“There is something on your mind that you aren’t sharing with me”, muttered my mother on a warm summer night in Pune. I was about to face the gut wrenching final year graduation exams in three days. My mother had taken a month off from work in Mumbai to spend time with me, read watch over me. It was just the sentinel and me in a huge apartment and we often spent an hour talking about things, right before bed time.
“I am not sure I can share everything with you, mum. It’s not easy for me to say things”, I retorted.
“Whatever it is, you can say it to me. I promise I will stand by you”, my mother reassured me.
She sprang up in bed, wide awake. “Are you sure?” she questioned.
“Yes mum, please don’t hate me or disown me.” I had tears running down the side of my cheeks.
“Are you crazy? I thought you were going to say you are into drugs or something.” Her volume increased substantially.
“What!?” I couldn’t bring myself to say anything more. I was not sure what she was getting at.
“That’s nothing to be ashamed of. I am so relieved”, she continued, “I thought you were an addict. It’s natural to be gay. They have discovered it in over eighty species of animals.”
Not exactly where I was directing the conversation but at least she was okay. Secretly I thanked Nat Geo and its reach towards a Marathi audience. I sat up, facing her I asked “So you are okay with that?”
She hugged me tightly in a warm motherly embrace and gushed out “Yes beta, I am proud of you anyway. Gay or lesbian, I am and will always be very proud of my children.
She had begun to cry now but I was sure that they were tears of relief and perhaps a wee bit of a sense of pride. Pride that revolved around my stepping out of the closet, of accepting myself, my orientation, my ‘difference’ from the regular and my honesty in confiding in her. I poured my heart out about my gay friends that she had met over the years, my sister’s acceptance and about my ex-boyfriend who she also knew as one of my friends. To which she only expressed one regret, “I wish I was the first to know.’
Over the years, I thought her level of acceptance may vary. She may grow weary of watching my peers getting married, settling down, mass producing children, etc. I had to address this issue before the breeders changed her mind about me. One evening, when I was at home in Mumbai, I brought up the subject of marriage. Of course, not mine, but my sister’s. I asked her what kind of a husband she thought my sister would choose to which she laughed saying, “She is bound to find a cook”; owing to a simple fact that my sister eschews cooking unless utmost necessary. We shared a hearty laugh and I continued, “You know I may not be able to give you grandchildren.”
“Yes, I know. Ana will give me a grandchild”, she said. “But does that mean you will be alone for the rest of your life?”
“Not at all mum. I will find someone who wants to be with me. I am sure there exists such a man”, I assured her. Following this, not only did she become a part of my dating life but insisted on meeting the guys I dated and proposed to act as a councillor to the warring gay couples I called friends. And so I found the pillar of my strength, the wind beneath my wings – my mother.
To be continued.
[Editor’s Note : This article has been previously published in The Queer Chronicle]