April 10, 2016
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?
April 24, 2010
I laid down Maurice, and kept looking at the little black book. The characters that E.M Forester found nearly a century ago, still exist in flesh and blood. Time has passed, rules have been altered but the characters remain.
What is felt, may not be expressed. What is expressed may not be felt.
The clarity that comes through theory, may get crumpled with an simple stroke of practical experience.
Such is(was) the love between Maurice and Clive.
Clive professes “Our love is same as the love in Phaedrus. The love of soul”. He has formulated a clear theory of his being and the nature of his attraction towards same sex, based on his ardent reading of translated works from Greeks passed down through generations of interpretations. His want of the supreme love, the love of the soul, the platonic love between two men drives him to Maurice.
While Maurice, the half-wit who finds philosphical dialogues (or rather monologes from Clive) to be charming nonsense, but acknowledges his unexplainable and unspeakable attraction and attachement towards Clive as love. His being shatters when Clive doesn’t talk to him. He is overjoyed in Clive’s company, though he doesn’t ascribe or understand what Clive says. He can spend days and nights with Clive. He can abstain and restrict from physical intimacy as long as Clive is with him.
Years are added to their platonic love, in which they are together on weekends and Wednesdays without fail. For the outside world, they are the best of friends, while in private they stroke each others hair and kiss on the cheeks in moments of extereme vulnerablity.
Maurice, the crude and unread revels in the joy of finding an companion. But for Clive, the attainment of supreme love doesn’t provide him with satisfaction as it ought have.
Clive reasons that the answers of his dissatisfaction can only be found in Greece.
As he watches the ruins of Greece that remain today, his theories come crumbling down. He declares, he is not in love and sends his platonic lover a message. “I am normal now.”
Maurice doesn’t comprehend and can never comprehend for the rest of his life.
For, Maurice become normal the day, the guilt of being born with a desire to love the same sex was dispelled by the love for Clive and the love that Clive acknowledged.
He saw God in their Love, and their Love like God is now saying that “he was not normal”.
Maurice meets Alec eventually, and finds love in its crudest form which includes the desire to live and lust for, each other. They go on to break the barriers of society at different levels, not to change the world, but to be as they feel.
They discover love, through their basic instincts.
They never looked for answers in the plato or paul.
January 13, 2010
I had to change my direction, turn around and head for home…
At some point…sooner than later and sooner the better…but not now….
Home..The very mention of Home, would have under other situations, lured comfort.. but now, it was discomfort caused by the possibility of being haunted by the memories of his presence in the house from couple of days ago.. Wish I had never taken him home, but then once I have taken him into the heart (or brain), was there any point of shielding him from entering the home..
Car.. like home was another serene abode, until now that is… An vivid image of him sitting there and his last verbiage echoing loudly within, it was becoming a turmoil…
The urge to stop the car was mounting… The thought of having to change the course, either to stop or head in the right direction, seemed like an impossible feat in current state of mind..
“Mind. Yes, It is all in my mind. Take control”, it was just a feeble thought, that was trying to voice, the thought that is expressed by all those self management books.. but the attempts of that positive thinking thoughts couldn’t raise through the Grief and Pain caused by an unseen unknown wound…
“I am driving in the wrong direction”, another thought tried to break through.. but I kept driving.. There was no strength left within me to change anything…
But something changed…
It was the senses that were attached to the eyes, that noticed the change.. The periphery senses alone can’t determine anything, they need help from the other parts of the brain, but every cell in the brain was busy.. There was reluctant to entertain external information..
The mind is a strange organ that seems to defy every other organ and their will.. Or is it the heart.. doesn’t matter which, there is definetly an organ that defys basic and natural senses… whose actions are at times beyond any established rationale..
But the other organs don’t give up so easily either, they have survived millions of years of evolution and they know that they have to perform their well conditioned duties.. The eyes persisted in capturing the change and kept conveying the stimuli until they were acknowledged… The mind waved the change by loosely linking that stimuli as “blinking lights”…
Once a object of interest or distraction makes its way into the mind, it is hard to take the focus.. Soon, the source of the “blinking lights” was identified as the “rear view mirror or the car” and then the initial analysis of the change was refined from “blinking lights” to “flashing red and blue lights”…
Reflexively, my eyes glanced at the speed dial.. the needle was fluctuating between “20 and 40”, “well within the range for snowy days”.
There was no other car in sight at the moment and so the lights were intended for me.. Only one thing can be done at the point, however inconvinent…
I flashed my rear right lights and tried to pull over.. the tires seemed to defy my maneuvering. of course they would, with the snow piled up, the only way is to go straight. going any other way other than straight, would send me sliding into the woods.
I kept moving and the flashing lights kept following me. I took the right at the next exit and followed the thin roads off the highway, pulling into an parking lot of some store (or may be it was a garage, given its proximity to the highway and the vast parking space, given that there were no lights whatsoever).
The cops car was parked behind mine, the lights stopped flashing. I turned my engine off, waited for the cop to approach. A flash light turned on from his car, the door opened and he stepped out into the snow.
His form disappeared from the rear view mirror in to the blind spot, but the reflection of the light was moving closer. He was tapping my window, focusing the flash light on me. I slid the window down.
“Good evening officer!”, the thing about talking to strangers is they wouldn’t be able to make out the change in the voice based on the emotions, unless ofcourse the emotions become hysterical. But, hysteria isn’t what happens with unknown invisible pain..
“May I see your driving license please?”, he said. It was pure business for him. Wonder if he had nothing else on his mind, but who cares….
I reached out for the valet in the coffee holder, and pulled out the car manual from the front case, took the registration card and handed it along with the license from the valet.
He looked at those for few moments.
“Where are you going sir?”, he asked.
I knew i was going in the wrong direction but didn’t know where I was headed. “Going home” and added “to wayland. I missed a turn, I was planning on heading back.”
He looked at the driving license again as if confirming the home address, and and asked. “Do you know why I stopped you sir?”
“Your headlights were not turned on”.
“Your headlights where not turned on”. He repeated. Maybe he thought I didn’t catch his accent. He didn’t catch the puzzlement in my voice.
“I am sorry, I didn’t realize that. I dropped a friend at the bus stop at white river junction. And got on to the road”. I offered as an explanation.
“I thought there might some problem with the lights”, he gave me that puzzled curious tell-me-you-are-kidding stare…
“They are fine”. I started the car and turned on the lights.. to prove I meant it.
“All right sir, I will give you a warning for driving without lights. I will not fine or add points to your license”.
“Sorry officer” I said and soon followed it by “Thanks officer.” I didn’t know what else to say.
“I will be right back”. He took the license with him, giving back the registration paper.
What just happened? How could I not realize that I hadn’t turned my head lights on? I was seeing the road and I looked out.. it was night, but not dark. The snow has that effect, everything is covered in white, even a small street light can reflect and make it look bright. I was mulling over my stupidity, and thoughts were about the ponder into the cause of my absent mindedness, when the officer arrived back at the window.
“Here is your license”, he gave the card and handed me an slip saying “and this is the warning.” He added. “There is a tourist stop couple of miles from here, you could stop there and get your directions, if you like” he said.
“Thank you officer”.
“Have a safe drive sir”.
He went back to his car, and he waited for me to start my engine and get onto the road. He seemed to make sure I was safely on the road, before he turned on his engine and headed back to the highway.
I slowed down, so that he could pass.. I decided not to head towards the tourist station, and instead decided to take an u-turn back to the bridge where I missed the right turn..
Everything is going to be ok…
Right Direction. Thanks to the officer.. I was heading home..
It was also the direction towards the white river junction.. towards him…. Was it still going to be the right direction.. there was a doubt that accompanied ‘what if i miss the turn again?’ there was no room for what-ifs…
The Grief was trying to gush out in the form of a cry, but it found no way out…
And just like that, I was snapped out of everything-is-gloomy-in-the-world to it-is-going-to-be-fine moods…
August 26, 2008
It is “My Body Your Body”, an exhibit at ICA by Anish Kapoor, that was mesmerizing me.. i was staring into that deep dark mysterious blue glass eye hole…. Anish Kapoor creates these magic tricks with out the magician… Optical illusions.. which challenge your senses.. for example the eye of My body, your body.. was staring back at me.. as i moved from left to right and right to left..
There was no way, that could happen, that was just hard glass.. how can it movie, i wanted to touch it. But there was a line drawn to keep the viewers at bay. i tried to cheat.. OK i will stand behind the lines, but what if I lean my torso and head towards the eye… It was futile.. especially with the guard standing right next to the exhibit…
I slowly walked past the other exhibits, killing time before He would finally arrive. I couldn’t wait any longer.. I had to know where he stands..
I had always thought that I could appreciate Art, by reading them in the books or watching a photograph or a video, but I was wrong. The only way you can experience it is by experiencing it physically… There were so many more items that I could go through, but not today.. It was time he arrived…
We decided to grab something quick for dinner and walk to the piers overlooking the ocean..
I was eating my wrap.. and he was savoring his sub, i dared…
“Say, give me one reason, why we didn’t spend the rest of Saturday together.”
“I got scared and pulled away”, he said.
It was so quick, that I can hardly tell if he heard my entire question. What followed was an extreme silence. I was being pushed into an abyss.. thousand questions started racing in my mind.. but I held on to the quite..
I probably just broke the illusion, in which i was so immersed since I first reconnected with him. How could I have missed it? Could I have done it any better? None of those questions really mattered any more..
One of the reasons for saying I was not going to verbally express how I feel was to avoid exactly such a question and answer. I wished we fell in and fell out without exchanging words. That was no longer possible and doesn’t matter anymore.. I crossed some line, which I was not supposed to..
Now, none of anything really mattered…
He finished his sub, I still had my wrap.
He left, I stayed.
The deep ocean, the sea gulls, people walking by holding each other.. the day had passed, the darkness was settling in…..
I was home just in time to hear Ted Kennedy speak at the Denver Democratic Convention, he ended by saying.. “hope raises again, dream lives on…”