“It was after a long time. I don’t even remember when it was the last I had this feeling: a strong desire to read the short story “Boo” (Smell), written by a maverick Indo-Pakistani writer, Saadat Hasan Manto. Maybe because Manto is being resurrected in the Indian psyche on the occasion of his birth centenary. While one biographic movie was released in Pakistan, another one rolled into production by the famed actor and Director, Nandita Das. It was the trailer for the biopic which brought back the memories of Manto.  Over the years, I had forgotten him and his collection of short stories that I used to read while pursuing my undergraduate studies at the University of Delhi.

Saadat Hassan Manto was a libertarian, a progressive writer who wrote during the 1940s in British India (He later migrated to Pakistan). He was known to pen raw stories which were mostly a reflection of the society back then. Blunt truths, which everyone see but don’t acknowledge, amorous activities that we indulge in and deny, the speakeasy ventures that no one dares to bare, Manto served them via his platter of short stories. They had an underlying current, a strong message, but the umami of his stories was in his narratives of the erotic scenes of primal sex and the lyrical visualization of the sexcapades that he composed them with.”

“I kept staring at her blouse trying to gauge the size of the boobs which were obviously big. I could see the massive cleavage behind her “pallu,” and that my looks were very making her uncomfortable. It was a deliberate tactic that I was using coupled with my enigmatic smile and innocence. I was taking care not to come across as a stalker, or a Letcher but as a tourist visiting a gallery and watching a piece of art, a seeker of an opportunity and a farmer cultivating to harvest. Niharika had her “pallu” carefully draped around her blouse; adjusting it often; making sure that it remained in place; keeping the bounty hidden from the prying eyes. It was of no use though. I had seen what was behind the half-hearted opacity of that veil; it made it much more desirable. A transparent piece of cloth caressing her big breasts that were squeezed under the tooth clenching tightness of her blouse.

“Women, sometimes go the through this routine when the time comes. It is to test your will and make sure that they don’t come across as an easy puzzle. How well you handle that moment goes a long way towards establishing the routine. Sometimes it is their inner-fight that manifests, other times it is just a negotiating tactics to clearly define the relationship – “one off thing;” “sex only;” “emotional involvement with sex.” The list is quite a bit

But guess what! It was my lucky day and Niharika was a darling.”

“There is a “visual hunger” or “voyeurism” aspect of sex that you want to do when you have played your sexual fantasy in your mind over and over again. It’s true that I was staring at Niharika’s boobs in a shamelessly corrupt way. My eyes had already made her naked even though she wasn’t. It was my way of stuffing my brain enough for the hunger pangs to die down. And I wanted to do something more. Stand up and just keep staring at her beautiful body, at every part that invoked my shaft to stand stiff. I wanted to engage in this act of voyeurism in front of her while she took complete notice of it, making her more uncomfortable, more ashamed perhaps.”

“I have a fetish for perfectly crafted belly buttons that look like a waterhole or a well, but I was happy to see that she had wrapped her Sari high up to the waist. I’d like the opportunity to pull her Sari down from there and bare her enough to expose her deep navel. Just far enough to avoid exposing the curvaceous passes of her groin. I wanted to have a perfect visual treat of how I had imagined her last night in my dreams. Visual hunger at its play again.”

“Her boobs bulged out of my palm which were cupped around them. I pulled them towards me and gently squeezed her big nipples from the tip of my lips. They felt like gummy bears or jelly beans.  I could feel her body shiver, the mild tremors originating from her nipples and traveling two ways. One towards her beautiful face when she clinched her teeth and took a deep breath. The other with blood rushing down through her veins to her point of bliss, her toe curling inwards, making a soft scratch on my sheen through her long nails.”

“Ramswaroop’s account of his first night:

“Nayi lugaai thi bhaiya jee, room mein gaye hum shaadi ke baad.” (She was a newlywed bride, I went inside the room for our wedding night)

“Sahami aur dari hui baithi thi.” (She was sitting, her body shaking)

“Hum bole tumko pata hai na abhi kya hoga.” (You know what’s going to happen now)

“Wo dheera se boli, haaji pata hai.” (She said meekly, yes I know)

“Humko pasand nahi hai, par amma jee boli ki shaadi ke baad mard ko khush karne ke liye sabko karna padta hai.” (I don’t like it, but mom said that after marriage all the girls have to do it to keep their husbands happy)

“Hum bole thoda dard karega, haath khattai pe jakad ke rakhna, bina hile dule dard sah lena phir sab theek rahega. Phir aadat ho jaayega.” (I told her it would pain, grab the bed with your hands, don’t move around much, bear the pain and it’s going to be all right. You will get used to it.)

“Uske baad bhaiya jee, kaam kar diye.” (Brother, after that I did her).”

“Next day I woke up early in the morning and went for a five-kilometer run. The thought of the “ghaatan laundiya,” the recurrent theme of Ramswaroop’s portrayal of the village sex life had formed a lethal combination of a possible script for me, and if Niharika was with me, a possible “ghaatan laundiya” sex romping session. To play the part I intended to be physically tired today, unshaven, no bathing, and a body smelling out of sweat – the “boo” (smell). Niharika dressed up neat and clean, her Saree was always starched, ironed to perfection, and draped meticulously.”