I am often amazed as to how little it takes to make a human helpless. One day you are roaming around as if you rule the world blissfully unaware that tomorrow someone is going to ask you to use a bed pan and someone will sponge you and what not. One of my recurring fears is helplessness, not in the mental sort of way, a man who reads prodigiously and a man who harbors a secret all his life scoffs at mental helplessness and loneliness. I am talking about actual physical helplessness. Someone helping you pee and someone helping you shit and someone bathing you and someone helping you get up and that sort of shit. It’s a recurring nightmare for me. I have particular revulsion to the two words urine and stool, because I haven’t ever heard them being used outside of medicine. So if these two words figure in your life in any way whatsoever, urine-stool, urine-stool, urine-stool, if they are being discussed in any way whatsoever – you have my sympathy – and if they are FOR you – welcome to my nightmare, hope you have a good time. Even a temporary helplessness is a reminder, a painful realization of what’s not only possible, but what’s inevitable. Why then pledge rationality, why not indulge, why not be an incorrigible irredeemable fool at every opportunity that arises in life?

There’s no second option to this. It is inevitable that there comes a day when you suddenly catch a glance of mortality in the eyes of your parents. And for once, your gaze pierces the filter through which you see them everyday without actually noticing them, and you notice the wrinkles. They are most prominent near the jaws, like an oversized pillow cover because the cotton inside the pillow has shrunk. Not foam like today’s readymade pillows. Actual cotton which a weaver stuffed inside the pillow first turning it inside out to stitch it and then stuff white cotton with some black threads inside and she will go bhaiyya theek se bhar na dekho kahin jagah na chhoot jaaye. There are specific words in your language for people who are in this profession of stuffing pillows and mattresses just like there’s a raddiwala and a bartanwala and a nariyalwala and a barfgolawala but there are no words for them in this language which means when the world will shift to this language all of them will die not only in real life but in memory it will be as if they never existed but thousands of entire species die everyday what’s a gaddewala or a raddiwala?

But can you stuff new cotton to get those wrinkles disappear? A dermal filler not against age but mortality itself?

Can you use some botox in the eyes?


Were numbers always there out there somewhere before we discovered them? Or did we end up inventing them? Are they real? Is two of something really two or is two just a number? 

What about the laws of physics? 

What about phrases that seem so natural that you wonder why didnt you ever use them before? Were they already out there before they were brought to your notice? Or are they fresh off the oven for you and you alone to savour at will? 

What about sadness? Loneliness? Boredom? Anticipation? 

Did these exist before we did? 

If you had to vote for one, which would you say did? 

My vote is for loneliness. The biggest unanswered question in the universe is why is there anything at all? A singularity existing before the big bang could have existed forever and ever outside space and time? Why did it take the effort to turn into you and me and the stars and the flowers? 

Because, maybe like you and me, it was lonely. 

Lonelines can be an answer to a lot of questions. Can’t it? 

Encounters – 17

Suddenly she laughs out aloud.

“Look at you, you horny man, you are so aroused. I can feel it from here.

“Aren’t you?”

“To be honest, not really. Women do not get aroused so easily, hasn’t your wife taught you that?”

“Is it me? Ok then. I know. I know. If it were going to happen, it would have in all these years. Sorry for trying that then, I got a bit carried away and thought this was finally my lucky day.”

I know I look utterly crestfallen, but what’s the point in hiding it? What’s the point of anything at all? Not as if a courageous confident me would suddenly turn her on.

“Hahahaha. Look at your face now.” She again laughs that laugh which I love so much, but it just annoys me right now. I suddenly feel a surge of malice, seeing a universe in front of my eyes in which our roles are reversed, where I am not the one always begging.

She looks around at the conference table, the chair, the sliding partition, the door which I have locked from inside. Clues of my intent everywhere, but all intent, no execution, is it going to be? Again?

“Does no one ever come here? Its so nicely done.”

Oh I use it a couple of weekends in a month at the most.”

“Then why do you keep it? Pay so much rent, maintain it so well.”

“Maybe I kept it for an occasion like this?”

Again that laugh. I want to say something which hurts her, a comeback which feels snappy and snarky and edgy, but maybe I don’t find something to say, maybe something in the way she is looking around holds me back.

“Ok. Maybe ummmm…. stay where you are, don’t come any nearer.”

I look up in surprise, to see her unbuttoning the top two buttons of her shirt slowly. She holds my gaze once she is done unbuttoning, and her hands hold its edges while she raises it almost over her head, giving me an eyeful of her body, her navel and glimpses of her purple bra.

Suddenly the motion stops.

“On second thoughts, i should ask you what you want. You have a choice.”

“What choice? A man never has a choice when such a desirable woman is undressing in front of him.”

“No. You do.”

“You can have one of the two. Lets play kbc”, she says, again with that laugh.

“Look or touch. One of the two.”

“What do you mean?”

“Consider this my gift to you. One time offer. I can either undress in front of you in a way which will drive you crazy. Or. Or. Or I can fuck your brains out but you cant get a glimpse of what’s going on, you cant touch me, grab me, kiss me, or do anything at all. I might remain fully clothed, i might be naked, i might enjoy, i might not, you will never know.”

“Are you crazy? Am i dreaming? And you aren’t even aroused, why would you do it?”

“No, boy – consider you won a lottery. No questions. Maybe its pity, maybe i AM turned on, maybe i am just fucking with your head. But be quick. Which ticket are you going to pick?”






Encounters – 16

I don’t stop. I let my hands roam all over her body while she decides what to do, and keep kissing her on her shoulders. She’s wearing a purple bra, and its the first time in my life I have seen her bra strap, let alone kiss it.

I run my fingers straight through inside her dress following the outline of her bra, while looking straight at her when she realises this is finally happening and decides to grab my wrist.

I resist. I push on. She fights back. She makes her grasp stronger.

I kiss her neck and her face. She pushes away my head with the other hand.

I tell myself what all men always tell themselves when they are turned on as fuck and there’s someone they have terribly desired nearby.

She wants it as much as I do, I shouldn’t stop.

No I just cant stop now, she will relent in just a minute.

But I have been brought up right, so inspite of all the rage and the lust rising in me like bile, I stop. I move away from her and thump down in the seat next to her.

We wordlessly wait for the next cue.

Encounters – 15

We could have done all this small talk sitting at home instead of driving around.

Yes. Or texted each other.

Yeah, somehow when we are alone, I have a feeling we are wasting valuable time.

Time not doing what? I look straight at her and hold her gaze.

This. She holds my gaze and takes my hand in hers, and gently caresses it.

I slow down, lean over to her side and attempt to kiss her, she turns away and my lips brush her ears and her hair.

She laughs and holds my fingers tighter, while resting them now in her lap.

I can feel her thighs through her hands, through her dress.

I lean over and kiss her on the lips and this time she doesn’t turn away.

We kiss and we kiss and we kiss and her hands hold one of mine all the time while they take it to strange places.

I am in no mood for foreplay or teasing. Or maybe I knew all the time what I was doing and where I was driving because suddenly I find myself near an empty office of mine which I use rarely, which is locked with no staff, no cctv and I have the key.

I park the car, push her hand away and walk without looking back.

She follows. In the elevator. To the 4th floor.

I unlock the office. She waits. We enter. I switch on all the lights. The air conditioner. Nonchalantly. She looks around and takes a seat.

I lock the door from the inside. Suddenly I am glad I got fitted a double sided lock.

I walk behind her, wrap my arms around her, and wordlessly start kissing her neck.

She just sits there like a statue, maybe unsure of what she wants to do. To let me, to let go, to resist, to pretend this isn’t happening at all. She knows it will only need a flinch or a stern glance to stop me.

4 options. I am aching. Hungry. Desperate.

Is she?