Manav, 25, is a make-up artist in Delhi.
Love at first sight?
It was the first day of class 12th. All faces were familiar except that one stunning young lad in the queue of Section B, whom I noticed immediately. I asked Sagar from Section B about him. He was a new admission, Sagar replied.
Sagar was the only person at school whom I had come out to as gay. I nudged Sagar to introduce me to him. His name was Akshay. After a couple of days, Sagar introduced me to him but I could not utter a single word. The level of my nervousness was such that I could hear my own heartbeat.
‘This is going well...don't screw it up!’, I cursed myself. While I was lost in my nervousness, I realised the moment was over already. He had left and I was still cooking my fantasies.
We never spoke again until the last day of class 12th. He seemed to have forgotten our first tedious meeting also because he never recognised me while passing the canteen or school corridor.
But I never skipped a single chance to see him throughout that year. I would find excuses to visit his classroom often. During lunch break, I would stand exactly at the place where I could see him for the longest time without letting him or anyone notice.
Letting my heart out
I was tired of this secret one sided love. I decided to finally let him know about my feelings on the last day of school so that I won’t have to face humiliation if he rejected my proposal. A constant thought was bugging me all through the night, the one before the last exam of class 12. ‘He’s not my friend and I don’t even know if he’s gay’.
I kept on thinking about - How do I keep from feeling totally dorky while proposing to him directly? After the exam, while he was discussing the question paper with a group of his friends outside our exam centre, I gathered all the courage to reach him. ‘I want to talk to you about something’, I said.
‘Yes? Tell me. By the way, your name? Sorry, I don’t remember’, he said.
‘Could you please come aside for a minute? Can’t talk in front of your friends’, I asked him and he obliged, smilingly.
With closed eyes, shivering voice, ‘I LOVE YOU, Akshay’ I said and felt so relieved and scared.
Akshay looked confused and even laughed a bit.
‘Umm... okay. I’ll explain. I fell for you on the day I first saw you. I think It's love at first sight. I don’t know how and why. I know that I just keep thinking about you all the time’, I said, not sure how I gathered the courage.
‘Are you mad?’, Akshay said in a loud voice. ‘Fuck off, you gay. Don’t ever try to come near me.’ He left as everyone was staring at me.
With tears in my eyes and shame on my face, I walked towards home.
Hope once again
At night, in my room, as I was crying, my phone rang. The Truecaller flashed ‘Akshay Garg’ on my phone’s screen. No it can’t be him, I thought and then picked up the phone.
‘I am sorry, Manav’, Akshay said and asked me to meet him at the district park the next day. He disconnected.
I still could not believe it. It was all I was thinking about the whole night. I was in such a schizo situation. I started imagining our meeting. Is he calling to accept my proposal? Is he going to shame me in front of everyone?
I was caught in this vortex of fear and anxiety. He was already there in the park when I reached and said, ‘Look I just wanted to apologise for my behaviour. I never expected this from a boy to be honest. It was all of a sudden, and that too in front of our batchmates. I didn't know how to react, I am really sorry. I too like you and want to be your friend’, he said as he held my hand.
Just one touch and all my anger vanished.
‘It’s okay. Please don’t be sorry. I should have chosen a better place and time for this, my fault. sorry’, I replied.
We then started meeting every day and soon became good friends. However, he wanted to keep our relationship secret from everyone because he had not come out yet to anyone. I was okay with it as long as we both were together and I had his friendship and hope of love.
That awesome moment
After a couple of meetings and hours of chatting on the phone, Akshay asked me to meet him in a park at night. I started imagining our meeting. Is he calling to accept my proposal? Why park? Is he planning to kiss? What if he asked me for smooch?
I don’t even know how to kiss. I never did it. On one hand, it was an uncomfortable thought, but on the other, I desperately wanted him to kiss because I was excited that he called me himself.
I was scared that if I asked him for a kiss, he would consider me desperate. What if I hit his teeth. And what would I do with my hands! Grab his face?...and I slept with these beautifully awkward thoughts!
I sat near him the next evening and he held my hand again.
‘You are a cute boy. I regret why I behaved so badly with you’, he said.
He then brought his lips closer to mine. Both of us could hear the mashup of our heartbeats. That touch of his lip to mine. I was on cloud eleven. I could not believe this was happening in real life or was I dreaming. My eyes got closed automatically, but I also wanted to see this happening.
The thoughts on my mind were racing! Am I doing this right? Am I being too sloppy?! Is it too weird if I open my eyes right now? Should I open my mouth more? Yes, yes I should. OK wait. I think my jaw is going to fall off—maybe if I pull back, he'll take the tongue tornado down a notch.
STOP THINKING. Okay yes, wow. This is perfect and amazing, and OMG - were some of my thoughts when he finally took his lips away.
Can we just keep doing this for the next 24 hours, I thought. But that evening had to come to an end and we had to head home.
The memories of my first kiss are still etched beautifully in my heart.
Today, when I think of it, I smile, then feel a little shy and recollect the awesomeness of that once in a lifetime moment - My first kiss!
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.