Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tainted Love

An email from a gay friend of mine set off the thought process for this post, a while ago. Being busy hasn't helped my blog updates, so putting this down only now. Anyway, getting back to the issue...he mentioned that he had broken up with his boyfriend of three years and was now back in Calcutta for a bit to take care of some family formalities. We hadn't been in touch for quite a while and hence he wanted to know if I was in Calcutta then. I obviously wasn't and I rattled off a cursory email about how shit happens and that there were plenty more fish in the sea and the like. Having sent the email, I realised how insensitive I had been. And did it have anything to do with the fact that he was gay? Hmmm...maybe. Since he had 'come out' more than seven years ago, I had found it hard to take the guy's sexual preference seriously. Someone in our friend circle even suggested that he was doing this just to be 'cool'. At some level, I guess we even believed this theory. When he insisted, we said we were cool and agreed with him, but I guess we never thought too much about it to form a strong opinion. And it had reached a level where, when one my closest friends emails me with problems in his love life, I reply with a cliched bullshit one liner? Had any other friend of mine said the same thing, I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to believe that I would have mailed more than a one liner. 'How did it happen?', 'Why can't you write her?', 'C'mon give her another chance, one fight and you guys split!!?!' Might have said something like that to them. I always thought that I was absolutely cool with people being gay and that I treated all alike, regardless of division of colour, creed or sexual preference. But I sure didn't behave like I was! I was angry and full of self loathing. How was I, as an educated, forward thinking, progressive youth, different from the vociferous and 'closeted by religion' likes of millions in this country. Ashamed, I realised that one needed to think about how big this distance had grown. It wasn't on the surface, it was in the subconscious. I just hadn't taken my friend seriously...and if I had, I could have been more tuned in to his life and behaved in the same way as I might have with someone else. He wasn't asking me for favours, he just wanted me to be normal with him.

And this is what all homosexual people in this country are looking for. A chance to be as normal as the next guy. In a country, where we don't like discussing what we do behind closed doors, why should we discriminate against people with different bedfellows, behind those same closed doors? Lets just not discuss that as well because we don't like discussing it in anycase, right? In a country with a section 377, change is going to take time. Forget marriage, adoption of children for gay couples in India is a distant dream. I doubt if parenthood is driven by what your sexual orientation is. Changing diapers in the middle of night has got nothing to with your love life either. It has to do with something much more basic, the desire to care for and raise a child.

I for one, have had a wake up call from this personal experience. I feel sorry that I kept believing that I was 'with it' with regards to this sort of thing. I feel sorry that I let something like this, this issue of great social importance, slide into the recesses of my mind. But much more than that, I feel sorry that I got lulled into something much more elementary and important... Insensitivity towards a dear friend.

Cheers!
Abhishek.

7 comments:

Ron said...

very well written abhishek!! don't be so hard on yourself, at least you realized how insensitive you were. thats the first step. all it takes to remedy the wrong, another email..this time a detailed one where you apologise for being so curt previously. a call wouldnt hurt either. sometimes life gives us these 2nd chances, you shoudl take them :)

kush said...

Good one! India does have a long way to go before it reaches international standards in acceptance of different sexual preferances.

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

Ron - Thank you. I did meet him online after that and proceeded to talk to him about his relationship and the hows and whys of it not working out. I hope he felt better. Didn't say sorry and all though... maybe I should have...(calling is out of question because costs!)

kush - Yup. Section 377 has to go!

Dreamcatcher said...

Well as Ron so succinly puts it - you have a second chance. I guess we all do that - sympathise mechanically using cliches..but you have the chance to make a call or write a mail saying that you are genuinely sorry and if there is anything you can do.A relationship is a relationship be it heterosexual or homosexual..i guess the hurt would be the same too. And we have a long way to go when it comes to acceptance.
I mean we say its ok if someone is gay, we are cool with it. But when its someone close to us, its tough to say how we shall react.

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

dreamcatcher - I would agree completely about the bit where u talk about people close to us. Its so true. And its not just with accepting alternate sexualities, its with most things, I guess. We treat people close to us quite differnetly.

Azreen Sulaiman said...

I was randomly surfing and found your blog. Your entries are really interesting and I like the way you write :)

Will be back for more! ^_^

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

azreen - thanks for dropping by. keep visiting!