November 2007


I came by this question at an Orkut Community. Being one of the many fans of Leonardo and the question of homosexuality being close to my heart, I read through each and every response.. Fortunately there were only 50 of them.

The question seems quite simple. An yes or a no answer. But the majority of the response were to the effect “why do you care?”, “how does it matter?”. And some concur on – “He is a great artist and thats all that matters.” Oh there was one specific person say with black bold font says – “Yes, Yes man according to me he believed in gayism…… But one thing is true he had no friends…..”

I start to wonder, how would the man himself have responded to such an question. Would he even have understood what “homosexuality” meant as we see it today? Was it a term so freely used as we do – homosexual, hetrosexual, bisexual.. Of course the term gay didn’t even exist in his time.

One has to remember that Leonardo lived in a time that saw drastic changes in the culture. There was at one extreme the promotion of free will by Lorenzo the Magnificent and at the same time the peak of Savanarola’s moral fanatiscm. A time where there was celebration of human beauty and paganism, quickly followed by denunciation of everything art and luxury.. And a time where as many as 14000 people were prosecuted for practicing sodomy.

There is an account of Leonardo being called for a trail and mysteriously left off the hook. But he was a man who was cutting open dead bodies which was not a very common practice at that time. Moreover it was a time when people can be sent to trail on terms that they never committed.

The man himself.. if asked such a question and if he had had any indulgences with men..heĀ  would have responded with silence..

So, why ask this question now? Does he being an publicly homosexual make it easier on any of the present day homosexuals or the future homosexuals?

Well, I was almost tempted to respond on the Orkut community with “I don’t know”, but remained silent…

A story of three gays – Aryan, Adai and Lewin. It is the first sunday of the month and I am at the social gathering of gays and lesbians in boston downtown. It is unlike regular clubbing events, it promotes communication between people from different ethinic and age groups but mostly the student population of the boston and cambridge. After all, one third of the social population here is in academia. The organizers of the event, go that extra mile to actually introduce people to one another. Rainbow Coffee House.

There is sea food and drinks, neither of which interest me much. But it is the company that I have come to enjoy among the friendly faces. However, I have ventured myself into an complicated situation and to make it worse, I now stand in the room alone with the two guys I both long to spend time but not today. With one I have taken the first step to dating and on the other, I have an relentless crush. The conversation amongst us was clearly filled with idiosyncratic aura.

How I wish I could go back a few weeks back and change the turn of events that led us to this state? I was clearly on a date with Adai, the kind and sweet natured. Very affectionate and ever smiling. After what was a very good evening after a walk at the charles river and supper at the local greek deli store, we decided to check out the dance club.

It was an impromptu thought and as it turns out the Adai was to accompany his best friend Lewin to the same dance club that night. Lewin was going through some initial date crisis and obviously friends come before dates. But he suggested I could go along with them. Fine by me..

And so we went to pickup Lewin and knocked at his door. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone like him answer the door. Alright, I fell for his looks. I played the silent bystander, fighting the inner irrationale thoughts that sprouted. Tried to cut the thoughts playing all possible rational cards – “He is his best friend”, “He is taken”, “It is not right”, “It is just a crush”.

We went to the dance club, danced the night away and I tried to keep my thoughts on the date at hand. It was a fun night. Had a thing going on with Adai, until Lewin joined us again after the party. Now, it wasn’t just a crush but I was falling for his emotional ramblings of the date crisis, he was opening himself before his best friend. All he wanted to know was, whether the guy he went on a date was interested in him or not. Lewin’s date stood him that night.

The night passed and a few weeks passed. Here we are again.

I wasn’t expecting Lewin tonight, but I was hoping he would. I was still coming to terms with rational crushing of the irrational crush. But my rational had taken a twisted turn, it now wanted to be just friends with both – Adai and Lewin. The silence of the past few weeks has expressed the state of things to Adai, but since it wasn’t expressed verbally I knew he was still holding onto the status-quo.

Today was the night I was going break it. I learned that the Lewin’s date finally told him – “he wasn’t ready for dating?”. The same line I had planned on using tonight. How can one break up without hurting the other person? And does one have to really break up after the first date or after the second or after the third…

We stood there talking about things, about science, technology and people. Did I already mention this was academic crowd? However each of were masking our inner feelings. The rationale I had used to settle my thoughts was no longer true, he is not taken. Should I now then express how I feel about him? Is he ready to even venture on a date with a guy who is(would be was in a little bit) dating his best friend? Can I still be friends with kind Adai once I switch my dating partner?

It was time for a silent walkout, but Adai beat me to that. He excused himself out to meet a friend and at that opportunity Lewin poured out bluntly – “What is going on with you and him? Tell him if you are interested or not? It is ok either ways. He just needs to know.” I couldn’t offer anything more than Silence.

And it was end of the evening.

Was it his recent experience which made it so easy for him to ask or was it the caring friend that made him do that. Well, those words killed any further hopes I might have had.