Ever since I was a young girl, I wanted a love story like my parents’. They met in 1991, and the elders of both their families had arranged the meeting. Yes, they had an arranged marriage. But over the years of marriage, in the conventional Bollywood way, they had grown fond of each other and finally fallen in love. Hence, all these years, I had never dated any guy too seriously and had made it amply clear to my parents that the groom was going to be a man of their choice. You might call me orthodox or old school, but in my opinion I’m just a die-hard romantic.
I had met two guys through my parents, both of whom I didn’t see long-term compatibility or a future life with. Then I met this third guy, Sidharth. After having tea with their family, both our parents told us to take a stroll and go for a drive to get to know each other better.
Sidharth was roughly 5’11 tall and I just love tall men because there’s a sort of raw manliness to them. He had a stubble and was wearing a pair of sexy beige chinos with loafers and a self print polka dot t-shirt. He had me at hello! After taking a short stroll in the hotel garden, we decided to go out for a drive. As soon as the car arrived at the porch, he walked swiftly to open my door and I nervously sat inside. I made a mental note at that point to give him brownie points for chivalry.
He drove around the city and we talked about our lives, experiences and he asked me questions that neither of the previous guys had. And the way he listened to me, so empathetically, with a deep sense of sensitivity in his eyes, was so genuine. However, I did feel slightly uncomfortable every now and then, even though I couldn’t exactly figure out what was off about him. So I scolded myself mentally for trying to find flaws in this otherwise perfect man.
Surprisingly, we even had a lot in common. From our interests, having an opinion on things, to the kind of food we liked and so on. And then...he almost made me blush by complimenting how I looked in the yellow dress that I was wearing.
And just like that, an hour passed by and I felt like we could talk forever. We were just ten minutes away from the hotel where our parents were waiting for us. Without thinking twice, I blurted out, ‘How do you find me?’ A little taken aback by my question, Sidharth responded rather pleasantly. He said he thought that I was a lovely, well spoken, sensitive and smart girl. Hearing all this I couldn’t stop smiling. But alas, he wasn’t done yet. He said, ’This can’t work out.’
What I heard next was absolutely unexpected. He told me that as much as he liked me, he was gay. In disbelief, I almost skipped a heartbeat. He went on to explain that he tried to come out of the closet several times but had never been able to muster up the courage to follow it through. The fact that his parents were much older than him created an even bigger generation gap. For them, homosexuality was a myth which made everything worse. His parents put constant pressure on him to get married, now that he was turning 28. So when he couldn’t dodge his parents anymore, he agreed to meet me.
Hearing his story made me very sad. But at the same time, I felt heartbroken, wondering to myself why all perfect men had to be gay!
Sidharth requested me to tell my parents that I didn’t find him to be a compatible partner and hence, reject him. He felt that had he rejected me, it would reflect badly upon me, given that we all live in this oh-so judgmental Indian society. And it made sense, so I agreed. So the most amazing the guy I liked asked me to reject him because he couldn’t marry me. And as for Siddharth and me, while arranged marriage couldn’t work for us, we managed to stay in touch ever since and become great friends. I finally have a gay best friend and trust me it's wonderful.