Story : The Trip (Part 1)

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“So, can you see my nipples? Aren’t they looking succulent?” Shambo‘s intoxicating voice came through as he took off his tee.

Shouvik looked at the laptop screen. The only thing that could be seen on the screen was a smooth chest above a taut abdomen. It was looking enticing, if only he could just jump over and touch it. But he was feeling awkward. He had seen the profile of Shambo in a gay dating site after opening an account for the first time in life and had instantly fallen in love with the sweet innocent face. They had chatted for some days through the dating site when Shouvik had written everything about himself, even the fact that he was married and had children, before eventually exchanging their phone numbers. Shouvik finally opened a Facebook account to become “friends” of the handsome young man, again a first in his life. From their initial conversations, Shouvik discerned that Shambo was single, about fifteen years younger than him and was looking for love and companionship just like him.

“Now show me your dick, it must be jumping with pleasure,” Shambo commanded. Shouvik first could not believe his ears. This was the first time he was video chatting with someone whom he only knew virtually and after some casual words, he was making him naked! Though the house was empty and Shouvik knew that nobody could see the third floor room from any side, the large windows being covered with the flowering branches of a Krishnachura tree and the dark green palm leaves, but he was still feeling as if he was on the street in front of the glaring eyes of hundreds of curious onlookers. Of course he had always dreamt of that dimly lit room, a large comfortable bed covered with spotless white linen, fragrance of flowers drifting inside from the flower vase full of roses where he would hold his dear, near to his chest and then kiss him for long taking off the clothes one by one.

“No, how can I do that? I have madly fallen in love for you but first let us meet one day, talk with each other face to face,” Shouvik could barely utter.

“No, I want to see you naked right now. Otherwise I am not going to meet you. See I have already got aroused looking at you, my sexy baby,” the husky voice laced with passion came through as the camera wandered from the chest to the taut abdomen and then settled down below the lean waist.

Shouvik was going dry in his throat. Even after watching the perfect body, which he had only dreamt about until now, he was not getting aroused. He wanted to love this man, not just his body. He always thought that first love happens and then the other things follow. But how could he lose this golden chance to see that handsome face in front of him? Slowly, very embarrassingly, with trembling hands he put down his shorts and focused the camera below his averagely bulky waist. He was feeling extremely inferior with the very average features of his body.

“Fine, it is thick and I like it. So what do you want to do with me?” again the voice floated from the screen.

It went on for some more time before Shambo let Shouvik go and after so many days, Shouvik got that much awaited appointment to meet his dream man two days later during noon.

It was already 11.30 in the morning and Shouvik was feeling really nervous, unable to decide what to wear. Having taught in one of the best universities for the last seventeen years had not uplifted his sense of style. He felt most comfortable wearing very casual dress, often worn out ones. At this age he neither looked sexy nor appealing, but still for the D-day he wanted to put his best foot forward. Finally he chose a checked shirt in black and green over a pair of blue jeans. Looking at the mirror he looked at his gentle face worn out with time and the upheavals of life. This is the first time in his life after coming out as gay that he had found somebody who seemed willing to reciprocate his feelings.

Shouvik reached in front of the CCD sharp at 12 on a sultry hot day in the first week of May. No one could be seen. A call came five minutes later asking him to wait inside the CCD. Shouvik hesitantly entered and settled in a corner seat beside the window from where he could see the street in front of him. He was fiddling with the menu card when a young man in a printed white T-shirt paired with dark blue jeans entered the cafe. He had come so quickly that Shouvik did not have the chance to see from which direction he had entered.

As he came forward, a line from the book “And The Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini came to his mind. “This was the most handsome face, I have ever seen,” he thought just as Mr Wahdati had thought, after looking at his driver Nabi for the first time.

“Hi, I am Shambo,” he smiled radiantly settling down on the sofa just opposite to him. Shouvik was looking at the sharp nose, beautiful dark eyes, and thick cropped hair, the perfect body accentuated by the tight fitted T-shirt and jeans and in an instant was swept off his feet. He had written so many romantic poetic letters to this young man during their conversations in the dating site and now that very man was sitting in front of him, all flesh and blood. He had already forgotten the ordeal of giving his most embarrassing examination two days ago.

They chatted for an hour or so about their past lives over a cup of coffee and then Shouvik proposed that they could go for lunch somewhere.

“Why go to a restaurant? Come to my home. It is nearby. I have enough food to serve you. Are not you hungry? Otherwise let us finish off this date,” Shambo winked.

As they entered a small flat which Shouvik understood was rented, he was feeling excited and at the same time very uneasy. Did he not know what was going to happen? But was he at all prepared for it? Shambo took him directly to his well decorated bed room passing the small dining cum drawing area and asked him to sit on the bed. The room was almost dark with the windows covered with floral designed thick curtains and the walls painted in a combination of violet and light pink. He put a CD in the music system and a beautiful song of Tagore filled up the room along with the fragrance of some incense sticks.

Then he stood in front of Shouvik. Shouvik pulled him near him with both his arms, putting his lips on those juicy lips like oranges and they kissed long and hard. Shambo lifted his T-shirt and pulled Shouvik’s mouth on his chest directing his tongue to his taut nipples. As they were all over each other, the phone rang.

In a flash Shambo pulled himself out of Shouvik’s grip and saw the screen. He was looking a little perplexed, not sure whether or not to receive the call, Shouvik noticed. Then he took the call and told someone, “Yes, I have taken him home. He was feeling hungry. So we are now eating our lunch and then I will leave for work.”

Something disturbed Shouvik from inside and he had lost the momentum. After speaking for a few minutes over the phone, Shambo again resumed the love making with the same urgency, as if nothing had happened, but this time Shouvik had to stop him.

“Don’t you love me? Don’t you want me?” Shambo asked him with an accusing voice.

“Yes, Shambo I have fallen in love with you like never before. But somehow I can‘t just start sex like drinking a glass of water. Please give me some time. I am just feeling out of the world being beside you,” Shouvik softly uttered and looked at Shambo questioningly.

“Yes, ok, that was my partner with whom I have an open relationship.  Aren’t you also married? In any case Shouvik, we have got this golden opportunity and we have to enjoy it. Forget about everything. So you love me most, no? What can you do for me? You were saying that you are going to Prague next month for a conference. Can you take me with you for the sake of my love?” Shambo’s tone was again intoxicating as he played with Shouvik’s chest hair. Shouvik did not know what to reply. He himself had always led a very simple life. Whenever he received an invitation from abroad and could manage the grants, he always went ahead but he never had the means to go for it himself. In fact he had not been able to take even his dearest sons to any overseas trip. But here was someone he loved most, praying for a gift, though Shouvik now knew that Shambo was engaged in quite a respectable job as the ground staff of a national carrier. But in any case how could he say no to him?

“Oh, I had not thought about that. But I can take you with me. Only thing you would have to arrange is the air fare. You are working no?  I will try to manage the other things,” Shouvik could not suppress his excitement. How beautiful it would be to walk hand in hand, spend time beside the river Danuve under shades of Cyprus trees with his beloved, looking at the Charles Bridge.

“How can you say this to me?”Shambo was literally crying, “You will be taking money from me for the air fare? How can your love be so selfish? I have left so many men for you. One of them was even ready to take me to the States, there was another who cried while going to Spain last year because I was unable to accompany him due to my work here. I can go to any of them without spending a penny but had left all of them only for you because I have loved you from my whole heart.”

Shouvik now felt extremely guilty for having decided to go to the official trip without taking the consent of his beloved. Looking at the grief stricken face of his new found boyfriend he whispered, “This time I am not in a position to take you with me dear, but definitely I am giving you my word that next time when I go abroad, I will take you along with me.”

One thing Shouvik could not understand was the term open relationship after their first meeting. After a week he had the chance to meet the partner of Shambo and instantly liked him. The man was almost his age and serving as a director in a very reputed nursing home nearby. The first thing Shouvik did that night was to talk with him about the meaning of open relationship and asked him whether he was in any way intruding into their life. He felt assured by the warm and caring explanation from him. Somewhere Shouvik found the man really affectionate who clearly understood the level of his inexperience as well as the depth of his love and was in for a sweet surprise when he finally told Shouvik, “You are an honest man. Try not to get too much hurt in your pursuit of love. I will always be there as a friend.”

To be continued…

Pratulananda Das

Prof. Pratulananda Das is teaching in Jadavpur University, Kolkata from 1997 and holds the position of a Professor of Mathematics in Jadavpur University from January, 2011. He came out openly as gay in 2014 and is now actively involved in different LGBT events

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