The crowd at the bus stop became larger as the rain picked up. Two guys stood leaning against the pole displaying bus numbers on one side of the stop, smoking under their umbrellas. A bunch of school students sat chattering next to an old couple under the roof. Several men stood around them staring expectantly at their phones or the road. At the other end sat a young couple with two elderly ladies, surrounded by gossiping office going ladies in sarees and one young girl in a dress, talking animatedly on her phone.
The smokers stole glances at them.
“Do you think anyone of them would be happy with their husbands?”, Asked one of them to the other.
“That’s an odd question to ask. They seem happy enough.”, Said the other, looking back towards his friend, who was now scratching his head through his cap.
“It’s just that, married infidelity is now on a rise, I read an article yesterday. But single women will still not sleep with single men! I don’t understand.”
“Are you stupid! Sex before marriage is more disgusting to an average Indian than decaying garbage on the street.”
“Yeah but if women are interested in sex as much as men, there should be some unmarried women also frustrated for the lack of it. Correct na?”
“Who knows man. Look at that young girl in the corner, chatting on the phone. She’s younger than the rest, probably unmarried. What are the chances she is arguing over sex? More or less than a married couple.
“Hmm… sex or the lack thereof”
They snubbed their cigarettes as their bus came. Last they saw the cute girl at the stop, she was hanging up her phone, visibly pissed about something. She did not figure again in their conversation on that day.
When she got off the phone she was no longer in a mood to visit the child she was tutoring. How could her man make her so mad so often!
She was fuming as she reminisced about the happy times in Noida, when they were both interning and it was so much easier than this. She was under no illusions regarding what the society thought about a girl who had lived in with her boyfriend, but she didn’t care.
She did not want to go back to the confusion of being in a relationship with a tailor’s shop worth of strings. There were many things she wanted to accomplish before getting tied down in a family, like her mother before her. Three years later, who knew that long distance would force her into making a “deeper” choice in life than working hard, partying harder.
She chuckled a dry smirk at that ironical pun.
She just wanted sex without strings, company without judgment, partnership without hypocrisy. In her private life, was that too much to ask?
Her bus came and she came aboard, calmer now from the mental rant she indulged in. She will call Ram back later. She couldn’t stand his whining anymore, it had to end.
She leaned in to see the road through the windscreen of the bus and gauged that she will be at Rohan’s place in half hour. The little brat had better have done his homework.
“I wrote a poem”
Leela, who was folding her umbrella in the corner of the study room, jumped in surprise. She turned to see a smiling rohan, holding up a notepad. When she had entered, there was no one in the room. This little fellow was spooky like that.
“Do you want to hear?”
“Listen. Do you want to ‘Listen’”
Rohan looked confused. His eyes went round, then they squinted and his brow furrowed. Leela waited as he processed this in his head and said, “Yes, will you listen?”
She guided him to the table and they both sat down. “Go on, she said”
Rohan cleared his throat and began,
“Ever since I saw you, I wet my bed at night
Night after night, every night, I dream about you
In my dreams you don’t speak,
You are only moving
Deeply, upon my di**”
“Whoa, Rohan! What’s that word about?”
“It’s a word for penis, I looked it up”
Leela nodded incredulously as the 12 year old cleared his throat and continued loudly,-
“I will wait for you, to wait for me, to turn sixteen
‘cos I’ll be h*** for you till then.
You will wait for me, to take you from beh… (Leela whistles loudly)
You will be mine, but I don’t mind
If in your mind,
You want to share…”
“Hold on, hold on. Is this a love song for your crush?”
“Yes Ma’am. Continue?” asked Rohan with bad grammar.
“Yes”, said Leela weakly, forgetting to correct him.
I don’t want to marry, I don’t’ want no kids
I don’t want tension, I don’t want morality
I don’t want hatred, all I want is love
And all the rest of society
can burn on the stove.
Are you with me?
Will you f*** me 4 years from now?
Rohan finished and looked up at his tutor who was now sitting there with her jaws open, processing what she had just heard. “I’m done”, He said.
“Roh..Rohan, Who is your crush?”
“Taanya, the girl in 8th standard I told you about?”
Leela, still mentally reeling from the outrageously frank poem, then asked, “ Are you sure you want to take that tone in your poem, especially in the end?”
“You mean the part, “ Will you…”” Rohan was beginning to ask when he was interrupted, “Yes Yes”, interjected Leela.
“Yes, ma’am. Taanya likes her suitors to be upfront about what they need. That’s what Sarfaraz from section E told me.”
“Who is Sarfaraz?” ventured Leela.
“He is the guy currently dating Taanya. He is in 10th standard.”
“Think about it Rohan, why would Taanya’s BF tell you about what she likes?”
“He is not her BF. They are just dating. Nothing exclusive. She lets other guys read poems to her during games class.”
“erm… you know what dating is?”
“Yes ma’am”, said Rohan, a little impatiently, “To have co..con…sen..sual sex from time to time”
“But she is 14!” exclaimed Leela.
“In two years I will be 14 and she will be 16 and bored of Sarfaraz. I am hoping he gets into a far-off IIT or something.”
“That is not the point. You children shouldn’t be thinking about sex so often!”
Rohan tilted his head to one side, as he often did when he was extremely confused. “But most girls don’t want to date in school, they only want to hold hands. Then how will a guy get to have sex at all? Marry? I don’t want to marry when I am 16! I want…”
“Sex! I get it, but Rohan! Children are not supposed to talk like that! Can’t you just say you love her?”
Rohan smiled. “Only the last-benchers do that. They also write ‘I Love ____ “ all over washroom walls”… He looked away for few seconds as if imagining something before adding, “What is the use?”
Leela called Ram, just as she exited the kapoor’s place. Rohan Kapoor was not getting into any trouble at school tomorrow, she had to make him rewrite that horrible poem for that, but the four hours were worth it.
“Hello Ram, I hate it when I get voicemail! Listen, you can stay for a week when you come for Diwali. We’ll go to Lonavla and eat strawberry crush and icecream. I would love that. Call me when you get time.”
She opened Google Keep on her phone and crossed out one reminder she had put. ” Dump Ram” was now archived.
Read Poonaam Uppal’s True Love – A Mystical True Love Story on Flipkart. to know about how you should treat uneasy and inevitable questions on sex. Premarital sex is a Yes-Yes private question and a No-No social situation, but for how long?