Does love find us or do we find love? I think it is a little of both and both are quite essential. Delhi Pride March 2015. It was my second year in Delhi and the first pride (i.e. 2014) was all about the curiosity that was building in my heart only to be eclipsed by the fact that my semester finals commenced on the day next to pride and I was a little studious back then. But I was quite adamant about grabbing my second opportunity, although not devoid of confusions. However, with the correct company insisting I must attend and that exams come and go (the schedule was similar the second year too), I got ready. At the last moment, a friend of mine rushed to my room from the girls hostel, carrying a bunch of her dresses and said I should pick one. There was a little black short jumpsuit that resembled an ancient Roman tunic, which breathed a sense of androgyny matching my sense of style. With that I wore wedged heels (left under my custody by a classmate for reasons I can’t recall other than sheer luck) applied a little eyeliner and was good to go. Such was my first pride. And the dreamer that I was, I hoped someone would notice me and we shall have a romance. As the March progressed, of all the people I exchanged hellos with and was fortunate to hear compliments from, was a man who came to me and asked if he could click a picture. I agreed and the rite was fast and we both were lost in the crowd. It was only two years after and now when I look back, I realize that the wish I made on my first pride march actually came true. That’s how Aditya and I crossed paths, which I hardly noticed, but now I am told it was then itself that he felt he and I could be something more. Nothing like love at first sight, but Aditya’s life experience and yes, we are 21 years apart in age.
It was during our second meet which too was accidental that we exchanged numbers which neither of us used for any contact. It was after some good 8 months that Aditya got in touch with me on instagram and asked if I would agree to go on a date with someone “really really old”. It didn’t take time for me to accept the proposal for I don’t know why he was fussing about age when he was not even that old. I knew he was elder to me and back then, I actually found him look a little older than he actually looks now. My love has definitely made him shed some years. Jokes aside, it was nice meeting him and spending time the first time. I discovered interesting things about him. The most alluring of all was the fact that ten years prior to I was I born, he actually stayed for two years at the place I was born. So literally, he saw the place I grew up in before I was born. If you look at it from the lens of a good romance, that’s magical. Of course back then I didn’t think anything of that sort since he was a good company, could be a great friend whose life lessons would benefit me.
We met a time or two after that, had dinners, went on bike rides and talked at length, but never ever I imagined we could be in love. I had my reservations, difficult to breach when social media fed me with idealistic images of love and a boyfriend. Age, although not loudly a matter, but I never thought of boxes that could exist outside of the ones I chose for myself. Even now, I see comments like “father and son” when a picture of us is posted. So maybe, age is an issue when it comes to being in love. Definitely not for everyone, but for some of us, me back then, striding through life in a dreamy castle waiting for a Prince Charming without the discretion to recognize when one actually comes along. Well but now I can assure you I have bridged my myopic views on relationships concerning age.
Another year passed and we talked few and far in between before one day he actually asked me if I could be ready for a relationship. By then, I convinced myself, relationships were not for me and even if I agreed to be in one, a closed committed one was a far cry, although that was ideal for me. He asked me if I could try being in a relationship with him with no terms of any commitment. I really liked him for by then he was a good friend. We enjoyed watching movies together, going on walks and bike rides, climbing to the terrace in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason, to look at the night sky (although Delhi hardly has a night sky) and talk of history, eating ethnic cuisines etc. If that should suffice in a relationship, I gave a nod, but love was still a strange thing.
Love is, in my experience, a learned behavior. Now we are in a beautiful relationship, committed and flourishing. Meanwhile, it was after six months from the first day we agreed to be in a relationship, that we upgraded it to a committed one. It was not an easy journey for me, shedding my ego and bringing ourselves to an even ground devoid of prejudices and preconceived ideas but only love and care. It was difficult to see the possibility of an “us” through filters of age and looks. Aditya was never doubtful about the possibility of us having a beautiful relationship and he invested all his love, affection, and experience, in helping me learn to see what he saw, learn to love him and value what we share. It took its own sweet time, but the fruits are marvelous.
Many accepted us, many were skeptical and tried to intervene, but in the end, everyone understood, at least the ones that matter. It helped me regain the strength to love myself again and to open up to people about my sexuality. His presence is like the wind that dusted my sails and helped me set sail. My mom calls me now and tells me she is confused if she should address me as a son or a daughter and if she should see Aditya as her son-in-law. She is now a part of our dream and all the people we are related to being a part too. Being with Aditya gave me the sense of a family and a home, that I always wanted to have but never thought I could shadowed by the fears and apprehension brought about by the life I was destined to live as a gay person. Our love is like the thread that tied together the broken pieces of my life which I never could figure out how to bring in together, also lacking the strength to let them go. My mother, my sister, a career, a lover, friends all scattered in the sea of life with me drifting in between with no idea how to tie them all together.
Waking up early and going to the beach to see the sunrise is something we try to do every morning. Of course I wake up cranky and he does his emotional manipulation make me do it and on the way I wake up fully and start enjoying it and thank him for convincing me to do so. Love is beautiful but doesn’t really come to life at first sight. It is learned and the test is difficult, but if we invest it right with some good patience, the harvest is good, really good. I love Aditya and we have a dream of having a farm in the near future. We are trying and still working on the love that we share, for we must not forget that love doesn’t grow in the wild, it is a baby, we need to tend to it and grow with it.