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It was a long drive home… It is two states away from where I live, more than eight quarter miles..

I would have never imagined myself being there on the last night.. the last night of a long weekend and the last night of a short romance… It is, the only four day weekend, I have in the year. Thanksgiving. It is a tradition to spend time with family and friends.. and I choose to spend it with friends and Him.

I broke the first rule. “Never offer yourself for a guy who is out of town”. Oh, and when one rule is broken.. there is no point in maintaining other rules.. and so I found out, however painful it may be.. I can’t have rules! at least not when it comes to gravitating towards a Guy!

the drive was slow.. ten miles per hour on an seventy five mph inter-state highway, there was slush all over from the first snow of the season.. and the cars were following each other very religiously. they were following the tracks laid down by the vehicles in front of them.. and in turn reinforcing the track they just followed.. a slight diversion from the track, which was now marked clearly by the layer of snow and ice that was untouched by the brutal black tires.. will send the car off the road and possibly into the valley.. or will just make the car turn around and block the entire traffic following it…

on one side of the road was a mountain, the rocks frosted with ice and snow. On the other side.. the snow capped hazy blueish pines glowing in the misty moonless night.. i would have enjoyed the peace and gloominess of the sight.. but tonight, it was very painful…

painful to have an empty seat next to me.. i turned on the radio.. and quickly tuned it to a different channel.. i could not bear to hear the same songs that i heard with him moments ago…

I looked towards the empty seat…. as I reluctantly followed the tracks..

It all started a month ago..

He was sitting on a tall legged bar chair, right across the entrance of the dance room in Club Cafe..long slender legs.. one stretched out, surely touching the floor and the other folded in.. one hand on the round table and the other holding a glass. dressed in full sleeved, round neck blue sweater.. tight jeans..  white and yellow stripped shoe..

he stood out in the crowd… an east-indian face amidst caucasians, blacks, asian and hispanic…that was the first time I saw him..

It was boys night out.. we moved to friday instead of our usual saturday to watch the Halloween Costumes.. another colorful night, that brings out the creative best..

There was an angel with only feathers, an underwear, more like a thong and of course a fine chiseled body. I don’t remember how long we stood around him.. but when we finally made to the corner which was the only place with some space.. the extreme corner where there is a tiny dance floor..

There was something unusual about Club Cafe that night, it was as if Club cafe had put on new costume, it had shed its typical snobbish self.. there were exchange of pats.. flirts.. smiles.. and numbers..

we saw a guy dressed as Nurse, two guys in bath robes, navy men, police officer, a greek noble with a golden crown. and there was a monkey, an corrupt politician. and the best of all Ellen DeGeneres.. she was so Good she could fill in for the real Ellen.. (later I was told she got the best costume for the night…. )

I saw Him again.. he was going for another drink.. he wasn’t smiling.. neither was he not smiling.. there was a certain indifference in his presence..  it was as if he was there and also not there..

One of the boys.. decided to go into the front room and the rest of us followed.. we stood there watching people walk in.. I was still intrigued by the look on his face.. was he new to Boston? does he have friends? Should I go talk to him?

It started to itch..

So I set out to scratch it… back into the dance room.. squeezing my way through the crowded room.. I am sure I must have stopped to see the angel, but I don’t remember anymore….

He was sitting alone in the chair with his drink.. and I walked straight to him.. he looked up at me..

“Hi, I am Aryan”… I said…

“I know”.. he surprised me.

Surely, I don’t forget people.. I sat next to him, waiting to hear more..

“G Aryan.. I have seen you on my friends list on Facebook.”.. he offered as a way to bring me out of puzzlement.

“Which friend?” …. and so we got to talking…

The next thing I remember.. he was hanging out with me and the boys in the front bar room…. It would have been hard to tell that we all had just met him..  He still intrigued me, but he didn’t seem like a stranger or a like new face..

He felt like someone I have known for a while..

Have you ever met a guy for the first time and have felt that you have known him from a long time?

I can only blame that familiarity on the trust that gets attached to a person who gets introduced through a friend. OK.. he wasn’t literally introduced, but he and I had a common friend.. a friend that I trust….

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Should they?

Ok let us see how it goes. We meet a guy in a bar or on chat, start off with ‘how are you’ and somewhere down the line establish the fact that he is single..

Then start talking about stuff that you can talk to only a queer.. like ‘when was your first time?’ or ‘when was your last time?’ and I just hope it won’t go to ‘who was your last one?’

And slightly subtle questions like ‘when did you come out?’ or ‘have out are you?’ or ‘how did you come out?’ (This probably i think would soon phase out..)

And then comes ‘do you know this guy or that guy?’

Oh did I miss to mention the talks about the ‘past relationships?’ (Can never have a simple answer to this one..)

These seemingly harmless questions carry with them a certain degree of gossip, embarrassment or distorted characteristics about someone not in the conversation..

Imagine this..

It was a sunday afternoon, i walked into a friends apartment. This friend is more like a social magnet for the queers and you can be sure to find a bunch of guys hanging out there.. Hallway was unusually quite and then I heard some giggles from the other room.. There..they are.. laying down lazily around a bed on the floor. In the center was this new guy in town.

I was surprised to see him there (he was in town just that week, and we spent a nite a couple of days ago), but hey.. it is a small world. Especially the queer’s world.  If the real world is connected by six degrees, we are connected by two (utmost three) degrees of separation.

Anyways, the moment I entered there was sudden silence, quickly followed by a huge laughter. Except the new guy and me.. My friend, into whose apartment I just walked in told me that the new guy had just finished answering one of the ice-breakers..

I will never know what he exactly said (or did I try later to find out), but it probably was about what happened when we tried to do it with open doors at my parents house.. I brought myself to smile.. before I could pull myself together from the embarrassment the discussion soon moved on to another juicy ice breaker..

Apart  from being funny and embarrassing what does it do? Prejudice.. of course.

Have you ever had a feeling that – that guy in the bar is sending you ‘i know what you are’ vibes, even though you can hardly remember ever seeing him..

Well, they aren’t all that bad, are they? Like I wouldn’t have to date this guy who I now know will never go beyond base 2, or this guy that is only jerking around for money or a place to live..

Should the ice breakers change? what are your experiences with these seemingly harmless ice breakers?

It is still mild summer, flowers have bloomed, pollen has dropped and birds busy protecting their nests.. It is sunday, I am sitting in my backyard, cracking and munching pista, still savoring those morning moments..

How amazing it feels to wake up with that soft touch instead of a buzzing alarm, the energy that builds up through sensuality rather than caffeine….

And it happened. I had just cracked a nut that I shouldn’t have and it was too late to get it out. The bitterness took over the sweet and salty taste I was enjoying…..

Some will never get a bad nut, lucky for them. Some might have the bad one the very first time, sorry for them. And for some it does happen once in a while.. i wonder what i feel for them stupidity or pity.. They are smart to be watchful but not smart enough..

It feels like ages, but it has only been five summers since.. I took a ride to the not-so-pleasant side of the bangalore queerdom.. After which I wasn’t the same person anymore..

I had a few good friends by then through chat. And it just seemed like everyone kept warning me to be careful about the people I meet, which of course didn’t make much sense. How difficult would it be to handle a stranger? If one is cautious about STD and is taking it easy, what else could go wrong? How naive could I be?

I met him after work for coffee in koramangla 1st block. Yudhistir, he told his name was. Mangalorean but raised in Mumbai. His was staying at his uncle’s and was working on a Hotel Project. He seemed to think that Koramangla had a scope for a new cafe coffee day. Wonderful thought, and he was right koramangala is one of the well developed blocks in bangalore with more and more IT folks settling in. Vanity seems to flourish.

The week that followed was very eventful. I started sneaking out from work for long lunches with him talking about his plans. From lunch, it was time to spend the evenings. He was going to that gay bar on residency road.

I had never been to any club or bar and I wondered if I should say no. The next moment I was going with him anyways. After all going with a friend is better than going alone. Also he mentioned his friend was going to meet him at the bar.

The smoke, sound and the smell was all very suffocating. It was a strange feeling to see so many people, some gay and some just here to have some cheap drinks. His friend seemed a little mellow and seemed to feel sad about something. Yudhistir whispered he is going through a breakup, while he was away in the rest room.

Later that night, it was too late for me to go back home so he said I could crash with him. He was taking me to the medical college hostel and as we were stepping in he said, he had a clash with his uncle and is staying at his friends place today. How do you know this guy at hostel? He said the room belongs to his cousins friend.. (apparently his cousin is doing his internship.) That night I stayed at the hostel with Yudhistir and his mallu friend..

The next couple of days were same, lunch.. bar and then sleep at the hostel. And one evening he took me to the park near the state house. I don’t remember now which day of the week it was, but apparently that day was a queer day at that park. This was a little too much and too soon for me.. Before I knew I was meeting people – half of the names I don’t remember anymore..

The following saturday trumped everything that we had done during the week. It was a house party. We were the first ones to go there and he suggested we do that to get me familiarized with the host. It was thoughtful since I was getting apprehensive about being in another big bunch of strangers.

Soon, the house was filled. And to my shock I learnt that they have this house party every saturday night. And as people started coming in, I could recognize some whom I had met earlier that week at the bar and at the park.. and some whom I had met through chat earlier and never wanted to meet them again.. I had a feeling this was going to be one long night..

To my relief, just before midnight a car arrived and that was filled with people I knew and whom I could relate to. I wasn’t in a strange land after all.. Once in a while I would watch Yudhistir dancing but it wasn’t like I was with him that night. And I felt that was a relief…

It was sunday and I was already getting a little irritated with lack of sleep and the overwhelming activities. We met for lunch that day and bumped into someone who for some reason was unexpected by Yudhistir. “Hi Vikram” – he said. Yudhistir is Vikram?

A week followed with similar pattern but I skipped the lunches and some evening parties. I was finally catching up on my sleep. In the middle of the week, he got me to buy an new expensive cell phone on my credit card and he dropped a cheque for that amount..

I did go to the next house party and it was rather fun this time around. I started to notice and meet new people and after all partying is fun.. Yudhistir’s friend I met the previous week at the bar was here today. We started talking and he seemed a little himself today. Yudhistir was checking in on us every once in a while and making sure everything was ok.

It was sunday again and we were going to the park. The friend was there too and Yudhistir had a new visitor today whom I recognized from last nites party. Oh yes, they were dancing like a couple last nite and they looked very cute.. So they were riding together while I drove to the park with Yudhistir’s friend.

The friend started to get a little watery eyed. I was wondering if the new guy that Yudhistir was going with was his ex boy friend. As it turns out, the one on that bike was indeed his ex. But it wasn’t the new friend but Yudhistir himself. It started making sense why he left me to be myself the first night at the house party while, he was checking on me the next time around. In fact he was just making sure that his friend and I din’t get very personal.

That evening I got to know from others at the park that Yudhistir has the habbit of taking money and not giving back. Some seemed to think he was vikram and was from punjab while others thought he was from mangalore. That night I went home.

I called the bank next day from work and found out that there was no cheque dropped last week.

That evening I met him with his friend from hostel. Took the cell phone from him and walked away. That was the last I saw him.

Later I learnt that he had no uncle in Koramangla. His parents lived in bangalore, but he was staying away from them, changing boy friends like clothes. Trying to extract as much money as possible from each of them. (He never asked for money, but made them spend it on him.) The friend at the hostel was no friend of his cousin. He was his ex too.

A lesson learnt. It is not just the STD but there are people out there to take emotional advantage. The bitterness remained for longer than I had wished for. It took me a while and a few friends to get back together. For what it is worth, I was now part of the queerdom.

Well, it was indeed a long time ago.. but if it wasn’t for him, I would have never gone to any clubs (or may be I would have eventually). And in one such club nights I met him.. Ateet. And in another one such club night I met the guy I am with now..

It is Monday morning. I just got back home from a weekend trip and fighting the blues of working my day through. As a sweet distraction, I logged into my new social network building up online.

What I like about online communities is the way they help shed the inhibitions. The recent networks that let everyone see the friend’s friends list have made it possible to connect to  new people in a cordial and slightly non-awkward way.

This morning, I happened to find one such guy online. He had scrapped me the previous week with a winker and I responded back with the same. I was just starting my day and it was going to be end of his day in his world. But we did have a little chat which went beyond the basics of knowing about each other.

As we were winding up, he said. ‘Oh!! I forgot to call that guy. Anyway he must have found a different one for the night.’ I told him, ‘May be it is not too late for a three-way.’

He responded. ‘The intellectual orgazm I had with you is better than that for tonite.’

Early Spring. And my first spring in Massachusetts. Moved here from New Jersey for a new job. MA was an exciting place to be for a travel person like me. With its rich heritage and culture, I am looking forward to have a good time while I am here.

This thursday, however I was online chatting to meet new friends. When I told my friends about my move to Boston area, my friends initial reaction was .. ‘good luck with the guys there.’ Boston queers seems to have an standoff’ish culture. Tough to break into or so I have heard.

Anyway, here I was trying my luck on a thursday nite, after getting off the phone with Arvish. (Arvish is from New York and he mentioned he was going to be in Boston for the weekend.) After checking for various picture in the room, some headless, some shirtless.. and some picless. I did stop at this well toned gym torso. If there were any relation between a good torso and the face, this person would turn out to be very handsome. (Unfortunately, there is no such co-relation.)

But what the heck. He has a good body. So I hit up with him for an Hi. After a few minutes, I gathered he was 41, Italian living near the coast of Atlantic ocean. And in chat you can usually tell by the frequency of questions if the person is interested to take it further. And going by that hypo-thesis, this Italian made no reservations in expressing his interest. And well.. i must admit he flattered me with the words on how slim and young and cute I look.. (I am 29.)

Now after a while of Zing-Bang and he convincing me about his package, I wondered aloud if there was any chance of meeting the next day evening. He convinced that I wasn’t letting a good package go by, agreed to meet. So it was a perfect setting for a ‘fools rush in’.

The next day – Friday however it was different. Neither of us called each other to confirm the meeting but I did work my way through the day to be in time at the rendezvous mall. Malls I find are the best places to meet people and take a walk or grab a bite. You can also know what a person is interested in as we walk through the various shops. It is amazing how some stop at chocolates, some at books and some at designer stuff.

So I was at the mall parking my car, when he called me. He was already there waiting at the place. It was about a couple of minutes before I reached there. I was of course getting there straight from work and all I could say after “Hi, nice meeting you’ was to say ‘I need to take a leak.’ Another reason why I like malls. There are emergency stops.

So after being relieved from the internal pressure, I got back to him and was paying close attention to his sharp features while he talked about his day at work. Nice blue eyes, short hair, lips that are not stiff.. and smile that does show his teeth. The chin and cheeks were tight.. a huge plus for me. After what seemed like a decent conversation of fifteen minutes, we stopped for a fruit chiller and a coffee mocha.

As we sat there and spoke about his interests in travel and his origins from Italy, i started to get pulled into the charm of an mature guy who can make a conversation and carry himself well. And I was wondering if Bostonians were really standoff’ish. Sometime during that conversation, I registered that he told me I was very cute (of course it wasn’t to be taken at the face value and I usually am skeptical about such statements in the first meeting.)

So after a while of chit-chatting, he wondered if it was too early to go his place and watch a movie. (A movie.. yeah rite.) But well. That indeed was an wonderful idea. I was aching to get intimate myself so I decided to take this little detour before my friend from New York arrived in town.

It was a good 50 mins drive to his place and for the first time in three months I was not in the drivers seat of a car. I enjoyed watching the sky line of Boston (it was 7pm) as we turned from Mass Pike to Rt 1A. In a few mintues, we were driving by the coast line. The cool breeze, that i couldn’t feel sitting inside the car ached me. But the view of people walking the side-walk was fantastic.

After a 10 minute drive alongside ocean, we were at his house. Very conveniently located with a the living room, kitchen and the bed room facing the ocean. Being an night with clear skies and full moon just a couple of days way I could see the shadow of the moon in the vast water. Those were the moments of serenity. Standing with my hands in the pocket, watching through the window, carrying myself over into the experience of the sea.

Soon after that, he was back to join me with a glass of wine and ……..

The spell was broke by the alarm of 9.15 which I set, so that I can make it on time to the train station.

A river side condo. an experience to remember.

Miles away.. but at a touch of a click
I see him, the happy and gay
Cyber kid.. charming and intelligent..
It was a love at first chat..
An impression deep enough to be real

Miles away.. not a remote chance of meeting..
I wait for him.. at the mercy of my net..
He always comes.. with that queer cheer..
Makes my day.. through his laughs, insight and pics..
An memory imprinted deep enough to be real..

Miles away.. he makes me wish for wings..
Fly across the mountains and oceans..
A few hugs, pats and that touch I miss..
If only dreams can come to life..
An eLuv.. that would last for ever..