Family

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A familyOur Reader ponders whether he should leave his parents and live a separate independent life where he can be openly gay, or live with his parents and try and convince them

So here I sit, dreaming about a very small cozy room that I would return to after a day full of hard-work at some tiny restaurant. I won’t mind waiting on people or washing their dishes, because I would get paid for it, and that money would feed my little stomach and clean my few clothes, and yeah, pay the rent of my small room. Simple, undemanding lifestyle.

I won’t have a family to worry about. They would have kicked me out when I told them the truth about my orientation. Easy. I would live alone and for myself. Play the music I like. Wear the clothes I like. May be I’ll get a loving boyfriend (let’s suppose that person would be working as a chef in the same restaurant). I won’t need lots of money, just a peaceful night in the arms of the person who would be my life-partner. Beautiful life, won’t it be?

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And then I wake up from my day dream, because an old uncle walks into the shop and stares point-blankly at one T-Shirt after another. I’m taking care of my father’s garment boutique, while he is busy with some important bank-work.

I ask the old man angrily, what does he want? He asks me to wait as he goes through the display. Too slow. I lose my hopes of converting him into a customer, when suddenly he asks for “that white one”.

I pull out the pathetic dirty piece, remove the hanger and literally order him to try it. With shaking hands he puts it through his neck. I look at the white hair popping through the neck of the tee and feel guilty. I help him pull it through and down his chest and then politely ask him to check himself in the mirror. He has no company, it’s my duty to praise him for the choice and remark on the fitting. Happily he asks me to pack it. Oh, that was fast!

After I have helped him out of the T-Shirt and packed it up, he haggles for a mere 40 rupees discount. We both settle at 20 less. He pays me and picks his bags with shivering hands. I wonder with pity: “Why is no one with him to help him out with the shopping?”

And then it struck me. If I am alone in my small cozy room enjoying myself, my father will also be shopping alone. There would be no one to compliment his choice. He would be paying someone with shaking hands. The picture was not pleasing to imagine.

Will it not make more sense if I stay with my parents, get a well-paying job, support them in their old age, and simultaneously help them to understand my different orientation? Won’t it be awesome if I don’t run away and if I face my life courageously? So what if they don’t agree to my orientation or to my male lover? I can continue patiently to convince them. But I won’t leave them. It’s neither their fault nor mine.

Suppose I do get a good job, a decent salary so that my parents have a comfortable life in their old age… maybe then I will be free of duty, may be then my conscience will allow me to run off to my silent simple lonely lifestyle. No, no, even then they will want me because they are too emotionally dependent on me. All parents are. At the end of day, they all love their kids, no matter what orientation. It’s just that they need exposure and time to heal from the shock.

And after all, won’t it be nicer for the image of queer world if I live with my parents and convert them to my side and then may be even get a good guy as their son-in-law. We all will live with colourful pride. At family functions, we will be respected as an actual couple! May be then I will have done what I’m born to do- “Live like a true Queer and a true Singh”.

In that case it won’t matter to me if the job I’m doing is not of my liking, because if will be having my family, my boy-friend and myself – my true self. With that beautiful end in mind, it all seems well.