I often met an old man in his 80’s sitting alone on the banks of the Loktak lake in the early evenings before the Covid-19 lockdown. I used to wonder at his solitude every time I saw him when the sun almost hid behind the hills in the West and the evening breeze blowing across the Tamu soothed passersby by the lake.
When the lockdown started in February, the initial shock of the pandemic drove me slightly paralysed that I didn’t go out for days other than going to the engkhol a kilometre away from our present house. I was perturbed by the number of people gathered in shops, konthongs and sumang. I avoided talking to people and silently performed my daily tasks of watering the vegetables in the evenings and returned home at sunset.
I feel the coldness on my back. I shudder a little. As the chill of the rainy morning seeps into my skin I automatically move closer to him. My body touches his backside in perfect alignment from head to toe. There is barely any part of my body which doesn’t touch his. My left hand lies across his soft and warm belly. I always crave for this part of his body; soft, smooth and somehow always inviting. I might have gotten used to putting my hand there, for some time now, when we sleep together. But I seem to be pressing into him slightly tighter than usual today. It makes me conscious also, so I check if he is still asleep, unaware of my stubborn hands on his body. At the same time, I can feel warm sensations triggering inside my body; a stronger urge than usual. This spurge of feeling, something like an adrenaline rush taking the shape of a desire inside my body, seems to thrust me closer to him. I hold him tighter and my hands automatically start rubbing his soft belly in circles. All the while I’m also scared that I might wake him up. But the sensations and urge are powerful to the point of overwhelming. Even as I try very hard to stop myself from doing whatever is about to happen, the sensations take the better of me. My hand slowly touches his nipples, groping his breast and squeezing it a bit and rubbing it softly. Then after a while I find my hand touring down slowly and slowly, rubbing his skin as it goes down, towards the lower abdomen now and I perfectly know my hand is not going to stop just right there.