Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rainbow Colours Or The Worst Coming Out Ever

In these days of metrosexual confusion, it is hard to make out if men are gay or straight. I've had my sraight men friends show me how to blow dry my hair just so (it works!), another straight friend set me on the path to not looking grossly obese and I can't thank him enough. Anyhow. I met my friend Pravat about a year back at a seminar and then we both signed up for a course to increase our credits. Pravat was very sweet, bitingly honest and would hit the nail on the head while all the rest of us were fielding for words to couch the bite. I hit it off very well with Pravat from the first day and we were put in the same group. As a part of the course, we had group assignments and had to give presentations everyday. We had great fun doing those assignments. We got to know each other better and I found the interplay of cultures intriguing and amusing. We swapped stories, experiences, weird boss stories, weird laws stories and family vs. work stories.

One day, we had a rough day in class. I had had a rough day at work as well and most of us had to appear for our qualifying exams and were frazzled to start off with. Then, we got handed the toughest assignment ever. So, we went to our tutorial rooms and for a moment sat and studied our assignments with long faces. Suddenly, someone piped up with how they would go shopping after class to feel lighter and was anyone interested in joining up. As was to be expected, Pravat was the first to volunteer and with an ecstatic look on his face said, "Retail therapy is what we all need today." Maria, also in our group commented that it was nice to see a man who understood the warm glow shopping brought and that she had to emotionally blackmail her boyfriend to go shopping with her. Suddenly, Pravat butted in with, "I'm gay! And its my life and I'm not going to change. I'm out and if you accept me fine, if not, I don't care but I am like this." There was silence in the room and then suddenly everyone started talking at the same time. "Oh! Pravat, these are the 2000s, everyone's cool." "Oh! I have many gay friends." "Nice to know, and I think you're very brave."

I don't know what prompted Pravat that day. Pressure of academics, exams, work, social pressures where one is expected to be as normal and conventional as possible or just indifference by peers, some of whom would have never guessed unless it was shouted in their faces. And then came the questions, "Are you in a relationship?" "How is it in Thailand?" As for me, I had guessed it a long time ago, when Pravat and I went shopping and he thought that the colours I wore clashed and that designers did indeed cater to the anorexic. Which straight man could have appreciated the beauty of the prada slingbacks and known the difference between strawberry and tomato?


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