It is one of those beautiful warm winter nights, when you can stroll on new york streets to your hearts content.. I would have been at chelsea on a night like this, but instead i was sitting at an dinner table in an upper east side italian restaurant. it is my friend that i am visiting, who suggested i accompany him to this dinner gathering.. recently i have seen a lot of photographs of such gatherings in new york in my orkut updates.. the merry photographs.. either someone’s birthday or a festival party or probably just to pass time..
today was a pass time gathering and i was more than willing to make new acquaintances. so i sat there next to my friend, on a table being served for eight. we were waiting for the eighth guy to come.. it was a very cozy restaurant, with mostly waitresses except for one hot waiter and a cute young kid at the coat checkin. it wasn’t until later that some nice mexicans came to the table for serving. every now and then i would steal a look at the hot waiter who was now at the bar waiting for new customers to come in..
after the initial niceties and introductions, i found myself drawing back and becoming an observer.. i wasn’t listening to what they were talking, but just watching their expressions.. and i went around the table…
starting with my friend on my left.. he was looking at his drink (may be a vodka) with cranberry juice, cute, intellectual, a movie buff and an analytical person..single.., next to him was this guy who is in an open relationship… or was it long distance relationship.. anyways.. i know that his boy friend is back in mumbai.. he was almost done with his cranberry drink..
and next to him was a guy, who was answering questions about how his new boy friend couldn’t come tonight.. etc., and not sure how but the conversation now seemed to move towards cosmetic stuff that his boy friend had..
the one next to him responded to that saying, ‘i don’t have any cosmetics, except for a shampoo’.. hmm at that point i was looking at him and if what he said was true, then he has the most naturally beautiful skin and hair.. hmmm.. he is handsomely tall too, trendy t-shirt.. little talkative.. and also busy on the phone.. texting..
next to this ‘all-natural’ guy, were two guys who came in together.. i assumed they were in a relationship.. but later i was told that they were just friends.. they paid little attention to the talks on this side of the table, but they had their own conversation going on..one of them was ‘silent’, only responding once in a while.. mostly nodding.. while the other — visibly femme was doing much of their private conversation…
except for that ‘all natural’ guy, i have met the ‘open-relationship’, ‘newly-dating’, ‘silent’ and ‘femme’ on some previous occasions..
after all it wasn’t really that much of a stranger gathering..
“are you from bangalore?”
i was brought back to present with that question. and what followed was the usual exchange of names of friends that we might know in common.. and after that i was really no stranger to the table. that seemed to have made a connection.. and it got further established when i found that one of the guys lived in boston and knows most of my friends from there too..
it is amazing how connected we are, across professions and across places. oh well.. may be not so well connected.. i wish there was some way to find a connection to that waiter who was now explaining the specials in an italian accent.. i had no clue to what he was saying.. and all i could see was his lips moving and i was staring into his eyes.. ended up ordering the only special that sounded vegetarian..
“is he part of the family?” someone asked as he left with our orders and everyone said yes.. and one went on to imitate the way he was using his hands..everyone bursted into a laughter.. and we established the fact that we were the only loud table in the room.. rest of the tables were mostly occupied by couples or atmost three.. people.
by now the eighth guy had arrived and was the focus of discussion.. he was just stepping into the queerdom, there was pressure at home to get married, has an fling with an girl at work.. and has crush on his straight colleagues.. (or straight until found out..). that was the topic everyone can relate with and he was being bombarded with suggestions and stories..
it wasn’t until we almost finished our main course, someone brought up the topic of gay hang outs in bangalore.. and which turned our attention to the recent raids in a mumbai gay party. there were several stories floating around and the one that was told tonight was….
a bunch of under age guys purchased a lot of booz from a bar.. and this came to the attention of a cop who just happened to be there.. and he followed them to another store where he found them buying a ‘loads’ of condoms.. and then cop, now cops, followed these guys to to an remote farm house.. where they caught hold of 15 to 20 guys.. indulging in an orgy..
now is an orgy illegal, even though everyone involved has consented to it?
at that point, as if the ‘silent’ guy finally found his voice (may be he did from the drinks), started to passionately and loudly describe the indian sodomy law.. how any kind of anal sex is illegal.. and right at that moment.. the waiter was approaching the table to take orders for the desert….
he decided to come back later..
everyone nodded to the sodomy law.. but it was more of an accepted fact and it was like someone else’s war.. now that no one made a comment, the topic was set aside.. and someone quickly pointed what had just happened behind his back.. another round of laughs.. and we were ready for the deserts..
as we enjoyed the delicious chocolate and cheese cakes.. and while others were checking out the photos of the straight colleagues of the new guy on iphone, i was again back in my thoughts.. is sodomy law really someone else’s war? we seem to have so much to talk about the coming out or relationship crisis…. is sodomy law just like other laws.. which are only discussed when faced with an charge?