(Disclaimer: The owner of this blog can't be held responsible for you being grossed out after reading this account. Please proceed at your own risk to read this partly fictional account that came up during lunch today. And for anybody who has doubts about me after reading it despite the warning, I still remain the same decent guy that I was till my last post.)
We have all come across this question some time or the other. Either from our girlfriends/boyfriends or later from spouses, or during guy or girl talk, when you want to appear smart among your peers. For a long time I held that I first lost my virginity to a girl called Prerana, whom I met in 92. She was waiting for her medical exams while we went for our service selection board exams (the four-day interview process to join the Indian Army). We were a bunch of 52 boys, and the first day our introductions happened in the nude, hurriedly soaping each other in a cramped bathroom accommodating three.
"Hi, I'm Virat."
"Are you from Nepal?"
"No, the Armenian pirates once raped my great grandmother in Chittagong (which is now in Bangladesh). Otherwise I would have looked like a Bengali."
The third guy was busy soaping my balls while I soaped Virat's hands. In that five-minute break for a bath, with 52 guys rushing into 10 cramped bathrooms, we had no other choice and we didn't mind that either.
Just don't bend to pick up the soap, was the only rule.
In the course of the four days we became thick as a group, already at the battle front, ready to lay our lives for each other and for our country. It is easy to get swayed in that collective jingoism, and I was only 21. All we were looking for was to don the bottle green uniform for India.
The evenings were different and mysterious, because some of us realized that there were six girls selected from the previous week's exams, waiting for their medical tests. The otherwise thick group that we were, we somehow used to get shifty every evening with some of us making up weird excuses to go near the canteen. Prerana was one of the girls, obviously a bold Punjabi woman, and very smart. I also remember Kalpana, who was like a mentor to all of them and was selected as a radio officer. Some of us got friendly with both of them and I could sense that Prerana liked me a little more than the others. So did Kalpana, but she was like this elder sister, counseling people around. Prerana started with why, being a Bong, I was here. Being a Punjabi she was under the misconception that the Army was Punjab's backyard, but I couldn't blame her. Bengalis usually love their rice and fish and big tummies. I, strangely, had a romantic dream of joining the Indian Army.
I never thought it would work out, and it finally didn't. The selectors realized that I had no clue about how to negotiate my battalion out of a tight spot, true to my Bengali genes. Sadly, the story of the Armenian pirate raping my great grandmom was not true. I also blurted out in the interview that if I don't get through, I will do my post graduation in French and go on to become a teacher. Of course they didn't hire me despite me scoring the highest marks in the physical exams. And I thought just jumping around from trees and climbing walls would get me into the Army!
The limited interactions with Prerana weren't enough for us to know each other, and the day I realized only 1 guy (ironically, another Bong named Shantanu) from our group got selected, I didn't have the guts to go say goodbye to her either. She was a cowgirl and I was shy. Never met her after that. On the way back in the train, I made up a fantasy about being seduced by her in one of the railway retiring rooms. Ajay Dharni (No. 7, Akbar Road, Cantt, Allahabad) was one friend I was in touch with for a long time, and I think he later joined the Indian Administrative Services. If you find him, ask him about Chang from CDS Bhopal.
Those were days when we wrote letters. Long ones, each one an article in its own right. Ajay moved from Allahabad and we lost touch after a couple of years.
At about that time...one day I was walking with a classmate in front of Raj Bhavan in Calcutta, when she asked me if I were a virgin. When you are with a potential "maybe she will sleep with me" candidate, truth is the last thing on your lips. So out came Prerana from a wicker full of old laundry. Of course I wasn't a virgin, I boldly narrated my story.
I don't know if this sounds absurd, but if you toss around a lie in your mind for a long time, you eventually start believing it. The Nazis were the best in propaganda, and now the blatant untruth in some Palestinian and Pakistani history textbooks can make you shiver. My private untruth kept burgeoning into a big story that everyone started to believe. It does you a lot of good, this story of having lost your virginity. You are treated with respect by your peer group, some are jealous, and the juniors flock around you for some chance wisdom that may slip from your lips and open lucky doors for them. How, when, how was she, why you, how did it feel, the questions were unending. One guy, a fellow unvirginated being, asked me if I tried something strange (that I can't write about here) during the act. I mean, where do they make guys like that seeking empirical evidence from everything in life?
The story grew with me as memories of Prerana faded. It was time to lose it for real and we had no prom nights in India. Maybe still don't. Later I had to confess to one of my subsequent girlfriends that this was a made up story. And someday I lost it for real. Strangely, (or not so strangely as I later discovered in the movie American Pie) I didn't talk about it to anybody when it happened for real. Until I realized much later (when gay rights were being talked about) that having sex with boys is considered losing your virginity as well. Memories of a little boy running around my house with his ass on fire came back vividly to me. In the absence of a proper lubricant, I had poured mustard oil in him. I don't remember the date. I was a little boy myself too.
Don't ask me the question. I don't know exactly when I lost my virginity.