A pink-toned image of a couple's lower bodies engaged in foreplay


“You want boom-boom?”

A middle-aged man pops out from the shadows and asks, smiling solicitously. He wags a phone, a pretty young thing’s pic on the screen. The PYT could be a lady, a boy, or a ladyboy – you can’t entirely say in Bangkok. The man has his audience covered.

In the context, I grasp what boom-boom means. It also helps that my friends are smiling deviously from the sidelines. I turn down the proposition by walking away. But my friends take over. “You can’t come all the way here and do nothing…” “You need to loosen up…”

I don’t know. To me, boom-boom is how my heart goes on finding someone who makes you feel parallel lines can somehow meet. And how the same heart feels when the person decides to get off mid-journey. Not the sound of multiple body parts contorting on a bed.

My friends look more disappointed than that pimp. We get back to our hotel. They rush to their rooms to prepare for their boom-boom providers who will be arriving later. I trudge to mine.

Love isn’t easy. But if you aren’t one for easy lays either, is your love life all… doom-doom?

This was a submission for Arre Love Stories.

People at a supermarket line

In Line

Today was their first anniversary – an year since they had first met – and it was apt that they celebrated by coming to where it had started for them: counter 5 of the local supermarket. Only this time, they had one bill between them; they had started living together last month.

She was cute that day in the line just before him, in her kurti and jeans, and he hot in all denim. But they connected over (after he had racked his brains for an opening line) their mostly similar grocery list. Both were single, lived alone, and liked cooking and eating. They had started with the standard movie-and-dinner, then moved to streaming-and-chill, and now, it was more chill than streaming.

In fact, ‘chill’ best described their relationship. No real pressure to head anywhere, whether on weekends or on some conjugal path. The decision to live together was a practical one too: it saved time getting to work and to each other, and he cooked one day and she the other. This ease perhaps comes from finding love late: both were knocking at 40 and survivors of half as many heartbreaks between them.

But actually finding each other wouldn’t have happened if they had both lived inside their smartphones, like everyone seems to these days. Else, they would have been ordering stuff on a groceries app and swiping like crazy on a matchmaking one. And never gotten into this line at counter 5.

Graphic of a big heart with a small figure applying an adhesive bandage to it

Of Heartbreak and Hope

Your heart.

Your broken heart.

You keep loving.

It keeps breaking.

Yet you keep loving.

Not because

you are foolhardy,

or a fool,

or hardy.

But because,

you hope.

That one day,

you will love,

and your heart

won’t be broken.

But rather,

it will be

made whole again.

Still from the Pyaasa song, Aaj sajan mohe ang laga lo

Love like No Other

Love is about understanding the other.

Love is about understanding the other’s thinking and emotions.

Love is about getting right to the heart of the other.

Love is about liking a beautiful soul.

Love is not about forcing yourself, or your love, on the other.

Love is not about wanting to make the other your own.

Or so I have understood from Pyaasa’s Gulaab.

A set of Matryoskha dolls


Your last love. The last person you love, not the last person you loved. Obviously, a few have come before this. So, do you see a little bit of each of them in this love? Or is it more like, each of the previous ones was giving you a glimpse of the one to come?

A figure of an old couple sitting on a park bench, with the man giving a peck on the woman's cheek

First and Last

If you are 18 or above, you have loved at least once. Before that, you’ve crushed at least once. And you know the difference, because a crush makes you heady, but love, it makes you hearty.

We never forget our first love, and though we typically never get our first love (we are usually too young then), we always remember it fondly. (We also never forget the first time we, you know, winky-winky, but that’s another matter…)

But what about our last love? Not the last time we had loved, but the last time we think we can love. Because after this, there seems there can be no more love. Not because we are in the depths of despairing, but because we have seen the heights of love. The bar now is raised so high, forget attempting it, no one can even eye it. So, while our first love we recall fondly, our last love we remember deeply. Because it’s filled us as deeply.