April 10, 2016
October 3, 2011
unlike the hetro-sexuals, we are not bound by legal, religious or social framework to evolve our courtship into anything that might provide us with ……………… (sometimes it is hard to know what i am missing till i actually have experienced)
in a culture where male bonding is accepted as de-facto, it is effortless to be in an eternal courtship..
yes.. eternal courtship.. is what it is, though we have taken it far beyond the physical etiquettes set by the pre-1950s..
but this courtship..i feel is similar to hetro-sexuals when it comes down to the day-to-day facets outside of the bedroom..
for instance, at the luncheon, a reunion of my college friends, i went with him, like they came with their spouses. we settled around the round table, each of us with our other half… sharing pieces of masala pappad and roties.. while being present with the group, every now and then, involving in a private moment.. sharing a joke, or passing on information or be it just tapping three times, which meant _ _ _ which only we understood..
we took leave from the luncheon, to welcome guests coming come to see the gollu…
as we walked towards the parked vehicle few streets away, we walked hands held…….
yes! holding hands, putting the hand around the shoulder.. slowly sliding the hand to _ _ _ and stopping the hand before it reaches _ _ _.
isn’t this courtship? isn’t this what people in hetro-sexual courtship do…
as we were driving home, on 8th cross going down towards vyalli kaval we stopped at an gollu shop..
sets of dolls in various concepts.. dashavataras and astha lakshmis in different sizes, temple possession, wedding/reception, sasthi poorthi with their children..
we ended up picking karagattam.. which included an hetro-couple carrying stacked pots on the head, while their four male companions are playing different musical instruments. now the set also had four on-lookers.. two male and two female. which can either be kept as hetro-sexual couple of homo-sexual couples.. since they are not the center of attraction, and are part of the crowd, no one actually notices whether they are gay or straight…
anyway.. so some of our gay friends visited to see the gollu… the fact that it was boys, who came home to see the dolls didn’t raise as many questions as i had expected. questions like .. like why are guys interested in dolls? why are these guys coming as couple..
in fact, when we went to visit the dolls at the neighbors house, she welcomed our curiosity, parted us with tambulas…
if it were not for the socio-economic perks.. something to the effect of rights at work-place, health care facilities, finding a house to live together, saving on the tax…
i think our culture does support (and probably, even makes it easier) for homo-sexual courting.. as long as we don’t tell and they don’t ask..
May 1, 2010
There was silence. The sun was almost setting and was as bigger and orange as it can get.
Sunny got busy working on rose plants, plucking the leaves that had dark deposits from insects. Atul and I walked towards the rocks, actually four oddly shaped stone boulders the size of a bean bag that were scatterred under the canopys of pungai and parijatha trees.
It was Rex’s Idea to plant those trees, for the fragrance of their flowers and the cool breeze. The fact that the parijatha flowers bloom in the night had always fascinated him. And placing the boulders instead of an carved bench, gave it touch of being away from the tools of civilization. The pungai, when it bloomed, would transform the place into an little white and voilet flower bed..
We stood near the rocks, neigther inclinded to sit down…. my thoughts still pondering over the looming marriage. And Atul might also have been occupied by it, for it affected him at a more personal level than I. It was a topic, we hardly talked about.
“Isn’t there a law against adultery, that could penalize the gay guy cheating on his wife?” I said out loud, not particularly expecting an answer.
“There was! I think.” he stated calmly, adding “until we helped to revoke it”.
“What do you mean?”
“There is an adultery law, IPC 497 i think, that talks about punishing a man who has sex with another mans wife. But there is nothing that stops a married man from either having sex with another unmarried woman or a man.”, he added after a brief puase. “Of course, the law doesn’t consider gays exist, even though they have decrimilaized sex between men.”
He continued. “As far as the wife filing a complaint about his man having sex with other man (usually it is men), what would she say.. now that 377 does not consider sex between men illegal. The divorce cases that have been filed talk about many other charges, except gay sex.”
I was just listening to him and did not want to interrupt.
“Initially when this girl finds out, she will be too ashamed to take the matter to anyone. She would blame herself. When she gets over that phase, and reaches out to family for help, she will be told to keep quite. Unfortunately, even after knowing the truth, she has to endure him.
There are gay guys who have absolutely no respect for their wife’s views. I know of one case, where the guy left the girl saying he was unhappy with their sexual life. Not letting her know that he was gay and making her think she was the cause of his unhappiness.
Can you imagine what he put her through?”
His eyes were becoming moist.
He finally said, “I feel guilty sometimes Aryan.”
I let him be.
I knew he was referring to that short but traumatic fling (or as he would call a relationship) he had with Madhan in pune. On their third date, Madhan revealed he was married. But it was too late for Atul who was becoming insanely attracted to him. He overlooked the fact, when Madhan said he was not happy in the marriage and is considering a divorce.
Things were going good, until Atul wanted to go hang out with Madhan in the city, movies, dinners. Just spending time at home on weekends wasn’t good enough. Madhan resisted the idea vehemently. And when Atul insisted, Madhan skipped meeting him the following weekend, and the following weekend. There was no response to his calls. Atul was completely shattered. He even messaged saying, he would never ask him to take out. Atul was 22 at that time, and Madhan 32. He begged him to come back in his messages and promised he would not be chlidish again and ask him to take out.
After three months, Madhan called back. He wanted to meet. It was like the old times.
That night, Madhan said. He was put in Jail. His wife had registered a complaint against him and his family saying that they were harassing her. Atul was furious on her, how can she file false charges?
The relationship continued, but on Madhan’s mercy. Atul was never to discuss about Madhan to anyone. He obilized.
Madhan would come to Atul on some weekends and when he din’t he spoke on the phone. As time passed, sex and the talk were not sufficient, an emptiness and strange kind of disgust was eating out the love he had for Madhan.
He started going online. He chatted. And in one such chat, he came across a guy who when talking about mutual friends talked about Madhan. Through him, he came to know that Madhan was meeting that other guy over the weekends, weekends that he did not meet Atul. Atul realized that he was being used only for sex.
He broke up with Madhan.
He was sorry he was furious on Madhan’s wife.
He realized that, he couldn’t bear the thought of Madhan seeing someone else, even though he was not married to him. But he expected Madhan’s wife to be ok with her husband’s affairs.
The sun had set. We three walked into the house.
April 27, 2010
“Oh my god!!”, barged in Sandy through the open door. We all turned around to look at him. “What a hottie”, he was saying still looking out through the door, swaying and entering into the house, flaunting his Louis Vuitton brown leather bag.
“Rex, you got to set me up with him”, he declared and turning towards us he realized that Rex wasn’t the only one in the room. “Oops”, escaped him as he saw Sunny fiddling with his rubix cube.
“Don’t mind me”, Sunny said and went out the door into the Garden.
Sunny always has a way of slipping through when he feels out of place. Even when we first met him at the orphanage, he already had learnt to keep out of grown up talk. We realized it one day Rex and I took him out for a movie.
On the way back in the auto, we both were busy talking about something from the movie, Sunny interrupted us and said. “Are you guys have big people talk?”
I asked him “why he feels like that?”.
He said “Because I want to ask a question?”
I told him to ask.
“What is da?” he said looking at us. Rex and I started laughing. Rex uses “da” a lot and we never could trace the orgin of it when we got curious about that word, and between us we would use da to mean “darling”.
The kid amazes me.
Atul followed Sunny in the garden, after saying a quick hello to Sandy and awkwardly avoiding the cheek to check kiss.
Sandy settled next to Rex on the sofa and continued his chatter. “Is he one? I am sure he is one. Have you done him? Do you talk to him”, he was pouring in his questions to Rex about the hot guy he spotted outside.
Rex was laughing at him, while I was perplexed. I know it is inevitable, that an eye candy triggers the hormones, but isn’t there anything like holding off thoughts?
I wanted to change the topic. “How have you been? Whatz latest?”.
“Oh yeah”, Sandy remembered something. Opening the bag, he pulled out an purple card with silver words, pink flower on the top right corner. He took out an silver inked pen. Wrote something and handed it to me.
A wedding card.
What? With a girl? I didn’t let it out. But held out the card to Rex.
“I am getting married next week in Dharmasthala. It was all so sudden and we don’t have any good date till August. So we decided to get married in Temple.”
Here is a man marrying a girl and leching at the boy next door. Are you sure? I didn’t question him.
“You won’t believe this”, he started off. “I met my fiance’s best friend yesterday and he is so hot. I couldn’t stop flirting with him. I am sure he is bendable. We are going shopping later today..”, he said winking.
“You bugger!”, Rex exclaimed. “Atleast leave her best friend out.”
“Why? If he is willing, why not?” was his reasoning and as if he guessed our next question, he offered. “If he is willing, he won’t tell her. If he is not, and tells her, I will say I was kidding”. He started laughing at his smart answer.
“Do you want coffee or tea?” I asked and hoping I would get away from listening more of this.
“Honey! Don’t bother. I am going to Cafe Reo later. They make exquisite Teas.” He was giving his expert opinion, stressing on ‘Reo’ and ‘T’. “You have got to have it there. Thats the best Tea you can get around here. Of course it is expensive” he never missed a chance at showing off how much he liked spending. And then he was divulging into one of his latest escapedes, “That reminds me, last time i was there guess who I bumped into”.
I didn’t want to guess or be part of the discussion. I excused myself to go check on Sunny and Atul.
As I was walking out the door, I could hear him wishper to Rex, but loud enough for me to hear. “He still doesn’t like me that much. Does he?”
I was out of there.
I could never figure out how to deal with such situations. After all these years, it still puzzles me when a gay friend decides to get married. Reason, usually one of Family pressure, want of a stable companion, i am bisexual, i only enjoy sex with men but there is no emotional connection..
There are working marriages too. As long as the man is getting what he wants when he is away from the wife, out of town or if wife has gone to deliver his baby or when he is on office trip..
And then there are divorces, some uglier than the other.
Does the girl have the right to know his guys past life or what he does after the marriage? Or is it ok as long as he can keep it out of her and is providing her with whatever she needs?
Should I be calling that girl and informing her?
Sunny and Atul were watering the remaing plants. I went and announced, “Sandy is getting married”. Atul kept quiet.
“To a girl?” Sunny looked surprised. “Is he not gay anymore?”
I had no answer to the kid.
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?
January 6, 2010
“Clubs” he said, “are depressing” and after a small pause he added “to me”.
Those words came out without providing any context, except that he had seemed lost in thoughts for a while now. It has already been four hours since we left Boston, having slowed down by the snow, we drifted into different thoughts and possible different worlds, though confined in the car.
We almost reached end of route 89, heading towards the Bus stop in White River Junction.. In a few minutes, I would be dropping him and will have to head back.. In a few minutes, I may be seeing him for the last time.. In a few minutes, I was hoping he would ask me to stay back.. As we got near that junction, I was fighting with hope and hopeless thoughts..
His words, were not particularly aimed at me, but I was the only other person in the vicinity, stranded in the car with him in a slow moving bumper to bumper traffic.
He reformed the statement..”There is something depressing and disgusting about clubs and meeting people there!”
“Why?” The question definitely formed as a reflex in me, but I couldn’t muster to say it loud. The implication of the statement was engulfing my senses. The senses were combating the shock of the statement and the fact that we met in a club. The fact that we visited more clubs, danced in the clubs.
He didn’t need my prompting to continue voicing his thoughts..
“I am not sure why I even go to gay clubs, they always make me sad.. and the thought of finding love in the club is ridiculous. Of course, People there find love every other night, even if that does not last long. Everyone has slept with a few and is always looking for something new.”
Even if he wanted me to say something, I wouldn’t have been able to. Luckily, or unluckily, he continued..
“I am not saying I am any different from them. But I used to be different. The idea of love was meeting that one person with whom I could spend the rest of my life with. And I thought I had…. ” his voice trailed into silence, and I knew his thoughts wandered again, may be around his forbidden first love..
“Isn’t it disgusting to imagine yourself kissing a person who has kissed half the people in the room?” I wasn’t sure if that question was pointed at me, I held my silence..
I am pretty sure, he was thinking “Yuck”.. his whole body twisted and turned which is usually associated with an disgusting or repulsive situation or thought or smell or taste…
He was silent again, but the words he let out started echoing in my mind very loudly. It was hard not to feel that he intended those words towards me, was that whole “yuck” thing about me kissing the black jacket stranger on the night we first met? but then why did he kiss me eventually? why did he accept my proposal to date? Is his venting really about propriety or is there something much deeper than that?
The most mundane task are a blessing in disguise to pull us out of the concussioning thoughts. Driving through unknown roads was a blessing. I crossed the bridge at the end of 89 and asked him for the directions. If not for want of driving directions, I would not have been able to speak another word for a while..
Turning to last page of my notebook he held in his lap, where he had earlier scribbled the route, he said “take the exit onto I-91-N”. I obliged.
He looked out the window, there were big bill boards advertising the malls and the food places near by, he looked at them and said “I think i know how to take you from here” and put my notebook onto the back seat..
It was not long before, we parked in front of a Chinese restaurant adjacent to the bus stop. There was a sign saying, parking only for customers, but we parked it anyway. Who would come out on a stormy night?
The bus was an hour late, people were scattered around the waiting hall in small groups with their luggage.. May be, it was the warmth of the crowd, it was feeling suffocated with the many layers wrapped around me. A stark contrast with the fierce cold just outside that revolving door through which we walked in, where i needed more layers to keep me warm.
I wish I could have waited for the whole hour, but my car that has been so resourceful these past couple of days was outside, parked illegaly, unattended in the snow.
It would soon be covered with snow and the tyres would slip, if i tried to take it out and besides i was longing for the solace of aloneness to get away and fully reflect on the recent revalations from him..
I was with his luggage, as he got back from the enquiry booth…
“They are all waiting for the same bus”, he said “you should get going”.
I handed him the bag, I was carrying.
“Call me once you get home. “, he said.
Waved my hand and walked out towards the door into the freezing cold. Even though I had my gloves and the jacket removed, it didn’t feel that cold. The parting had taken away all the warmth that I had started to feel inside…. The cold bye, was severe compared to the cold of the storm….
August 24, 2008
i am definitely ready to date, and this feeling is as intense and animalistic as the urge to mate. the urge is reaching its high like the tides on a fullmoon.
but then i can’t really look for a date, not without hearing a NO from Him. it has been more than ten days since we first met, he is being so neutral. i play our conversations over and over in my head to discover an hidden gesture/signal.. but all i do is flip-flop.. likes me, likes me not… (and yes, the thought that i might be so attracted to him that i am missing the ‘NO’ sign has crossed my mind.)
it gets worse on weekends… while he is conveniently busy doing stuff with his friends, i linger with his thoughts. i could do some work, but i can’t focus on it. and more over it is a fabulous summer weekend.. the dreadful winters are just around the corner..
so when I got a call from Paul for a movie, i rushed myself there on friday after work.. and didn’t mind hanging out with his friends after the movie. we were six of us, one long term couple, one new couple, Paul and me. And I guess when you have a couple, invariably talks are directed towards adopting a child and the gay parenting issues… (may be one day.. i thought and it soon let me to start wondering about Him…) and that was end of friday..
gorgeous saturday, perfect for an outdoor activity.. but after idling around the house running errands i decided to go to Epic Saturdays @ Roxy.. may be i can get good at reading the expressions by watching people.. see if i can tell the difference between friends and couples.. (Are you good at telling friends from couples? How can you tell?)
So I found a place on the galleria from where i could get a good look at the dance floor. there were circles formed and it soon started to fill. people in circles kept changing partners and it was hard to tell if any inthe group were couples..
I started focusing on only couples.
there was an inter-racial couple.. an Hispanic and a Black. they never ceased to kiss. are they a couple or on a first date.. couldn’t tell…
Caucasian Guy and Asian stepped on the dance floor and took their place in one corner. They were cute. They were slowly moving their bodies, quite disinterested in dancing, they were looking around and each other and occasionally touching each other.. and the first time they caucasian tried to kiss it almost didn’t happen.. may be because the asian was atleast a foot shorter.. then the asian stopped dancing.. lifted his head and the white guy reach down and they kissed… just long enough to make it a non-awkward first kiss (second kiss). they were definitely on a first date. i later saw them walk down the dance floor holding hands..
two white guys in their 40s or 50s may be. they seemed to have lived their life… they were active but not the typical circuit guys. they would kiss each other once in a while.. dance holding each other and sometimes move apart, show each other some dance moves.. and then get back together. may be they were a couple.. i thought..
An hour had passed and He came (yes at some point we exchanged messages and it turned out he was going to be at the same club with his friends. Trust me, it was a co-incidence). Almost felt like taking him aside and get the burden off my mind…. but i let it be… standing next to him was a torture, but it was a torture i was now getting used to..
he went for his drinks with his friends, while I made it to the dance floor.. and back to looking at people..
two guys were dancing next to me… both were really dancing.. i was looking at them.. and one of them would occasionally look at me. neither of us smiled at each other but just looked..
an handsome indian.. with cute glasses.. was at the edge of the dance floor, leaning on the grills. another guy of mixed race moved towards him and they kissed and stood there talking with each other.. boy friends i thought.
a single white guy mid 40s i think, was now moving around.. he wasn’t smiling.. neither was he not smiling.. he was just looking at people.. “that could be me 10 years from now.. i thought”. i moved to the grill to digest that thought.. do i still want to be single, like i thought i would be.. or am i now looking to be paired… (oh no.. not again!)
just then, the indian guy came back, this time alone. with a new drink and no boy friend. i looked at him.. he looked at me. no smiles. remember this is boston…
i looked again, he looked back again.
i leaned towards him and said.. ‘can i barrow your glasses?’
i tried them. i couldn’t see through them. he had sight. but then it was a conversation starter.. which followed by ‘you look hot’, ‘where you from’, ‘whats your name’…. and finally i asked.
‘is he your boy friend?’ pointing at his boy friend who has passed us by and was now standing with some other guys. ‘oh no. he is a very good friend. relationships are overrated’. he said.
‘have you been in one?’ i asked.
‘many.’ he said.
dont remember how it happened, but i remember holding his hand. feeling his palm. it was rough.
he started feeling me.. and we did that raunchy dance move. sometimes dance is just an excuse. men want men. he wanted to kiss.. an hookup!
i hugged him instead. he pulled me out, looked into my eyes.. ‘What?’ he asked.
‘Nothing’, I said looking back into his eyes. there was that sexual urge.
He tried to kiss again. i stopped.
He took a step back. ‘Relax’. he said.
After sitting for a while, getting as close as I could allow myself without feeling awkard, he saw what i was up to.
‘Make up your mind, I will be right there’ and he moved towards his friend.
Ah, wish I could make up my mind. I now walked down the dance floor to where He was with his friends…
And the conundrum continues..