Worth It


“And that’s it for today folks. Have a great weekend!”. Those honey-like words floated into my tired and semi-conscious brain, and I was the first one out of the meeting room. As I was walking back to the desk to get my things, my phone buzzed. “Your parents are visiting. Get dessert”. I groaned, feeling too tired to drive. “Aka kaju katli” I couldn’t help snorting. Like I’d buy anything else. As I picked up my bag, my eye caught the photo on my desk. It was taken ten years ago, on our graduation.  That familiar grin brought a rush of memories to the surface, and I couldn’t help reminiscence and smile.

           I first met Gautam ten years ago, in our first year of college. We had the same group of friends, and we slowly became close. Friendship soon turned into something more, but for some time, we pretended that nothing had changed, fearing the other didn’t feel the same way. But we eventually confessed, and our relationship was one of the best aspects of our college lives.

Things started changing after graduation. Our parents were still in the dark about us. On top of that, we were struggling to make it out in the real world on our own. And then, Gautam got transferred to Delhi for a year. Long-distance wasn’t something we thought about, but we knew giving up was not an option. It wasn’t easy. We had to deal with timing, distance and every time we fought, not being close to each other made it harder to resolve things. But ultimately, all the crap we went through only made us stronger. 

The real challenge was our parents’ reactions. Both sides were furious. My parents refused to talk to me, and Gautam’s family cut him off entirely after refusing to leave me. It was a trying time, and things looked dark and bleak at that time.

           They say that time brings change, even if it were slow. A year later, my parents talked to me and agreed to give Gautam a chance. Now, he has replaced me as their favorite child.

           “Your order sir” I was startled out of my thoughts by the Ananda Bhavan’s Kaju katili thrust at my face. I paid the bill and slowly walked back to my car. Thirty minutes later, I was in the lift, my mask feeling sticky and constricting against my face. I unlocked the door, and the familiar scene filled my heart with warmth. There was Illayaraja music in the background. Gautham and dad were roaring with laughter, with my mother shaking her head in fond exasperation at both. “Rohan! When did you get in?” and was engulfed in a hug and was filled with comfort. As I hugged my mum back, and exchanged hellos, and tried to hold onto the Kaju katli bag so that it wouldn’t rip, I realized how lucky I was.

Though my parents had come around, we were still subject to judgment and criticism by society. Gautam’s family point blank refused to accept us, and we had a hard time finding a place to live together because of our relationship.

That’s why 6th September 2018 was a day of celebration for us. Section 377 got amended to include same-sex relationships. We, along with the LGBTQ community, rejoiced. That year, we participated in our first Pride march and got engaged! 

           After the lockdown, we spent even more time together, and it made us feel even closer than before. I had to go to the office a few months later, but Gautam continued to work from home. He now jokes about permanently setting up an office in our study. My parents visit us from time to time, and I couldn’t be happier with how my life turned out to be.

           That isn’t to say everything is rosy. We still get judged and are trolled on social media for being abnormal by homophobic and close-minded people, but honestly, they don’t bother me anymore. Because you know what, the family I have made for myself is worth it.

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