I checked my ticket to make sure I was boarding the right train. When I finally got on I smiled a little. I was going back with a lifetime of memories from an amazing weekend with some of my closest friends. Even when I remember my past when I wasn't so happy and confident, my smile doesn't disappear. Once I half-believed that my presence in this world was a mistake. Something about the world felt so very wrong; I couldn't put my finger on it, but it was there, like a splinter in my mind, driving me insane. But as this was the only world I had I tried my best to fit in. I lived my life and learned things what society teaches you: go to school, go to tuitions, worship God and so on. The journey of finding my own self has been long, frustrating and rewarding.
***In my teens, I discovered a world with no borders, no discrimination, one that didn't cost much to travel in – the internet.I'd heard from all my hormonal guy friends about the porn they'd watched and how it was so erotic that they masturbated just thinking about it. I wanted to give it a try. It didn't so much as arouse me but I was ready to explore more. I watched more erotic movies recommended by friends and classmates just to see how it felt first hand. But each time I tried to masturbate, I grew tired and gave up.
For a while I wondered if there was something wrong with me. But I was still hoping that if I pretended I was just an average guy, then maybe everything would be alright. I had begun to explore my own sexuality (even if I didn't know that was what I was doing).When I was 16 I got friendly with a guy in my class and I ended up sleeping with him. It was the first ever relationship in my life. Over the next 5 years whenever we slept together, I never wanted to be the top one. I was really content being the bottom half of the relationship, the more submissive partner in every sense, not only physical. Afterwards, I would find myself imagining myself in the same situation but with a woman on top of me, fucking me with a phallus. Just the thought meant I went to sleep with a rock hard erection. I still hadn't learnt the art of masturbating. At that time, I was absolutely ignorant about BDSM.When I was 18 years old I became very good friends with a girl. I had my first sense of how different a girl's life is from a boy's. I was mostly ignorant on the feelings of love and care for a girl. If I try to define my feelings for her now, it was love but I didn't realize it at that time. I just knew I was very happy whenever she was part of my day. In many ways she was the 'one' for me as I couldn't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't met her.When we used to talk, there were quite a few instances where she made me say or do things I really didn't want to, or wouldn't have had the courage to do if she hadn't have told me to do. Like once I 'let slip' I liked a girl but was too scared to ask her out - which I really was. She instructed me ask her out. This gave me a surge of energy – and also the courage to ask the girl in question out. Or once, I was depressed and she commanded me to cheer up or she would break all ties with me. This immediately gave me a rush of energy. It stimulated me both erotically and emotionally. So much so that I tried (purposefully but covertly) to land myself in helpless or embarrassing situations in front of her. The sense of power she had over me turned me on immensely. She had no idea of my feelings, I think. After all, I also believed my feelings were brotherly for a while. When we were a little older, and she became interested in other guys, I disliked it. But I didn't question anything. I was addicted to the miniscule adrenaline rush I got from our relationship.And it was around then that I first realized that I had a submissive nature. It was an innocuous incident but holds a very special place in my heart. I was playing Dumb Charades with my brother, his friend and the friend's sister. I teamed up with her while my brother and his friend formed a team.The first movie I got in the game was Joru Ka Gulaam. I tried acting like Govinda. I tried other predictable gestures with my partner to get her to understand the movie title. All of a sudden I had an epiphany. I gestured to her to rise from the floor and sit on a chair. She got up, bewildered, but she did as I said. Then, I closed my eyes, thought of the stars and fantasized that she was my lover and knelt down in front of her.To the others it presumably looked like a a serious attempt to win my turn. They couldn't have guessed what a transcendent experience I was having!
The adrenaline, the skipped heartbeat and tears of joy that almost escaped my eyes all said the same thing to me: "This is how I am made. This is who I am. This is what I am meant to be."These lines went through my head and my heart and got imprinted there. I'd no idea why it made me feel like that or why it took me till this moment to realize this, but once I did, there was no turning back. I took a break after my turn and went to the balcony. My heart was far away, flying through the night sky. I had finally identified my self.
***One day, I stumbled across Literotica.com, where authors post erotic stories in many categories and genres. In the BDSM category, I clicked on a story by an author who called himself/herself Rita (name changed). It was a turning point in my life.Rita's story, opened up so many new possibilities. It was about a couple who wanted a 24/7 female submissive, written in such a beautiful yet accessible manner, that even a novice could grasp the difference between a healthy, mutual, BDSM Dynamic relationship and an unhealthy one.I read all her stories one by one. Could it be that people who like to surrender really existed? Or was it just the stuff of fiction? I'd always thought that people who get pleasure from having their will taken away, who enjoy being hurt physically by others belonged in one place: a mental asylum. I read Rita's stories again and wrote a line of appreciation underneath each. Soon, she replied thanking me for my compliments. That was my first doorway into the world of kink.At first our interaction was purely writer-and-fan, but later we exchanged personal emails. Ever since that day I'd played Dumb Charades and realized my submissive nature, I'd been afraid to discuss with anyone. Talking with an author from the other side of the world seemed like the safest way to get my questions answered. She seemed nice, patient and knowledgeable. Later I mustered the courage to ask her my questions. She answered with more questions that pushed me to think and also gave me a peek into her 24/7 BDSM lifestyle that she had with her husband/Master. BDSM now seemed like a deep, blue ocean and not a tiny, shallow stream. I was really blessed to have a friend like her.
***"Can you please move to your berth?" the middle aged guy again pulled me out of my memories and asked me to move as he was getting sleepy. I climbed up to my berth to lie down for the night. I turned to my side, immediately winced and lay on my back instead. I smiled; the pain was such a sweet reminder of my magical weekend. I couldn't wait to look at the marks.I remember then what was it like for me when I didn't know this feeling.
***One day Miss Rita and I thought it might be fun to have an online dom-sub play session. She sent me a lot of questions in advance – what I looked like, what I was looking for from the power play. I had to Google several terms – like "OTK" and "collared" before I could answer her questions honestly.As she was a writer and me being an aspiring one, our playing quickly escalated into a totally different world with no boundaries and where all our dreams came true. There were some things in the play that I loved, something that I liked and some things that I disliked but every scenario taught me something new. I constantly wished that this world was real.
Miss Rita introduced me to a kinky social network. When I joined it I was transfixed by the sheer number of sub men in there! Almost too many to count!I found an Indian kinky group within the site and at once felt that this was a place where I won't be judged or thought of as a weirdo. This feeling itself was like a treasure to me, where I could finally open up the big box of secrets locked inside my heart that I only had shared with Miss Rita.As I followed the discussions on the group boards avidly, I realized I didn't know anything about BDSM in real life. I was a silent but keen observer. When I first saw a thread about real life meetings in various Indian cities, I was really tempted. However the threads didn't reveal what actually happened at the meetings and I couldn't find one in my city so I let fear take over. My biggest apprehension was whether these meetings with real life kinksters were safe.One day I saw a post on the group by a guy who was looking for a mentor in the BDSM world. I posted a comment wishing him luck in his search. He thanked me via a private message. His name was Ashok (name changed). I found that he had attended a few meetings in Kolkata.One day when I was at work Ashok sent me a message saying he was going to be near my town the next day. We could meet if I wanted to.I became very nervous. I didn't know whether I wanted to meet a total stranger I knew from a kinky website, (of course, not considering that I was also a stranger from a kinky site). Then I found a thread on the site on meeting a new person for the first time in the real world. I read it and decided to follow the instructions to the letter.I called Ashok and he told me to come to a hotel but I declined as the rules said to meet a new person always in a public place. I suggested an overbridge near his hotel. I laugh now on my choice of a 'public place'. I was indeed very nervous.Ashok turned out to be a calm and knowledgeable person with a soothing voice. I asked him all my questions and told him that I'd once had a relationship with a man -- something I'd never shared with anyone. He was nonchalant and understanding. He applauded my courage to think about my own nature as a submissive. He said he was new to the kinky life style but he knew people who were experienced. I asked him about the meetings and he said it was no different than getting coffee with a group of 'regular' friends . And in fact, a month or so after I met Ashok, I had the chance to go to Kolkata to attend my very first real group meeting.As I sat there, watching other people at the same table, talking about kink as lightly and enthusiastically as though they were talking about cricket, I felt amazed. I was overjoyed by their attitude and zeal towards the kinky lifestyle.
At the meetings I learnt men can be submissive, women can be dominant, some can be both. Being kinky is not an illness or a disease and neither a mental instability nor a result of an improper childhood. It was simply a choice for some, a way of life for others and for some it was just a thing to spice up their bedroom life.I listened and interrupted from time to time. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing something for me. The desire to learn more brought me back to the group for more. Later, I pitched in organising events in Kolkata that the group organised, as much as I could given that I had to commute from my town. I made some wonderful friends. I had finally found people I identified with, who loved me for who I am and not what I can pretend to be. It had been incredibly hard to find.
***I can't remember when I had drifted off to sleep in this rocking train. I open my eyes and think. My own past self would hardly recognise me now. I learnt that being submissive by nature doesn't mean that I had to be a pushover in everyday life. I can be fierce at my job, be affirmative at home and loud with my friends!I live a 'normal life'. Most people around me have not a clue how extraordinary my life is! I end my story with a favourite quote, "It is not just who you are, what matters most is how you live it."Kevin, is a 29-year old man identifies as submissive. He became aware of his kinky side in 2008 and has never looked back since. He is a member of The Kinky Collective which shares his vision to make Kink a friendly word in the Indian Community.Ayangbe Mannen is an illustrator. For more, visit her website www.ayangbe.com.