Rahul & Mohini
Excited he runs down to the first floor to meet her right next to the lift at the mall.
He: “third shelf, second row, dark grey hot pants”
She: “checked shirt on display in the men’s section”
They met at the billing counter, he asked showing the checked shirt “yehi wala na?”[This one right?]
She: “tere hot pants bill kara diye hain” [I have billed the hot pants for you]
Little did the world know that in a small town of Nagpur, growing up were two siblings much like any other brother & sister but with their own little secret!
They grew up as any other siblings yet their choices were very different. She hated her pleated hair & he hated his checked school trousers. She liked wearing jeans & shirt, while he was fascinated by his mother’s lipstick collection. When it came to toys, they were happy to exchange. It was a fair trade of a Barbie doll for the racing car.
I knew I was different & realized that I am gay but what thrilled me even more is, there is someone else in the family who is also different.
As we grew up we never talked about it with each other. We studied in a coed school and we made our own set of friends. If not studying I’d mostly spend time either sketching and playing with my GI Joe figures or dressing up my sisters Barbie dolls with dresses made out of crepe paper and glitter. By the 9th grade I fell in love with boy who I befriended and long before we knew, we were dating. I would sneak him into the house in the middle of the night & my sister knew about it but she kept my secret.
One fine afternoon I walked past her bedroom’s ajar door to find her embraced in a cozy hug with her girlfriend. That day I learnt her little secret which stayed a secret much like mine with her.
Then on started a journey of two siblings who knew they were different from the world & same as each other.
I would help pass her love letter to her girlfriend & she would cover up for me if I was out late spending time with my boyfriend.
Whenever I had a heartbreak she would be the only one knowing what I am going through, and when she had a break up I was there for her.
I was in my 7th standard, while playing a truth & dare game this girl in my class gave a peck on my cheeks, and that created a flutter in my stomach. A girl kissed me & I liked it.
In my 10th class my secret crush said that I have a really long nose and she would like to rub her nose against mine. “Mann mein laddu phuta” [butterflies in my stomach] but I said no to her. She bet that she would do that within a week & that secretly thrilled me. Then that fine morning in the class when it was just the two of us, she came close face to face and rubbed her nose against mine; I was on cloud nine.
These little incidents affirmed my interest and my attraction to girls and it felt the most natural to me.
We used to come cross each other while going to school and exchange smiles. One fine day I was introduced to her through a common friend. We bonded as we started talking and this was the first time I realized that our feelings were mutual. It was lethal attraction. She frequented my home and we would spend the summer afternoons together, lost in love 🙂
But soon I realized that I was not the only one love-struck under this roof, my brother also had a “special” friend. While my girlfriend came home during the day, my brother would sneak his boyfriend in the night.
I was happy to know my brother is just like me.
Years passed and with each passing year our bond grew stronger, we knew about each other but we never talked about it. We both made our career choices, she moved to Singapore with her girlfriend and I moved to Bangalore exploring new opportunities and of course love. This was the time when we both were happily in love with our partners.
Rahul: I would visit her as often as I could. She was and still is the closest to me in our family. During my visits, I would feel the urge to talk to her about both us siblings being queer. It was time we acknowledged that we are different from most of the other siblings. I wanted to re-define our bond as siblings and acknowledge new reasons to belong and am glad I did.
We introduced our partners to each other and it was a liberating and overwhelming experience. We grew closer and re-bonded at a different level as modern queer family.
Our parents knew about us being queer and are very understanding and accepting although they took some time to adjust to our world. We both came out individually at our own pace.
While our mom being a hopeless romantic she had always believed that love conquers all. For a woman who eloped to get married to the love of her life, for her love has no gender. Our Dad on the other end accepts us the way we are but keeps reminding us to be ready for the future where they won’t be around to us.