Original in Tamil:
எழுத்து: சுதா சந்தானம்
English translation by Niruj Mohan Ramanujam
The boiling hot weather in Chennai that evening, was reflected in my
emotions. My eldest son had just told us that he would not be able to
marry a woman. When my husband and I asked him why, he told us
something about his sexuality.
I got up and turned on the television. I wanted to calm myself and
needed a diversion. They were telecasting a debate on the topic ‘Which
love is greater? That of the people of Ayodhya for Rama, or that of
the people of Aayarpaadi* for Krishna?’
(*Aaayarpaadi – Krishna’s birth place)
My mind went back to my son’s issue. He told us that he had realized
he was different when he was fifteen years old. He was not attracted
to girls like his other male friends, but was attracted to boys. He
initially found it very confusing. Confusion led to fear. He then went
on to read many books on this subject, and found convincing
explanations for his feelings.
His father and I tried to talk some sense into him. His father even
went to the extent of telling him to get married to a woman for the
sake of our happiness, and then do whatever else he wanted secretly,
on the side. My son was furious at his father’s suggestion. He told us
he could not conceive of cheating his life partner that way. Upset, he
stormed out of the house. He has not returned yet. His father too, put
on his shirt, and went out.
My heart sank.
The phone rang. It was my son.
“How low can you get? If Dad had an affair, would you be able to take
it so lightly?”, he asked.
“Why are you talking about our lives now? We have been married for
thirty years. We are talking about your marriage now”, I replied.
“You are talking about my marriage from your perspective. Based on
what you want. Based on your expectations out of it. You don’t seem to
care whether such a marriage would make me happy or not”
“Why would we beg you to get married, if we didn’t care?”, I
interrupted. “Why are you talking to me like this?” I started crying.
“Oh please. To stop your tears now, I have to get married and cry for
the rest of my life? That is what would make you happy!” He was angry.
“I am not going to get married just to stop your tears. You can cry
all you want.” He hung up.
I know my son quite well. He must be worried that his parents were
miserable and heartbroken. He was frustrated that he couldn’t be of
any help. That inability was making him angry, upset and frustrated.
As his mother, how can I not know what is going through in my son’s
mind? How can I not understand his feelings?
Wait a minute! Something is not making sense. If, as his mother, I
know what is going through his mind and I understand his feelings, why
am I not able to understand him when he says he doesn’t want to get
I was utterly confused. I could make no sense of it!
Loud applause from the television distracted me.
The person who was debating on the side of Krishna spoke. “Andal’s
(Krishna’s lover) poems say that Krishna lied a lot. Everybody knew
that Krishna stole butter from Aayarpaadi women. Aazhvars’ (Krishna’s
devotees) verses tell you that when Krishna is missing, he can always
be found in the folds of Aachiyaars’ sarees. The people of Aayarpaadi
never judged Krishna because of these qualities. With Krishna what you
see is what you get. Krishna said if you loved him, you have to accept
him the way he is.”
“Rama was not like that. He behaved exactly you wanted him to behave.
He did things to earn your love. Did he not forsake Bharata in order
to keep his name unsullied? Did he not disown his wife and let her
suffer in the jungle, when she pregnant? Did he not do that to keep
his name and reputation unsullied? Did he not kill Vaali, hiding from
behind? On the other hand, Krishna had thousands of wives and kept all
of them happy. He even broke his vow of not bearing arms, in order to
help Bhishma succeed in his vow. That is true love! Not causing any
harm to people who trust you and depend on you, knowingly or
unknowingly, is indeed true love”, the person on TV made his case.
My mind went back to my son. Wasn’t he saying the same thing, after
all? He wants to be true to his life partner, he doesn’t want to cheat
on him, even if it is inconvenient for him. Is it not the right thing
to do, after all? If my love for him is similar to that of the people
of Aayarpaadi for Krishna, should I not understand and accept him the
way he is?
In fact, he wants to make his partner happy, just like Krishna. He
also wants to be true to his partner, like Rama. If his happiness is
what is important to me, then why should I stand in his way? My heart
would sink to see him cry, when he was a child. How could I see him
My husband and I wanted him to get married to a woman, because we
wanted him to lead a happy life. In reality, such a marriage would be
meaningless. It would neither make him happy, nor his wife, or even
their parents. It would just be a three-day party for friends and
relatives. (Or make it two, these days)
The debate on TV came to an end. The moderator concluded that the love
of Aaayarpaadi’s for Krishna was indeed greater, since it was
unconditional and was not bound by rules and regulations.
I told myself that I too must love and support my son the same way.
Relieved, I went inside to make myself a cup of coffee.
Another translation A Son Like Krishna by Aparna V Singh is available here on Womensweb.in
This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)