Neeraj is a childhood friend. Our dads were colleagues, and we grew up spending a lot of time together. However, after high school he moved to another city and our communication reduced substantially. He is a successful doctor by profession and is around 35 years old now. One fine day, he invited me to his engagement ceremony in Bhopal. I attended of course, but observed that he was not his usual happy, jovial self. We reminisced about the good old days, I gave the couple my best wishes, and I bade him goodbye.
She had a big ego
A month later I heard that he’d broken his engagement, saying that the girl had a big ego. I called to empathise and support, but he did not take my call, neither did he call back. I thought he must be disappointed by the episode and in need of space, so I didn’t follow up further.
He called me back after three months with the news that he was now engaged to another girl, chosen by his mom. (The last one was chosen by him). But this time there was no ceremony; it was a quiet event at his home. I congratulated him once again and got busy with my life. A few days I got the news that this engagement too was called off by him! I called him again and he said, “Yaar, this girl was too irritating!” I did not speak to him much that day, because he was in a rancid mood, but now I was concerned about him.
We met a couple of times in the next few months but the topic of his broken engagements didn’t arise and I didn’t bring it up either.
She argues too much
However, the next year, in 2015, he got engaged once again to a college classmate so I assumed that he had finally found the love of his life. But he proved me wrong again; the engagement was called off once again and the reason he cited – the girl was too argumentative. I had lost all sympathy and patience by now, and decided not to call him. So many broken engagements only seemed to point to the fact that the ‘problem’ must lie with him and not with the girl. In fact, I formed a totally negative opinion about him now and got busy with my life, losing all hope in him. He was successful professionally but on the personal front, I thought he was a dud.
And lo, a year and a half later, in 2016, we got the news that he was finally getting married in Gwalior. I was really happy that he’d crossed the engagement hurdle and was all set to get married. His mother mentioned that he got engaged just a day before wedding reception to ensure that there was no cancelled engagement. So ridiculous!
I attended the reception and finally wished him a great future and a happy married life! But hey, it wasn’t over.
Then a divorce
Six months later he moved for a separation and divorce. I just took a few deep breaths and moved on, thinking, nothing could be done now. Was he insane? Was he imbalanced?
No. He was gay! That’s his tragedy. One fine day, he called me out of the blue and told me his story. He said he has been living a secret life with the gay community in Bhopal and he even had a boyfriend. But he couldn’t tell this to anyone, because of the stigma, the taboo. Out of societal fear, he decided to get married with a heavy heart and live a fake life. But how long? Just six months!
Related reading: When I discovered the dark secret my girlfriend shared with her BFF
While confessing on the phone, he told me, “I realised I was gay when I was in school itself.” He cried over the phone, and told me that he is doomed to live this kind of double life because he doesn’t have the guts to tell anyone the reality. His parents have given up on the notion of him getting married, believing that he is simply incapable of getting along with a partner. A few close friends know that he is gay. He is very happy living with his male partner, albeit secretly and that is how he intends to keep it.