Take my hand: DUK there's a fidelity gene
Giri and I went to learn swimming when we were about 12 or 14 at a pond near our house... Giri's mom took us there. One by one she waded with us a little ways into the pond and instructed us to hold on to a huge floating log of wood ... we were to kick the water hard and thus learn to stay afloat. After a bit, when she let me go, I must have stopped suddenly.. I remember this visceral feeling when my feet hit the mossy bottom and I slipped. I could find no anchor but my poor companion and thus pulled him in with me... we nearly drowned that day... we were pulled out by our shirt sleeves, hair, limbs, coughing and gasping... that was the end of our swimming lessons. We went home and I remember eating masoor lentil curry and rice with fried rohu fish and lemon. After all that vigorous exercise, I was ravenous and I've never forgotten the taste of that meal. Giri's mom fed us in turns from the same plate, which was pretty typical (yes, even at 14, we would demand it of her and she was an incredibly sweet lady). Giri tells me that he never learnt to swim since. Anish taught me how at the campus swimming pool in college. Its something I really enjoy doing.
The four of us met this evening at our apartment poolside. The pool looked really cool with its aquamarine bottom lit with neon bulbs and light steam rolling off of the heated surface... Anish, I and Seema promptly went in. Giri sat on the edge with his feet dipped in the water in T shirt and shorts! He was sipping white wine and keeping watch on the rest of our glasses.. offering us filled ones if you waded up to him. This was as irresistible as it was uncomfortable for me. There is a generally accepted idea that romance resides delicately in hearts and heads for women! It was residing quiet in the pit of my groin this evening! Seema and I were laughing about this, safely skirting particulars on the subjects of our respective desires... which was pretty fuzzy anyways, because both men in our entourage looked comparably ahh.. whats the word I want.. I'll settle for compelling! I would catch Giri's eyes and the mad twinkle in them made me weak in the knees. Anish was smiling at me too. Over the past few days, my preoccupation with Giri Raha had not escaped him. I was a bit bothered that he wasn't bothered. What is wrong with a little old fashioned possessiveness!
But I sort of understood how Anish felt. Some relationships reach this unequivocal level of, for the want of a better word, trust. Its about knowing a person so well, so organically, that you know where your standing is in that person's life, without a shred of doubt. They are second nature to you.. I am not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing. It can happen because you have conciously made the decision to stop letting yourself think otherwise. For example couples with kids often think that children give them that indisputable hold on security. Thats not what I mean... its not about being with each other because you are out of options... because you dare not break what you have. This is different... its a sense of belonging to each other. Its passionless almost.. its the ground state. Anish and I have been married for 8 years and known each other for even longer. Things between us are neither peaceful, nor violent.. but we can sense each other the way the blind can navigate in the dark.
We chatted late into the night sitting on the steps of Giri's backyard patio. After a while, Anish and Seema and Giri begun to sing old Bengali numbers... it was just so perfect in the moonlight... specially, old Nachiketa melodies with their haunting loveliness...these are songs I have grown up with and they melt my heart. Anish sings Manna well as does Giri. Seema mostly sang along with them. My tenor never matches with men's, so I kept quiet. I closed my eyes, huddled up and listened. Nobody prompted anybody else to sing.. an annoyingly popular practice. That, and I also hate tone deaf singing with cheap karaoke! I was specially pleased at the choices of the songs that went so well together... I must have grown colder than I realized. Giri walked over with his jacket and I allowed him to drape it around my shoulders. I looked at my friend gratefully for the warmth. It felt like I had come home.