The Shadow Under The Light
The Shadow Under The Light29 mins 82 29 mins 82
Adya had worked on me with efficiency and the results are showing. The lovemaking was most satisfying and Adya had left no stone unturned, to use the phrase, to ensure I derived the fullest pleasure possible. Heightened intimacy in the lovemaking of the kind I had just experienced usually meant that Adya wanted something, some favour, some kind of understanding, from me. I have discovered this from my many physical intimacies with Adya.
The very intensity with which Adya worked on me tonight made me wonder once again about her. She knew the technique; the subtle variations that I need to feel gratified in physical lovemaking. She will just prolong the foreplay, playing with me in many different sensuous ways that will arouse me to the maximum possible. She would allow me to touch and feel her body the way I wanted to, the way my intuition and imagination guided me. It is amazing how a cold body, a body that in normal times of the day evoked no pleasure, can just transform itself into a hotbed of pleasure! Adya had everything in her body that was needed to kindle and stoke the flames of passion. And she knew it and used it in the most intelligent manner.
We have been married for the last seven years or so and have two boys to grow. Yet, it has always been passionate about Adya. What she does in the bed with me has no bearing or relevance to what she does out of it. She is the traditional Gujarat bahu, the homemaker that Indian women are. Traditional and religious. Her belief in God matches her fervour and passion in the bed, and I respect her for that.
Seven years ago when I married Adya, it was not out of love between us. We both hail from traditional Gujrati families from the Kathiawad region of Gujarat. The marriage was arranged by the families, and as was the tradition, I was merely consulted for the formal assent. Not that I had any reservations on such an arrangement. I never believed beyond the traditional marriage arrangement and made no effort to love any girl before marriage. My curiosity about girls was limited and I had no particular interest in sex before marriage. When Adya’s photograph was shown to me for my approval, I found her to be most ordinary, just like any other woman. There was nothing suggestive of the remarkable qualities that she possessed. I could sense that my parents had almost finalized her from the many matches they had seen and that was fine with me. They were happy when I said yes, and that gave me immense satisfaction. I, therefore, did not bother much about her background and family, as these were matters best left to your parents. Anyway, I could never understand why some of us make a mountain of marriage. Its just part of our life, one part that is, which we have to accept anyways.
The remarkable qualities of Adya that I just alluded to came to the fore immediately after marriage. During the honeymoon, I suffered from premature ejaculation and a singular inability to come to terms with my erection. That made me feel guilty and small and inferior to my wife. I would be haunted by the nightmares of my impotence; my apprehensions that I may not be able to help Adya conceive. It was not just a matter of my virility and manhood that made me suffer. It was the entire attendant set of emotions, as dark as they can get, that would plague me in those terrible days. Suddenly, I realized I had made a mistake marrying Adya, I was not worthy of any woman and that I should have remained a bachelor. It also occurred to me what could be going in Adya’s mind and heart to be saddled with an impotent husband. How would she spend the rest of her life with me? How am I going to deal with my family when they would discover the tragedy? The more I thought about these things, the more gloomy and depressed I would become. I cried my heart out for myself and for my wife.
My situation and depression were not lost on Adya. She would say nothing to me and I would say nothing to her, but she was observant enough to spot my shame. I think it must have been a shock to her too, and as depressing a situation as mine. I began avoiding physical contact with Adya and would spend much time out of the home to brood over my shame. Meanwhile, she was slowly but surely coming to terms with her depression and shock.
I was frankly expecting the worst. I did not want Adya to suffer on my account. At the same time, I did not know how to deal with her situation, much as I wanted to find a way to help her out of the marriage. I knew I cannot do anything like this without causing embarrassment and shame to my family and hers. At the same time, I wondered how I could live the rest of my life in the realization that I could never be a man to her. I was contemplating a hundred different options. Should I see a doctor and find out whether my condition could be cured? Why am I suffering this fate and what exactly was wrong with me? Could I suggest a divorce on grounds of impotence, which the prevailing divorce laws permitted? What if she quits and walks out on her own? It was justified for her to do so. How would she react and what would she do?
It was then that I discovered that my marriage was made in heaven and I was given Adya by God Himself. She began working on me, with some sort of plan in her mind. I was surprised that she went about her life so cheerfully as if nothing had happened between us. It put me off badly to see her in such a healthy frame of mind when I was surrounded by the gloom of the worst kind. She startled me with her overtures towards me in the bed at night. And she started doing things to me which I would never imagine she was capable of. She made me go to temples with her and demanded that we go on a vacation. I could never deny any of her requests and demands, weighed down as I was with guilt and sorrow. I wondered whether at all she realized the gravity of my condition and the enormity of the tragedy that fell on her.
I told you she worked on me in ways that confounded me. It was as if she was a doctor, trying to diagnose my problem by examining me minutely. For the first time in my life, I felt someone going over my body like someone exploring a new land. Though this was done with a lot of discretion and sensitivity, the fact was not lost on me. At first, I trembled and felt rage and humiliation. Then I realized Adya was being understanding and was trying to help me. At first, I could not but resist her overtures which I felt was more born out of my own ego and the problems of identity I was grappling with. Then I learned to relax and submit. Just as you would submit yourself to God. I began discovering the humble art of submission and its uses and relevance. I guess that when things do not work for you and you feel powerless to heal yourself, you go to someone you trust and have confidence in. I began by trusting Adya and learning to believe she was on my side. It worked, like a miracle. With a bit of active cooperation from my side, Adya soon had me up and running.
I was surprised to find that my inadequacies were more of a mental type than physical. Once clear of misgivings, I grew in confidence and determination to overcome the demons within me, and we succeeded. I was back to being a man and was thrilled to regain my manhood. We did all kinds of wonderful and silly things with sex and enjoyed it.
So you see Adya is not just my wife. She is a sensitive, sensuous and subtle woman. I believe that my respect began to grow for her from then on.
Now, in this night, on my bed, as I lay in the aftermath of the sexual tsunami that Adya inundated me with, memories of the days I was down and out flashed by. These things happen, I discovered, every time I have sex with Adya. She knows it when I lie there, staring vacantly at the ceiling; I am lost in thoughts of a kind that I would never explain to her.
She lit the cigarette and drew a few long drags before handing it over to me. She always does this. She hated my smoking but could never make me give it up. She had long since understood that the art of persuasion had its own limitations and a master always respects his limitations. She had given up her efforts to make me stop smoking; instead, she would adopt subtle means to push ahead with her plans for me. That is when she began to take those long first puffs and then hand over the cigarette to me. At first, I could not understand her ploy and protested vehemently. I was doing something bad, why should she imitate me? But then Adya was Adya. Her name literally means “unparalleled” and “first”, and sure enough, she was unparalleled in her intelligence.
I soon understood that Adya never intended to pick up smoking from me. She would just take those amateurish puffs to reduce the smoking time to half. And she would snatch the smoke from my lips before it reached the butt end, thus saving me from harming my lungs. Those puffs she took would be blown out immediately, and smoke would not be allowed to ingress her lungs in any way. I let her be.
Now, she put the lighted half-burnt stick between my lips. I knew she wanted to say something to me, yet waiting patiently and biding her time.
“You know Hamsa, don’t you? She is in a bit of trouble and she needs help.”
I knew Hamsa well. Adya and Hamsa are childhood friends. Hamsa is not married for she prefers to maintain her single status. She works for some company as a middle management marketing officer. She is a beautiful woman, much more beautiful than Adya. There were times I was tempted to ask her why she was not interested in marriage, and she would always smile at me and say “Because I cannot find anyone better than you.” Hamsa stayed with her parents and is a regular feature in our life. I tease her that she is like Adya’s shadow, which is what she is. I feel jealous of their friendship, and I know that it goes deep down with them. Adya had no other friend apart from Hamsa.
I wondered what kind of trouble she could get into.
“You know” began Adya “Hamsa’s family has been putting a lot of pressure on her to marry. It seems now that they have given her an ultimatum; either to marry or leave the house. I know it sounds odd, but I am sure they don’t mean this. Anyway, it does seem to me that her family is quite determined to force her to marry this time, and Hamsa is in no mood to oblige. To cool things off a bit, can she stay with us for a while? She cannot go anywhere else, and this standoff will not last long.”
It was a very simple proposition and I agreed. Secretly, I had a crush of sorts on Hamsa and was glad she would move in here. Maybe we could have an affair or something. I told Adya about how I felt and she laughed. “Hamsa is not going to fall for your guiles, that I guarantee. She could have any man she wanted, is it not? But she is what she wants to be. So, banish all thoughts of adultery from your mind.”
And so it was that Hamsa the beautiful breezed into my home. Hamsa, I found, was the kind of girl any man would desire. And her proximity to me, thanks to Adya, stoked those feelings in me that every male feels for beautiful women. It also made me wonder what compelling reasons could there be for such a beautiful lady to choose to ignore men? I was suddenly aroused by the curiosity to find out more about Hamsa.
I used every bit of my intelligence to ferret as much information as I could from Adya about Hamsa. I know Adya was herself an adept at guessing what I wanted, yet I used all the necessary discretion and subterfuges while approaching the subject of Hamsa. I did not want Adya to suspect me of having adulterous thoughts on Hamsa. Bit by little bit, I gathered a lot of information about Hamsa. At school, Hamsa was the essential tomboy. She behaved more like a boy than a girl. She competed with boys on an equal footing and matched them wit for wit. Hamsa was very popular amongst the girls, for she displayed a spirit and qualities that others found wanting. She would go where no girl dared to go, do things which even boys feared to do. She was too good in studies for her rivals to beat her to the number one slot which became her property.
There were boys in her life, I gather. Boys who were enamoured by her looks most feminine. Boys who were eager to fight and die for her. Hamsa, however, resisted their overtures and without scorn or disrespect for boys, she would avoid them skillfully. This Adya tells me, led boys to believe she was haughty and was trying to play with them and tease them. Boys found her standoffish behaviour more challenging and attractive.
Adya’s relation with Hamsa grew out of the former’s healthy admiration and respect for the latter. Adya was soon to become Hamsa’s “lady Friday”, her sidey so to say. If Hamsa was light, Adya was the shadow. Quite contrary to my belief that it was the other way round. Adya followed Hamsa as a faithful puppy and Hamsa loved it. Soon the two would be sharing confidences and this set the base for a relationship that would last long. They moved out of school and into college together. They became integral to each other which time and distance could not disrupt. When Adya decided to marry, it was Hamsa who convinced her she should. Adya, it seems, wanted to be single like Hamsa, but Hamsa would have nothing of it.
I wondered how beautiful relationships could be. Relationships that we make of our choice, not the ones forced on us. I never had the occasion to develop such friendship or relation, except perhaps with Adya. Out of family and marriage, I had very few friends worth mentioning. I was therefore in great admiration, and jealous too, that the two women should share such a beautiful relationship.
This added knowledge about Hamsa only helped in stoking more of the fire I felt for her. It is natural for me to be curious, for all journalists are inquisitive by nature. As a journalist, I have to dig deep to find gold, a story I mean. And here was a story developing for me, with me as a participant.
It’s strange how thoughts can become obsessive. Just as thoughts about Hamsa have been obsessive. We define obsession as a compulsive behaviour thought or action pattern. I noticed that I have begun to gape and stare at Hamsa whenever she is present, sometimes to my great embarrassment. I began noticing her womanhood, her body if that sounds truthful. Adya is definitely not a pushover, and her bodily endowments have revealed their pleasures to me in the most intimate ways. But Adya was a revealed woman to me, while Hamsa was a woman waiting to be discovered.
How do such banal thoughts obsess you? What has Adya not given me by way of physical and intellectual pleasure? Do I not love Adya any more, enamoured as I seem to be with Hamsa? Was a triangle developing? A triangle where Hamsa was unwittingly becoming the third axis in my life? Why do I think sexually about her? Or is it natural for a man to think about a beautiful woman this way?
Oh, the scent of that woman! I don’t know what perfume she wears, but it is divine. I smell it all the time, driving me crazy with its strong magnetic pull.
I fear for Adya and my love for her. This is what I thought never would happen to me. Oh, how I hate to hurt Adya! I am being quite presumptuous about Hamsa, with all this obsessive passion I feel only with me. Knowing Hamsa, I doubt whether she had any fine feelings for males at all, leave alone for me. But this does not help me put down my thoughts and feelings for her in any way. Sheer torture this is, and quite beyond me.
I suddenly desire to be home early. Normally, I took my own time coming home, hunting for stories, investigating people and chasing leads. My routine had thus far been predictable for Adya, but not any more. As usual, she said nothing about what was going on with me. But I know that her mind must be working overtime. It was not very difficult for her to guess the cause of my sudden change. But as usual, she was working out her own plan, biding time, patiently waiting for me. During the nights, I made love to Adya as I have never done before. Another clear indication of something terribly wrong with me.
Even as my obsession with Hamsa continued, I came upon this queer story that suddenly began to occupy my time at work. One day a eunuch came into our office with a strange grievance which she wanted the company to take up. She was garishly dressed up just like those of her ilk. My boss directed her to me, for he felt I had the necessary time to deal with such stories. The eunuch, Sarla, complained of harassment by the local police. It seems that eunuchs were forced to share their earnings with the cops who in turn ensured that they got the necessary freedom to operate. Sarla told me that eunuchs invariably ended up doing prostitution, as begging and attending births and marriages was hardly remunerative these days. Sarla’s complaint was that she and two other sisters of hers were picked up by the cops a few days ago and locked up summarily without reasons. In the night the three sisters were forced to have sex with an assortment of cops and their friends. She now wanted us to help her tell her story to the public at large and bring an end to the atrocities committed by the police.
My curiosity was aroused, as usual. Sex with eunuchs was something I could not imagine. What kind of sex can one have with them, and who would be so depraved to have sex with castrated males. I knew of the castration that males undergo to become neutral in gender. Though neutral, they consider themselves to be females by choice and thus dress and behave like women.
I told her it would be futile and harmful for her and others of her kind if this sort of story was published. When she insisted, I asked her for evidence to prove her story. Without this, our magazine would run into trouble with the police. She asked me to come to a particular spot in the evening and promised evidence. She wanted me to carry a camera to record what I would witness there.
I told my boss and he wanted me to stay out of it. There was no way the magazine would carry such stories, particularly since these eunuchs were prostitutes and unreliable. Nothing would come but trouble.
I decided to do it on my own, just for my curiosity. That evening I was introduced to three other eunuchs and had a full-blown discussion with them. I had done some research to find that the Indian Penal Code carried a section about unnatural sex being an offence. And eunuchs being neither male nor female, and castration not being natural, they were indeed falling squarely under a punishable act.
The eunuchs had a different view. They were created by God to have a body like a male and soul of a female. Thus, most of them suffered identity crises in their lives. They looked every inch a male and had a penis to identify their gender. But emotionally they behaved and felt like a woman. So confused was their existence that they could be neither males nor females. Tortured and tormented they had no option but to carve out a third identity that helped them to compromise their existence, and thus were born the eunuchs. Sarla pointed out the penal act was not just for them, but for homosexuals and a host of others including people indulging in bestiality. I was surprised these ladies knew so much of the laws.
They told me that there were many who preferred to suffer in silence. There were females who believed they were males and males who considered themselves females but did not dare to come out in the open. Sarla told me that there was this English movie which was made on the subject of a sexual identity crisis. Though she had not seen the flick, she had heard the story from one of her more learned sisters. In the movie, there was this girl who would pose as a boy, hiding her breasts and dressing like a boy. This girl posing like a boy falls in love with another girl who does not know her lover is not a boy. The family of the girl discovers the truth and finally, the movie ends with the girl acting as a boy getting killed by the lover girl’s brothers.
I was also treated to the spectre of local policemen having sex with Sarla and others. It was disgusting, with the policemen commenting that sex was fun as the holes were tighter than their wives. They laughed at how their wives became like an open pot after childbirth, and how they felt like running their ladles in the pot when they had sex with wives. Eunuchs were fun, tight and no babies to worry about. They can be had at will as much as they wanted it.
I was flabbergasted. I knew I cannot help Sarla as no magazine would print this story or pictures. I promised that I would do my best, knowing that I was lying to her.
I narrated the story to Adya and showed her pictures. She was equally revolted. Both she and Hamsa were quite concerned and sympathetic to their cause and felt laws should change to acknowledge these deviations of nature.
For a few days, Sarla remained in my memory but then, as it happens, the memories of Sarla and the rape faded away. Hamsa once again began to rightfully occupy my mind space. I asked Adya about Hamsa and her family, about the problem that was supposed to resolve quickly. Adya told me that things had worsened. Hamsa’s family was now not prepared to accept her at all. What Hamsa was going to do, I asked. Was she going to marry and oblige the family? Or would she stay alone on her own?
For the present, it seemed, Hamsa would stay on with us, till she is able to decide the best course for her. I told Adya that though I did not mind Hamsa staying with us, at some stage she had to be on her own. Adya nodded in agreement.
Time passed without Hamsa leaving the house. My passion for Hamsa had subsided to some extent, but not entirely. I would still entertain thoughts of having her in my arms, exploring every bit of her fine body and beyond. That night, was like the other night I have already told you about. Adya worked on me and lighted my smoke. She wanted to tell me something, a favour she wanted, understanding from my side to be shown.
After my usual travel into nothingness, Adya curled up to me and wanted to know if I had any problem if Hamsa stayed on with us. Already, she was part of the family and the kids had taken to her well. She was hardly a bother and helped Adya well with the household. There was no money to be spent on Hamsa for she earned much herself.
I thought about it. If that was what Hamsa wanted, what problem could I have? I told Adya that I was ok with this, but was not sure about myself. I told her my thoughts about Hamsa, quite frankly. Adya laughed as usual and said I was wasting my energy on something that was next to impossible. I better be satisfied with what I have, referring to herself, she said. I was not too sure she took me seriously. I was not too sure of myself either, how far I would go with my obsession. The matter settled, Adya dressed up and went to sleep.
My world came down on me with a shattering thud one day. I had returned to my errant ways at home. I would come unannounced at any time in the day. It so happened that I came back home early one afternoon and, as usual, entered, using my keys. What I saw was nothing less than the Vishwaroopa Darshan that Lord Sri Krishna gave to Arjuna which had Arjuna shit scared.
Hamsa and Adya were locked in the most intimate embrace I have ever seen. Both of them were completely disrobed. Hamsa was astride Adya sucking her breasts. With her right hand, she was caressing Adya’s vagina, with fingers dug deep into the cave. Adya had both her legs around Hamsa’s waist, locking them together and thrusting her forcefully to her.
I stood paralyzed. They froze when they saw me. Hamsa got up and there she was standing completely naked before me. Even at that devastating moment, one part of me could not help surveying all that the eyes could see. I could not stop admiring the anatomy of a fine female specimen standing before me. Her breasts heaved with heat and her eyes were afire. Hair falling all over her face. This was something that my obsessed thoughts always fantasized, but not this way.
The order was soon restored, and the three of us sat in silence. My wife is a lesbian and there was nothing to celebrate about my discovery. Part of my curiosity about Hamsa got resolved with the knowledge of her sexual preferences.
How does a man react when he is confronted with such an enormous situation? I recalled the day when I discovered my own sexual weakness and thought I was impotent. I remember how difficult it was for me to put my thoughts in proper focus. History was being repeated now, and similar confusion reigns. With the benefit of hindsight and experience, I managed to calm myself quickly and restore some sanity in my thinking.
The first thing I decided is that there would not be any of the “let us talk about it” at this stage. I remember how Adya and I never talked about my impotency problem when it happened. I needed time to digest what I had seen and all those thoughts that were flooding my mind. Surprisingly, I was not too curious to know how and why it happened. I think I know that part quite well on my own. The reality was my knowledge of what the facts in my life were.
I said something about a triangle. At that time I had seen Hamsa making the third axis to complete the triangle. This has actually happened now as if a wish fulfilled for me. Only that it has happened in a totally different manner. What do I have now? A bisexual wife, a lesbian friend of hers who also happens to be the object of my sexual fantasy, and me, a sexed male who loves his wife and respects and admires her. I tentatively probed myself first. What was my present status post-discovery? I still retain my manhood and sexuality. I still retain my sexual fantasy though the object of my affection could change. I have a happy family with two doting sons. My wife happens to be the best companion I ever can have, only that her affections have to be shared. How do I view a bisexual wife? I suddenly recalled all my conversations with the eunuchs. They had told me about bisexuals too. Females who are attracted to both males and females. Such women married, had families and did normal things, perhaps never being discovered for their true nature in their lifetime.
I should have, I feel this strongly, felt shocked and rightfully shortchanged by Adya. She had cheated me, hidden the truth of her shared relationship from me. Technically, this was adultery, and I should be feeling bad about it. But what if the roles were reversed in some strange order. I was all the while madly in love with Hamsa and would have happily jumped into a relationship with her. The setting was perfect. Me, my wife and my wife’s best friend. We could have made a fantastic threesome, had I been able to convince my wife to share her husband with Hamsa.
It occurred to me that relationships are more than what we make of them. When we face a crisis in our marital lives, the first thought that occurs is that this is the end of the relationship, for relations once broken cannot be repaired. I have a friend whose wife has given up on him as her husband and friend, yet they stay together. My friend is surprised that despite what his wife thinks of him she still seems to be clinging on to him for reasons best known to her. On his part, despite what his wife has made of him and the fact that they hardly are a couple, he could never bring himself to either divorce her or marry someone else or even just dump her. He told me that in some strange way, their destinies seemed to be intertwined with each other. His wife keeps asking him whether he would still be with her if she had a relationship with some other male. He told her he would, but he was not sure whether his wife was joking or serious.
I am finding myself in a somewhat similar situation. I have options and I know exercising them will not be tough. But what of all the respect and admiration I have for Adya? To my surprise, I still find them intact. We all have this habit of changing our views about a person at the drop of a hat. As a normal person, I should have concluded that Adya was irresponsible and not worthy to be my wife. When I failed to perform during the early days of our marriage, Adya had the choice of branding me as a man unworthy of a relationship. But she did not. Now, I can find no reason to hate Adya, despite her love for Hamsa. Nor am I able to fault Hamsa for what she had done to Adya. The eunuchs had given me a very valuable lesson in humanity. They asked me what was wrong with them? Don’t normal people do crazy things? Don’t they steal, lie, rape, and plunder for petty reasons? Doesn’t man kill a man? Why are eunuchs not treated like normal human beings? Don’t they have hearts or soul? Has not God created them like any other living being? Don’t human beings have the right to choose their life and how to live?
My mind raced with thoughts and possibilities. We define everything the way we want them to be. A husband-wife relation has its own traditional script. Adultery and breach of trust are enough to terminate such relationships. Traditionally man and wife have to deal with their relationships with maximum transparency and understanding. Man has to always stand by his wife and vice versa. If one of them does anything contrary to the script it is deemed that he or she is not more in love with the partner. My friend, about whom I was telling you about, lost his wife’s trust and affections for a very mundane reason. His wife feels that he loves his parents more than he loves her. She feels that he does not support her the way a husband should support his wife, and therefore she does not love him anymore. Who could fight such reasoning, he asked me once?
I must now decide about my future. But the decision is easy to make, despite what you may think about it. I love Adya and there is no doubt about it. True, I have always thought in a most traditional fashion about marriage. If I give up Adya because she happens to be bisexual, I would not be faulted by anybody. But I know it would be unfair on my part to do so. Why should we confine our love within a marriage? If love be a noble emotion and not the craving of a depraved mind, like my obsession with Hamsa, I should be able to respect that feeling. If I don’t, I am not yet a true human being. If I can empathize with the cause and concerns of eunuchs not related to me anyway except as fellow human beings, how can I not empathize with Adya, my soul mate? This new facet of her personality cannot, I believe, change what she is for me. I have to broaden my understanding of relationships, for such experiences do not fit into my old narrower vision.
A week after the discovery, I was ready to talk to Adya and Hamsa. It seems they were waiting for this to happen. Before I could begin, they poured out. They were sorry. Adya cried in shame that she had killed our beautiful relationship. She would go out of my life forever. She begged me to forgive her and beseeched me not to let the truth out. They would have left by now, but they wanted to talk to me when I was in a proper frame of mind.
I then began to speak, and by the time I finished what I had to say, they looked at me in the most amazed manner. I could see disbelief writ all over their face. I smiled at them and said “Its true, and it’s perfectly ok to believe me. We can all live together happily ever after.”
I will end my tale with a wise tip. Love is the most expansive emotion we have. It is for us to make it inclusive or exclusive. But the joys of inclusive love are immense. While I thought I would lose my only love, I gained by letting Hamsa find a place in Adya’s heart, and mine too. In return, Hamsa opened her love to include me. I feel much more enriched now than ever before.