Back in a land of palm trees and beaches I return to the life of a bum in the sun. My skin turns a shade browner as one day folds into another until my hide becomes camouflaged & blends in with the scenery and I imagine myself a part of it.
My body follows the passage of the sun, I wake like a slightly grumpy old Rooster before dawn to begin my day – in time to hear the chorus and watch the first glimmers of light, I make my coffee & head to my little balcony and watch the stirring of the local wildlife, the calls of unfamiliar fowls, the chipmunks that dart up and down the palm trunks calling to each other.
It’s funny how the wrist watch that I chose for myself a few years before, the one I decided was so necessary, that I would always wear now just gathered dust on my bedside table, pointless to wear, what use had I for hands that pointed to minutes & hours on a dial?
Though happy to be back again one thought niggles away, like an itch that needs scratching, the words of my Son on my last visit to London:
‘Dad, the thing that I find really difficult is when people that know you ask me what you are doing these days, I really don’t know what to tell them’. I had no answer for him, still as I was working it out five years after I first began to question.
Each morning after coffee & cigarettes I head out on my scooter whilst most people are still fast asleep in their beds. There was something about the peacefulness of those early hours that felt like the world was mine and mine alone, each new day a fresh breath & a new chapter – like a new beginning, yesterdays consigned to history, the mistakes and errors and misunderstandings that had gone before, the words said in haste, all the little corners of darkness and shade carried away by the fresh morning sun.
Some mornings a scooter ride then a stroll along an empty beach that a few hours later would be peppered with frisbee flinging Israelis & barrel chested Russians with chunky crucifies,
at that early hour mine alone – save for a stray dog or two that would mosey along, tail wagging & walk with me for a while.
Some mornings I’d head in the opposite direction from the beach and up into the hills, just a few kilometres away from the coast signs of tourism and foreigners disappeared without a trace and I’d find myself in a different India.
A fifteen minute journey would bring me to the edge of the Western Ghats, a hill & mountain range that runs parallel to the coast for 1600 kilometres down the left hand side of India across six states, its backbone older than the Himalayas, its slopes dense forests with infrequent hamlets and little farmsteads claimed from nature at its edges like little islands on the shores of an ocean of green. The Western Ghats are some of the most biologically diverse lands on Earth and yet lies in a country that squeezes 1/7th of humanity within its borders it felt like a miracle that it has survived us so long.
One morning climbing up into the foothills I decide to pause for a while at a point where the dirt track I’ve taken joins with a larger meandering tarmac road that then proceeds in a snaking fashion on its way on upwards into the hills. A slew of weathered boulders beside the road make the perfect spot to sit for a while and look down on the lake and to the forests below.
Absorbed in my little Arcadia I watch as Fish Eagles circle the thermals above the water and as my ears resonate with the insect life now wide awake. And then another sound, faint but compelling it sounds like a small child crying in the distance, what is that?
I follow the sound across the empty road and into the bush, I break off an old branch and use it to batter a path through the undergrowth, I pay particular attention to where I tread, I do not want to come face to face with a snake or a cobra out to find the morning sun. The crying, intermittent and pleading grows louder as I zone in on it, I come to a clearing, there’s a flash of movement as some kind of four legged creature darts into the bush, behind it lying in the dirt is a small goat, its throat torn and bloody, eyes wide open and terrified, its body twitches and shakes and does not possess the strength to raise itself onto four legs.
I ask myself what animal has done this and logically conclude that at best it’s the work of a feral Dog, at worst it’s a Leopard, I’ve read plenty of articles of the later taking pets and livestock, even down along the coast. For some unfathomable reason sanity deserts me and instead of just making a hasty retreat I sit down alongside the little kid. I can see its heart racing as it beats against its ribcage. Theres nothing to be done, the poor little creature is on its way out, but something stops me from heading away, I feel like I have to stay to keep it company until the end.
I stroke the creatures head gently, just a minute or two, the racing heart grows slower and more shallow, I place my hand on its ribcage & feel the heartbeat subside until the beat had gone entirely. After a little while I got to my feet and walked away quietly as if any sound even the breaking of a twig underfoot might disturb the little creatures journey.
After my morning explore I’d head to Yoga class, after a couple of years of years of practice I was for a bloke that had once shunned it like the plague a bit of a convert. I felt healthy and good in myself for the practice. The Yoga school I had been going to most of the time was run by a chap who also offered massages and Ayurvedic treatments & counselling. I figured that whilst I was relatively healthy body wise there was still other stuff to work on. I booked a consultation session with him thinking it might help, the spiel up front was that the session would cover lifestyle, diet, exercise and then come up with a plan to move forward.
He spent the first five minutes talking about what I ate and what my stools looked like, these he decided were both fine. He then spent the rest of the session asking me questions about my personal life & then he focussed on my sex life, a good forty five minutes worth. I failed to understand the value of this and decided I wouldn’t pursue any further treatments with him. Shortly afterwards another of his clients told me about treatment he’d had with the self styled Guru. These involved the drinking of warm cows piss. This is indeed an Indian Ayurvedic treatment that goes back thousands of years, but to be honest if it’s a choice between being a bit unhealthy and drinking cow piss I am going to stay unhealthy.
One evening out at a beach bar I noticed the Yoga teacher picking up beers at the bar, he headed down to the beach where waiting for him was one of his students, a blonde half his age, Now whilst this was not in itself earth shattering I did know that he was married and had children. Maybe it was just friendship?
At each morning at class he would expound on the virtues of clean living, right thought and purity of mind and body, it soon became clear that whilst he espoused these concepts for his students to follow he was not.
His classes would often begin with a little sermon, quoting some obscure Vedic wisdom peppered with the name of a Hindu God here and there for good measure. But then one morning class he deviated from his usual kind of script, He talked about Men and Women being different, about a man being like a Bee and a woman like a flower, the Bee needed to search out nectar and one flower was not enough, it needed more. The flower on the other hand remained rooted, showed its beauty to attract the Bee with colour and its scent, and then only with the coming of the Bee could the flower germinate and fulfil its purpose.
Soon after the Yoga Guru moved the blonde into his family home, his wife perhaps happy that the Bee had moved on to other blooms seemed to accept the new arrangements. Soon after the Blonde germinated and produced fruit. I didn’t bother going back to his classes, I felt like he’d shown me as much as I could learn and it was time to move on.
I began to try classes at various Yoga schools up and down the coastline, Goa is awash with them, Western Yoga, Indian Yoga a person is spoilt for choice, I tried most of them along a ten mile stretch of coast at one time or another. It has to be said that I enjoyed the classes most when they were taught by an attractive female, ok call me shallow, which of course I am.
My love life rattled along, in an area where every week or two new holiday makers came and went or travellers were decanted by train and plane and automobile there was no shortage of eye candy, somehow or other I had become attractive to the opposite sex, something I had never ever been before and a succession of dalliances followed, a friend said to me one day ‘Whenever I see you you are always with a beautiful woman’ . This struck me, what on earth did she mean, but as I thought about it she was right, there had been. And yet it was all a bit of a mess. Whilst attractive women were interested in me and I was definitely interested in them when a woman liked me I invariably wanted no more than a friends with benefits kind of arrangement, if they became too intense I’d run a mile. On the rare occasions that I hooked up with someone I really liked then for some reason which I couldn’t understand I would turn into a klutz of epic proportions – shy, awkward and accident prone. The more I liked a woman the more useless I became. Where I was attracted to a woman but felt no deep desire for her it was a perfunctory thing just about sex. This was fucked up and about nobody else but myself.
I couldn’t work out why, but came to the conclusion that I should perhaps just let things be as they were, maybe I wasn’t up to a serious relationship, maybe I just needed to play the field and have fun, forget about anything more, maybe at some point it would be different.
At one Yoga class there was a rather attractive Scandinavian teacher, close in age to me, she had long blonde air and an air of unapproachability, she rode a big fuck off motor bike. I found these combined factors compelling.
One night I bumped into her at a Bar & we talked and then got drunk & then we fucked.
Afterwards she said to me I hope you are not the jealous type, I like male attention, I’d like us to meet up again, but I can’t deal with jealousy.
I internally breathed a sigh of relief and paused for thought before answering.
Thats fine with me, really fine with me.
This arrangement it occurred to me was just what I needed.
We’d meet up every once and a while, the uncomplicated arrangement suited me, but I wanted to explore my own little bit of darkness, my unexplored kinks, one evening, my tongue loosened with alcohol I asked, have you ever had a threesome, you and two guys?
No she replied, not with two men, but hey why not, I’ll try anything once and she fell into laughter.