Their conversation turned tepid after they covered background, relationships and careers.He seemed to her like a passionate person but someone who had already laid out the road; someone who was very enthusiastic about life and seemed surprisingly well versed in relationships and the lingo.It seemed to her like an exciting world of racy relationships, one that grew out of the middle class home but wasn’t confined by its moral moorings.

He asked her her about her.Did she have any crushes?She spoke of her smallish romantic life briefly and it seemed to her that he would think of it as well protected , and perhaps rooted in high culture.She worried about that a little, just briefly, because it made her seem attractive, and then abandoned the thought.He amused her, and it wasn’t romantic.She greatly enjoyed his company, he seemed to lighten her up .She hoped that they would get to meet again, and knew that it was very likely that they would.She even thought that it was very likely that he would express interest in her.And this was why she didn’t give the idea too much thought; she thought it might be boring, her sister’s friends bored her beyond a point.They were a lot of fun , but eventually they all did, and she did n”t want to risk boredom.She just wasn’t interested.But they were a great lot.

Shagufta was the leader of the gang.When her sister related brief sexual escapades from Shagufta’s brave romantic life, they seemed brazen and amazing.She always listened to them with a sense of curiosity and awe, followed by disdain and perhaps even disgust.She wasn’t interested in her boyfriends, she found them too forthright. It seemed as if  she carried herself in a formidable and entirely classy and protected sexual universe that she maintained with elan.To her sister, Shaista was the admirable and undisputed leader, Shagufta with her house full of brothers and sisters all living in splendid fun.

And then there was the incident that came to her mind every-time she thought of interesting kisses.Her sister had described to her an incident when Shagufta’s boy-friend kissed a piece of chicken out of her mouth.To her this seemed opportunistic at best.Not that she didn’t appreciate lovers making the best of their time together, or maybe her own imagination was too romaticised, but there was barely any hesitation here.And this, compared to the bareness of marital procedures; the rare sighting, and unfamiliarity of one’s partner was the alternative.


written as part of the Jaaga Creative Writing Workshop conducted by Athena Kashyap.

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