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Women are the most fascinating beings I have ever encountered. They are magical and mystical. I am intrigued by their mystery. When I reminisce about my romantic life I can easily say that I went through four phases.

        In the first phase I practised serial monogamy. I dated many women one at a time and each relationship lasted from a few months to a few years. In some cases we remained friends even after the romantic relationship was over. Although I agreed with each girlfriend to be monogamous, at some level I resented it and felt controlled, as it felt unnatural to me. I was also worried that monogamy would soon turn into monotony. In that phase my relationship with women was more sexual than emotional, intellectual or creative. I was willing to date any woman who was friendly, good looking and charming.

        In the second phase I had a polygamous lifestyle and dated many women at the same time. I was honest with them and shared with them that I had other lovers. I had never thought that any woman would accept a polygamous relationship but they did. That phase lasted a few years and then I outgrew it. Dating many women at the same time became complicated in day-to-day life. So I ended that phase for pragmatic rather than moral reasons.

        In the third phase I decided to be celibate for a year. Some of my friends doubted that I could succeed, but I was successful in fulfilling that promise to myself. In that phase I resolved my relationship with women and they were no longer my weakness. I realized that I liked them and preferred to be in a romantic relationship but I could lead a healthy and happy life even if I was not in an intimate relationship. During that year of introspection I became aware that there was a pattern in my romantic relationships. I used to fall in love with young women who were from 25—35 years of age. Although I shared with them in the early part of our relationship that I had no intentions of having children and a family, they hoped that I would change my mind. So after a few months or years there was escalation of tension because their need, desire and dream of having children intensified and finally the relationship ended.

        Alongside the tension that my girlfriends felt because I refused to become the father of their children, I also felt the tension because those women were jealous of

…my female and male friends as I have close relationship with them

…my creativity. My writing on a regular basis and my meetings with writers and artists became threatening for them.

        After a year of celibacy I realized that I could not have a romantic relationship with any woman, I could have a special relationship only with the woman, the special woman. When I thought of all the women I knew in my life, the most special was Bette Davis. On one hand she had been married before and had adopted Adriana from Romania, and on the other hand, I also knew she was not a jealous person.

        As I did not want to start a new relationship with a new person and risk repeating the same pattern, I contacted Bette Davis and went to see her in Newfoundland. We met like long lost friends. Adriana also impressed me. She was a charming and sweet little girl. I felt connected with her too.

        We talked and emailed regularly and then Bette came to visit me in May 2002. During that visit I shared with her how I felt about her and expressed a desire to have an intimate relationship with her and build a future together. She was nervous that our romance might undermine our friendship. I told her that we have the foundation of twenty-five years of friendship, the cake on which we would now be putting the icing of romance. Finally Bette agreed and moved to Ontario with Adriana.

        In the last five years we have created a wonderful non-traditional and creative relationship. My relationship with Bette is the best relationship I have ever had with a woman. We are so happy together. It is amazing to see us

Working together

Loving together

Creating together


Dreaming together

That is the ideal relationship. There are times we disagree and have passionate discussions but we are very respectful to each other. I feel equal to her. I have great respect for her as she has a heart of gold. There are times my creative personality becomes a source of stress for her but she knows that I think the world of her and would never do anything intentionally to hurt her. She is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I hope she feels the same way. It is amazing that our intimate relationship also helps us in our professional lives to help other couples to communicate better and resolve their conflicts.

        We have learnt the secret of love. Now we know that differences in personality and philosophy can be a curse if they turn into unresolved conflicts and create tension, but those differences can be a blessing if both parties learn from each other. I have learnt so much from Bette Davis. I hope she has learnt a few things from me. Even after thirty years of knowing her I thoroughly enjoy her company and look forward to seeing her. She is as sweet as chum chum, my favourite Indian sweet. That is why her nickname is Chum Chum and mine is Sohaili, a combination of Sohail and sahaili (female friend in Urdu). I am looking forward to growing old with her. In the end all I can say is that I have learnt the secret of life that growing together is better than growing alone.

                                                                        February 2008

Here is a special poem I wrote for Bette last year.


After the long night of sadness

I saw the sun of a new love

A new smile on your face

A new shine in your eyes

A new affection in your hug

A new passion in your kiss

Let this be the beginning of a new love

Last week we had lost touch with each other

This week we found a new connection


We have to lose ourselves

To find ourselves

Let us celebrate our new love

We might be so different from each other

But our differences complement each other

We might have dark pasts

But the sun of love is delivered

From the womb of darkness

We are both experiencing labour pains

Not only giving birth to ourselves

But also delivering a new relationship

Both of us did not realize

We were pregnant

Life is full of surprises

Let us enjoy

And celebrate this new surprise

And keep on celebrating

On the first of September every year


One and one make eleven not two


Growing together is better than growing alone.


                                                                        September 1st, 2007 


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