Goodness is a virtue. Well, that’s what we are taught since the day we learn to commit our very first error. It could be spilling milk on the table (because you were rather busy playing with it than drinking it). Or it could be soiling your latest “birthday suit” in mud (matching tees and pants in the cheekiest of bunny prints? Never mind.), because it looked more fun splashing it in the puddle. Or it could be as early as wetting your bed while you didn’t even know you were actually doing it. Parents, especially in India make sure we get our daily dosage of teaching in “goodness” just like vaccines that are always a pain in the ass, pun intended. It probably starts since the day we are born. And by the time we start using our brains, the sense of goodness is running along with our blood throughout our body. But I don’t blame it. It’s a good thing. And other than that on a very basic level, its human nature. We are good. That’s what sets us apart from other animals. We might relish butter chicken with naan’s sunk in an inch layer of butter, but some of us would simply faint at the sight of the poor hen get decapitated. We might love ogling at the hot next door neighbor, but we would never miss the opportunity to slap our younger brothers out of doing the same if they are caught doing so. Whatever it is, we are born good. Only that, this goodness fades away with time. The time it lasts in every human being varies from individual to individual. Even the most merciless of criminal was definitely good at some point. And so as you can understand, even I spent a major time of my childhood trying to be perfect. I just don’t know what the perfection was aimed at. I was average in studies. Sports was nil. I was good in art, but wouldn’t say I was putting much effort into it. I got so habituated of my parents’ daily quarrel that I always wished they would separate. I wasn’t perfect, but still always aimed for it. I was never mean to anyone. Pride obviously was out of question. There was no one to envy of and nothing to greed about. For some weird reason wrath never broke free. In spite of all the bullying at school and getting bashed up at home, I never learned to throw fits of anger or tantrums. Don’t know why. Mom always said that she hated the fact that she brought two beautiful souls to such a disturbed world, but she was so thankful to God that none of all this chaos ever adversely affected us. Especially me, since my brother still got to cherish the better parts of it. So I was the sweetest kid every one would find. Watch all the English chick flick movies that involve themes from high schools or college. There will be as a mandatory appearance, an extra, with oiled hair combed perfectly to get the perfectly straight and visible hair-parting. Shirts tidy and belt over stomach (My belts are still over my stomach because now they act like a corset digging into the extra 10 kilos of flab making them look like two flabs of 4 kilos each camouflaged by a newfound fashion sense). Sitting in the last bench like a total nerd being sweet and polite to every single person, no matter however they treated me. But one thing that was always there in me was self respect. I never kissed ass. It wasn’t just in me to apple polish anyone with or without any reason. I was never a teacher’s pet or a wannabe. Just a plain backbencher nerd.
In spite of all this there was a darker side to me dormant somewhere within. Waiting for one day to be shaken out of its slumber. A break out, tearing apart the kindness couture I had always been flashing around. Well, it didn’t really happen so dramatically. It was a slow change over the next decade to come. For some reason I’ve always had some feminine features on the physical aspect. Mom hated it, but somehow I enjoyed it. I was never the manly cast and I know this because we at Fine Arts have to regularly deal with human anatomy and blah blah. My shoulders were slender and not as broad as a man’s shoulder should be. My waist ended slightly above the male parameter of waistline (Female chest is one head and Male is one and a half and I’m somewhere around one and a fourth or even an eighth!) Body hair has always been scarce, thanks to which I could never experiment with beards but fortunately my eyebrows have always been in shape without threading. Even my bosom is much fuller and more spherical. If only I didn’t draw on those darned stretch marks due to a major rapid weight loss and stick to a gym routine, I could have carried off a Victoria’s Secret today with a great deal of oomph. So probably the fact that I reached puberty at the age of 11 didn’t come as a surprise, now that I think of it. At that time I didn’t even know what was happening to me. Why the hell was my crotch getting hairy instead of my upper lip? Was something seriously wrong? But it didn’t take me too long to discover that I wasn’t the only one.
Finally the day came for me to lose my you-know-what. Today all of my friends have the same jaw dropping expression on hearing that the first time I had sex was at the age of eleven. Yes. Eleven. Don’t ask me how, it just happened. He was my classmate. We never hung out. He was a rich kid it and too macho and cool to be even seen with me. No one can even imagine that we ever made out not once but many times. For some reason he needed my help in studies during our sixth standard finals. We used to have group study quite often. Late evenings, early morning, before and/or after school. It was then, when one afternoon after an exam we were hanging out at his place that our curiosity and sexual urges took better of the fact that we were all alone then. I won’t give the gory details of how and what exactly happened, but that was the time when for the first time I experienced orgasm. It was weird. An uncontrollable surge of a numbing pleasure with a physiological discovery- I was scared to death. I was too aghast to even react. I thought I had cancer or something down there, even worse- AIDS.
What followed was a totally newfound discovery of the vastness of life. Like all this time all of us were going crazy cracking cheap innuendoes and being so overwhelmed with the whole concept of sex. But actually experiencing it is something completely different. And in my case it was even more different because it was with the same sex. I started looking up stuff to read and started gathering knowledge about all this. I realized the whole concept of HIV/AIDS was very crucial to be kept in mind while I was doing all this. Both of us hooked up a few more times after that. It was easier for us because both of our parents were working and our houses used to be left to us after school until they returned in the evening. So it was a privilege. Some say that we (as in gay people) are corrupting the youngsters. But its not true. Not just in our case but I heard and read other experiences too- teenage is a phase when people mostly experience. For my then partner, it was probably due to the whole new hormonal change that set his libido on fire coupled with the fact that at that age getting a girl to do the same that I did for him which was next to impossible, that he explored his sexuality with me. It didn’t corrupt him. Today he’s leading a healthy sexual life with his girlfriend and he’s completely straight. So did I corrupt him? I don’t think so. But yes, It marked a whole new change for me. A portal to a completely different perspective towards life was flung open right in front of me. And I stepped in.
So as I wrote a whole philosophical discussion of the goodness we all try to follow, after this incident my faith in my goodness was shaken to the very depths. Sex is something that will always balance your emotions out. Like some lame linear equation. Just so that it doesn’t get too good or too bad for you to be unable to handle. There will be definitely some accessory phenomena- like a parallel incident (parents catching you red handed) or a subsidiary element (body odor makes you go gasping for breath) or the subject itself (you’re too vanilla and he likes it rough) For me it was the guilt that never quite let me enjoy it to the fullest. Not just that I was relishing on the forbidden apple, the more ‘shameful’ aspect was that it was Adam who I was relishing it with instead of Eve. And this was way beyond committing ignorable misdemeanors. Forgetting to complete your homework and breaking a precious cutlery was never a crime enough to hover in my mind as a worry. Even years ago when I for once in my life tried to steal money (because I got addicted to those candy things a vendor would come selling by almost everyday) that even just 6 bucks which I was heavily condemned for by my parents in unison; didn’t strike my mind until I started writing about all the bad things I did till then (although I don’t at all defend my act but that for once got both my parents to do something together for once). But this for some reason distilled on the bottom of my mind and kept twitching all the time. But why? It was because while I was feeling guilty about doing something which I wasn’t supposed to do, I was also enjoying it on other hand. Something wrong which felt so good that it would not restrict you from repeating it again and again. Every time after making out with him, I would regret my defeat to desires. But after a couple of weeks I would be craving for it. It was like disovering a whole new delicacy and the initial urge to savour it again and again. And the worse part was that I couldn’t even talk about it to anyone. Not even the school counselor who kept assuring us of confidentially. What would I tell her? That I was having sex with someone from my class and that even with a guy (because I was yet to find out about the existence of homosexuality) She would probably think I’m demented or something. And life would only get messier than it already is. So I kept on committing the then crime and enjoying it. But my aim for perfection was now stirred. I knew I had done something bad and chose to keep doing it. I was no more good. There was definitely no point in exerting myself for the attainment of the goodness I had been worshipping for so long. This feeling of denial would come to deeply affect me later on in life as by that time it would have seeped deep into my sub conscious state of mind.
For now, this also turned out to be a boon in disguise for me. The shackles of perfection were yanked open and I was free. Free from the mandatory ‘goodness’ now. I no more had to be good. Defaulting the rules started coming naturally to me. Waiting till 5 to 15 minutes after the break because I got the burger a little late since there was too much crowd. And pat would come some innovative excuse for reaching late in class. Bunking classes. Staying out way after it turned dark. Straying away to places forbidden for me. It all started for me then. I somehow started to lose the whole hyper-consciousness and a carefree self began manifesting in me. Before doing or saying anything I would think a thousand times, whether or not I should do it and the consequences that would follow the latter. And eventually I would just give up and not do it. Most of the times I could never gather the courage to do anything that I wanted. But now things started to change. Everytime when the thought “What if” would come to my mind, I would say “Ah! Fuck it” I simply stopped caring. I started to be myself. I would just do them anyway. This helped majorly. In a very short span of time I witnessed this makeover in me. I was no more the nerd I used to be. I was rather just one of the other students. People started to like me generally. I could now just be present in any circle and be someone. And I was liking it. Even my class response improved. I always had an interest in the creative part of the subject, English. But never dared to try anything new and innovative just in fear of ‘What if they don’t like it?’ But now metaphors and similes adorned my notebooks overwhelming my teachers. I wasn’t scared of giving out sarcastic and pun-filled answers during class discussions and the students would share a guffaw over it. Who would ever believe that one of my teachers actually thought I had a speech problem. And oh! By the way, one of the major reasons why I was attracting attention amongst friend circles was because with my eroding sense of good my sense of humor matured and got more kinky. I was full of instant innuendoes. Not just that I was doing it, I was also reading a hell lot about it. And my fellow-mates liked it.
It’s a strange world out there. When you try to be perfect no one gives a damn. No one notices you. But when you add a hint of spice to it, a pinch of ‘badness’ to go with all that ‘goodness’, that’s when you attract the limelight. Everyone loves controversies, something to gossip about. People hardly remember the good things that you do. But getting infamous goes a long way. And after years of trying to stay away from all that I was slowly slithering into it. Grinning and grinding, pun intended.