To Shekhar & keya, Mai, Aaee & Baba,
Be the way you are. You keep me going.
The Arithmetic of breasts and other stories
By Rochelle Potkar
Copyright 2013 Rochelle Potkar
This is a work of fiction and all characters and incidents described in this book are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior permission from the author.
Table of Contents
Story 1. The Arithmetic of breasts
She had the most delicious-looking breasts he had ever seen on a woman. A supple 38 D cup size for sure. Only after his eyes had gorged enough on those juicy mounds, taking care not to appear like a letch, did they veer toward her navel peeping from her sari, teasing him from a distance. Her narrow waist led his eyes to her thighs amidst her sari pleats, and then to her firm pair of plump buttocks. Those, too, were ample when compared to the other women he had seen around, and they somehow suited Munika’s slightly broader frame.
Sometimes even the thought of her face was enough. Her bow-shaped, rogue-painted pout, bordered in pink-fuchsia tempted him as strongly as did her kohl-rimmed eyes, lightly rouged cheeks or slender nose! Concentrating on only one part of her was not fair, he chided himself with Faustian pleasure. A woman’s eyes were the first indicators of how she felt. If he kept his gaze on them, he was sure she would let seep her secret thoughts through her lashes and entrap him even further.
The next day, the palpable sight of her soft-skinned neck taunted him. She had probably dabbed perfume on either side of it because his nose felt teased with the stray thoughts of nuzzling into her nape so strongly that he had to exit the room, his hands itching for a soft grip.
They would watch each other often across the silence of his small drawing room with the large dining table in the middle, doubling as a study table. He knew he would have to go slow with imagining what lay beneath her blouse that dipped into a valley in the most delectable karp reduction symbol he had ever seen.
There was a lot at stake.
Munika was his sister’s friend and not a best friend who would forgive easily. She was his sister’s friend in the manner of being an acquaintance, and an acquaintance in the manner of being a senior– one year ahead, and a senior in a manner of being a mentor. She and his sister researched and churned out material for their theses late into the night on the advantage of analysis of algorithms over computability theory in theoretical computer science.
She was accessible. Not too far. Probably available.
“You do like to dress well...,” he said one day to her, smiling softly, trying to keep his words and hardness in check.
She greeted his remark with a blush shying into her books with deeper attention.
He couldn’t upset the apple cart. Neither his sister’s Ph.D nor her mentor’s, even though he was hauling breath beneath his quickening chest-beats every time. He thought of intelligent women like Munika - so much of smartness coupled with beauty. Had he found The Female Utopia?
Talk to them and get a taste of their worldview, then taste their femininity with other senses, he mused. Not that he could easily execute the second stage of his thought process. He was merely stuck on the first and that’s why the latter felt hypnotically more alluring. When was he going to get to her? How much longer? Was she aware of him in ‘that’ sense? Did his drooping eyes convey what his arrested tongue could not?
He sometimes assisted the two of them in their studies before he headed to the Institute of Mathematics Research, where he worked on Topology. A math scientist himself he intricately studied curves, surfaces, and objects in a plane and three-dimensional spaces. Maybe he studied them out of the Institute too. He liked shapes anywhere. Oh, didn’t he? The properties of objects preserved through continuous deformation by twisting, bending, stretching, but not tearing, where a circle could be an ellipse, a sphere an ellipsoid. Topology, the study of knots.
At the Institute, he and his fellow researcher were working on topologizing broken DNA strands. It was just ten years ago in the 80’s that the applications of knot theory in molecular biology were evolved. DNA, formed by pairs of molecular strands in a double helix, could become tangled, knotted or broken, which made it difficult for it to carry out functions, and biochemists were looking to determine how enzymes could remodel or manipulate DNA.
Topologists like Narain now used the knot theory and the Tangle Model to deduce mathematically how broken strands could be bound in a process called Site-Specific Recombination, using calculus of rational tangles and linking numbers.
But when he and his fellow researcher needed a coffee or smoke break, they would talk about the shape that ruled the world, almost. The female shape.
“Desmond Morris says that the round shape of a woman's breasts evolved as a sexual-attraction counterpart to the buttocks,’ his friend would muse, ‘A frontal, secondary sex characteristic to encourage face-to-face copulation in the missionary position for the upright, bipedal human being.”
“But what if I still want the rear-entry position?” Narain would ask and they would laugh, snuffing out their cigarettes and going back to work.
Through noon until late evening, he would immerse himself in calculus, thereafter heading home hoping to catch the girls arching their tired backs, cracking their knuckles over reams of working papers or clicking their pens over epiphanies of logical equivalents, micro-architecture and data structures in computer science.
He would walk past the drawing room with just the right gaze at Munika, whose lips would part, perhaps, in quick realization that he had landed home. Sometimes she would draw her lower lip into the sharpness of her teeth, to maintain her level of concentration and he would chuckle over this in his bedroom, as he drew away his clothes and showered away his work tiredness, getting into casual wear.
This routine of theirs had gone on for long when one day, his sister had an exam and he had a day off. Munika came by for some last minute referencing. These simple events fused like strips of a Penrose triangle, and he found himself sitting across from her with his Sisyphean microscopic gaze over her lovely dunes held in the lace calligraphy of her humble bra and a pink cotton blouse, underneath the sheer print of a light mauve sari.
When their silences grew like a deafening drone, they entered into softly shaped discussions of this and that, at the end of which he hinted if she would be accepting of a dinner outing with him. He could hardly remember what she said because he sensed her affirmation much before in the way her nipples grew taut, perhaps, like crazy resins, under her blouse. She had watched him watch her, and they blushed, his ears burning hot, her chest heaving.
They met for one dinner and then the next. On most dates, Narain would be quiet and almost starkly preoccupied, making Munika wonder if she had said something wrong or was a bore. The noise of the restaurants - upmarket clink and swish or downmarket ebb and din - would always be more than their fidgety talk and punctuated silences. How disembodied noise was and yet how fairly it intruded, Munika would think, watching Narain’s words, which were only in his gazes.
Because for him what started when they were dining - the brushing of his hand against hers or a bit of unabashed footsie, continued and concluded only in bed alone against the nakedness of palm over the smooth rigidness of cock. Then, it was the great unbecoming where the tingling at the fork roads of his thighs conceived in the restaurants, would fly like complete birds. Oh woman! He would brazenly think, when, when will I really touch you, have you, feel you?
Now after those footsie dates and lunch meetings, brunch rendezvous’ and park sittings, furtive in-the-taxi groping and grabbing, her family had suddenly come to him with a marriage proposal.
He hadn’t thought of it that way at all. Marriage?! So early in his life and career? He was hoping highly for a breakthrough in the Tangle model he was working on. There was a lot of research to be done to substantiate that, which meant many a late working hour every day for years and years. Where was the time and place for a marriage? Or was it that you came home to fuck your wife and that was a marriage?
How was he to step out of this, now that he had gotten himself into a situation as impossible as a devil’s tuning fork?
He met Munika again, and looked at her rather pensively, not at his favorite part of her this time, but straight into her eyes.
Was she wife type?
He had never thought of it that way before. They were in the same field of work, yes. She was smart and could earn her own rent on earth, yes. She got along with his sister and would always speak politely to his parents whenever they phoned from half way across the country from their native village, yes.
And he enjoyed her talks, didn’t he? Even if he hardly concentrated on them, he had derived that they were interesting in texture and range.
And so he agreed.
* * *
And just like beginner’s luck, he enjoyed the fruits of his decision during their honeymoon.
Right on the day of their marriage he set expectations right: ‘Twice a day and four times on a holiday’. But it had to be done every day. How could one live without it? He remembered his colleague’s words, “All we need, Narain, is a desk to work on and a bed to fuck on.”
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