“I will see you later Rani” saying so, she turned to go. Heading towards the door, she turned back in my direction and blew me a warm kiss making me blush. And then she went flying out of the door.
I couldn’t stop smiling. I mean I knew it was silly, but for the first time I felt free. I couldn’t stop thinking about last night.
Roohi and I are colleagues. We have been working together for the last six months. Originally from Dehradun, I took a while to adjust to the pace and the hustle-bustle of a busy city like Delhi and Roohi had been helpful right from the start. We along with other colleagues, often went clubbing together over weekends.
But last night was different. We were four of us together. Our colleagues, Sia and Tia, twin sisters left early due to a family commitment and we decided to hang around for a while longer. The music was soft and the alcohol was flowing. As our drinks changed hands, I felt an electric current pass through my body and looking up, found her staring at me. She smiled and held out a hand, pulling me onto the dance floor and before we knew it, we were there together. Bodies touched swaying to the music. How we left the club, I don’t remember.
I know I was tipsy and feeling bold I guess, I decided that it would be my place. But here we were, eager to explore, to know more. Roohi is a beautiful, slim built female but she has a strong body. It is the result of pilates thrice a week and Zumba on the others. Whereas I am more average, with a round face and a slightly plump body. I love my sweets, so exercising never figures in my schedule. Although I do have the advantage of height, thanks to my genes. Hurriedly discarding our clothes, we settled between the sheets. I was conscious of my flabby skin, but Roohi had no such reservations. Putting me at ease through her touch, she led me on.
Lying spent in each other’s arms, we fell asleep. And here we were today in this very kitchen a while ago, sharing coffee and making breakfast together.
Now that she had left, I couldn’t help but think about my past. When had it all started? I knew it was not a disease, although as a teenage girl, I had certainly thought so. I recalled the first time I had seen Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das kiss in a movie called “Fire”. We had snuck out from school, a gang of teenage girls, wanting to watch the ‘forbidden’ movie. The next day, discussion during lunch break revolved around that particular scene.
“Did you see how Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das were kissing each other so openly on screen?” Shaima asked the question that everyone around me was dying to ask.
“Haan yaar*, it was so disgusting” replied Priya and laughed.
“Yes, I mean don’t they have any shame? I can never imagine another woman touching or kissing me” piped in Shraddha.
“Absolutely. Women are meant to be with men only. I wonder what it would feel like to kiss a real man” Priya chipped in.
While everyone around me thought that it was disgusting, I merely nodded and agreed. I think I was actually thrilled privately. I kept reliving what I had seen on screen and wondered what it would feel like to have another girl’s lips on mine.
My brother’s friends were regular visitors at our house and one day, his best friend, Shyam pulled me hurriedly in an alley close to the house while I was coming back from school. Before I could scream, he had clamped his hand on my mouth. As he slowly lifted his hand, I saw his mouth move closer. Unsure, I watched silently while his lips took control. I knew immediately that I didn’t like his lips on mine. Pushing him hard, I ran away, stopping only once I reached my doorstep. After that I avoided him, keeping to myself.
Pursuing college in the city, I stayed in a hostel. There it was common for girls to explore their sexuality. Some of my best friends shared beds with other females and were happy. I didn’t understand how they could do so, yet I knew that I felt excited at the glimpse of a womanly body. My heart yearned for touch while my mind conflicted saying it went against the very laws of nature. A particular incident comes to mind here.
As I headed to the shower room, a room with narrow stalls all around, I felt her eyes on me. A few minutes later, I heard the shower turn on in a stall nearby. Suddenly, I felt hands grasp me from behind. Shocked I turned. And there she was. Her hands touched me everywhere and my body quivered. I didn’t understand the feeling although I knew I liked it. The water turned cold and I rushed out red-faced, grabbing my towel and not looking back. All that I had learnt since childhood came rushing back, that a man and woman are only meant to be together. My mind kept screaming, “This is wrong!”
Once I moved to Delhi, I read about the LGBT Parade held every year in November. Called the Delhi Queer Pride Parade, it starts near Barakhamba Road and ends at Jantar Mantar. It was then that I realised that here is a small community fighting for equal rights in a society steeped in religion and old thoughts.
I guess this was meant to happen. I can’t deny it anymore, neither do I want to. For the first time, I acknowledge that I am a woman who likes being with a woman. I know the road is tough, but can surely say whatever happens, there is no turning back now!
Haan Yaar* – Yes friend (A slang often used in Hindi)
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