There was a long silence between us, while our hands were busy. I was playing with the hot and sour soup, and he was picking on the fried spicy ground nuts. We both were staring at bubbling foam tripping off his beer glass.

This was not how I played it in my mind. I was looking forward to meet the guy with enormous energy and constant smile apart from other things that make me moan within… But today, Sunny had nothing lively about him.

Sunny and I were never big on keeping in touch. But every time we met which usually  happened once every six months between his traveling to Mumbai and Mangalore, we would be able to pick up from where we left off.  And then I left for US without any good byes and expectation of meeting again. I always wanted our moments to remain the way they were. Naming it with anything, I thought would just ruin what we had.

We finally got in touch again a couple of years later through email and it was just like old times. As we were about to end the call he said, “What is going on between us?” He wanted to give our relationship a name. Love he called it.

Love is a mysterious word and it is worse when it can’t accept anything less than Love in return. Love I imagined was an commitment to stay together for the rest of the life together. But with Sunny, I never pictured it like that? What kind of sacrifices do I have to make if I did say I love him? And so it was a battle of Love and Wisdom and as it is said.. You can’t love and be wise at the same time. I choose not to respond with the L word. He was a special person and thats how I wanted to keep it.

For the next year, it was as if we went our separate paths.  And then one day I get a call from him to make a choice. If I don’t respond, he is going to get married to a girl. Marry a Girl?

‘It is my parents’, he said. ‘They want me to get married and I can’t put it off any further. I love you and I want to be with you. Say yes and I am going to tell my parents’.  He pleaded..

‘It is your decision’, I said. Some part of me ached that day. But I was doing the right thing. It is not up to me to help him decide his sexuality. Can a guy be Gay only if he has a boyfriend? Does a Gay need a boy friend to not marry a Girl?

That was the last I heard from him, until I called him just a week before I landed in Bangalore.

“Are you married?” I asked.

“Yes”. He said.

“How is it going?” I hesitated, but I did ask him.

“I don’t know”, he said. “I married to make my parents happy.”

“Are you both happy?”

“Hmmm.. we are living in the same house but we don’t talk much..”

I hated myself for bringing up the topic. As I hung up the phone that night we decided to meet when I was in Bangalore.

Here we were meeting for lunch in Koramangla.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

“I don’t know what to talk and I don’t have anyone to tell”. He said. “I am just going to take it as it comes..”

We sat their quietly for the next few minutes, before we started retelling the stories of us from the past. The places we have seen, the things we have done..

As we parted, I started to wonder if my saying “yes” would have changed anything? But then Sunny is just another case in Bangalore. Marry a Girl, for reasons like ‘parent pressure’ or just for the sake of getting a companion. It is a path that is well established. Marry a girl, have a kid of two and if the urge to have sex with guy remains look for  discretionary encounters. It all sounds too familiar, just the way it was four years  ago when I left Bangalore.

Of course, I did meet hear about guys in relationships but wonder if they are not just emotional flings or convenience setups to satisfy the gay sexual and emotional urges. And then there was this another group of Gay guys single and pursuing personal interests in travel, art and social work..

But hey we are queer and it is all about doing whatever rocks you. isn’t it?