April 10, 2016
April 26, 2010
Sunny, my twelve year old son, startled us, by saying those words so loud that we both stopped what we were discussing and looked at him. He was coming out of his room after long nap, and must have overheard Atul insisting me to arrange for ‘party’ at home.
“That would be cool”, continued, full awake now. His eyes, gleaming with excitement.
“Hmmm. Lets check with dad”, I said.
“You and uncle can convince him.. Rite? Uncle?”, he was searching for an answer in our blank expressions. “Well, I will ask Dad!”, he said running out into the garden where Rex was watering plants like he does every weekend….
I was standing at the window, watching him leaping, in big steps towards Rex..
Atul, came up to me and staring out at them said..
The words failed him…
But I could imagine what he wanted to say and why words failed him..
For, what words could describe the sight in front of us. Rex, all loving cheerful dad, listening to the excited child Sunny, walking hand in hand towards us..
For, what words could describe the joy that comes after overcoming the apprehensions of raising a child by a gay couple in India. Apprehensions that were vanquished mostly by the innocent and mature Sunny who turned out to be more than we ever hoped for in a child..
Sunny was seven, when we got him home. It is hard to believe, he is already twelve… It seems like, he has only been with us for a week and yet, we can’t imagine our life without him..
And those two years, spent in convincing everyone that we could adopt him, is like a nightmare that never happened..
“Whatz with the party?” Rex asked, smiling at us.
“Ask Atul, it is his idea.”, I pointed to Atul.
Atul was hesitating to say why he thought I should be arranging for a party, in front of Sunny..
I nodded, indicating him to repeat it..
“I was thinking” he started hesitatingly, “during the next months g… (he was careful to use the word) pride, after the parade, we could have a small party here, play one of the movies, have dinner and desserts, may be a potluck…”
Seeing that, neither I nor Rex were making any comment, he added.
“And more over, you guys are yet to treat us all for getting into a relationship. It is going to be 10 years this coming june.. isn’t it?”
We hardly had any gatherings at home since Sunny arrived and we never went to any party. Sunny has accepted Us, but is he old enough to face the gay crowd? It will some day face it with or without us, but should we take the chance?
Would be be ok with the overly affectionate hugs and kisses that are inadvertantly exchanged between gay friends? Can we have him around gay friends whose type is young twinks? How would he react to the gay comments and jokes that might be passed at him or around him?
After that long pause, it was not I or Rex but Sunny that said. “Dads, please.. lets have the party. I want to invite my friends, I want them to come and see that gay people have decent parties too.”
Hmmm. Can we have a decent gay party?
March 2, 2008
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?
December 16, 2007
i decided to come out to my friend after he started drifting apart from me thinking that i had a secret girl and wasn’t telling him.. (we were ‘supposed’ to share every bit of information.. which sounds crazy right now.. but that was how it was in college..).
so i took him for a walk and eventually told him that my secret girl friend was a ‘guy’. it shocked him….. not as much as i expected, which made me think may be being queer isn’t a big deal after all..
anyways, he was silent for a while.. and when we were walking back he asked..
‘how can you ‘fcuk’ a guy?’