The blue-eyed Stranger and the Strange Blonde

I was dreaming about being touched. Being caressed. Someone feeling me up like they would feel themself - without any inhibition and stopping at spots they were very familiar with. You know those dreams which always stay with you? The ones that come so unexpectedly that they leave you puzzled....they leave you hungry. Hungry not for wanting more but to be able to live the exact same dream all over again. I remember I was with him in a beach. It wasn't sunny. I remember chaotic weather.....shifting skies like his shifting hands....I remember only us on the beach. I remember the intensity with which his fingers dug inside my back. Even with all the chaos around, waves crashing, his blue eyes stood out the most. But I barely remember his face. His face was blurry. I was surprised by that color - the blueness in his eyes. You see, where I grew up I never saw people who didn't look like me. My own hair color, my own eye color. And I wondered....does this mean that I'll get to feel blue eyes with that closeness in my future? The way I saw them in the dream? The same way those eyes were looking inside me while I was riding him. His dick inside me, hitting my prostate, my heart beating in the same rhythm as his strokes. I remember the excited uneasiness....was it because he was so unfamiliar? I started hoping to see him. Hoping to run into him. Hoping that he must symbolize more than just an unexpected dream. He HAD to mean something more? I wanted him to mean something more. And so began my journey to start looking for him everywhere I went. In the market, on the streets, on those silly apps...and deep down I genuinely believed that I would find him. 

I had this dream almost a lifetime ago. Back when I never even planned to be in strange cities which would be overflowing with blue eyed strangers. When I didn't think I would ever leave the small streets of a small town I grew up in. Years and years later, after I couldn't deal with the isolation of being in the middle of hostile, uncaring blue eyes in Upstate New York, I decided to try therapy for the first time in my life. (Shit)Ithaca is a very small town and I needed some distance between my therapist and my college campus. So, I chose a white woman therapist who lived in town. Our first meeting went well. She had blonde hair, always dressed in light color sweaters and jeans, in her late 60s. We both were getting to know each other and generally curious about where we both came from. I told her that I had specifically asked for a white therapist because most South Asian therapists would be upper caste and I had no time for being patronized or dismissed or explaining IN THERAPY why my feelings mattered. She said, "now that you point out these patterns of privilege, I think I recognize the entitlement with being an upper caste". Gurl, I was impressed. I decided to give therapy a shot. 

(Shit)Ithaca - September, 2018

Did I ever tell you I had dreamt about kissing my first boyfriend even long before I met him? I had a dream that I was kissing someone. So fiercely that my entire body quivered. In a tight street made out of old bricks. Probably some village I visited when I was very young. And then, when I was kissing my boyfriend one ordinary evening - it suddenly hit me. That he was the same person I was kissing all those years back in my dream because everything about him felt so familiar. 

My therapist and I would meet once every week. Even meeting weekly left me exhausted. So exhausted that I couldn't work the entire day after. I couldn't think and often lacked the energy to cook for myself so usually slept without eating anything. We used to speak about everything. I was very clear that I wasn't there to seek any 'closures' because I don't believe in them. I wasn't there to find any answers. I didn't want to put any pressure on myself to 'arrive at' any discovery about myself. I just wanted to talk. Wherever that would take us. We both were testing each other, I think. I realized my exhaustion was coming from not only remembering details which I thought never mattered but also because I had to give context to almost every sentence I uttered. I think of myself as a storyteller. Even in therapy, I couldn't let go of my hangups around the ordinary-ness that makes the every day worth remembering. I complained about Shit(Ithaca) a lot. I told her that I was tired of trying. Of trying to love. Of trying to connect. Of trying and failing again and again and nothing working out. Things just wouldn't stick! I was careful to not tell her about my tendency to self-harm (sometimes). I didn't want to be prescribed drugs. So, even in moments when I thought I had revealed everything - I was afraid of revealing a lot still. 

Did I ever tell you about this guy I used to talk to when I was in 11th grade? I was living in Lucknow then and got hold of his number from 'Gaydia' (what PlanetRomeo used to called before - I don't know if people still use Planet Romeo?). We would talk endlessly and often ended up jacking off together on phone, moaning while whispering each other's name over and over again. His name was Aadab. One night after jacking off, he randomly asked me, "do you ever dream about ghosts?". "Not really", I lied. He told me how he used to get a recurring dream about an old man, who always came in his dream and stood at the edge of his bed. He would keep pointing towards a cemetery near his home. After a month or so, when Aadab got tired of dreaming the same dream, he decided to visit the cemetery. After roaming around for a while, he started smelling something. Something bad. He realized that the drainage water from a pipe nearby had burst and had run over some graves. He called the local municipality authorities and got it cleared. He never had that dream again. 

The month I had started therapy was particularly tough. It was my 5th month in a new country. First time I was experiencing the 'real' cold that engulfs Upstate New York. People used to tell me that this coldness brings all social life to a halt. No one connects. No one wants to leave their homes. But even in pleasant summers, I found Shit(Ithaca) to be so alienating. So lonely that I had forgotten what my voice sounded like. Because I had forgotten how to talk to people. I pushed myself that month to go out on my first date in (Shit)Ithaca. Like....my first ever fucking date in the States! After 5 months of having lived there! I went out with a sweet 23 year old boy. Not from my college (thank fucking god). We spoke. We laughed. We decided to meet for the second time. At the end of our date, I think he leaned in to kiss me? If ever '...er....' was a person - I think I embodied it at that moment. Lolz. We didn't kiss. 

Did I ever tell you about this one time I decided to spend the night at a date's in Delhi? We had met for the first time, and I really liked him. He took me around Delhi and wanted me to eat one of his favorite dish from a dhaba. We went to a liquor store after. I followed him into the store but was stopped by the security because he thought I was below 18. I didn't have any ID proof and was so embarrassed that I waited for him outside and pretended that I didn't need any alcohol. We went to his place. We fucked and cuddled. The things he did with his tongue........
I am not a light sleeper (usually) but I woke up to him whispering in my ears. I realized he was talking in his sleep. Dream talking? Is that a word? "Yaar, lagta hai tujhse pyaar ho jayega" (I feel like I will fall in love with you), he whispered, ever so lightly. I smiled in the dark. I just replied, "so jao" (go back to sleep) but I don't think he heard me because he was already deep asleep? We met few times after and eventually lost touch. I never brought this up but think about it often. The next few men I slept with after him, I remember I categorically told them 'just don't fall in love with me'. I don't think they liked that. I was really full of myself. 

After my first date in the shitty town of (Shit)Ithaca and my first ever date in America, I gave my therapist every detail. I told her about the color of his shirt, I told her about his theatre degree and his broadway dreams. I told her how we laughed in the bar and I was surprised to hear the sound coming out of my mouth because I hadn't heard it in a long time. I told her how even though the date went nice, I still felt sad. Because the town was so small! There was no long commute between the date and my apartment. The bus I sat in had familiar faces because how small this god damn town is! GAWDD! I told her that I would meet him again. You should know that we used to analyze every single text of the guys with whom I couldn't connect  who refused to connect with me, so not surprisingly; she was quite happy with this date. 

Did I ever tell you about this one time I spent the night with a man I went on a date with? We met for the first time (he he - clearly a pattern here) and his brother and sister-in-law were out of town so he had the place to himself. We watched Sex and the City on TV while he cooked. I was so lost in the movie that I had forgotten that he was sitting on the couch with me! Suddenly, he came over and started kissing. We made out for hours! I can still taste his lips. We tasted each other the whole night. I nervously hid myself in sheets because my skinny legs looked so ugly to me in front of his muscled, toned legs. While sleeping together, I told him how while dreaming, my body subconsciously moves on its own. In my dreams I feel myself lifting one arm up diagonally to my chest and gently touch the soft skin at the back of my elbow with my fingers. He looked at me very strangely. I didn't hear from him again. That was the first time I think I 'lost' a dream. 

Remember that dream I started this post with? I decided to tell my therapist about that dream. I told her about those haunting blue eyes, those chaotic skies, those waves. Few weeks later, a friend who had been doing therapy since he was 13 told me that sharing my dream with my therapist was a bad idea. He said, "therapists go crazy after dreams! They fucking love dreams! That's all their pedagogy is about". I think something shifted when I told her about this dream. I could see her eyes light up. Looking into her eyes, I knew what she was thinking. Like she had figured something out...about me. "So this blue eyed man symbolizes something which you are not.....something which you can not have". Forgive me but I must give one more context here (sorry! I can't help with 'contexts') - we had also spoken a lot about blue eyed people in (Shit)Ithaca and what that meant for whiteness of/within (Shit)Ithaca. She made that statement and wondered what I thought of it. 

"But the 'opposite' of me was never the blue eyed white man at all! It was always the upper caste man. Because that was not me. And I could never be him." I responded. 
"hmm...that makes sense", she replied. I felt like she was a little dejected.
Every meeting, there-onwards, she would ask me if I had any more dreams. About that man? About another man? About anyone!


(Shit) Ithaca - February 2019


I met my first date of (Shit)Ithaca (and the first ever date in America!!!) for the second time. Ok, we KNEW that we were going to fuck this time. We went to a bar. Took few shots. Went to another bar. Had a glass of wine. Or was it two glasses? The second bar had these conspicuous-pretending-to-be-inconspicuous holes in the wall where people would leave tiny rolled up papers. Random scribblings, drawing, or quotes written in them. Ok reader, you should know that I absolutely hate poetry. Can't stand it. Don't get it. Have never understood it. But for some strange reason both of my ex boyfriends are poets and so is half of my friend circle. He took out a piece of a paper, and Bingo! It was a fucking poem. It was the most banal, I-don't-even-fucking-care-to-remember poem about love, and melancholia, and loss. Ugh. (Lolz so is this blog - who am I kidding). He recited the poem with all the theatrical pauses and emphasizing the right words at the right moment. And I couldn't fucking care less. I was trying so hard to not roll my eyes! Anyway, I endured. I was feeling a little uneasy. Because he was the first white guy I was ever going to sleep with/ and kiss/ and be intimate with. But obviously I didn't want to reveal that to him! This would be a boner killer. Instead, he started revealing on his own, why he was into people like me. He told me how he went to Club Kali in London and that changed his life. I thought 'lolz I suppose I should thank some random upper caste boy for sensitizing him'. We spoke of (Shit)Ithaca and how white gays are overbearingly even more white than the usual white folks there. Then he told me how one of his great-grandfathers owned a plantation. "Oh. Ok." I was a little stunned. My cheeks were already flushing because of the wine and I turned even more red. I looked into his eyes. And he looked really apologetic. But someone who had revealed this information to many people. Weirdly, I knew how to handle this? I remembered this one time on a date, an upper caste boy whose father owned leather factories told me how he is an 'honorary' (his words, not mine) untouchable caste member too...because you know....his father owns leather factory and employs people who come from a caste which historically works with leather. So he called himself an untouchable caste too! We left that bar and went to this house. We smoked some weed. Sat on the roof of his house and looked at the sky. I. Was. Fucking. High. We made out. A lot. I sucked his dick so diligently that I don't think I have ever heard any other guy say 'oh my GOD' so many times in bed. I spent the night with him. I dreamt that he and the leather-factory guy have become good friends and are dancing together in club Kali in London. He is the last (first) and the only white man I have slept with since. I have slept with many upper caste men. 

Therapy was just turning stranger and stranger with every session. Once she randomly told me that she wanted to put Nelson Mandela's frame in her office. In a meeting, the other time, she told me that my depth reminds her of Dalai Lama. (LOLZ). Then another time she told me how she realized just how ugly her white grandkids were when she saw them bathing in a pool next to black kids. (!!). I also started losing interest in therapy. I grew tired of talking about myself. I couldn't bear to be asked again if I had dreamt anything new. I had no trouble with the equation my therapist had with me because I set the terms that way from the very beginning. I stopped going to therapy and started making excuses. And then one evening when I was texting her about being buried with work, she sent me a series of texts. Almost frantic texts.
Akhil, please don't quit our sessions------
I miss our -------
Your pattern of moving on from people quickly reveals ------
Your avoidance of this topic is because ------
Your habit of ------
Your silence on ---------
I realized this relationship, like those dreams, had turned sour. Lived its end. And I thought, maybe that dream was meant to end with her? Just like all those other dreams, our relationship ended abruptly. And I thought, 'wow...maybe (Shit)Ithaca did give something substantial to me after all...'

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