For the longest time, I couldn’t picture my future. When I tried to think of it, I managed to conjure up only a hazy vision where I was pottering around alone in a house somewhere. A house that wasn’t a home. A house that was never filled with the love and eagerness of somebody waiting for me to come back home. But last night changed everything.
April 24th, 2011.
It was a conversation that I had been dreading and expecting for some time now. I had come to Bangalore on a holiday knowing that this might just end up being the trip where I would come out to at least my elder sister. But once home, I realized I simply didn’t have the courage to bring it up on my own. I just couldn’t talk about it. I let it be, telling myself to take all the time I needed and to ease off on the pressure.
It began with a simple discussion about how our parents should move from Bombay to Bangalore. My sister could go back to work, leaving her daughter with our parents. My mum could be closer to her granddaughter, her own mother and the rest of our extended family. At the end of it, after mum and dad individually expressed their reluctance to move, my sister turned to me and said that they would never move because of my refusal to get married. Apparently my mum had spoken to my sister about how upset she was that I wasn’t married and had nobody who would take care of me and love me. Ergo, she had decided to cook and take care of me as long as she could. I steeled myself for the direction I knew the conversation would invariably go in. I sat there, staring at the laptop with cold and clammy hands, focusing all my attention on how well I could chew my gum. In my head, I was caught in the web of indecision. Should I or should I not tell her?
“So tell me. Do you not want to get married now? Or you don’t see yourself getting married ever?”
“I don’t know.”
“You must be feeling something. Just be bold, tell us your decision and get it over with.”
I mentally raised an eyebrow and wondered if she was giving me a hint.
“I don’t think I ever will.”
“Why not? Because marriage as a whole doesn’t appeal to you, right? Why not sit down with mum and calmly tell her this?”
“That is the reason, right?”
“Is it? I’m standing here and asking you something. Tell me?”
“No what? That’s not the reason? There’s some other reason?”
“What is it, then?”
“What’s the worse that could be?”
“I don’t know. You tell me.”
“Take a guess.”
“You had a bad affair?”
“You don’t like men.”