“Hey Ajay, are you gay?” I asked, as we smoked spirals into the branches of the tree overhead. At the back of my mind I thought to myself, “What’s the worst that will happen? He will be offended.”
We were both lecturers at the same college, teaching the same classes. He taught management studies, I, English. Our code for a smoke break was “Arrey saala, saala, saala.” We thought we shouldn’t set a bad example for our students, so we walked a distance before we indulged. While we smoked tobacco, the students were smoking up weed.
Ajay did not hesitate. “Yes, ma’am. How did you guess? Are they talking about me?” His beautifully lashed eyes clouded up. “Intuition,” I answered. “I guess at my age it’s easier to guess.”
And so this is Ajay’s story….
An innocence attacked
At 5 years old, Ajay was a sweet, slender baby. The younger of two boys, he was the quiet introvert, shy and scared of his older 10-year-old brother who had his own set of friends, playing cricket and cycling around. Sanjay had no time for Ajay, who was just a nuisance anyway.
Ajay who was throwing marbles on the floor of the basement, where all 15 cars were parked. Their huge bungalow in Pune, employed several staff to manage his father’s 600 crore business and a couple of hotels. Upstairs, Aayi and Ajji were busy preparing for a Satyanarayan Puja. Ajay’s father had left for work in his gleaming Mercedes Benz. So the car driver’s son Uday, knew the coast was clear. The 18-year-old had been washing the cars.
Uday walked to the basement toilet, and called for Ajay “Come here, I will show you something.” The unsuspecting boy walked up to Uday, and Ajay still doesn’t remember the details – just knew something dark, horrible and excruciatingly painful had happened. Uday had clasped his mouth shut as he sodomised him, and then warned him of terrible things that would happen if Ajay were to tell.
Upstairs his mother and grandmother had finished with the arrangements and were welcoming folks who had arrived for the puja. No one noticed any thing amiss with Ajay – who wandered away into the bedroom and fell asleep. Bruised, violated, and terrified that somehow it was his fault. This happened at intervals until one day Sanjay caught a whiff of the atrocity. After that, Uday never bothered Ajay again. He was by then nearly 10 years old.
As he grew older
Ajay was a timid boy – sure bait for bullies at school who humiliated him, punched him, teased him, and he always came home in tears. There were even a pack of vicious dogs on the street near his home that would attack him and send him running away in terror. Ajay complained to his older brother who was now a strapping teenager. Sanjay grabbed his cricket bat and thrashed most of the annoying dogs – which then never showed their tails in that area again. Sanjay had saved him once again. None of this was ever spoken about in the family.
Ajay was brilliant in his academics, had a natural talent for music. He sang like a dream and his body reacted to rhythm almost magically. His mother was a Hindi movie buff and knew all the songs, and when the radio played, Ajay would dance in pure joy. His grandmother, Ajji, noticed that this boy was no macho like the older one and would hold him in a protective embrace.
That which he dared not accept
Ajay knew there was something different about himself, something he knew instinctively that he dared not talk about. He could not name it or define it. After plus two, Dad sent Ajay to Switzerland; He said, “Get a degree in hotel management. After all, you are going to run our hotels.”
Ajay loved the next 3 years, in the institute that overlooked the Alps. He was able to distinguish his sexual feelings – here none looked askance and homosexuality was quite the norm. Still, Ajay wouldn’t even accept to himself that he was gay. In fact, to his dismay, a classmate, a Bulgarian girl fell in love with him. She even followed him to Pune and met his family. Ajay still did not dare to look in the mirror of his sexuality.
Related reading: I don’t know how my life will end because I’m Muslim and gay
Happiness at last
It was only when he turned 26 that he dared to check out a gay partner he had met online. “It was like a blind date,” he laughs, and “I had all the misgivings of a virgin – what if he is a jerk who wants to only have sex?” He wanted a relationship, and it was his lucky moment the day he met Rabbi, at a café near Pune University. Rabbi was a tall handsome hunk – a Jat. They hit it off from the word go. They were soon in love and exchanged rings symbolising marriage, and loyalty.
Finally, they moved to Bangalore and rented a house, live together and have 2 dogs that they care for. Ajay is now a 6-packer, sporting two superb tattoos, beautifully turned out in a suit, tuxedo, and tie, OCD to the core, with a sense of style to boot. He’s such an excellent teacher that the students worship him.
Only I know that he is a good man, has a great sense of humour and a dirty mind, and I love him for all that. I treasure his aura of love, the vivacious joy he brings to his world.