Aditya walked in the rain enjoying each drop. The freshness that it brought, the richness it brought to each hue gave a certain joy and pure happiness. It was a special day for him. He never knew that coming out of the closet would be so refreshing. He felt a sudden rush of adrenaline along with a special feeling which perhaps would stay for long.

It was indeed a long and wearisome journey.

He had a very happy and healthy childhood. He never liked girls, which was viewed by his family as a developmental stage.

Playing with boys gave him immense pleasure. As he entered his teens, Aditya felt an uncanny attraction towards Rohit, a boy from his class. The presence of Rohit anywhere around him was disturbing. He felt butterflies in his stomach as Rohit entered the classroom. Any contact even by sheer chance, while exchanging books or moving through the corridor, sent waves of excitement. Why is this happening to me?

Aditya started having sleepless nights. As soon as he was in bed, he would see Rohit’s bare body. Rohit’s tall, lanky frame and bouncy hair would have attracted any girl. “So, why do I have these awkward feelings when Rohit is around?” thought Aditya.

The sociology Professor noticed Aditya staring in space. Actually, he was looking at Rohit. “Aditya, do you have a query?” asked the Professor.” Uh Umm, No Sir….” Aditya looked down as he was shaken up from his trance. Incidence of being caught unawares in the classroom was on the rise for Aditya. His restlessness was noticed by his mother too. “Aditya, are you feeling unwell?” “I am okay, Mom”, Aditya replied with an inner guilt of having to lie to his mother.

After graduation, Aditya joined a multinational company. The open office structure posed another problem for Aditya. He became very conscious of his behaviour. He became an introvert and was labelled as shy, loner, recluse by his colleagues. But he kept his interaction with colleagues to the minimum for fear of being caught. Although he was very efficient in his work, Aditya lost quite a few opportunities to move upwards because of his strange behaviour. His boss noticed his behavioural pattern and called him for a talk. “Are you comfortable with work environment here? Is something worrying you? You have been a good employee, so you may feel free to express your worries, is it a financial issue? We can help you to get a loan”. But Aditya got away by giving some flimsy excuses. But Aditya was very uncomfortable. Have I given away myself? What if they know?

With the passing of time, things became difficult for Aditya. Even now he had shivers with the memories of a tough college life. His friends teased him about his strange behaviour. He was falsely implicated into a molestation case. Aditya’s life became one big hell because of homophobic behaviour of his peers. He was unsure about what he wanted in life. He cursed God for sending him to this planet. Negativity overcame him completely.

But like a boon in disguise, came a chance meeting with a gay group. By now Aditya had become familiar with terms like ‘Gay” and ‘Lesbian”. As he read about these people and heard them speak, “Oh! That’s me”, his inner voice said. He began to look at himself as being a special creation. The acceptance in the group was a huge morale booster for Aditya. His interaction with the group helped him to do some introspection. He began to resolve, to some extent, the conflict that troubled him for a while. Aditya became a happier, relaxed person as he had someone to talk about his issues.

But the bigger challenge lay ahead. He was still in a closed, homogeneous. Coming out to his family, close ones and the world at large, was something entirely different. His mind was claustrophobic – what will people feel, say? Are my parents going to be angry and disown me? But why should I disclose my feelings to people? Why should I tell people? His mind was flooded with a thousand questions.

He was apprehensive and yes, terrified. The idea of opening out about being homosexual was challenging. He paced up and down the length of his room. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead as he imagined being ostracised by his family. He knew that getting accommodation would be a huge task if his real identity is known to the flat owners or the housing society members. His turmoil again became visible to the people around.

But he discussed this at length with a member of the group. That person spoke at length about his conflict and how he finally came out.” I really went out there to experience my sexuality and not just wonder about it. I had suppressed my attraction towards men for the longest time. There was too much pressure from all sides”. The best part of the discussion was that he was now a much more liberated person. He was free of the shackles that bound him earlier. He could be his real self without any regrets. That is it, thought Aditya. He made up his mind.

That night, after dinner, Aditya sat in the living room with his parents. Although he felt nervous, after taking a deep breath – Aditya told his parents.

There was an eerie silence in the room. An unsettling air prevailed. Aditya’s father had wrinkles of frown on his forehead. He had numerous questions written all over his face but his lips were held tight in rage.

His mother was the first one to ask questions. They came one after another-

“How do know?”

“When did you come to know?”

“We have made preparations for your marriage, what will happen to all that?”

There was a trail of questions……

His father finally asked him just one question-

“Why did you hide all this from us?”

Aditya did not utter a single word. But he was on an emotional high. His parents had accepted him.

A liberated Aditya enjoyed the monsoon showers as he entered into a new phase in his life.

Coming out of the closet was indeed a moment of pride for him!

***

This is an entry for UniK-4, a 1000-word writing event at ArtoonsInn.

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