Am I Diseased?

I miss the days of my childhood, when everything and everyone was so carefree.My friend Anubhav and I used to get together with the other boys from the colony and play all kinds of games. I would be being able to run around with all the guys, without a care in the world. Not worrying about what they thought when I touched them, nor having to endure their accusing eyes if I actually did. Not having to see them flinch and withdraw if I neared them. Back then, nothing mattered.

Today, I had decided to tell Anubhav everything. I couldn’t lie to him anymore. Although I was petrified about his reaction, I needed to let someone know what I was. Even though I was perspiring heavily, my throat was dry as sandpaper. Anubhav, oblivious to my dilemma, was pondering what movie we should watch. Normally, I’d help him out of his perpetual state of confusion, but today I didn’t care. I was too busy summing up the courage to tell my best friend the truth.

When Anubhav told me that the Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuals, I was overjoyed. I naively believed that if the courts had come to accept homosexuality, the world would soon follow suit. I thought that I could finally tell my parents about myself. But the Delhi High Court verdict seemed to spark more hatred against us than acceptance, and unfortunately for me, this hate seemed to spark very close to my home. My mom, who I always thought to be extremely tolerant, was disgusted by the very existence of my kind. She didn’t want gay people teaching me or being anywhere near me, just in case they rubbed off their disease on me… That night in bed, I cried like never before. For the first time in my life, I felt truly lonely.

My mom seemed to echo Baba Ramdev’s thoughts. He says I am diseased, too. He says I offend society and that my very existence is against Indian Culture. But I have never sought to offend anyone. It is not my fault I am who I am. If I was born this way then why am I being blamed? In Taare Zameen Par, they blamed the dyslexic boy for who he was. Why is it that we, who are different from the norm, are always persecuted? They say that I plan to harm other people but I would never dream of hurting Anubhav in any way. But I find myself thinking increasingly that if the whole world says there is something wrong with me, maybe in fact there actually is?

Anubhav suddenly snapped his fingers. “Dreaming about Brad Pitt?” I broke out of my reverie, remembering where I was, and why I was there. “Brad Pitt? If I was dreaming, wouldn’t I be dreaming of Angelina Jolie?” He turned around, and faced me directly and asked “Would you?” The smile had vanished and I wondered what he meant but with the heavy feeling in my stomach I realised it was painfully obvious. “You know?” “Of course I do, I’m your best friend. I mean I’ve had my suspicions for some time and you just confirmed them.” The lump in my throat seemed to grow to monstrous proportions, and I weakly croaked “…and?”

His face stoic, then seemed to lighten “And… nothing.” I was left nonplussed. He seemed to sense my confusion and so he continued “Listen, I don’t think you are a disease, I don’t think you are out to corrupt me.” Dumbstruck as I was, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I just stayed silent. “I mean, if you invade my personal space in a way I don’t like, then we have a problem, but then I would have that problem if you were straight, a chick or Adriana Lima herself… Okay not Adriana Lima, but anyone apart from her. You’re my friend and I want you to know that you are not alone in this.” He said, smiling encouragingly.

As the clock rang, I realised it was time to go home. As I left his room, Anubhav poked his head out. He had that mischievous look on his face and I knew something abnormal was about to happen. But he simply asked “Have you ever been attracted to me?” with a strangely lopsided smile.

I laughed and turned away, saying I had to leave. He chuckled and went back in. I turned back, staring down the empty hallway, fighting an enormous desire to run back to the haven that was his room. As I left, I wiped a tear, thanking god for the friend he gave me.

The world may still hate me, my very existence-a dreaded truth. My own mother may hate my kind and god knows how she would react if she found out the truth. But today, I had my best friend returning to me. I do not know what the vastness of time holds in store. But here, within our little world, me and my best friend, we could, perhaps get through whatever they throw at us and find a way to survive.


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