Tuesday, October 4, 2016
I remember I saw you the first time in a Youtube video. Just another celebrity crush I guess. I obsessed about you. I obsessed about going to Tihar and fantasized about meeting you as your lawyer. To see deep into your eyes, feel your (supposed) pain and touch you while quoting obscure penal sections on sedition. I imagined your deep husky voice wrapping me.
After that my regular visits to JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) became……sexual visits to JNU. Random streets for me started acquiring intimacy. Silly administrative block steps became potential PDA spots. One afternoon, I finally saw you. I saw you lying down on a sofa, with your head on your girlfriend’s lap and I recalled countless boys I had fantasized about before and how their girlfriends were always the Komolika to my Kausauti Zindagi Ki. You casually looked up, saw me for one second and continued on with your life.
The moment I left the room, I imagined how you would leave the room. You would think who that boy was, why he left you with a sense of familiarity, that you wanted to feel that familiarity by calling out to me, by touching my hand…. That was the day when I finally got interested in JNU politics. I started looking for sexual undertones in every slogan of yours. I started noting the difference of the tone of your voice whenever you said ‘hum kya chahte’, never mind what came after that.
The second time I saw you was in your hostel. You didn’t notice me this time. My eyes followed you around the room. Funny thing about standing out because of your sexuality is that even though people see you, they unsee you. They avoid your eyes. They don’t look into you the way you look into them. You didn’t care. I had to pretend that I was there for the cause and not for you. I had to appear confident when you asked for donation for your party.
Over the years, it has become so easy to look for familiarity in strangers. It has become so easy to fall in love with strangers. To have a parallel world running inside me, solely motivated by my desires for you. Where you will love me, touch me, fuck me….not reject me. The next time you noticed me, you saw me. Not for me, but for the way I looked. You had that smile. The smile I saw on countless boys in school and college and continue to see on strangers in metro, streets. The smile which makes me look away. The smile which tells me that I don’t belong here. The smile which tells me that I should be made fun of. I pretended that I didn’t notice. While walking away I imagined you standing up for me in front of your friends. I imagined you running behind me, tapping me on my back, and I turn and you say ‘aapko yahan maine pehle bhi dekha hai’. I smile and I say no and I walk away. I leave you wanting more.
I came close to you in another rally. I was drunk. I walked close to you. I subtly leaned forward and smelled you. God! You smelled better than I thought you would. I could taste the heaviness of your sweat. I could feel the fabric of your kurta touching your skin. I saw your sweat covering your back. I saw those droplets shaped like someone had scratched your back in a moment of ecstasy. I followed you the entire rally.
I felt good. No, really I did. This time I didn’t run any scenarios through my head. This time I walked away, thinking about the smell of your sweat.
I only imagined you falling in love. I only imagined my non-familiarity to your love.