Date Six: See How Drop-Pati Handles Her Blind Date With A Gay Man
- IWB Post
- April 9, 2016
Saturday morning be like.
“I want to hug and clap for you, Papa.” (Munches on onion poha)
“Why?” (Folds newspaper)
“Sorry. I know, I turn into a peevish person the moment I think about marriage. But don’t blame me, the saas-bahu daily soaps that mom watches are somewhere inspiring me.”
“Blaming is easy. And remember, not every shaadi turns out to be the ones they show in serials.”
“Anyway. I need your ATM card. I am going shopping with my friends.”
“What happened to yours?”
“It’s blocked. And I really need a new pair of Trainers. I have been skipping going to the gym from past couple of days.”
“Alright, take it. And don’t buy those 7k shoes again. Wastage.” (Reads newspaper again)
Saturday afternoon at the mall.
Phone rings. It’s Papa.
“Beta, where are you?”
“WTP. What happened? Do you need anything?”
“No, no. So, for how long will you be there?”
“Umm, maybe 15 more minutes. Boliye na, kya hua?”
“Excellent! Stay there because someone is coming to say hello to you.”
“In the mall?”
“In the mall. Yay!”
“Papa, please tell me it’s not a boy.”
“I have WhatsApped you his number. Save it so that you recognize him when he calls. And, be nice.”
Why? Why does he want to ruin my weekend?
Phone rings. Unknown number.
“Hello, Drop Pati. I am Sudhanshu. Our fathers mutually discussed that we meet today. I am sorry, if you are unprepared.”
“That’s alright. I am accustomed to such situations.”
“Sorry, again. Where are you?”
“I am standing right in front of the Zara showroom.”
“I will be there in two.”
Shaking hands with Mr. Sudhanshu.
“Hello, Drop Pati. Sudhanshu Mehta.” (Smiles politely)
He seems like a nice guy. The hair parting is perfect. No wannabe spikes. Clean shaved. Decent glasses. And, buttoned shirt. I like it so far.
“Hi, Sudhanshu. So what’s up?”
“I was driving by the JLN marg when I received my father’s call. He told me about you and tada! Here I am.”
“How old are you?”
“Never tried marrying before?”
“I guess, the family didn’t try that hard.” (Smiles gently)
“No boyfriend? I am sorry, I just wanted to crack this lame age-old joke. Sorry.”
His sheepish look intrigues me.
“Tell me something about you, Sudhanshu. Shall we go check out Zara? I don’t want people to get an idea of the arrange marriage thingy. Plus, I need some sexy heels for an upcoming bachelor’s party.”
“Sure. Well, I am a Writer and Photographer. And so, I get to travel a lot.”
“Wow, lucky you. What do you write about?” (Checking out shoes in the women’s section)
“Hey, these turquoise ones are nice.”
“Yes. They. Are.” (Picks up the turquoise heels and tries them)
“Wow, they look stunning on you. You can wear them with drop earrings in the same color. Or better, a clutch with turquoise colored stones or motifs.”
“Thank you. How do you know so much about women’s fashion? You said you don’t have a girlfriend.”
Clearly, he is lying. The enthusiasm with which he spoke was something else.
“I think I am getting to like these shoes, too. Thanks, Sudhanshu, I am buying them. Only this Rs. 4,500 bill is a problem. Once it’s flashed on papa’s mobile, it might give him a mini heart attack.”
“Hey, there is a discount!”
“Wow man, you have an eye for such things. I am impressed. You are definitely accompanying me for all my shopping sprees.”
“You can call me Su.”
Su. Interesting. Su kar mere mann ko, kiya tune kya ishara…
His phone rings. He disconnects. Rings three more times and he keeps disconnecting.
The screen reads ‘Bae’ calling. Bae??
I will pretend I haven’t noticed.
But OMG, he has a girlfriend and he is cheating on her! As a woman, I must raise my voice. *clears throat*
“Sudhanshu, you can speak to this person. I guess, it’s urgent.”
“It’s okay. I’ll manage.” (Looks in the other direction)
No eye contact. He is lying, this is one major thing about cracking a case that CID series has taught our generation.
“I insist. Else, it will keep ringing.”
He excuses himself and turns around. Receives the call. The voice is moderately audible.
It’s a man. A MAN?????
Is he gay? Or, does this girl have a masculine voice? Who am I kidding? It’s a man!
“Sudhandhu, I have a weird question. I shamelessly peeked into your phone when it was ringing. It read ‘Bae’. And then I heard you talking to a man. Well sorry, you’re standing at an arm’s distance. But, what’s going on?”
The silence that prevails now, soon after what I just said, is going to be the longest in the history of mankind.
“Can we sit and talk.” (Stammers and looks down. This time, not at my shoes)
“Of course. Coffee? And you can tell me everything.”
We sit and order cold coffee. Cold feet and cold coffee, perfect.
“We’re officially on our first date. Papa will be the happiest man today.”
“I am sorry, I didn’t want to put you through this.”
“You don’t want to get married, either. Do you?”
“My life story is a bit complicated and I don’t know how to break free.”
“It’s not about a girl, I know that for sure.”
“What if I say it’s about a boy? Will you still sit here and talk to me?”
“Is it what I am thinking, Sudhanshu? Don’t play the suspense game with a woman.” (Widens eyes as much as I can)
“I am gay and I have a boyfriend. We’re going strong since 2000.”
“Sixteen years? WOW.”
“Can we focus, please?”
“I am sorry. Go on.”
“I am yet to come out of the closet. Only a handful of friends know about me. Not the family, though.”
“What are you planning, Sudhanshu? I am worried now.”
“Not more than me, Drop Pati. I have no clue how to go about it.” (Takes his first long sip of cold coffee)
“Oh, Sudhanshu. I am so sorry about all this. Do you think I can help you? I am all for the queer rights, my friend!”
“Thank you, but I don’t think so. I know it’s me who has to do it for myself.”
“Absolutely. And I say not to delay it any further. Your parents have the foremost right to learn what’s happening in your life. Oh man, these choco chips…mmmm.”
“But I am afraid what if they get angry. Worse, they discard me! It is considered a shame to have a gay son.”
“Sudhanshu, I know it is the worst kind of feeling to sadden your parents, but what about your happiness? Are you ready to fool around like this and marry a woman for their sake? You will never be happy. And let’s not even talk about the poor wife.”
“That’s why I have been ignoring marrying for all these years.” (Uses spoon to fish out the yummy choco chips at the bottom of the glass)
“Pushing things under the carpet isn’t helping you, is it? You are 30+ and you have all the right to live your life your way. Yeah, Indian parents are a bit dramatic and yours may get mad after listening to you, but after few years, you will be glad you came out of the closet. The way your parents are going to support you is unparalleled.”
“You are right. I only need to gather courage.”
“And first, free your mind from doubts. Don’t worry about how they will react. Get done with your job. If you want, let me accompany you. And, thank you for trusting me and opening up. It’s been just half an hour that we’ve met. Your secret is safe with me.”
“You are so kind, Drop Pati. Let me handle the cheque.”
“Thank you. Shall we move our asses and head towards your home?”
Sudhanshu has a very humble family. A little orthodox, too. When Mehta uncle heard his side of the story, he didn’t speak for a few minutes. Aunty started crying, of course. Thankfully, the grandparents were too old to hear our voices. And how did I help? I consoled aunty and backed Sudhanshu in front of the uncle. The affair went on for next 1 hour 25 minutes. Meanwhile, I received 13 missed calls from my restless papa. And a WhatsApp messages asking – “I guess, you liked Sudhanshu that’s why you’re ignoring our calls. FINALLY! Call me asap. Maa and I are waiting….”
I am glad I accompanied Sudhanshu. I think, I am going to continue my friendship with this guy. I really like him. Psst, and about my family…
“So you just went ahead and fixed your match with someone else. That too, with a boy?”
“Papa, he loves someone else. It’s been sixteen years, can you imagine! Gosh.”
“I can imagine how much you’re not willing to marry.”
“Papa, the boys are in love!!!”
“Let me call Mehta ji. This is utter nonsense.”
“No need. They are already going to meet Sudhanshu’s boyfriend for dinner tonight at The Lalit. I am soooo happy.”
“Let’s go to The Lalit for dinner. It’s been long we have dined at a fancy restaurant.”
“Papa, what about the fancy bill?”
While watching ‘Bhabhi ji Ghar Pe Hain’, all three of us – papa, mummy and I – enjoyed aloo-godhi ki sabji, kheere ka raayata and crisp chapattis.
Later that night, Sudhanshu texted me saying that even his family didn’t go for the dinner. His mother complained of suffering a heartache and they had to stay back. Well, maybe they need some quality time to digest the reality. Good part is, the major work is done. I am proud of Su. Yeah, that’s what I call him now.