’s inhumane declaration. I wondered that people who were well bred, had graduated from premier institutions of the world, coexisted with the exclusive members of the society, as it was their natural prerogative, their circle given to them by virtue of their birth, harboured within their chests such constricted thoughts.

I do agree that the older generation is largely ignorant, more so because of the warped sense of basics inculcated in them by their ever more ignorant elders, but once an individual imbibes what is happening in their surroundings and obtains the sensibility to discern right from wrong, the individual simply cannot view the world in black and white now, can one? I knew that I was in no position to sermon my father on this matter, but I would urge the people reading this to be a bit more sensitive, I mean, the least such people must do is rewire their mental prejudices and refrain from expressing themselves like a pillock would express.

On hindsight, this is not the first time that my father’s idiocy had stunned me. For the longest time in my life, I deprived myself of closeness with any male for the very purpose that my father had drummed into me that two males together, unless they were related by blood, were guaranteed to develop homosexual feelings for each other. I was too young back then to understand or resist the repercussions of such bunkum, and would quite look at those who were in love of the same sex as oddly bizarre. I remember even saying certain hurtful things about such people, which I had regretted in all earnestness. If the atonement of apologising of being a bigot was not distressing enough, my father, had further embedded such a profound phobia in me regarding men that he would not allow my male friends to stay home beyond a certain time: seven in the evening was the last. I was not permitted to invite my male friends into my bedroom. “Their place is only limited to the drawing room!” he would make clear, “The bedroom is reserved only for your wife.” It was normal for him to grimace and admonish me for having them over. A sleepover, well, even suggesting it or seeking permission for it was like I had committed murder. If you think that that was unreasonable behaviour brace yourself for more because he thought that sleeping next to a man, like how friends would harmlessly do when travelling, or when nestled in a packed automobile, would cause one to develop homosexual tendencies due to the proximity of skin stroking skin. If that was not traumatic, he abhorred any of my female friends visiting home as well. His favourite adage – “A woman was only a sister and mother”. One fine day I was so satiated with his empty disapprovals that I asked him that if all women were one’s sisters and mothers as he claimed, whether it was not incest that he had me with my mother. Even today those unsound philosophies have left me rather rigid about such an outing that I find myself feeling awkward, as if I am encroaching on people and their time, and I begin to be struck with a restlessness past the timeline of seven in the evening.

Arvind Thimaya, a young friend whom I was enormously fond of was the first to dismiss the draining demons from my mind. I distinctly recall that evening. He was relocating to America. At first I was miserable that he was leaving; we used to spend a fair extent of time together, and I knew I would be missing a large part of my life without him around. Once recovered from the forlornness, I stopped by his house in the morning of the same night that he was supposed to depart to America. We exchanged pleasantries with heavy hearts and then he gave me a hug and kissed me on my cheeks, telling me at the same time how much he loved me. It struck me as odd, this open display of affection from a human of my gender, and yet, I had not rebuffed him like I would have somebody else who had tried coming that closer to me. “I know what you are thinking,” he said with a smile and indicated with his right hand that I sit next to him. When I did sit, he made me understand that something was amiss in the manner with which I pushed friends away quite literally with my hands when they offered me a normal bear hug that men were so used to greeting each other with. He then made me understand that there was nothing wrong in loving a man so long as we were not ‘in’ love with men. I felt myself a liberated man that morning.

His words played on my mind, and coming to think of it, I realised that my father has never even patted me as a token of affection. He has seldom whished me on my birthday or been the role model that all son’s look up to in their fathers.

I also felt that perhaps if those around him were sensitive enough back then, they ought to have subjected him to some psychological help in order to let go of his demons. Now the time is far spent, and I personally do not care what he or anyone else for that matter thinks.

In Earnestness

Being a healthy heterosexual despite the mental badgering and the absence of a father figure, it becomes a moral duty on my part to support those who are not of my orientation since is not a matter of blasphemy as it was for my father. I am happy to be there for my LGBT friends. I am happy to love and be loved by a man. Thankfully, I have detached myself from the lingering stigma of thoughts that people like my father, and other people like him embrace.

We ought to be free. We ought not to get carried away in the hatred and nonsense of people who have no mind of their own even if they are your own parents’ or anybody else who are close to you. At times such situations prove to be tricky, especially if you are not as strong as me, but no matter what your range of emotional intelligence, we ought to assimilate the valour to pronounce a spade as a spade. In the circumstance where you do not subscribe to the ideologies of the ignorant or the obstinate who choose not to see despite possessing the acumen to see, then quietly drift away from such discussions. And if such senseless individuals persistently try and enforce their dogmas on you, then politely change the subject or refrain from offering any opinions because it is irresolvable to debate with fools and make them see reason since they are wired such that they have no room for any reason.

In the end remember what Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”