(Continued from previous part…)
The first night in my home, all my friends except three, had to leave as we were already short of space, and my friends were all local residents. My friend, A, decided to stay with me. I tried to convince him and the remaining two in different ways that they may get a better and comfortable sleep in their respective homes rather than staying here with me, but they insisted on sleeping in my home to accompany me. My mom also agreed to it that I need company and gave me a valuable advise that we must always accommodate our friends before our comforts even if we have to compromise on somethings.
My house has 3 bed-rooms and a small den. Sleeping arrangements were done as per the needs of the guests. Master bedroom was occupied by none other than my parents, and they need to be there as all the important ingredients related to prayer ceremony and other things were being stored there. It was working as a central delivery and control room for rest of the operations. Everyone was not allowed in that room. Kids might displace or damage or make it useless for auspicious pujan, if they were allowed in that room. Most of the times, such family gatherings with a lots of guests gives an open opportunity to kids to make new friends and enjoy group play. It was happening here too.
The other room was occupied by the Canadians (introduction in this part of story), Mr. X and family. They were not comfortable sitting on floor due to Arthritis problem. And my bedroom was also given to some elderly ladies who were not comfortable in sleeping on floor due to similar health issues. Additional folding beds were arranged in these rooms to make arrangements for more needy guests. In my home, my bedroom was not mine on this visit.
But it was all fine and exciting. I was never comfortable among so many people and gatherings. I looked at wall clock, it was clicking at 10:02 PM. It was time for sleep. I along with my friends occupied the extreme left corner of bedding / mattresses on the other end of the room, laid down on floor of dining hall. It was the best option to avoid any extra interference and disruptions from kids-gang who were all too excited and were busy in playing and jumping from one bed to other.
Before I could step on the bed, one of my friends hopped in to the last bed. That was my preferred location as I had only one side to get any disturbances. Other side had the wall. Probably they had all this pre-planned arrangement in their mind. Seeing him pre-occupying the extreme left corner, my friend A, held me by my arm. He probably was making sure that wherever I sleep, he was going to be immediately next to me. I was not wrong in my observation in morning. He was being possessive with me and that there was something more than just formal “touching” this time. Except for the time for loo, which was the only private moment I got the whole day, I could not find any single moment all alone. My friends did not leave me for a single moment except when I took a small nap in the morning.
A’s possessiveness with me, and his behavior was resembling closely with that of my roomie, and that’s why his every action was constantly reminding me of my roomie’s absence tonight. I wanted to stay away from him, but he was copying my roomie in this matter too, although they never met each-other. More I tried to push him away, more he was attempting to stick to me. I didn’t want to be rude to him. I wasn’t left with many options either. I opted to go with the flow with precautions to avoid upsetting anyone during this festival celebrations.
It was my first night, in my home, away from my roomie. I have become habitual to his style of cuddling, pampering and touch during sleep. I now also feel comfortable in sleeping bare-chest and without shorts. But all these were not possible in my home, among so many people and my roomie was not with me either. I tried to sleep, but felt un-easy. I was sleeping away from my familiar sleeping location (my bed and my room), among so many new people surrounding me and small monkeys (kids) playing around and making big noise. On top of that, I was desperately missing that soothing personal touch of my roomie, which he made it a necessity for me.
I was laying on my bed, and slowly a baby from adjacent bed came crawling to us. All three of us were talking and baby’s mom was forcing it to sleep. Probably that’s why the baby escaped and came to us for playing. It was in a cheerful and playful mood after having her dinner, and we were the perfect company. I always succeed in establishing a good and friendlier relationship with babies. They attract me and I love their company. It was no exception either. Baby came visiting me, and it was a good option for me to get my attention diverted from my roomie and A’s irritating talks and actions. “A” was irritating me because he was behaving as my roomie, un-intentionally.
To play comfortably with the baby, I made it sit on my tummy. We played for a while and then I got engaged in a hot topic discussion with “A” and other friend. The baby got down from my tummy, and then did something all of a sudden, which made me feel extremely embarrassed. The baby lifted my T-shirt, and then tried to explore it further to eliminate its curiosity about my belly button. The sequence of events was something similar to following:
I did not notice it when it started pulling off my T-Shirt as all my attention was drawn to the discussion with my friends. Then it did something more. It pulled off my T-shirt a little more to expose my belly. It was for the first time, my friends or anyone except my roomie would have seen my body. Taking off my clothes was not new for me as I was now comfortable in sleeping bare chest, so removing my T-shirt could not immediately draw my attention. But when I saw big eyes of “A” focused on my lower part of body (my belly), and he looked amused it pulled my attention. This whole incident made me feel quite embarrassed. The baby was looking curiously on the belly button, as it was a fascinating new thing for the baby, a deep hole moving up and down with my breathing.
As soon as I noticed it, I tried to pull the baby’s hands off and to cover my belly, but the baby was a born-fighter. It refused to surrender. Instead, it pulled my T-shirt further off and stood with support of my belly to examine that hole. It was very embarrassing for me. Seeing me trying to adjust my T-shirt back, and the baby enjoying it, my friends, especially “A”, suggested me “loudly” so that her mother, and others sitting next to us could clearly hear this, “Hey ! see, what he is doing … let’s not interrupt his discovery and curiosity. You might hamper his natural growth.”
Her mother and grand-mother exclaimed, “Vekkho ! munda apne prhaa de naal khed daa ae payaa. (Look, the baby-boy is playing with his elder brother.)” and started laughing hysterically seeing him un-covering me more and more. Their laugh, staring at my body, and baby’s fingers touching my belly button made me nervous. I had been very shy in exposing my body. It was something new for me.
I am not accustomed to someone paying focused attention to my looks or my body parts. I felt extremely embarrassed and uneasy. Everyone else except me in the room was enjoying it. Hearing the laughs, my Mom entered the room. She could not stop her smile either.
I quickly took the baby away from me, got up from the bed to prevent further embarrassment from her actions, and adjusted my T-shirt back. Anyone could clearly see the fading away colors of my face to get an idea about kind of embarrassment I was feeling.
This incident and embarrassment made me feel more lonely and desperate for emotional support that I used to get from my roomie. He had always been there to support me during such awkward moments when I found myself all alone and helpless. Probably, I was already feeling soft and was inclined for my roomie, and this event gave me a reason to find support in him again.
(To be continued…)