‘Are you straight?’ I asked bluntly after a couple of minutes of formal talk, as his way of speaking sounded a bit different to me.
‘I mean, I don’t know how to ask this in the right way. But are you a full-man?’ I asked like an uneducated moron. I thought of him as a Hijra, at first.
To which, he laughed a little. Thank God, I thought, that I had not offended him.
‘Yes, yes. I’m a full-man who likes full-men. Which means I’m a gay,’ he said like being a gay is perfectly normal and he’s not ashamed of it.
‘Haha, alright.’ I said. ‘If you don’t mind, may I extend this topic a bit more?’
‘What’s like being gay in India. I mean, start with your family, if you don’t mind. Do they know about you? And do they support you on that?’
‘They know, yes. They know who I am. And do they support me? Partially. They’ve not thrown me out of their house despite knowing I’m a gay. So they support me on that. But that’s only one part of the story.’
‘They won’t let me be with a boy for the rest of my life. They say—’ he said, stuttering, yet trying to sound perfectly okay, ‘They say— after you’ll get married to a girl, your interests will shift.’
‘And what about the way you walk and the way you speak? What about that?’
‘They say it will change, too.’
‘Oh!’ I said. Refraining from saying anything against his parents. ‘And do you have any boyfriend? I mean, only if you’re comfortable talking about this one, too.’
‘Oh, that’s completely okay to me. People seldom take any interest in my life. Maybe you’re the first one with such hell of a curiosity. So feel free to ask me anything you want. And about my relationship status: Yes, I do have a boyfriend.’
‘You’re kind, I really appreciate you for saying that. And now I suppose I ought to resume my bombarding questions at you, right?’ I chuckled.
‘Why not!’ he said cheerfully.
‘Okay. So what about your boyfriend? He supports you and all?’
‘He loves me. That’s for sure. No doubt in that. But he says he can’t accept me in a male’s body for the rest of his life.’ my gay-friend said matter-of-factly, and continued, ‘My boyfriend says if I want to spend my future with him, I need to have a woman’s body, going through whatever surgery possible.’
What the hell? I said to myself.
I gulped down the air to mull over what I’ve just heard, again. Bloody sexist, I thought of his boyfriend. And just when I was all set to curse his boyfriend, no matter how wrong I might seem to him, the phone was cut down.
By the company.
The time limit to the call was over.
~ Sahil Lakhmani