May 2007


Thursday May 24th 2007. 9pm
The weather was as perfect as it could be in Boston. A perfect day to hangout and romance was in the air. After our early dinner in southend, we walked towards the public gardens. As we got closer to the pond, it was as if we were stepping into eden, away from the maddening traffic, though you could still hear the occasional breaks and accelerations in the background somewhere far away…

The sky was clear and light of moon was interspersed with the lamps that were placed in the right spots. The light was just bright enough to notice others passing by, those sitting on the benches and under the tree. Oh, there was this bush though, which was very intriguing, from under which flashes of a light would appear and disappear..

A while later, we found a stone bench few feet away from the pond, close to this really big tree. The tree was leaning towards the pond and the branches seemed to lean further into the water. As I shifted my eyes away from the tree, I noticed ducks sailing toward the little island. It seemed like they were making their way for the night..

As we sat there holding our hands, which for some reason were exactly of same proportion. In the moment it was just eden, him and me. Neither the people giving that curious look as they passed nor the logic that we met that evening for the first time could intrude into that moment.

There it was. White and majestic..swan, that seemed to enjoy the weather as much as we were. It certainly didn’t seem to be in a hurry to make it towards the island like other ducks. He mentioned, that swan was juliet. And he looked around to see the other swan. He went to tell me an interesting story about juliet. A few years ago, they noticed that juliet would lay eggs every season, but they never hatched. So a study was performed on the eggs and what they found was… the other swan was juliet too.

As he finished telling me the story, we watched the other juliet come and join from behind the island.. That moment.. i did feel like – romeo and romeo.. still holding each others hands..

This 1998 movie depicts a budding relationship between an almost-out, physically-timid  gay guy and an completely-closeted, macho-sports-jock. The series of incidents that follow are fascinating showing how the timid guy attains the emotional clarity and the macho guy being succumbed to his vulnerabilities.

yes.. a dual date not a double date.

it was summer of 2002, software was still in the down turn and my weekends were mostly spent in quest for new dates. still shadowed by my first crush, none seemed to meet the high criteria set by him. apart from being amazingly interesting at bed, what he had that others didn’t have was a private place.

i was living with my parents and i could never get anyone home. however the one time i tried getting someone home, my grandmother knocked on the door in the middle of the night to get something from my room. wonder if she heard the noises or if she really needed something.

so the search for dates gets harder and most of the guys on the chat at that time were people who were seeking a place and willing to travel.  as it turns out, it was my lucky sunday. i found someone who was a couple of miles away from my house and he had a place.

once the place was settled, it was customary to check the stats. (forget which comes first, stats or place..) anyway, my type at that time was anyone my height, weight, age.. (seems pretty lame now, but at that time i found that type sexually attractive..) we both met each others ‘my type’ criteria.

almost missed to mention something that made my chances of getting dates bleak – my mode of transport. i  had to depend on the public transport and i could reach only where the red buses would go. he was willing to pick me up from the bus stop.. and so there i was waiting for him.

he came promptly as he said and stopped his bike on the other side of the road. i crossed the road, exchanged an ‘hello’. he asked, ‘do you want to come?’. he looked the way he had described himself on the chat and so i hopped onto his bike.

so as we were taking the stairs to his house he said, ‘if anyone asks how you know me, tell them we work together..’

now wait a minute, i thought he mentioned he had a private place. i told him ‘ok’.

we were entering his room when his brother passed by without any introductions. next to pass was his mother and i knew it wasn’t going to be so easy. after a few nicities, i was finally in his room. he was still talking to his mom and came into room after a few minutes with two cups of coffee.

couple of minutes later, he closed the door. so this was his idea of a private space. it was kind of weired, but well if this is what i get..so be it. it was slightly awkward sitting there and trying to search for a topic to converse. he asked me if i wanted to see his porn collection and the next moment we were watching it.

there was a knock on the door.. the monitor got switched off, i picked up a book from the  table next to me and he ran to open the door. it happened as if we were programmed to do it and it didn’t take a second to change the setting of inside the room.

a phone call for him. who would have imagined such an interruption.  he got back after a few minutes and mentioned one of his old friends was in his area and was going to come and meet him. ‘is he queer?’ was all i could think of asking. apparently, he was.

after a few awkward moments, the monitor went on again and ….

ten minutes passed, the monitor went off and our pants were back to where they were.

interestingly, the book i picked up was the book that i was reading for work and it gave us something to talk about. we soon switched to talking about our work and how the slowdown has affected our companies, his future career plans.. then about his brother, his studies etc., etc.,

does the sexual thoughts take more priority? they seemed to. after having popped out, we seemed to find more topics to talk..

it was not until another hour before his friend finally arrived. just looking at him i could tell he shared a similar history like mine with the host. didn’t take much to realize he was one of the ‘willing to travel, seeking place’ types.

oddly enough or as it is meant to be, his friend also was ‘my type’ guy…

after the initial hello’s there was an awkward silence for a few moments.. to give them space, i started flipping the pages of the book that was still around.. i suddenly noticed some movement and both of them walked out of the room.

the host came in after a minute and i knew he wanted to tell something but didn’t know how to. i was more than willing to leave now and i hated to have put him in that awkward position. so i got up and was about to tell him that i am leaving…

he surprised me by saying – ‘my friend wants to be private with you, do you mind?’.  this can’t be happening. i probably should have said no.. but i said ‘ok’.

he moved out, his friend moved in, the door closed and …

another 10 minutes.. and door opened.

none of us spoke for a few minutes. i can’t say what was going on in their minds and i really didn’t care much about them at that time.

i was thinking.. ‘what just happened. should i have said ‘no’. well, the fact of the matter is, i am here with two guys who are ‘my type’,  i would date them if i met them separately, so what is the difference now? after all a date usually is finding that person who is my type,  talk and sleep with him.. does it matter if i dated them separately at different times? why not date at the same time? well.. may be this is just a hook up then..’

After a while, I asked them what they were doing for the rest of the day, they were saying something which never got registered.. at least it set them talking and soon i found myself asking them to drop me back at the red bus stop.

Never met them again in private again, but we did meet on several other occasions in public. One on them even started working in my company.

Never spoke about that sunday again.

Over the years, both got married.

Almost a decade ago, but still very vivid and clear. I was walking with my best friend from college and I knew something was different between us. I could sense that he wanted to tell me something but didn’t know how to say it.. And I knew what was going on in his mind. Well not because he is my best friend but because I know he knew what I did the previous night..It was one of those late nights in college when you hang out on the roads when everyone is sleeping. Drive like crazy, have a couple of beers and crash at someone’s place in a pile. We were a bunch of eight guys.. and that night after a late night party and a long session of pulling each other, we finally went to sleep. I was sleeping next to him like every other time.

In the middle of the night, as if in a dream I was awakened by one of those late night hanky panky things that happen. It wasn’t my best friend but the guy who was next to me and the one who usually has more beers. This wasn’t the first time though. It started a year ago accidentally one night when I happened to crash with him. Since then, I know he would do it at every chance he gets and if he has had beers. (seemed like a lame excuse but whatever suits him..)

This night however, I wasn’t expecting it since we were in a group.. Anyways, it seemed like I had just fallen asleep and he woke me up. I tried to calm him down but hey.. even i like a little adventure. Torn between keeping it a secret from my best friend and the guilty pleasure.. gave it up after a couple of minutes.. I wonder if I gave up since I had a feeling that my friend was not sleeping and was aware of what was going on.. or was it .. (I dont thing there was any other reason..)

That night, I hardly slept. After a couple of hours of turning back and forth, I walked into the dawn. And kept walking, till I was tired to fall asleep again..

So between classes, we were standing there – usually we would joke around or talk some stupid things, but today I had the feeling that something very sick is going to happen. Since it was inevitable and he was equally disturbed, I asked him.. ‘Do you want to talk about last night?’.

He was not at all surprised, but instead he said -‘yes, just one thing. you have to control your sexual libdo’. Silence took over and it had own for good this time. Things were different between us after that. We still are good friends, but not best.. thats all.

I wonder who was more hurt, he or me. I kept thinking, would he have that tone of accusation if I wasn’t with a guy. It is hard to say, because having pre-marital sex isn’t so common after all. I know I am kidding. Of course he was accusing me for having slept with another guy.

Over the years, there have been many more moments between us where he would ask me to try and become normal. And over the years, it has just made me stronger every time. What started as a feeling of guilt is now a feeling of what had to happen happened. His tone from accusation has now become a tone of vexation.

If straight can have hanky-panky and brag about it, why not a queer brag about his hanky-panky?

It is one of those conversation starters that pops out on my first dates, mostly out of ignorance, infrequently from curiosity and few use it as sympathize approach to break in. I quickly skip that part of the question by saying.. ‘it is getting better, it is not as hard as it used to be.’

It has been three years since I left bangalore and I hear from friends that there is a bar that does a gay night or something similar and I am sure there are private parties that go on.. Given that it is still illegal to indulge in homosexual acts in public and given that the law doesn’t protect against homophobic activities, thats a lot of progress.

Of course there are help lines and NGO organizations and “Good As You”.

I was one of those who grew up a Christian and under the impression that homosexuality is a sin.  Fighting the state of denial and constantly reasoning my mind to accept it without feeling guilty. I had no idea that only few guys had homosexual tendencies. There were times in my college, when I would get jealous of my straight best friend hanging out with other guys. And he had no idea why I was jealous..

Internet certainly helped to find other gay guys in bangalore to hang out with (most of the times it was for sex), but some turned out to be my best pals till date. From non-existence to living a queer life it took me a couple of years.. When I first came to bangalore I had all these confusions to sort out but the day before I left bangalore, I was hanging out with a bunch of gay friends I made over those years..

Hanging out in the malls, watching those movies together, going to temples, walking down the streets and frequenting the diners and ice cream parlors. Having friends and being with them made a lot of difference in the whole coming out process..

A pair of ducks , a common sight that you can’t miss on your visit to a pond (took this picture at boston commons.) Of course, i saw another pair just like the one in the picture when I was out with my friends for a brunch at a Jewish Deli yesterday.

ducks

It occurred to me as I watched this pair, that the colorful one is the ‘Male’. Think of it, the peacock is the one with that beautiful feathers.. or the roaster for instance. My friend joked, it is male who has to attract the females, so he needs the beauty..

How right he is? Or is he?

Physical attraction certainly seems to play a major role. All those guys at the bar or those who frequent chelsea are all in the best of their shapes and they sure are working hard to be that way. Some people enjoy working out and that is probably the way to look at it, but if someone is at it to attract other men.. well .. he is just pretty

Well.. so what is beautiful about men…. It is the charm they grace, when they overcome the state of denial and have made peace with what they are. The aggressiveness that pushes them to limits, the calmness that helps them to overcome the most intriguing situations.. The maturity that sees no situation as embarrassing….

OK… having said that.. I got to admit I do stumble for that pretty pretty looks, but what after the novelty wears off.. it is the beautiful men that last longer.. than the pretty boys..

What do you think?

A 1990 movie that circles around the lives of few gay men who were affected by AIDS. It is a touching movie and truly takes you back in time and one could only wish they were not based on true facts.

We sure have come a long way since then. For instance the portrayal of a Gay doctor in Noah’s Arc who has survived AIDS. It presents a picture of hope and infact goes on to state that person with AIDS can indeed live a long life in countries like USA with proper medication. I am sure this is true.

Before I drift into totally different topic.. let me come back to Longtime Companion…

I think what is more sweet about this movie are the glimpses of queer lifestyle between two guys in relationship. The glimpses of happiness, confrontations, taking care and getting anxious of taking care.. and of course the silly moments which are all part of reality.