The search for magical writing – 1

I’ve long known and said that I am a much better canvas and sponge than a writer. I used to devour books by the hundreds every year, until I realized it was all I wanted to do in life – read books. That’s it. And since it was such an unambitious goal to spend a lifetime over, I gave up. I wouldn’t pick up a single book that really interested me. Not one. Not even my favourite wodehouse. My preferences over the last few years subtly changed, to reading books where each page would drain me out. Short stories or really long novels – those were the only two type of books I found myself reading. Borges, Faulkner, Munroe, Davis, Manto. 

And then I found essays. In the good ol days, they called blogs essays – and since no one could afford self publication, an essay could be called a ‘piece’. I have been collecting essays like a mad collector having an obsessive compulsive disorder. I think I shall write about some of my favourite essays here – with some lines I loved. 

Quite near the top of the list is Joan Didion, that remarkably beautiful woman who could see my soul before I was even born. Everything she writes describes me in one or the other way. She has a book on death, on loss of a loved one, which is one of my favourite possessions – she is in some way totally different to the other woman author I adore who can see my soul- I have never laughed at a line by didion – and she produces beautiful titles for her books – the book on death is called The year of Magical Thinking. Could anyone come up with a title for a book where she mourns the death of her husband for a year after he died? Magical thinking indeed. 

My favourite piece by Didion is called On Self Respect published 50 years ago in Vanity fair magazine, which I have already written about. Self respect is something I have struggled with all my adult life, and she made it possible for me to verbalize what precisely I was struggling with. I am getting better at it, but it still doesn’t come naturally to me. 

But today I want to quote lines from another essay of hers – a beautiful read in all its entirety – published in a book called Slouching Towards Bethlehem almost 50 years ago. It’s called On Keeping a Notebook. 

I envy those who never feel the need to write – but I never knew why – she sums it up beautifully for me. 

Some presentiment of loss. Not fear. A presentiment which draws you to cherish every thing and every moment as if it’s the last – and has a consequence of living a terribly intense life. 

Then this one – my favourite of this piece – 

But isn’t memory a curse? If you had to choose between having a very good memory or a very poor one – which would you choose? An accurate memory of the recollection of things as they were. No difference between your experiencing self and your remembering self. Would you want it? Because the lucky ones slowly rose-tint the worst of the events – it’s akin to forgiving oneself and the other. 

But there’s one very interesting interpretation in her essay – does it matter whether our memory is true or not? I often get terribly surprised at the turn of events when I discuss the past with my parents. Say they went to a trip to dubai. They call me up angry – someone fleeced them. They come back home, mad at the perceived injustice of the trip. 2 years later, when we talk about that trip, they have zero recollection of their problems. All they remember is – it was a wonderful experience, how beautiful was the Abu dhabi mosque, wasn’t it? 

Just how could it be? Could it be denial? Didion has a take on this which says the distinction is immaterial. The distinction between what actually happened and what you think happened. 

For me – for what has gone on in my life – whatever is in my head – is malleable. I could choose to remember a different version of things at different moments of time – depending upon who I am at that moment. And it wouldn’t be phony – it would be a different piece which fits THIS jigsaw that I am. 

History is written by the winners. There are only versions of history. So I could simply change history to be better off. As someone said – it is never too late to have a happy childhood. 

Could i? 

Encounters – 16

It was terrible. All three times. It hurt like fuck and I felt so cheap afterwards. I don’t think I get turned on at all – I don’t think sex is for me. I just indulge them, I love it when they go crazy looking at me naked as if all their dreams have come true. What a pathetic dream to have, isn’t it? To see a single woman you desire naked. That’s the extent of their ambition in life. 

Three times? You talk as if you have had a zillion encounters, but it’s just three. Were they same men or different men? 

Two with the same one. One with another – he was married. Yes. Just three encounters where I have had actual sex. 

And? Foreplay? 

What do you mean? 

How many men have you kissed in toto? 


And how many men have seen you naked? 

5. 5 or 6.

Wow. I have seen one woman naked in my life. And I am 37. I wish I had the luck to explore women the way you have had at 23.

You have missed nothing. All sexual encounters are just the same. They get so turned on when I take just my top off, they start breathing and touching and groping as if they are emraan hashmi on tv and I am supposed to get instantly turned on. The other men who I have let in and see me – I make the classic no sex before marriage bahana – give them a pathetic hand job and let them tick me off their bucket list. Doesn’t even hurt or bother me. 

Haha. Yes it’s true. I think I shall nickname you candy. Men can’t wait to finish it. 

I will kill you if you do that. You are the only man who doesn’t get horny the moment you talk to me. 

Don’t they come to know you aren’t enjoying it? 

How will they? I make the perfect faces and noises on cue. 

Hahaha the same way I make perfect faces and noises on cue when you say I am the only man who doesn’t get horny the moment you talk to me. 

You? Horny? I will burst out laughing now. I can’t imagine you horny or naked with me. Eeks. Shut up. 

No I am not making a pass at you. If I wanted to, I wouldn’t use cues – I will be straight and direct. 

Like? Try it. Who knows I may not laugh. 

I am married remember? Besides, sex isn’t about sex all the time. It’s about relaxation, it’s about euphoria. It’s about stopping thinking. It isn’t necessary to be horny to enjoy it. In fact it’s the opposite. A man can only make a woman orgasm properly when he himself isn’t turned on. Which is why the best sex is between a younger man and an older woman. A woman who knows what works for her. 

No sex ever but I could surely do with some relaxation. 

We were sitting on a couch and I didn’t realize when in this conversation she had turned around with her back facing me and stretched her legs on its armrest. Almost resting my shoulder. My hands were playing with her long tresses. 

I turned around a bit and my hands involuntarily started rubbing her shoulders. I could feel the strain on her body when I touched her and almost expected her to get up and sulk away or get mad at me. 

I didn’t stop. I kept on. Rubbing and massaging her shoulders. 

I could see her muscles and sinews slowly relaxing when she realised i had nothing else in mind. 

Slowly she sank in my lap, her head resting on my knees. 

I started massaging her temple now. Her temple and her neck, in slow fluid motions but with firm pressure. 

Her eyes involuntarily closed. 

I kept at it. 

I don’t know how long a time passed. I was very careful as to not make it sexual at all. But I couldn’t deny I was horny as fuck. It would be wrong, i would go to hell for it, i’d probably lose her friendship too and my wife’s trust whether she knew it or not – these things work in strange ways. But to get to fuck the most beautiful 23 year old I had seen was worth it. 

I was going ahead of myself. 

She opened her eyes. 

What’s wrong? Don’t stop. I am enjoying it. 

With that she turned around, her head buried in between my knees, perilously close to my now throbbing cock. 

She pretended nothing was wrong and so did i. I now started massaging her back. My hands started straying further and further down, almost to her waist. 

Ouch. It tickles. You pervert

But she didn’t stop me. She turned around again. 

Was it a cue? 

I never would know until I tried to find out. 

My hands slowly started exploring her neck. Her collarbone. Inching gently downwards. What a contrast it was. Dark dark hands against fair glassy skin. Her neck was stretched and she seemed to be made of wax. I was worried I might leave a strain. But as soon as I got near her nipples, she opened her eyes. 

Gosh I am almost sleepy. Don’t entertain any thoughts of sex, you idiot. Just enjoy the moment. 

With that, she turned around the couch, stretched her legs across mine on the arm rest and lay her head on the other arm rest.

Eyes closed. 

I kept on massaging her feet. The closest to me were her knees and everything that lay above them. The most erogenous zone of a woman. Heaven. 

She was wearing a sort of a flimsy palazzo. Not transparent, but really thin cloth which could be easily pushed up. I started from her shins, working gradually upwards pushing the palazzo along. Knees. Thighs.

Her legs now spread wider. 

Take it off. I whispered. 

Wordlessly, she complied. 

Purple lace flimsy panties. I would have imagined her wearing something like this a zillion times, this was the first time I actually saw attractive as fuck soft white thighs. 

White against purple against black. 

My heart was beating really fast now as my hands got really close to the prize. I worked myself inside of her thighs. 

This was the moment. I pressed my fingers against her slit expecting her hands to stop me. 

Her hand lay over mine – firmly. But didn’t stop me. It just guided me to the sweet spot. I pushed her panties aside, and started working my fingers around her pussy and her clit. Her pussy was bare, a thin strip of pubic hair vertically extending towards her pubis. 

I could hear soft moans. Maybe she was faking but who gave a fuck now. I bent over and spread her lips apart. And gently started licking while maintaining firm pressure on her clit.

She was wet. She was turned on. No doubt about it. I could slide my finger in if I moved away my tongue and she welcomed it. Two. She welcomed them too. I could feel her pussy clam tight around my finger while I licked her clit. It wouldn’t be long now. 

But I wanted her to come while I ate her. I have never had that feeling, a woman coming while I ate her, or me coming while a woman had my dick in her mouth. I wanted it so bad. I slowly teased my finger out and my tongue in again. And then my finger again. 

She was moaning now. Loudly. I might not even be there for what she cared. Her orgasm seemed to last for minutes while she squirmed against me, forcing my fingers deeper, tense, until she gradually slumped against the couch and relaxed. 

The question now remained, would I get some action too? 

The unexamined life. 

I had a friend in school who called me once when I was in college for advice. He was the stud of school, was running through girls in college while I had always preferred the other route, the vertical route – a couple of women, knowing them inside out – idealistically (and if I think now, foolishly) aiming for depth instead of width. But who knows why, I always exuded the image of knowing all matters women. Many people used to call me frequently, take me out for long walks, stay up in my hostel room till late, all in an attempt to understand what their women were feeling and what they were feeling about their girls. The word feeling often features in my writing and it has always done so simply because if I identify and specifically name a feeling for myself or for another, it becomes manageable for me. I have always believed the old physics principle – what can be measured can be changed. Anyway – so the friend had called up for a strange question.

I just can’t enter her. Whatever I do, however high both of us are, things just stop as soon as I try to enter her. I hit a fucking wall. 

She’s a virgin, isn’t she? Are we being literal or metaphorical here? 

Yes she is. But it isn’t as if she is in pain or something. I just can’t enter. 

Are you sure you are entering at the right place? Women are umm complicated you know? 

Dead sure. It’s as if her father has sent her to college after trying a lock on her or something. 

Try it without being drunk once. And make sure she’s aroused properly. It’s very likely she just isn’t aroused. And use some ky jelly. 

Oh but she moans and is totally in it. 

Who knows – she might have watched too many movies how women are supposed to be. 

We try everyday with no results. Fucking tragedy it is. Did you get any further? Are u still stuck at kissing? The way you talk it seems you have. Or is it just theory you are sprouting? 
I refuse to comment. Someday when we meet. 

Give me a yes or no. 


No as in you haven’t or no as in you wont? 

Just no. Call me if it works. I would like to know. 

The reason I mention this is currently I seem to be stuck in a similar rut. I can’t just seem to probe deep in my head anymore. I just can’t get in. I can’t name, I can’t label any emotion. My probe turns into ink scattered in a pool of water. On the surface. Superficial. Shallow.

Nothing can be measured or quantified or named, Nothing personal can be truly honestly be written about.

It is like I am shut out of myself. Maybe there’s a box inside me full of unrequited desires and wickedness and greediness and unfathomable lust for a bevy of strange women and unforgivable anger towards someone and intense longing and its locked and I can’t even remember where it is, let alone recollect where the key is. I still accurately know my crutches and the knives that carve me open but I guard them from myself zealously.

It’s like I am one-dimensional. Unidimensional. What I accuse other people of being, I am that now.

Maybe all happy people are. 

The sexy move. 

There’s a move when you solve the rubik’s cube called the sexy move. It goes RUR’U’ and if you keep doing this same move over and over again in a solved cube, you end up with a solved cube again. 

But a person isn’t a solved cube. It takes ages to start from scratch if you are a particularly disordered cube, it takes decades to even recognize that all your pieces are right where they shouldn’t be. 

And you can’t do it alone. Someone helps you form the first cross. The first cross is the key. Then the first layer has always to be done intuitively. Align the corners one by one with the edges. It takes years to figure out that certain pieces of you can only move together, and when you were matching only colours, you were leaving yourself worse than before. It isn’t pick and choose, that’s a first lesson you will learn on your own. 

The decades spent after you master the first layer of the cube are the toughest. Only 2 more layers to go, but every move which should ideally bring you closer to solving the second layer spoils the first. This isn’t me. No I don’t have to do this. Why did I have to do this? Can I start all over again? No I can’t. Why not? 

Most people struggle and end up just memorising the algorithms to establish a sense of order. They are left with a neat clean paved road of self which they habitually walk everyday. But there are no flowers on this road. There are travels but when did they last go on a journey? 

Some just keep making moves slowly aligning edge to edge, happy at seeing things move along, if only sporadically. They can’t see the roadblocks or dead ends ahead, and if they can, it doesn’t really bother or stop them. They conclude that that’s what life is, it is heroic to struggle, they wear the struggle on their sleeves and boast that nothing ever comes easily to them. 

And then someone comes along and performs the sexy move on them. RUR’U’. Again. And again. And again. And again. And again. 

Slowly the pieces start clicking in place. Very slowly but there’s a surety to the moves which wasn’t ever there before. The edge to edge the corner to corner alignment doesn’t seem to be a chore anymore. There’s an inversion which is difficult to explain, only be seen. 

Give it a spin. A hard spin. And start over. You know the sexy move now.