Topic: My Writing ...
Today I start publishing my diaries … but first I want to set the scene, and the mood, by quoting my all-time favorite diarist, and writer, Anais Nin.
August 1 1914
I am eleven years old, I know, and I am not serious enough. Last night I said to myself: tomorrow I will be good. Good? I wasn't any better than I was the day before. Now here is a new month, and I haven't yet thought out how to be more sensible, how to master my impulses and my temper. I am ashamed to be so undisciplined. I hereby resolve that with God's help I will be more reasonable. Today the day is nearly over and it isn't much, but for the rest of the day I will observe silence. Not talk, but answer politely. Not seek out conversation, but work on my shawl, which must be finished at least by day after tomorrow.
August 2 1914
It is evening, I have been lost in contemplation and here is all my achievement:
The moon, my visions
The moon shines, the stars come out, a soft breeze caresses my meditation. On the right, one still sees the setting sun showing itself humbly behind the moon, which now rules the heavens. Finally the sun disappears altogether and then the moon, shining still more brightly, proudly ascends the throne of the sun. I greet you, Madam, the stars seem to say.
October 16 1914
A Dream by Anais
One day at my window, where I had so often wept and where so many bitter tears had fallen, I saw the one I love, the one I adore, suddenly appear. Full of love, I rushed into the arms that were stretched out toward me. Oh, what joy! Oh, happiness! I can't believe it! That day I knew the happiness of my father's kiss ...
The Erotic Adventures Of A Young Girl
I was almost three years old when mother died; we were living in a huge house in the beautiful Kulu Valley, North India, with nine bedrooms, only five of them ready, with a wonderful view of snow-capped mountains, forests, and there were pear and apple trees in the front garden, some of them so close to the house, you could reach out from a bedroom window and pluck a pear or an apple, in season, from a tree.
Mother died, from some mysterious illness; the doctors were never quite sure what it was, and father found employment in a Casino, in Kathmandu, Nepal, because he had to get out of the house, and India, where he’d experienced so much love, from mother, and now it made him very sad.
I loved father; he loved me, and he refused to hire a woman to take care of me because he wanted to bring me up himself, not leave me with a stranger all day, so he took me to the Casino with him, and I would sit, fascinated by it all, while he worked as a Floor Manager, overseeing the Pit Bosses, who oversaw the dealers, and the customers.
Everybody was nice to me, the staff and the customers. It was a happy time, and, by the time I was six years old, I could play every game in the Casino, although, of course, I wasn’t allowed to gamble; I started school, then, but because of the long hours father worked, I came back to the Casino after school.
We had a small, two bedroom, apartment, very close to the Casino, and father hired a succession of young girls to clean, wash clothes, and cook, for us. When I was fourteen years old, I discovered father was having a sexual relationship with the latest, and probably had with most of the others, but it made him happy, so that was fine with me, and I often sneaked off to other Casinos, with make-up, and short skirts, pretending I was eighteen, and gambled, father giving me money, out of guilt, I suppose, because I had no mother, and I knew he was having sex with the girl.
Sometimes, of course, I won, and often lost, but father didn't seem to mind; it kept me occupied, and out of the apartment, when I needed to be, and I made lots of friends; boys just interested in sex, dealers, and regular customers; it was a fascinating, often exciting, world, and I learned much more, in the Casinos, than I ever did in school ...
When I was twelve years old, I started reading serious fiction, because I found most commercial plot-driven adventure stories, thrillers, and so-called blockbuster novels, tedious, and could never get past the first few pages.
I started reading Hemingway, particularly the very short pieces he’d originally written for newspapers, though I wasn’t so terribly impressed, as everybody else apparently was, with The Old Man And The Sea, winning him the Nobel Prize; it seemed a little phony to me, though nowhere as bad, of course, as Across The River And Into The Trees.
His A Farewell To Arms was brilliant, honest, better than For Whom The Bells Tolls, and I wanted to write a book just like that.
I liked William Faulkner too, and Franz Kafka, and, for fun, I read J D Salinger and J P Donleavy, then I discovered Henry Miller and Anais Nin, two lovers, though he was married at the time, and adored his uninhibited style, frankness about his sexual exploits, and, though he was broke most of the time, living on handouts from his friends, and Anais Nin, and wrote about sex for a dollar a page for a small publisher, and bookseller, in France, it was, he said, the happiest period of his life.
A year later, I managed to struggle all the way through James Joyce’s Ulysses, but couldn’t, for love or life, get past the first page of Finnegan’s Wake, though I loved the well crafted stories in Dubliners. It was a wondrous world to me, literary fiction, and, when I was fourteen, started writing short pieces for radical, and avant guard, publications, in India.
They liked what I wrote, a lot, asked for even more risqué, and radical, stuff, which I did, hiding it, of course, from father, and spending days, and nights, with like-minded friends, writing, playing Blackjack in Casinos, sometimes with boys; getting a little drunk, having sex, a little, or a lot, depending how drunk I was, and looking for something I wasn’t sure what.
I definitely didn’t want marriage, or children, ever, I thought. I wanted to be a writer, a real writer, not just a story teller, and thought about writing a diary, like Anais Nin, maybe a secret, or anonymous, diary to start with, about a young girl exploring her sexuality, discovering herself, scandalous, erotica, the adventures of a young girl, frank, uninhibited, but where, and how, to start?
I’ve always felt the entire universe conspires to help when you really want to do something; my physical body is, after all, made of the same atoms as a star; I am a star-child, part of the universe, and everything is part of my body, not separate from me, and I am not alienated from it, but as much part of it as a leaf, a tree, a flower, a star.
Six months later, on a particularly unremarkable day, at six-thirty in the morning, at the Casino Everest, I met Jack.
I feel more alive, in tune with nature, at dawn, when the burnished gold disk of the early morning sun rises majestically, as if surveying its creation, the earth, and gives everything it sees the brightness of polished silver, the light has a soft glow, a newness, and speaks of a fresh hope the rest of the day does not have, before finally sinking, once more, in the disappointment of another dusk; but dawn is a new coin, the currency of possibilities, and I always take time to savor it, touch it with my eyes, taste it with my ears, feel it with my entire being.
So it was, on that particularly unremarkable day, having spent most of the night with friends, writing, but feeling revived with the newness of it all; happy, relaxed, and feeling lucky, not knowing that the universe was about to present me with a chance to find what I was looking for.
Casino Everest had gone downhill over the years, figuratively, and physically; once located in a huge room in the five-star Hotel Everest, now it had shifted, downhill, to a somewhat shabbier building, the carpeting worn and patched in places with sticky tape, gold paint cracked and flaking off the walls, the seats and the tables worn, but it was a reasonably friendly place; I liked most of the staff, the few regular customers, and usually played Blackjack with the Doc, an eighty-four year old retired doctor, who had nothing else to do but play small-stakes Blackjack all day.
At times, he could be obnoxious and downright rude if he was losing too often, usually blamed the dealers or other players, but, generally, and most of the time, he was pleasant, interesting, and seemed to regard me as his personal responsibility while I was in the Casino.
This morning he was with another old man, a white man, and introduced us, saying I should play with them, and listen, because his new acquaintance, Jack, from the UK, currently living in India, knew all about the game and could help me win; I hugged the Doc, and kissed him, on both cheeks, as I usually did, smiled at Jack, said, hello, shook his hand, sat down between them, took out my few hundred rupee chips, and was ready to play.
My sexual awareness, and education, started with father. I liked it, and believe now that parents are the best means of sexual development for their own children.
It isn’t taught, almost at all, in school; and not at all in the same way as mathematics, science, or even art, or anywhere else, and, it seems, young people are expected just to pick it up, somehow, maybe in the back of a car.
That would be considered crazy, and there would be a huge public reaction, and condemnation, if any other subject was left to be learned in that way, so, why do it with something so important in life as sex?
Who else is better qualified to teach it, and what better environment, than parents, in a deep, loving, relationship? Of course there will be abuses, but then, there will always be abusive family, and social, relationships.
Father always wanted the best for me, as a fully integrated human being, rounded, and believed that not everything worth learning could be taught in school, and he loved me, as I loved him; he started playing with me, sexually, when I was nine years old, and it was nice. I sucked him, a little, though he was quite big. That went on for a while, father opening me up, with his fingers, then, when I was ten years old, he managed, with lots of lubrication, and gentleness, to slide it up my ass.
It excited me, didn’t really hurt at all; I turned my head, kissing him, as he fucked my ass, and felt close to him, loving him, and what he was doing. Then, when I was eleven, we managed to get it inside my tight little pussy. That hurt, the first time, and I bled, a little, but I didn’t mind, and we did it many times after that.
We played games, fun sex games, pretending he had to force me, or paying me, because it excited him, and I enjoyed spending it, knowing I’d got it for being fucked, and I thought, maybe, when I got older, I might do this for a living, and just for fun.
It all came to an end, at least the fucking, when I had my first period, because he couldn’t use a condom, and we couldn’t risk getting pregnant, so we stopped, except for the occasional kissing, and touching, and he even stopped fucking my ass, because it excited him so much, and he would be tempted.
But it had achieved its purpose, I felt more grown up, understood what men wanted, and that sex could be enjoyed, for its own sake; then, when I was twelve, with yet another eighteen year old girl father had hired and was fucking, we found ourselves alone, sweating, during a heat wave, with a power cut, so no air conditioning.
Father had gone out, to work, and Priya took off her top, wiped off the sweat with her hand, then looked at me, and asked me if I liked what I saw. Yes, I did, very much, I told her. We talked about it, while she touched her wet body, then she took off her panties and I watched her masturbate; it excited her more, because I was watching.
She was beautiful; it was easy to see why father liked fucking her, and what she was doing excited me, and she saw it, and asked me to come, get undressed, and lay beside her, so I did; she showed me the best way to masturbate, doing it with me, for me, then watching me do it myself, then, we kissed, deep, tongues in each others’ mouths, the way I kissed father when we were having sex, then she went down, kissing, then sucking, my wet pussy.
I had my first orgasm that day, several, in fact, each one following the other in rapid succession, exploding like star bursts, one after another, ecstatic, beautiful; I did the same for her, until she, too, exploded, then again, taking turns, enjoying, loving, each other.
After that, we did it often as we could, usually, of course, when father was out, and, I learned a lot, about my body, other women’s bodies, and, less definable, what was happening to me; then she suddenly decided to take another, better paying job, so father hired someone else, an older woman, with two small children to look after, and not living in, and I got the idea he’d had a a big row with Priya, or simply gone off fucking her, or, maybe he found out, or suspected, what we were doing, but I never knew.
Whatever the reason, again, the entire universe conspires to help, whatever you need to learn, or do.
Early morning, in Casino Everest, the place looked even shabbier, with more Staff, and cleaners, than customers, but, inside me, the world was alive, vibrant, and fragrant, with infinite potential, just, it always seemed, on the brink of actuality.
Jack was interesting, a little odd, I thought, good looking, for his age, and I wondered, for a fleeting moment, if I should lean closer to him, whisper, and ask him if he wanted to fuck me, but, of course, I didn’t, and we talked about him, his past exploits playing Blackjack, card counting, and we were winning, the Doc really pleased, and I was delighted, Jack taking it calmly, as if it was perfectly natural to win, if you were playing properly, and, now and then, glanced at my small pert tits, beneath my thin top, and my legs, in my short denim skirt, and, spiritual teacher, or not, he was still a man, and that excited me.
After playing two hours, and still winning, I called a halt, put my chips in my bag, and told Jack I had to go, but I’d be back in the evening and would he, and he said, yes, and asked me what time and I told him about eight-thirty then said, bye, gave the Doc a quick kiss on the cheek, smiled at Jack, and went out.
I hired three tuk-tuks to take me the eight kilometers to the outskirts of Kathmandu and the vast slum area where the Twin Towers were located. The second tuk-tuk I made go completely in the wrong direction, and had the third tuk-tuk drop me about a kilometer away, just in case I was being followed, and walked the rest of the way, making sure I went through the sprawling slum area, a labyrinth that not even the local police could fathom.
The Twin Towers, so called because there were two, but not really twins; one twelve stories, and the other fifteen stories, when there should have been maybe a dozen or more, but the slum dwellers, for whom they were originally intended, decided, en masse, they were not going to live in them, when they were told they would not only have to pay rent, at low income rates, of course, but pay for water, and electricity too. Why would they do that when they were not paying any rent now, and they were already, albeit illegally, hooked up to the main power line, and were getting all the electricity they wanted for free?
A third apartment block had been started, but work had stopped on that, and plans to build more were abandoned.
The Twin Towers had been officially unoccupied for almost eleven years now, and were likely to stay that way until they either slowly crumbled away, or demolished to make room for more slums. They were garish, streaky pale pink, because the painters had painted them in the rainy season, and the wet paint had run; concrete blocks, on the edge of the slum area, with a handful of squatters, on the ground, and first, and second, floors, still hooked up, illegally, to the main power supply.
We had taken over the top three floors of the fifteen story concrete block, reasoning that, if there were police raids, they were unlikely to check the top floors, because the elevators were not supposed to be working, as there was no official power supply, and, so far, touch wood, they hadn’t.
We were six, and called ourselves The New Radicals, had been in the building for almost eighteen months, though I’d joined only four months ago.
I negotiated around the garbage, and other rubbish, in the entrance hall, mostly broken beer and wine bottles, used hypodermic syringes with needles still attached, and dog shit, or, at least, I hoped it was dog shit, pressed the elevator button and waited for it to come down, clanking and whining.
This is where I lived, most of the time, writing, drinking often, and other things occasionally. The other five were, apparently, three boys and two girls.
The oldest was Marissa, almost ancient at twenty-six, a 'avant-guard poet', and 'mother' of the group. What made her stand out, from the very day she arrived, so I was told, was she avoided sex, even when she was drunk, and refused to be touched ‘down there’.
Then, one day, boys being boys, and totally smashed, they decided to get her over it, and gang-bang her, and that’s when they discovered Marissa was a man. They were good-humored about it, and I guess she was relieved it was out in the open.
So, that left just two girls, myself and Alice, a tall, blonde, Canadian girl, staying in Nepal without a valid visa, nineteen years old, and into sculpture, made from old tires, cardboard, and metal junk such as car fenders and wing mirrors, and some of it was really interesting.
Alice was the occasional, and ‘official’, girlfriend to Rahul, an intense, twenty-two year old, Indian boy, who liked to write inflammatory pamphlets, as ‘an art form’, against the Indian Government in general, individual politicians in particular, and, sometimes, useful tirades against corruption, poverty, and police brutality, in India.
Then there was Deepak, the 'deep thinker', twenty years old, who didn’t really do anything, except get drunk, smoke hashish, and clean up the place, and, sometimes, cooked for us, when he wasn’t totally ‘out of it’, which was pretty often, but just liked being around us.
The other boy, Mark, eighteen, a self-styled 'freewheeling bohemian', from Goa, a painter, and a good one too, who had commandeered the apartment above us, on the top-floor, as his studio. He had a mattress on the floor up there, and we’d had some wild times on it, and so did Alice.
The elevator arrived, and clanked and whined all the way up to the fourteenth floor
We had two bedrooms, which we all used, a small living room, sparsely furnished with whatever bits and pieces we’d been able to find, a kitchen and a bathroom, and for five hundred rupees, Nepali, the only expense we had, apart from food, personal hygiene necessities, alcohol, and hashish, we got the water-carrier to fill up a huge water tank on the roof every week.
All of us, except Deepak, managed to get money from somewhere, but he was happy, and considered the money the rest of us gave him, occasionally, as payment for the work he did, occasionally, in the apartment.
Everyone, except Mark and Alice who were probably upstairs in the studio, Alice ‘modeling’ for Mark, greeted me, in their own way.
Marissa came over and kissed me on both cheeks.
'Where have you been sweetie-pie?’ she asked.
'Not doing anything you’d want to do …’ I said.
‘Oh …’ she smiled ‘Is that subtle sarcasm, or a wry witticism?’
Rahul, writing something at the table, looked up, grinned, nodded, and then went back to his writing. Deepak was sprawled out on a mattress he’d got from one of the bedrooms, obviously stoned, just smiled vacantly, and probably thought I’d been there all the time anyway. I went into the bedroom where I kept my clothes, and changed into a looser top, and jeans, and thought, a little, about Jack.
He had come from a other world, bringing strange perfumes from a distant land, offering me juice-filled bites of luscious fruits I had, many times, dreamed of and imagined, but, until now, they had remained a girlish fantasy.
Some of the things he’d said went over my head, other things I partly understood as if a deep memory had been touched, and others, simple when he said them, went to the very seat of my soul.
‘Always remember …’ he said ‘You are not a human being, having a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being, having a human experience’
Yes, but how?
I’d always yearned, as long as I could remember, to discover, and explore, the part of who I am that I saw in films, documentaries, and had heard about, from people who had been there, like Alice, and others.
I’d seen father win fifty thousand dollars, in one evening, at Baccarat, then lose it all again; that was where the money was, in the Casinos, here in Nepal, to give me the freedom to discover, to explore, to taste the fruits, smell the perfumes, see and hear the sights and sounds, of other worlds, and Jack had brought, or rekindled, that flame.
He was, or had been, a professional Blackjack player, won hundreds of thousands of dollars, and he could help me do it too. I was, or intended to be, a writer; he was, or had been, a spiritual teacher. There was no conflict; money was just a tool, but an important tool.
But flowers grow from seeds, and trees need roots, and I had no money, right now, other than the few thousand rupees I could get from father; but I had hope, and faith, that, if the universe had already brought to me the one who could show me how, it would also provide the means to do it …
Alice, and Mark, were back when I went in; her face a little too flushed, and her hair a little too neat, not have been fucking him, and Rahul was too engrossed in his writing to notice.
'Hi ...' she smiled at me.
'Good t' see y'all ...' said Mark.
'You writing tonight?' Alice asked me.
'Maybe ...' I said 'I'm not sure ...'
'Well ... thought we might do something a lil more irritatingly conventional ... and throw a wild party ... a really wild party ... and get drunk ... really drunk ...' she winked at me '... and see what happens ...'
'Damn good idea ...' Deepak suddenly focused his attention 'Damn ... good idea' he said, then sank back into stoned oblivion
'Rahul ... ' she looked at him, then 'Marissa ...'
'What?' Rahul looked up, slightly irritated.
'A party ... fun ... you know ... FUN!' she said.
'Okay ... okay' he said, then went back to his writing.
'I'm up for it ...' Marissa said, then looked at me 'Sweetie pie ...'
'Sure ...' I said 'Why not ...'
At fourteen, I was, of course, the ‘baby’ of the group. They’d all had more experience of life, so far, than I had, but, sometimes, I wondered what we were really doing, what we believed we could actually achieve, and where we were going.
Where would we all be in, say, ten or fifteen years, from now; still in a crumbling, concrete apartment block, doing the same things, saying the same things, and still believing in it all? But, they didn’t seem to be concerned about that, and it was dismissively brushed aside as ‘baby talk’, and I wouldn’t worry, or even think, about ‘stuff’ like that, once I was ‘really into’ changing public opinion, and therefore, the country, meaning India.
I had to be ‘more radical’ that’s all, and that would come with experience of the basic roots of injustice, corruption, and abuse, by our leaders, because ‘a fish rots from the head down’, and we were here to ‘make a difference’.
What difference, they didn’t really explain, but they were happy, doing what they were doing, and everybody had to do something, and the drinking, drugs, and sex, were part of being radical, in a moribund, and blind, society
We were a ‘fresh wind of change’ that, one day, society would thank us for, and future generations would speak our names with pride. It was inevitable.
The party was in full swing, the music loud, all of us drunk, then, at about nine o’clock, the Doc called, asked me, in Hindi, so I guessed Jack was there, when I was coming, and I said in about fifteen minutes, which, of course, was impossible as it would take, in the evening traffic, at least an hour, even if I left right away, but I was in no condition to go anywhere, so said fifteen minutes just to avoid an argument.
Marissa did a sexy dance, better than most women, I thought, and Alice took off her top, and bra, sat on Rahul’s knee, and encouraged him to suck her nipples. Deepak staggered over, with a half bottle of beer spilling in his hand, to get a closer look at Marissa dancing, saying ‘Yeah, baby … yeah …’ then tried to dance with her, but staggered, fell over, and sat in a heap in a corner, drinking the rest of the beer, and repeating ‘Yeah, baby … go baby … go …’
I danced with Mark, his hand inside my top, kissing my neck, because he couldn’t get his hand inside my jeans. He was cute, very good looking, and I guessed we would end up in bed later, but then Alice came over and whispered she was going to use one of the bedrooms, with Rahul, and Deepak, and miracle of miracles, Marissa wanted to watch, and there was no mattress in the other room, don’t forget, she said, and off they went.
Mark pulled me onto the mattress Deepak had brought from the other bedroom, and needed help to get my jeans off. I was totally drunk, and probably wouldn’t remember any of this in the morning, so why not, and, anyway, we had to sleep somewhere. He was having trouble getting hard, as usual when he was drunk, so I played with him, and sucked him, a little.
‘Did you know Marissa’s started doing it …’ he said.
‘Started doing what?’ I asked him.
‘This …’ he said ‘With Rahul …’
It wasn’t going right, for either of us, so we just cuddled, then, suddenly, Mark was asleep. He lay, in my arms, breathing heavily, and I hoped he wasn’t going to puke, which he did, often, when he’d had too much to drink, or smoke.
Then I fell asleep.
When I awoke, Mark had, apparently, already gone up to his studio to work. Alice was bright, and full of good cheer, but the apartment was a mess, so she happily went about clearing up, leaving Marissa, and Deepak, and Rahul, asleep.
‘How was it … for you, last night?’ Alice asked.
‘Nothing happened …’ I told her ‘What about you?’
‘It was nice …’ she said ‘You ever had two men, together?’
‘No …’ I said ‘Not yet …’
'It can be really exciting ... ' she said 'I think Mark was a bit embarrassed …from what he said … you don’t feel up to it now, do you … just to make him feel better …’
‘No … ‘ I said ‘I think I need to sleep all day …’
‘Okay’ she said ‘I’ll go up in a while'
Marissa, and Deepak, and Rahul, didn’t surface until late afternoon, all with hangovers. I’d been writing, and Alice had gone up to see Mark, so I decided to claim the bedroom and sleep.
Alice could drink, and fuck all night, and still be up with the birds in the morning. It was a gift she said; sex, lots of it, gave her energy, made her creative, and she’d done some of her best work, after an all night sex session.
It was early evening when I woke, ate, showered, put on a pretty floral top, and a different, but still very short, skirt and got a tuk-tuk to take me to Casino Everest.
The Doc wasn’t there, and Jack gave me three one hundred dollar chips. I changed one for three one thousand rupee chips, and ten one hundred rupee chips.
‘The Doc asked me if I was giving you money to gamble’ Jack said.
‘What did you say?’ I asked him.
‘I told him, no, of course’ he said ‘It’s not his concern anyway’
I decided to spend a day, or so, with father and his latest lover, hoping he might buy me some new clothes and, maybe, let me have twenty or thirty thousand rupees to play Blackjack.
Nadia was twenty, very beautiful, and looked after father like a proper wife. I liked her and thought, maybe, he was really serious, and might even end up marrying her.
A step-mother, only five or six years, older than me would be fun, and there would be children, half-brothers, or, and, half-sisters. This time he didn’t make any pretense about Nadia being a housekeeper, and, she told me, they openly showed affection toward each other in public.
It was okay; he was a widower, still only forty-five years old, had a very good, and prestigious, job, earning well over twenty thousand rupees a month, with several hundred thousand in savings, and even more invested, and in a country where the average worker is earning less than two thousand rupees a month, he was comparatively well-off, content, and seemed very much in love with her.
Nadia seemed, at the very least, pleased to be with him; he was a good catch, she wanted children and was fun to be with, and she had a very placid nature.. We talked about things; boys, being radical, my writing, and the future. She wasn’t sure about the wisdom of being radical, at least, not so it would be noticed, but, said, it could be tolerated, within certain limits, in the very young, as if she herself wasn’t young anymore.
Nadia wasn’t at all possessive, and, so long as it wasn’t too blatant, or discussed openly, having sex with other girls he knew from the Casino, could also be tolerated. Father was a happy man, fortunate to have found such a woman, and I was hopeful about getting what I wanted.
I told Nadia about Jack, and she was fine with it, but warned me, Father might not be, and not to give it away too easily, or for too little; it was, she said, better for me than the crowd I was already running around with. They were dangerous, no-hope, types, and I would probably end up either in serious trouble, or waste my early, and most valuable years, with them.
She was speaking, she said, from personal experience, and she was lucky she’d found such a good man in my father. I told her that Jack had already suggested sex, but for spiritual development, and creativity. She said, be cautious, because men, as I already knew, were likely to say anything to you into bed, but don’t let that stop you from having fun either.
It was a balancing act, give and take, just be sure I wasn’t giving more than I was getting, and don’t take more than you were giving. I said, okay, and did she think father might let me have fifty thousand rupees to play Blackjack. Yes, she said, he might, if he thought it was for education, such as training to be Senior Staff in a Casino, or funding to try and make it as a writer, for a couple of years.
‘Really?’ I asked her.
Father was interested in writing, and had helped me find the best writers, with something worthwhile to say, and encouraged me, from an early age, to write my own stuff.
‘I think he wants to get you doing something …’ Nadia said ‘Not just drifting, aimlessly, the way he sees you now’
‘Has he talked to you, about me?’ I asked her.
'Yes …’ she said ‘I think I can help you get your fifty thousand rupees …’
‘Why would you do that?’ I asked.
‘Because he can afford it, and I want you to be happy, as I am’
I kissed her.
‘Thanks …’ I said.
‘Okay …’ she looked at her watch ‘He’ll be home in just over an hour …’ she smiled mischievously at me ‘And I want you to tell me all about Jack …’
Nadia loved romances, although this wasn’t one, as yet, and, I told her, there was no reason to suppose it would ever be a romance.
‘Dion …’ her eyes widened, in surprise.
‘What?’ I asked.
‘You’re already in love with him …’ she said ‘Any woman can tell … mark what I’m saying. Before the week is out, you’ll be in bed with him …’
Father, of course, was excited to see me, and thrilled I was getting on so well with Nadia.
‘Isn’t she the most beautiful woman in the whole world …’ he hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek, in front of me ‘Next to your mother, of course …’
Nadia laughed, and kissed him.
‘Of course …’ she said, and nodded at me ‘But watch out for this one …’
Nadia had cooked a beautiful, and lavish, meal.
There was no maid.
Father surveyed the feast with unabashed admiration for his lover.
‘Look at that …’ he told me ‘You see what an artist your future step-mother is …’
Nadia looked, wide-eyed, at him.
‘Is that a public proposal of marriage?’ she asked.
Father chuckled, and started to help himself, then looked at me.
‘And how are your … radical friends?’ he asked.
I shook my head.
‘Not radical enough … I’m discovering’ I said ‘I think they’re mostly just angry … being poor doesn’t make you radical … just resentful’
Father nodded, approvingly, and looked at Nadia.
‘We’ve got a smart girl here …’ he said.
‘I know …’ Nadia said, and then looked at me ‘What are your plans, Dion …’ she was giving me the opening to state my case ‘Are you still writing …’
‘Yes …’ I said.
‘What?’ Father asked, interested.
‘Well …’ I said ‘I want to write a Diary …’ I looked at Nadia for support ‘You know … like Anais Nin …’
‘Wow!’ Nadia said ‘That should be interesting …’ she looked at Father ‘Don’t you think so …’
Father looked at me. I knew what he was thinking.
‘Don’t panic …’ I told him ‘It’s just a Diary … and … if it’s ever published … it won’t be … until … after you die’
Thanks heavens for that …’ he said ‘What will you call it?’
‘I’m not sure yet …’ I said ‘Maybe something like … the adventures of a young girl …’
‘I believe Anais Nin wrote her diaries over something like sixty years …’ Nadia said, to reassure Father, then to me ‘It’ll give you the freedom to try out different methods … techniques …’
‘Good …’ Father said ‘Yes … and a direction …’ he smiled at me ‘We might have a famous author in the family yet …’
‘Oh, I’m certain we will …’ Nadia said, then looked at Father ‘Now … getting back to this proposal of marriage …’
I helped Nadia clear away the plates, and dishes, and wash up, while Father sat in the lounge, reading the papers.
‘So …’ I said ‘You two really are going to marry?’
‘Seems so …’ she said ‘Are you all right with that?’
I hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek.
‘I know you’ll make each other very happy …’ I said ‘So, I’m happy …’
‘Thanks …’ Nadia said
Nadia had made my bedroom ready.
She liked being a housewife, she said, instead of hiring a maid to do everything. It was more personal, and, anyway, what would she do all day?
I stood at the bedroom window and looked down at the crowded street.
I really felt like Anais Nin, as if, somehow, her spirit, and joy of living, welcoming heart, open to whatever life might bring, was here, with me, in the room.
Sometimes she spoke exactly like Jack.
‘When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make it tolerable for others. We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are’
And she described my feelings, about Jack, perfectly.
‘I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman’
Nadia was right.
I was in love with him.
I wrote easily, close to the open window, hearing all the hard- edged sounds people make gradually soften, as the velvety night covered them in soft folds, and carried them away.
I was almost three years old when mother died; we were living in a huge house in the beautiful Kulu Valley, North India, with nine bedrooms, only five of them ready, with a wonderful view of snow-capped mountains, forests, and there were pear and apple trees in the front garden, some of them so close to the house, you could reach out from a bedroom window and pluck a pear or an apple, in season, from a tree …
Dawn was breaking, and the first sounds of another day started, quickly joined by many, when I finally closed my notebook, laid down, on a very comfortable bed, with my head on my hand, and let the power of happy exhaustion have its way with me.
I dreamed my dream of love; I dreamed my dream of freedom; I dreamed my dream of joy; I dreamed my dream of self-discovery, and I dreamed my dream of lust, of power, of conquest, on my comfortable bed, with my head on my hand.
It was late, bright sunshine streaming into the room, when Nadia finally put her head in and said she thought it was time for me to get up, shower, have breakfast, although it was after lunch, because Father was coming home early today, and planned on having a family conference.
That always meant something of importance.
'Did he say what?’ I asked her.
‘Oh yes …’ she smiled at me, and then went out.
Father was in a serious mood, and Nadia did her best to look equally serious.
Men seem to have the idea that weighty topics demand a very serious demeanor, and are often irritated by levity on such occasions.
I had put on my best, very serious, look.
Father cleared his throat, which was often the signal of important things to come.
I was all ears and straight face.
‘I have formally asked Nadia to be my wife …’ Father began ‘We are officially engaged to be married …’
‘Great!’ I said ‘Congratulations … both of you’
‘Thanks’ she said.
‘However …’ Father went on ‘We are planning to return to India and open the house in Manali …’
‘Why?’ I asked ‘I thought …’
Father relaxed, as he’d obviously got over the worst.
‘It’s been almost twelve years’ he said ‘There’s nothing left in the house to remind me, and it’s time I stopped living my life in reverse’
‘Dion …’ Nadia said ‘We want you to choose. Come with us … or stay here’
‘Unfortunately, you’re not old enough to legally own this apartment’ Father said ‘You can live in it, with hired help, and write …’
Nadia touched Father’s hand.
‘Or we could make a reasonable monthly income available to you …’ Nadia said ‘You could live where you like … if you choose not to come with us’
I could see they’d discussed this at length, and the only thing in the house in Manali to remind Father of mother, would be me.
‘Fifty thousand rupees isn’t enough’ Father said ‘It would go in no time at all. So, I propose ten thousand rupees every month, until you are eighteen …’ he grinned, finally ‘A writer should suffer a little, but not too much …’
Nadia’s expression was encouraging me to take it, pursue my dream, find my man, live my own life.
Father was not going to debate the monthly allowance.
It was either, take it, when it’s offered, or come with us.
‘Take your time’ Father said ‘Think it through …’
Father had gone back to work.
I was in my room; Nadia knocked softly, and came in.
‘I’m sorry he was so brusque …’ she said ‘But that’s your father. I would have liked it to have been gentler’
‘It’s all right …’ I said ‘I know what he was thinking. I wouldn’t want him looking at me every day for the rest of his life, and seeing mother …’ I smiled at her ‘Ten thousand rupees a month isn’t so shabby either …’
Nadia hugged me.
‘Come and see us whenever you can’ she said ‘Keep in touch’
‘I will’ I said ‘Take good care of him’
I arrived at Casino Everest late the next morning; Jack was playing alone, saw me, and I went over, hugged him, for the very first time, and told him I was sorry I hadn’t come before but I was staying with my dad, who lived a long way away, and how had he been doing?
He said he’d won something like twenty-eight thousand dollars, which was exceptional, even for a professional card counter, when Casinos had so many effective and sophisticated counter-measures, to prevent card counting, and would I like to learn card counting today?.
I said, yes, and, as it turned out, it wasn’t as complicated as I’d imagined; quite simple, and easy, really, at least it was the way Jack explained it, then he took hold of my hand, leaned close to me, and asked if I was ready.
I knew what he meant, and I said, yes, picked up my purse, and my chips, and we left the Casino, walked up the hill, hand in hand, like lovers, into the Hotel, and took the elevator to the second floor.
In the elevator, he kissed me, on the mouth, and I reciprocated, and lay my head on his chest.
The hotel room was really nice, five star of course, and we lay on the bed, fully dressed, cuddling and kissing, and then Jack pulled up my top and kissed my nipples.
I moved away, jumped off the bed and pulled the open curtains closed, then grabbed a blanket off the bed.
"What are you doing?” Jack asked me.
“Getting undressed in the bathroom” I said.
“Why? You’ve closed the curtains, and we’re on the second floor’ he said ‘Who can see you?”
“You can” I told him, and went into the bathroom.
Even though I’d been expecting it, wanting it, even, it was always scary, the first time with someone new.
When I came out of the bathroom, naked, with the blanket wrapped around me, up to my chin, Jack was already in bed, so I told him to close his eyes.
He did, and I dropped the blanket, and got into the bed, very fast.
Jack kissed me, his hands touching me under the blanket, and whispered sweet things in my ear, telling me there was no hurry, and, even if we didn’t do much this time, it was all right.
That was nice of him, and he meant it too; we just cuddled, for a while, and talked about sex, in general, and tantric sex, in particular, it’s history, purpose, and benefits, and we laughed at some of the experiences he’d had, and the crazy things boys did, and said, to get me in bed, until I was totally relaxed, and comfortable, with him..
It was almost dark when we did it, the sheet pulled over our heads like children, and he knew it wasn’t my first time, or second, or third, and we laughed about that.
‘How do you know?’ I asked him ‘I didn’t see any eyes on the end of your cock.’'
When we came out of the hotel and started to walk down the hill to the Casino we saw folk taking photographs of the night sky; there was a crescent moon with a bright star in the crescent, the sky perfectly clear, and the moon and star brilliant.
“Wow!” I said “Isn’t that beautiful?” I put my arm around his waist “It’s a sign” I told him “For us”.