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Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales for the Queer Desi

Art by Keshav, courtesy The Hindu
Art by Keshav, courtesy The Hindu

Inspired by Renee Lupica’s powerful and brilliantly simple Six Fairy Tales for the Modern Woman, we at Orinam have started a thread ‘Fairy Tales for the Queer Desi*’ with the tale below. We invite you to add your stories in the form of a comment below.

Dare to imagine, this Pride season!


QD1. Once upon a time in Chennai, a young woman told her parents over dinner that she liked women, and would like to get married to one, some day. The father shrugged his shoulders and asked “Shall we place an ad in The Hindu’s Sunday matrimonials for you?” The mother said “Adhellaam vendaam!** Indu, we trust you to find someone on your own, at your own time. Just let us know if you want any help planning the ceremony”.

The End.


* Desi refers to someone of sub-continental origin (i.e. from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, or Afganistan)

** Adhellaam vendaam! = No need for all that! [Tamil]

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  1. QD2. Once upon a time, in a small town in Tamil Nadu, a boy woke up everyday looking forward to his day in school. He was a bit shy and timid. He walked like many girls did, and had no interest in the things that other boys in his school did. But no one ever bothered him or bullied him. He had more friends than he could count on his fingers. Everyone loved him and he loved himself for who he was.

    The End.

  2. QD3. A man was putting his child to bed. “I’m not feeling sleepy, Appa! Tell me a story, no? pleeaase!!”, she cried. “Okay okay, chellam”, he began.

    “Once upon a time, your Appa and your Daddy were treated as criminals. Then a good man called AP Shah came along, and said we were not doing anything wrong, and that the Government should make a Rule that we should be treated the same as everyone else, And then, I met your Daddy. And soon after, you came into our lives. And we all lived happily ever after”

    The End.

  3. QD4. Once upon a time…

    She was the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on. When we met at the ‘potti kadai’ down the street from my house, I was buying cigarettes and she was buying butter biscuits. It was magic at first sight. All of my friends love her, all of her friends love me. I guess the persistent smile on my face gave me away. “Who is she?”my Dad asked. “Malli, come here. Looks like your daughter has finally fallen in love.” A year later we were married and in two years we adopted twins. Our daughter looks like me and our son looks like their other mother. They’re in the 5th standard now and fight constantly. I let her handle their squabbles. I have the perfect life. I get to wake up next to the most beautiful woman in the world every morning.

    The End.

  4. QD5. Once upon a time, two college friends, Parthiban and Deepak, were working on their first year design projects in the computer science lab in the basement of their college building. It was six in the evening, and the campus was virtually deserted. Deepak’s eyes were strained from all the hours in front of the monitor. He absentmindedly opened his facebook account, not realizing Parthiban was sitting right next to him, peering across his shoulder. “Hey man, what is this Orinam Net thing?” Parthiban asked animatedly, pointing out a newsfeed item on Deepak’s screen. Deepak literally jumped out of his chair. In the flash of a second it took Deepak to close his browser window, wordless knowledge had been exchanged. Deepak averted his gaze from Parthiban, fearing he had lost his only friend in college. What he did not anticipate though, was that Parthiban would touch his shoulder gently. He looked up to see an understanding smile playing across Parthiban’s face. Wordless knowledge was exchanged between them once again; and their lives quivered with excitement at the threshold of infinite possibility.

    The End.

  5. QD6. Once upon a time, a girl in Lahore had a dream about marrying the woman of her living dreams. She was not as bold to propose in real life as she was in her dreams. You see, she was an avid dreamer. In reality, she was usually shy, and scared of what would happen if she took such a step. All she ever wanted was to open up her heart, her mind, body and soul to her, and love her like no one loves her.

    She still dreams, and finds solace in the books she reads. She sees herself and her lover in the complicated characters, looking for each other.

    “One day,” she said, “She will be there, to embrace me, and we will exchange our rings in marriage at the expense of an eternal kiss before she leaves me stamped with her love, forever.”

    The End.

  6. QD7. Once upon a time, in a small town in the northern part of India lived Ravi and Majid. They were best friends since childhood. Soon, they realized that their feelings for each other were not restricted to being just platonic. They wanted more of each other, they were crazily in love and looked forward to spending the rest of their lives together. Ravi was a Hindu and Majid, a Muslim. The brave young adults that they were, they decided to break the news to their parents together. Majid looked towards the ground and muttered, “We’re in love with each other. We want to be together.” Both boys finally built the courage and raised their heads to notice a wide smile on their parents’ faces. A group hug followed and they all lived happily ever after.

    The End.

  7. QD8. Once upon a time…

    It was a dark grey rainy afternoon when Mallika looked out of her window and watched Sharon parking her scooter and walking into her apartment, which was right opposite Mallika’s. The rain seemed to have caught her completely and she was wet from head to toe, but Sharon had a big grin on her face. Mallika knew that it was earlier than usual for Sharon to be back from work. But the thought that she would soon be at the window with her favourite book in hand sent a warm sensation down her throat, filling up her chest. Soon, Mallika could see the lights in Sharon’s apartment go on. She looked on eagerly, trying not to be seen, hidden behind her drapes, hoping to see Sharon’s silhouette near the light cotton drapes. This had been her routine for the past few months since she had moved to this housing society. Finish with the day’s writing and sit in anticipation of when she would see Sharon walk in through the gates and into her apartment. She still remembered when she was introduced to Sharon by the woman who lived next door. Her dark brown curly hair, cut in layers, rolled just above her shoulders, and the deep V-neck grey top she had worn gave a hint of her shapely breasts. Sharon had the most lovely eyes had seen, and Mallika had swallowed hard, trying not to stare. She could only manage a voice that resembled a croak in response when Sharon had looked at her and smiled deeply, saying, “Hi, Mallika, it’s nice to meet you.”

    Mallika blinked back the memory of that day as her thoughts were interrupted by the tearing rings of the telephone. “Hello,” she answered into the phone. “Hi, Mallika, this is Sharon here. I have been watching you sit at your table and look at me for weeks now. I was just wondering if you would like to come over for a cup of coffee.”

    The End.

  8. QD9. Once upon a time, there lived a boy named Karan, who happened to like boys and was also made to feel different from others. Karan also grew up in a town that had both Hindus and Muslims. He could not understand what the fuss over religion was all about. Nor could he understand a lot of prejudice people around him had towards his sexual orientation, which he never ever questioned to himself or felt awkward about even for a moment. He thought that may be some day he would find some answers and some place where there would be less judgement and more acceptance.

    As he grew up, he got to know more about the ‘queer community’, and thought found a space where there would be equality and acceptance of difference. Much to his disappointment, he found people singularly obsessed with physique, people who were biphobic and transphobic, ‘beautiful people’ having their own gathering, people bitching, and trying to be IQ stars. Very few actually had respect for each other.

    Karan did not give up hope, and he thought to himself: “Okay I like guys and that’s pretty much about it.” He wanted a lot to achieve in life and was very ambitious. But he did not want to travel on this journey all by himself. One day he came across an old friend from school, and they happened to spend a few days together. It turned out that his friend also liked boys. But more importantly, they got along really well. Though they had very different personalities, they complemented each other beautifully: what was missing in one, was present in another. Karan felt complete, secure, and happy with his new found circumstances. He felt all his pent-up angst and cynicism melt away, and realized he was returning to his own self. He was also learning a lot of life’s lessons from his friend. Still, unsure of whether his feelings towards his friend were being reciprocated, Karan decided to tell his friend the way he felt about the two of them. To his delight, it turned out that the feelings were mutual. They decided to be together, and lived happily ever after. Occasionally, they found themselves wondering what the notion of ‘community’ was all about.

    The End.

  9. QD10. Prema made mOru kuzhambu hours before she gave birth because, if she were back home in India, that is what her mother would have done. That dish, along with a small amount of Camembert, infused the fresh wails of the new baby girl in a small Parisian hospital. Narasimha waited in the lobby, Gita in hand, as he thanked Vishnu for a healthy child.

    Three months later, Prema and Narasimha flew, Lufthansa style, leaving yet another home. Baby girl grew up in a small, no-where town surrounded by corn stalks, curiosity and coldness. She stared at the blueness of the Krishna photo in the morning. Recited a Saraswati shloka before every Calculus test, and sang “ Jana Gana Mana” every night with her family – even in front of the Christmas tree.

    Life passed on, as she and her brother would snack on Murukkus or Pizza as they watched Dance Fever every Saturday night.

    Running out of Psych 101 class after hearing of Harlow’s monkeys, she thought, “What would Hanuman think?”

    Then her wife came. Luminous. Fierce. Love. When she came, the now grown-woman thanked them all, including Krishna and Venus.

    The End.

  10. QD12. Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved to read.
    He devoured books like chocolates whenever he felt the need.
    He dreams were filled with dragons, and a prince on a golden steed.

    And then one day, so suddenly, the books came crashing down
    No magic charms, just common sense, no place for circus clowns
    And so the boy, with heavy heart just sauntered round the town

    But who stands there beside the mill in the purple evening haze?
    A lad as handsome as can be, smiling, returns his gaze.
    His Prince, no less. A kiss, a ring, and happy- happy days!

    The end.

  11. QD13.

    Once there was a girl who wanted to be a boy. One day a time came when that boy was attracted to another boy. Another day a time came when the boy was attracted to a woman. A few days later the boy realised she was a girl with breasts and a vagina which bled. The boy had changed overnight. The girl with breasts and a vagina which bled quietly and sadly and over many days without knowing it became a girl whose vagina she knew would bleed and whose breasts she knew would bring pleasure and slowly forgot he was also a boy. Many days later still the girl with breasts and the boy with a vagina which bled realised it didn’t matter.

    The end.

  12. QD 14.

    Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named Subhashini who received plentiful of proposals. Although she did not say yes, she did not say no either, so her parents through a process of elimination picked who they thought would be the best match. Just before confirming with the other family more suitors fluttered in the palace walls asking for the princess’s hand in marriage. As natural as rain the princess said, “Yes” to one of the newest suitors. Subhashini’s parents did not want to deny their daughter’s happiness so they married her off. Afterwards the newlyweds left for bigger and better adventure, the princess’s parents expelled a satisfactory sigh and the air around them made them feel lonely. Her parents, the two queens, both try and console each other, also taking pride in parenthood, “We did a great job, and who knows maybe we will have grandbabies soon!”
    Everyone lived Happily ever after,
    The End.

  13. QD15. = Vishal goes to Vivekananda College: a fairy tale =

    Vishal got down from the 12B bus at Mylapore and began walking briskly towards Vivekananda College. In his jolna pai (cloth shoulder-bag) was a folder with all his school certificates, a bottle of water and two apples that his Amma had packed in. She had guessed he was going to have a long wait. It was the day that walk-in candidates who had the requisite grades could directly submit their applications for enrollment in the undergraduate programmes of their choice.

    Vishal was nervous. Partly because he desperately wanted one of the coveted B.Com. seats. No matter how high one’s +2 grades were, there was always a chance they would have run out of seats by the time his turn came. He had set his heart on joining Vivekananda – Commerce was what he saw himself doing in the future. Moreover, he’d heard about the college debating team that regularly swept away top honours at inter-collegiate competitions. His debating skills had been developed well over years of arguing with his parents, friends and the neighborhood aunties. Plus, being on the team would give him a wholly legitimate reason to visit the Stella Maris, Ethiraj and Women’s Christian College campuses…

    Vishal was nervous for yet another reason. All his certificates were in the name ‘Visalakshi’. This was his grandmother’s name, one that his doting parents had given to the infant they thought was their daughter 17 years ago. Even though he had told his parents, and pretty much everyone around him who hadn’t guessed on their own, that he was, in fact, a boy – it had proven impossible to get the name changed on his school records, as those faithfully reflected the name and gender he had been assigned at birth.

    The swelling crowd of young men and anxious parents making their way to the college gate, all in a heightened state of apprehensiveness, did nothing to relieve Vishal’s own worries. He had asked Appa and Amma not to come along, in case they complicated things by their well-meaning but long-winded explanations.

    A washerman’s baby donkey tethered to a pole across the street from the college gate caught his attention. Extracting one of the two apples from his jolna pai, he walked towards the animal, which received the fruit with an audible sniff of approval and began munching away enthusiastically, as Vishal caressed it behind its ears.

    To say Vishal loved animals would be an understatement. Be it cat, dog, or – in this case – donkey, all domestic animals seemed to gravitate towards him and he towards them. None cared about his name mismatch, his gender, unfashionably close-cropped haircut or his baggy shirts, or whether he liked boys or girls. Vishal could see himself and baby donkey becoming good friends, over time. This prospect further strengthened Vishal’s resolve to get into Viveks.

    “B.Com ellaam inge vaanga”, beckoned the stern-looking clerk at the office. There was a separate queue for B.Com, and Vishal quickly joined the line of prospective students clutching their folders, some trying to conceal their fear behind brave talk of future MBA entrance tests they were already preparing for, and others silent, wishing this ordeal would end soon, and in their favour.

    His turn came in about 45 minutes, during which time he had managed to fill in the application form, stick the photos, and even scrawl reasonable fascimiles of his signature in triplicate. “Application kudunga”, said the man in charge of verifying documents. Vishal could feel his heart pounding as he gingerly handed in his application form (name ‘Vishal Natarajan’) along with his transfer certificate, attested copies of his Higher Secondary grade sheet (name ‘N. Visalakshi’) and the originals for verification.

    “Idhu yenna saar?”, exclaimed the man, as his eyes darted suspiciously from application form to grade sheet to transfer certificate to Vishal’s face. The man’s impulse, honed over years of poring through documents of countless applicants, was to reject any application based on a wrongly or incompletely filled form, or at least send the applicant back to get his papers in order.

    This time, however, he stalled. Never in his twelve years of service had he been confronted with a set of documents like this. All marks in the upper 90s, but the name? What could this mean?

    Time stood still for Vishal, as the students behind him shuffled impatiently.

    After what seemed like eternity, but in reality was probably no more than a minute, the man thrust a blank sheet of paper and a Reynolds pen at Vishal and said “Write a note addressed to the Principal, title it CHANGE OF NAME AND GENDER, give your old and new names, and affix your signature”.

    Not sure what was happening, Vishal complied.

    “Now, Mr. Vishal Natarajan, go and pay your fees at the Punjab National Bank. Be sure to fill in the challan correctly and get the counterfoil stamped at the counter” said the man, now smiling broadly.

    Vishal narrowly avoided a speeding Yamaha as he skipped across the street to offer the baby donkey his second apple.

    It was, after all, time to celebrate the start of a new friendship…

    Source: deponti.livejournal.com

    1. I read Vishal’s story (time constrains, so I’ll have to read the others at another time)
      Brilliant! I really liked the suddenness with which the core issue jumped out in the story. And the “yamaha” being the most appropriate vehicle of potential death that Vishal evaded; it was also a great metaphor for the whole story.
      The hopefulness in the story is very very nice.
      The picture of the baby donkey in the end, rather than in the middle of the narrative, was very apt (regardless of it being intentional or not).
      As they may say on a certain site that lists funny English constructions: “What a so lovely!”

  14. QD16. Once upon a time, the prince of Madurai was on a hunt. He was looking for bears in specific. He hunted up and down the plains but did not find any he liked. He went to the beaches in the south, the hills up north and the deep, sandy pits far in the distance – but no bears. He met one wise old man sitting under a tree and asked him where the best bears were. “Go across the seven seas, my prince!”, the sage said. “You will find bears aplenty and they hunt for you as you do for them.” So, he boarded a ship of steel and set sail across the seven seas. He saw so many, many creatures and he loved them all, but he still search for his bear. And there, as he finally landed, he saw his magical bear. They smiled at each other, and instantly knew their hunt was over.

    The End.

  15. QD17. =AniruddhaManmatham=

    Aniruddha was a good-natured guy. He was born and brought up in a huge joint family, and his parents, teachers and relatives adored him for his good manners and his varied talents. He was a good boy in every sense of the world.

    His friends used to say, “Aniruddha doesn’t even look at a girl. He is such an innocent fellow.” To Aniruddha, all that mattered were his books, friends, parents and the little sphere of relatives doting on him. Once he entered his late teens, things started changing for him bit by bit. He noticed that he was getting attracted to some of the cute guys in his college and never to any of those celebrated female beauties. He felt the need of having a companion who could be his brother, father, friend and guide all at the same time. He was happy and sad about all these thoughts. In his wildest dreams, he saw Kannan, the eternal lover, coming and taking him away to the wonderful land of Vrindavana. When he could not contain his different thoughts within himself, he poured these out to his mother. Though aghast initially, Aniruddha’s mother Ardra told her son, “Dear Ani, I don’t know what is good for you and what is not. But, I believe in one thing. Pray to Goddess Parvati to get a good partner. Maybe your mind will change and you will start liking a good girl.”

    Aniruddha started praying to Parvati thus, “O, Goddess Parvati, the consort of the eternal Parameswara! Please bless me with a companion just like yours.” Every Monday morning he would wake up early and pray thus.

    Two or three years passed. Aniruddha’s unwavering devotion to the goddess bore its fruit in the form of his boyfriend, Manmatha. True to his name, Manmatha was the quintessential charming Cupid! They loved each other the way of epic romances. Their feelings for each other were so intense and passionate that all the Gods in paradise exclaimed: “Never have we seen a love equalling this. They are a blessed couple.” Needless to say, when they first kissed, a shower of flowers rained down from the heavens.

    Even in fairytales, things are never supposed to remain good always. As happens in all stories involving Indian Puranic characters, the king of demigods, Devendra grew envious of their out-of-the-world love. He let loose a tornado of problems that enveloped the couple. Society, which found out about their affair, took the form of a wicked witch, who separated Manmatha and Aniruddha; and then locked Aniruddha deep in the dungeons of a castle built from the bricks of homophobia, family pressure and codes of morality.

    Aniruddha shed tears thinking about his beloved Manmatha. Not a single moment passed by without him thinking about their life, dreams and hopes. His mind took shelter in God. He kept on praying to Goddess Parvathi to unite them in life again. His prayers became an intense Tapas.

    That night, God Siva, upon reaching Parvati’s chamber, found his consort gloomy. To raise her spirits, he sat beside her and playfully stroked her blue locks of hair. She continued sitting still and did not even look at her husband. Shivan sensed that something was wrong and asked her, “My dear, what is bothering you? Why this indifference?”. He tried to bring her closer to him with those words. She resisted, freed herself from his hands and got up from the bed. This was so unlike Parvati. Shiva sensed something was seriously wrong. “Tell me. What is the matter?”, he asked again. Tears rolled down from Parvati’s eyes. She replied slowly,

    “My Lord, you know, my bhakta, Aniruddha, who used to even take the Monday Vratas (fasts) to get a good companion. Great sorrow has befallen him. Devendra’s mindless actions, out of childish jealousy, has resulted in his being separated from his beloved. How can I find happiness in your company when one of my greatest devotees is suffering so much because of a lost love?”

    “What am I supposed to do for all this mess, my dear? It is the way of world.”

    “You are the only one who can do something about it, My Lord. You are Parameswara, the supreme God. Please sow the seeds of reason in the mind of society to make her more progressive and broad-minded. Otherwise, I will stay celibate for the rest of my life and believe me, I will not allow you to sleep with another woman; not even with that Ganga of yours.”

    These words of Parvati struck their mark. Immediately, Siva blessed human society with good sense and empathy. All those who had previously tormented Aniruddha and Manmatha realized the mistake of separating these lovers. What right did they have to stand in the way of great love? Aniruddha and Manmatha lived together happily, ever after.

    The End.

  16. QD18. =A Fairy Tale for the Future=

    Dr. Prannoy Roy, still the classy and the ageless news reader, starts presenting the news: “For those just tuning in after a day’s work, the segment is suspenseful enough to give any of the Hollywood thrillers a run for their money. No guesses: I am talking about the recent presidential election. Amidst huge suspense, Indian legislators and parliamentarians have elected our next president. It was a very polarised election with allies switching back and forth with the frequency of a pendulum. One moment it seemed like support was swelling for Mr.Ilango and next moment, to Ms. Kapoor, his prime rival in this election. To be fair, both were deserving candidates and of high intellect and integrity. But finally, there has to be only one winner. Mr. Ilango, ladies and gentlemen, will be our next president! He has secured 42% of the votes, and is closely followed by Ms. Kapoor who won 39%. Seen here is our new president-to-be and his husband Mr. Abraham receiving congratulatory messages after the declaration. The first message to arrive is from the Bacchans…

    “Stay up tonight to catch Barkha Dutt on the political ramifications of this election. As usual, she has lined up an exciting panel today. And one final thought before I move onto the other big story ‘Is Sachin Tendulkar about to retire from test cricket’: It is heartening to see Ilango’s orientation and marriage to his boyfriend was never a point of debate in this otherwise bitterly fought election. Very proud to say we have come a long way as a nation! And also, can any other country boast of a more good looking first family for the next five years?”

  17. QD19. =Once there will be a time=

    A young expectant mother talks about thrills of having a baby: “One of the pleasures during pregnancy is the suspense around the gender of the baby. Is it a boy or is it a girl ? Someday I think it’s going to be a girl and then the next day I am sure it’s a boy. The cycle goes on. It is a long suspense!”

    After the baby is born, her husband, a proud father, weighs in – “Honey, that was just seven months wait. We will have to wait longer to know if we will have a son-in-law or a daughter-in-law!”

    They both laugh happily.

    The End.

  18. QD20. Josh did look like his profile pic but a little older. He was still cute and this was supposed to be quick. What else do I expect from a site where gay men met for ‘all things’ casual. Some chat, coffee and whatever came along the way. We ended up talking for 2 hours and also took a walk around the block till we reached his doorstep. I thought to myself “Is this it?” He smiles and then asks ‘Wanna come in? I just moved.’ Sure, I said. We take the elevator and he lets me into his apartment. He offers me a beer and we start talking again –city, work, family…… I sensed a level of honesty and frankness which I liked but was kindof unsettling. This, I was not expecting to happen. After all, this was a pursuit of a casual summer evening, or was it?

    What are Kevin n Shaun going to think if they knew I was hooking up with this random dude? OMG, I am a randy SLUT !!! Ughh, too many useless thoughts and I want them gone right now. I quickly reach over, put my arms around Josh and kiss him. He seemed a bit startled but followed suit. An hour later, while staring at the ceiling with Sam by my side, he asked ‘what are you thinking?’ I shook my head and said ‘I should get going. Its late’. He asked ‘Wanna grab some dessert?’ I said no and started putting my clothes on. He insisted on walking me back home, sweet by the way, which I didn’t want him to do. Just as we reached my place ‘Do you want to hang out sometime later in the week?’ I was caught off-guard. Till that day, no one I ever met for a casual tryst had ever asked that. I didn’t know what to say. I looked at him, nodded ‘yes, when we both can find time’, which sounded more like a No though I wished I just said yes. I kissed him again and walked over without turning back while thinking “Is it true? Is ambivalence the new gay disease?”

  19. QD21. =Barely a tale but a fairy tale=

    It’s a love story moment, like no other!

    That’s what most love stories do to introduce themselves right? I guess this one falls in that genre some times… and at other times, far from being one. You decide if it is a fairy tale moment for you.

    College days are unique because they have so much to offer! Haven’t you heard that a million times before? But in a way they do, offering different things to different people…

    For Arjun, it offered space to be himself- to be a hero, to be loved intellectually, lots of accolades, new friendships, many in awe of his mind. And no romance.

    He liked a few people here and there. There was the intelligent Vandana who was more of a “mug-pot” than actually intelligent, but Arjun liked her wit and admired the aplomb with which she handled boys. He wasn’t really interested in her he thought then. She was cute and he was shy, not willing to admit it.

    Then, there was Ranjani. She was dull in class but was the class hottie and he was inadvertently paired up with her. Arjun enjoyed it secretly and Ranjani seemed to also not mind. At times indifferent, at times thrilled, at times with her ACTUAL boyfriend, Arjun was like this imaginary boyfriend created for class entertainment that she would never want to have. He was ok with this being that way too.

    Then, there was the male form. You might have known those dull headaches that are never too obvious, so you don’t know what to do with them. There isn’t enough pain to detect or acknowledge it- pain because it is a bit of a bother…somewhere you know about it, somewhere you don’t.

    Arjun had had a few male friends through his life who had not in any way been regular friends. In the sense, he might have been a little more possessive of them, a little more emotional within this relationship, needing a bit more of their attention, but somewhat never getting that. These special friends,sensing this were either embarrassed and quickly broke off, or disappeared gradually as life flipped it’s pages.
    Arjun never thought much of this, except that it would cause him a prolonged grief of the loss, which he never understood. He never really thought much of the girls not giving him strong signals either, except more shyness, feigned indifference and somewhat of a slow accumulating disappointment. But he masked it all.

    Sudden cut to another world- another time, another space. Arjun is now in a classroom with white, black and brown people- all mixed, all from all over the world. This is another country. America, a place that allowed him to go explore things he didn’t allow himself earlier. He sat in class thinking about that evening, a Friday evening that was to be. After months of being bored and boring, loitering back home late from the library like a nerd, or hanging out at his family friends place filled with Indian grannies, children, half-accented relatives and Indian warmth, or taking the train to the city with Indian roomates who would just go window shopping and never into a club, Arjun had mustered enough courage and found a date.

    An email had landed in his inbox and said something like ” I’m ok with coffee, but I’m not into blind dates…” Arjun was a bit taken aback, but he replied “If it is just coffee, there’s no reason not to be adventurous.”never intending to retort so as to get this to happen. The response read,” I like the attitude, call me…”

    It was faint excitement. The dull kind, the controlled kind- not his usual,GOD! I CANT BELIEVE IT, THIS IS FANTASTIC, KIND”. It was more of a “We’ll see”.

    Arjun got dressed. He was walking down to the station and had lied he had lost his cell phone. He didn’t believe in cell phones and didn’t have one yet. The two had decided to meet at 34th street and 6th Avenue. He picked a GAP store and stood outside. No sign. Arjun looked at his watch and called from a local phone. “Running a little late, sorry!” He went into the store, and began looking at all things he still thought he needed despite a heavily ecstatic shopping week the week before and came back to the door.

    A man stood there, short of stature and youthful of demeanour. “Not quite man”, thought Arjun, “This is a boy!” Strangely, he was wearing the same coloured glossy maroon shirt as Arjun’s.That’s all it was. “This isn’t anything spectacular, this seems regular”, Arjun told himself. Evading eye contact, Arjun politely told him that they could go sit some place and get some coffee. A polite coffee and a goodbye and a “Whew!What were you thinking?” He wanted to get out of this, and quick!

    The boy-man didn’t seem to read Arjun’s evasiveness. He had a strange glint in his eyes but respected Arjun’s awkwardness. He took what Arjun didn’t offer him in his stride.

    “Why not dinner?” asked the boy-man. Being famished, Arjun thought, “oh well, might as well…”

    Cut to an Indian restaurant somewhere in Manhattan. As they sat opposite,Arjun noticed him in detail for the first time. The boy-man looked a bit too sophisticated for him, he thought. The fast types- articulate, sexy, with a goatee that looked like his- only a lot more slick. Many things better than him in many ways and he surely wasn’t into Arjun either, he told himself. That was fine. It was fair. Neither was he. It was like two regular friends out to dinner. Only,they didn’t know each other.

    Despite all this, Arjun sensed a strange friendly liking growing for the boy-man…and it got stronger with each thing he said. His life seemed to have run identical to Arjun’s- his schooling, what he did, when he came to the US…a lot of it.

    Then, he uttered the word music.

    Arjun knew this is when it all falls apart. He loves Hindustani classical and old Bengali film songs. According to him, the Hindi rehashes sucked. Bengali songs were so much more superior. All his life, Arjun had heard only himself and a bunch of family oldies and their friends talk this way. Never had he one decent conversation with a friend who brightened up when Arjun told him he was into Indian music.
    The boy-man said he was trained in Hindustani music. He also said he loved Indian music. He said that he was sick and alone through school- an all-boys,rock and metal obsessed environ. He said all this even before Arjun could share with him his thoughts on his favourite sort of music. Arjun’s jaw dropped.

    Could this thing be for real? A sudden friend, a sudden companion, a sudden stranger who was all so familiar…

    In all this suddenness, Arjun found himself walking towards a gay bar the boy-man had goaded him to go to. In all this suddenness, he found himself intrepidly enter the bar and find so much of the male form. In all this suddenness, Arjun found himself ordering a rum and sitting next to the boy-man real close, and feeling a sudden rush of passion and a warm closeness.

    The boy-man later told Arjun that Arjun’s line to him, “ can I lean on your shoulders” had swept him off his feet. Arjun on the other hand had felt that he was being pulled into a oneness, a passion, a newness, an aliveness and an accepted togetherness. He leaned on him and their arms went around each other.

    And they kissed.

  20. QD22.

    Once upon a time there was a girl, who got scared of the fact that she was only attracted to girls and asked God for a miracle. The wish was to turn into a boy overnight. The schools records should change, the birth certificate should change, the memories of the friends should change and they should remember that they were friends with this awesome boy, whom the girls used to love when he flirted with them. The parents and every single person they knew should only remember that her parents had a son, and NOT a daughter. This is a fairy tale and therefore the miracle happened, she turned into this handsome gentleman who would respect the women for who they are.

    He entered college, and before he knew it, he became best friends with his lab partner, the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on. The friendship had not started off very well, they were the worst of enemies where she used to ask the most basic doubts during lab sessions and though he would answering her patiently, he used to get annoyed. He used to tell everything to his mom, so he would go home and tell about her, about how she used to ask so many questions and annoy him to the core.

    Then the second semester started, where they had to move to their own different departments as he studied IT and she did ECE. When the separation happened, that is when they both realized that it was so difficult to stay apart. They used to meet during intervals, breaks, Bus Park before the buses left for home and he used to be the most patient person with her. She would ask everything to him. They used to chat for hours in Yahoo Messenger after getting home, until it was so late to go to sleep for the early college next day. She used to wear sarees on symposium days but did not meet others, until he said to her a hundred times that she looked good in it and that there is nothing to be shy of. He would bunk his lab classes just to be with her during her department symposiums and be patient when she decided about the “n” number of poses that she wanted to give for the pictures that she wanted him to take.

    It was the third year of college, when he went to his mother and said, “Mom, I know we are Gujarati, but would you mind if you have a Tamil daughter in law?” His mom and dad were the most understanding people; and he, with their permission planned on a great day to propose her. Luckily and awesomely he was born on Valentine’s Day. He arranged a dinner on the rooftop restaurant at the Residency hotel in Chennai. The table was overlooking a pool with the view of Chennai from 20th floor at night. There was soft romantic music being played by the live band and he waited downstairs in the lobby for her. He had called saying he is giving a treat to all his friends for his birthday at the Residency and she had teased about him being so rich. He had just laughed along with her and said, “Dress in something red, ok? I have asked everyone to.” And she teased again saying why he was getting so mushy about a group dinner. So he waited in the lobby, in his black suit with a red tie.

    And there she was getting down from the auto, wearing the most beautiful red anarkali dress ever, with red heels and a matching bindi and beautiful ornaments whose beauty increased because she was wearing them. Her hair had always been tied into braids, but today he noticed her hair was so straight, long and the two strands that used to come down on her forehead the either side were the ones that used to take his breath away. He kept looking at her intently until she came very close and said, “Happy Birthday!” and broke the trance he had gone into after seeing her. She asked where everyone else was, he said he was waiting for them and asked her to go to the restaurant on 20th floor and wait for him up there. The hotel staff were involved with him in his plan and took her in a lift that stopped at many floors before it reached the top floor.

    Then when she got out the 20th floor roof restaurant, there he was one his one knee with a ring in his hands waiting for her. She was taken by surprise, but before she could react, he started speaking. He said, “You are my Angel. I have had the best times with you, and I love to take care of you. I do not know if you love me, but this is true that every minute that I am apart from you, I miss you so much. I used to get annoyed when you asked me a lot of questions when we first met, but now I start hating the silence, if stop asking me your cute questions. Every time you ask me to look at you a 100 times to tell you that you look fine, I have taken deep sighs and thought to myself, My God this lady is beautiful. Sometimes when you talk about how a guy in your class looked cute, I used to feel like punching him on his face and I never knew why until I realized something. I have come to realize that you make me happy. And I would like to spend the rest of my life making you happy. I do not know, if you love me or even consider me as a very close friend, but for me, you are my Angel. Every time we attended the college day DJ nights, the only thing I have wanted to do, was take you in my arms and dance for all the romantic songs. But I know that if you feel the same way about me, I would never miss a chance a dance with my Angel anymore. So without further mushy talks, I would like to say that I love you so much and I would like to spend the rest of my life loving you for who you are. Will you marry me?”

    She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and said, “Yes”. He put the ring on her finger, kissed her hand and asked, “Will you have a dance with me?” She nodded. The song “The Way You Look Tonight” played in the background and they both danced. He wrapped his hand around her waist and she placed her hand on his chest and there was beautiful electricity that flowed through their bodies. And they danced away for hours looking into each other’s eyes and seeing the future, the perfect future that they would plan together for themselves.

    The End.

  21. QD23. =The Weekend=

    We met for the first time in front of St Anthony’s. There he stood, beaming like the emoticon that had a “D” for a mouth instead of the polite “)”. We had spent the last 2 weeks on phone, talking about everything under the sun and yet as we stood there in the Kochi summer, words eluded us. We were shy; we stole glances at each other every so often, looking away and blushing when we caught each other’s eyes. As we got onto the bus, he stood close by, making sure his hand touched mine innocently. We still couldn’t stop smiling. That was on Friday!

    On Sunday I had tears in my eyes. The bus which would take me back to Bangalore was starting. He was the more brave one; his face revealed nothing. He bought a bottle of water and pushed it into my hands. He was walking away before I realized what was happening. Thankfully the bus was half empty, I could cry in peace. And then the phone rings.

    “Chekka, I love you.”

    “Shall I get off the bus?”

    “No, Im half way home. Do you love me?”

    “Idiot! The bus is moving. Shall I get off?”

    “Don’t be stupid. Just say you love me.”

    The bus was already making its way out onto the road. I caught a glimpse of him standing right behind the bus. Of course he hadn’t left, he loved me. I grabbed my backup and ran to the door. The driver refused to open the door until I threatened to jump. I was running to him before the door slammed shut. Panting and gasping I reached him. His eyes were moist. They were wide open in surprise and an then hope. The most beautiful pair of eyes in the whole wide world. “Of course I love you!” and we kissed in the middle of the KSRTC bus stand in Ernakulam.

  22. QD24.

    There was this boy, who grew up chasing rainbows and dreaming big in a small village of Andhra Pradesh. He was the eldest of three brothers and apple of his parent’s eyes. At 13, he told his mother that he wanted to grow up and marry a guy. She was worried and discussed this with her husband. They moved him to a co-ed school as they thought it would straighten things up. Four years passed by. Then, during an idle moment during summer break, he told his father that he had feelings for men and wanted to be with them. His parents were furious this time, and they asked the boy to move into the hostel as they feared he might be a bad influence on his two younger brothers.

    Much water had flown under the bridge since the boy left his home. The dad kept silent, but the mom grew closer and accepted her boy for whatever he was. The boy graduated college, got a job in Chennai, found an another boy and starts to script his own fairy tale. In the meanwhile, increasing accessibility of the digital revolution and media helped the dad to read and understand the basics of gender and sexuality. That was the start. Dad called the boy one day, and they spoke for hours. The boy and the dad made peace with each other. The boy visited home again. All smiles.

    From then onwards, the dad stood strong with his son against all odds. He fought with nosy relatives who tried to tell the family to get him married to a girl. Though, he didn’t know how to handle the boy’s heartbreak when it happened, he tried, by playing comedy movies and rustling up lovely meals for the entire family.

    One fine night at the family dinner, the dad said that he was proud of the boy for sticking to his principles. The boy smiled and they lived happily ever after.

  23. QD25. Well,I needn’t ponder or imagine to frame a story: the first comment reminded me of my story. It was after my 12th that I realised about my sexuality. All along, I have been transparent and open to my parents regarding relevant issues! Then I was more of a mom’s son, though now I’m more on my own. So, I couldn’t stop myself from telling her that I’m attracted to men, and I dream of marrying a guy. Mom and dad discussed this between themselves. Finally, it was dad, who usually doesn’t interfere in anything, who took the initiative and spoke to me. He said “We have no objection, and we are going to support you in any way as and when required to find your match! Mom added, “We have a request, please keep up the moral values and don’t be promiscuous which goes hand in hand with the sexuality you are into!”
    The search is still active, without any fruit!:(

    Hope sprouts, unknowingly..and when one of my friend suggested me this site..yes i wanted to give it a try..because I love to write. Plus, what if somebody adores my story and knocks my door! 😉

    *winks! and runs away!*

  24. QD26. =Vivek and Vidya dress alike=

    Once upon a time, there was a boy in Madurai called Vivek, who was just like the other boys, except that he liked to dress like a girl. His parents saw that this made him happy, and they never objected to it. In fact, for his tenth birthday, his father got him a beautiful pink skirt. His mother gifted him some nice dark lipstick. He went to school dressed as a girl. He looked prettier than most girls. No one made fun of him. Girls and boys alike admired his dress. He never desired to grow breasts or change his physical features to match that of a girl. Later on, he grew up to become a wonderful man and started dating a beautiful lady called Vidya. Vidya was a cisgendered heterosexual woman, but she also found Vivek attractive when he dressed like a woman. When they went out shopping clothes, both of them were always together in the lady’s section of the store. They felt lucky they could share what most other couples don’t: dresses. They got married and lived happily thereafter. The End.

  25. QD27. =Love, and not labels, is all you need=

    Joseph and Shankar decided to live together and adopt a baby girl. They named the child Satya. When Satya’s Dads were children, homosexuality was still not completely accepted. So, they had faced many challenges when they grew up. They wanted to make sure they were great parents, and they never wished to force a gender identity or sexual orientation on their child. As young adults, they had been actively participating in LGBT events. They had a good collection of books and DVDs about gender and sexuality.

    One evening, Satya came home from college a bit early and got bored of reading her textbooks. So, she started to explore her Dads’ bookshelves. She read a few pages from one of the fat books and started thinking if she is a lesbian or a bisexual women. She found it strange that she could not categorize herself. Shankar noticed that Satya came out out of the study room with a confused face. So, he asked her what is bothering her. Satya said, “I read in one of your books about the different types of sexuality like heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual, but I am not sure where I fit in. I am not even sure of my gender. I think I am a woman, but I do have some masculine qualities as well. Is this too confusing, Dad?”

    Shankar smiled and replied, “Satya, my darling, don’t worry about all those labels. Words like heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality are used by psychologists and gender scientists to categorize sexual orientation. If you continue reading those books, you may come across other terms like pansexuality, polysexuality, androphilia, gynephilia, and ambiphilia. Learning these works might help you impress your friends, but you don’t need to fit into any category. To be happy in life, all you need is love. First accept and love yourself for who you are. Then, you can freely express you love to others. You should be glad that we are now in a society where you can express your love freely without bothering about your gender or the gender of the person you love. You are someone capable of giving and receiving love. Love is all you need to live a great life, Satya.”

    Joseph who was listening to all this, interrupted, “Satya, your dad is one hundred percent right is saying love is all you need to live a great life, but right now I am hungry and really need some good food. Don’t you all want to have dinner tonight?” Shakar and Satya realized they were quite hungry as well. So, the family sat together for one of the most special dinners they had had.

    It was a special day for Satya. She was relived to know that she does not need a label. In course of time, she got into a few relationships with boys and girls and she enjoyed every moment without being ever bothered about fitting into a category.

    The End.

  26. Far into a land where only lovers can live in flight of exponential ecstasy, there was a Desi princess poet whom a Greek girl couldn’t have imagined more majestic, beautiful and funny. They both saw the possibilities of their connection whirling with adventure and passion. As so, they lived far away from the cold world of doubt and hate to cherish what seed they were given, beckoning a light for all queers whom live in doubt.

  27. That moment was one that she would never forget throughout her life. For that was the moment she had fallen in love with a girl (GK) she had studied with for nearly a year. She knew then that she would be in love with GK forever. It was as if her mind was meant for being preoccupied with her thoughts every single day. The odds were less anyway. Especially given the fact that GK did not know that she was in love with her. Then something happened. Our girl finally mustered courage during the early hours in school one day when few were present in class, went straight to GK and said blankly “I love you GK.” The look of shock and incredulity on GK ‘s face were enough to send our girl bolting away. She was worried you know, avoided GK for the rest of the day…Until during the afternoon break when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned only to find GK with a cheeky smile. Before she could even comprehend came a very tight hug from the one she loved the most…GK

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