(The following account is true to the last embarrassing detail.)
I was too engrossed to notice the creaking of the bed room door when it opened, and it was not until the lights of the dining hall were switched on that I realised that someone was awake. Whoever it was, he had timed himself well to make sure that I could be caught at the most embarrassing moment of my midnight venture. A minute earlier, and I could have pretended to just about anything in the world. But there are very few things one could pretend to when one’s hands are full of that white syrupy liquid that all men at some point or the other have soiled themselves with.
I am not ashamed of admitting it. If I could say that I have a night-life, then this is my favourite midnight activity. And I am not ashamed of admitting it. Millions and millions of lonely men of all ages do this around the world, and there is no reason why I should be the one to be singled out to be made felt guilty about it. And I just don’t buy the crap that Real Men Don’t Do It! Everyone does it. Single men. Married men. Fathers of three kids. Anyone who can do this does it. Some men do pretend that they never did it in their entire lives, but everyone else knows better than to buy it.
Someone should explain that to my parents, who won’t just put up with it. It’s not as if I do this every night. But I had abstained for too long, and at some point all self restraint gives away to the demands of the flesh and I just had to indulge myself. With the tension of the coming exam mounting high, I had to find some outlet to relieve myself of the pressure. So even though it was the worst night to do it because of my uncle and aunt staying over, I decided to stay up late and do it.
And the worst of my nightmares was about to come true, or so I feared.
Whoever was up, he went to the toilet. In a moment of panic, I committed the mistake that every novice newbie falls for at some time or the other, I washed my hands! As every man will know, washing the hands will only make it worse. The sticky icky fluid spreads to the whole hand instead of getting washed off, and it feels disgusting. I was in deeper shit! With the stuff all over my palms, I didn’t feel like clenching my fists, and it would have been a dead give away if it was noticed.
The toilet was flushed. I carefully peered to see who it was and felt relieved. It was my uncle whose inattention to details had assumed something of a legendary quality even though he was barely over forty. In fact, the last time he woke up during the night to pee, so I have been informed, he went to the kitchen and peed all over the basin (full of unwashed dishes of the day) mistaking it for the toilet seat!
He tottered away towards his bedroom and I let out a big sigh of relief!
I needn’t have. The door to the other bedroom opened and my mom walked out. She knows me too well for my liking, and seeing that a room which shouldn’t have been open was open, she guessed who was up to what and walked right in without a moment’s notice for me to get into a presentable state. Not that it would have helped. She would always know what dirty trick I was up to.
A long lecture followed as I stood there embarrassedly hoping that none of the younger siblings walked in. There is only one thing worse then being caught by mom while doing it, and it is a younger brother walking in after you have been caught by your mom doing it. Men don’t tell on each other in such affairs, because it is understood that everyone does it one night or the other, but being caught by mother is a different matter. It gives everyone a license to make fun of you in the morning after.
Of course my mom never forgets to point out the bad examples I keep setting to my siblings and cousins. Apparently I am too old to be doing such things any more! I wanted to ask her if she never did such a thing when she was younger, but one could never ask such a thing to mothers and anyway girls are not particularly notorious for involving themselves with this particular indulgence with pleasure. I guess I could have asked about my father instead, but I wisely decided to stay silent.
After five minutes of embarrassing lectures, she asked me to clean the whole mess up (well, some of it had spilled over!) and go sleep and not let her catch me at it again. With a sigh I put down the box of Amul and started cleaning.