It was 1967, in a small town called Durgapur, in the Indian province of West Bengal. I was 12 then and I am 63 now, but listen, you’ll never ever forget your first smoocherooney, trust me.
I still remember that day vividly. The rest of the school was out at the stadium race-track for the annual parade march-past dress rehearsal.
The morning had gone by playing the fool, leaving corny notes on each other’s desks, hiding our compass boxes from each other and generally poking good-natured fun at one another.
This thing between Rashmi and me had been going on for a while and we were beginning ta feel like it was all sort of building up to something but we didn’t realize what that was.
In fact my lips had brushed against her ear on an occasion that week and I had managed to say, “Surprise attack!” and grinned. She had expressed mock shock and given me a playful slap and run off to the other girls.
That day, the bell rang for the parade rehearsal and everyone began trooping down to the stadium – except Rashmi, who had been loitering behind. Instead of following the crowd, she gave me a glance to ensure she had my attention and she slipped away and disappeared inside the chemistry lab.
I followed her in. The Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, would have been proud of me.
I found her at the far corner, behind a cupboard filled with the burettes and pipettes. She wasn’t doing any chemistry experiments or anything – she just stood there. The moment I swung into her field of vision, her hands flew to her face and covered her eyes, her middle and forefingers parting a crack to see if I was making any progress toward her.
In a few strides I was on her and as I held her tight, she kept trying to wriggle free, though not with any genuine conviction. Rashmi somehow knew she was desirable and therefore her brain was configured to be coquettish and frisky. I guess its one of those things that no one teaches pretty girls, they are just born knowing it.
Instead of breaking out of my grasp, Rashmi kept real quiet and that should have told me something but it didn’t. In fact I kinda lost my balance holding her and she thought I was stepping back. Her hands snaked up my back and yanked me back to her tight.
Now that should definitely have told me something, no? This time it did. It emboldened me. I stared at her beautiful lips and said,“What would you do if I kissed you right now?” Her beautiful face took on a devilish twist. She seemed like she wanted nothing else.
“I would kiss you right back,” she whispered and before her palms could fly right back up to her face, I had them in mine.
Rashmi was a head shorter and had her face buried in my chest so I wouldn’t be able to reach her lips with mine. Still, I tried. I crouched low, not letting go of my grip on her shoulders for even a moment, as I tried to reach down with my lips, but they barely came till her pretty nose.
About to give up, I sighed and gently gave the tip of her nose a peck and started to move away, when she stopped struggling and went slack in my arms. She brought her face up to mine, her bright beautiful eyes an inch away from mine, so close that I had only her eyes in my vision. Suddenly their texture changed, the pupils widened and the corners crinkled. Though I couldn’t see her full face from up that close, I knew she was smiling.
Taking this as a cue, I plunged my lips down but instead, I felt her knee come up and connect with my adolescent testicles with a crunch and I let go with a yelp. She sprang free and ran, but then she came to a stop a few yards away.
Then she did a funny thing. She stopped turned. Woooooo!! It wasn’t over yet, I rejoiced silently. Pretending to be really seriously hurt, I fell to the floor and gasped, my face screwed up in mock agony. Taking hesitant steps, she inched back toward me, the devilishly naughty look now replaced by one that was puckered in genuine concern – the look that had bowled me over in the first place.
I lay curled up in a ball, gasping for breath and I bided my time, letting her come within reach until she was stooping over me to take a closer look, strands of her hair falling all over my eyes and my chin. Suddenly my whole being was being assaulted with the scent of Brahmi Amla Kesh Coconut Oil. It took all my adolescent self-restraint to keep my eyes open just a slit, like as if I was in agony.
I don’t know when exactly she caught on but it was too late by then. As she knelt over me, I uncoiled in a speedy blurr, reached out and grabbed her and she responded by letting out a high-pitched squeal, more in excitement mixed with delight, than fright.
As we lay entwined, the chill of the chem lab floor made Rashmi shiver and she whispered, “They’ll look for us!” said Rashmi and shivered,” Hurry!”
Sometimes all you need ta win a girl is a little subterfuge.
Now, dear readers, please – take it easy. Between the 1967 ‘hurry’, and the 2018 ‘hurry’, there have been genuine advances. Bras and panties became passé, folks have streaked naked over open ground and the word ‘f–k’ entered the lexicons of the world. The 1967 ‘hurry’ meant just a kiss. And not even a French kiss.
It was bliss lying there, me flat on my back and her head on my chest, with her one leg draped over me, her black uniform shoes touching the floor on the other side. The though of progressing toward something more just didn’t cross our minds. This, what we had achieved so far, in itself was manna, the summit of Everest. Around us, the usually bustling chemistry lab was still.
I took her soft hands in mine and my lips skimmed over her forehead, her eyes, her ears and her nose just grazing against each while her breath clouded my specs. I could write a saga on just that breath – it had a scent of Amul butter, milk and bread crumbs on it.
I was inhaling greedily when finally I found her lips and tarried there a while. It was the first time my lips had been on a girl’s and I explored the tiny ridges that run vertically along lips that are maiden – they form when the weather is cold and dry. I didn’t know it was cold out there, jeeze, I was sweating like crazy.
For a moment the Amerigo Vespucci in me took over once again and I couldn’t resist feelingthose ridges with my tongue but she recoiled in horror, so I hurriedly put my tongue back in. I have always been quite an explorer. Honestly, if Capt. James Cook was hiring scouts for his Australia expedition, he would have offered me a handsome signing bonus.
We remained that way, giving each other tiny pecks and kisses, for what seemed like an eternity. Nothing was said, the words pouring out through our lips, google-translated into kisses. The Almighty created lips for communication but I am sure even He didn’t figure how well kisses can articulate.
In the middle of our kiss, her lips stretched, her teeth made contact with mine and her eyes crinkled and once again that Amul baby breath lingered out and engaged my nostrils and I knew she was smiling again. Right then, if she had demanded that I walk off a cliff onto jagged thorns and hyenas below, I woulda.
The shouts and yelps alerted us to the fact that the parade dress rehearsal was over and the kids were coming back in. She pushed me back against the burette/pipette shelf, making it jangle and almost tipping over some of the pipettes that were near the edge.
And then she ran away, blowing a kiss at me as she turned the corner and disappeared.
After that first time, the back of the chemistry lab served us well in our canoodling, being empty most of the time. Our chemistry teacher sucked and hey, doesn’t chemistry suck on the whole? Anyways, there we would crouch – not speaking, just kissing interminably long kisses. I think 1967 kisses were definitely longer than 2018 kisses, simply because they didn’t come with any feeling up or squeezing you-know-whats.
About a year later, Rashmi moved away with her family, to Asansol, another small town like Durgapur where nothing really went on. Rashmi had lovely feet and wore nupurs that jingled just a wee bit and drove me nuts. The day before she left we had one last marathon canoodle behind a rack of bunsen burners. She cried a little and knowing how much her nupurs turned me on, she left me a pair of faux silver ones.
“I’ll tell my mum I lost them,” she tearfully whispered.
Actually I am not sure how much of this anecdote really happened – all those years and all and throw into that my imaginayshun…….. y’know how it is, things get a bit hazy. Did I find her behind the cupboard in the chemistry lab or did our trysts happen in the library? Did we have a chemistry lab at all, or was the lab from my memories of my next school, La Martiniere, where a few years later, I ….. oh, forget it, you won’t believe what happened in La Marts anyway.
But, listen, if you haven’t yet kissed anyone and want ta, prepare yourself for a very surreal roller-coaster ride. As your lips meet, every nerve ending shall twang, every hair stand on it’s end. Your eyes shall swim, finding it nigh impossible ta focus. It isn’t a sexual thing. Guys, you won’t even get a hard-on even if you are old enough to have one, but the excitement shall be so intense as to make you feel faint. At that moment you’ll be ready ta do anything for this girl. If her lips are slightly parted and she uses a breath freshener, the sensation of slipping your lower lip in will simply blow your mind. Take this from a man who has kissed – and still kisses – a thousand women.
Those days, Indian girls were very passive and demure. They made no moves, y’know. They just sat back and loved being kissed all over. I would say Rashmi was a bit more precocious than most other girls of that era. Rashmi’s face would take on a flushed glow when we kissed, I swear to ya.
And me – I was flushed too but suffice it to say that those days I was innocently flushed. I believed that a stiff dick was just another term for an obstinate 12th century English King with a backache and a lion heart and that baobabs were really African fruits that enjoyed existing in pairs.
I know I shall never be able to go back and stand there in that school in that tiny town in India, without feeling the taste of Amul butter in my lips.