I exactly don’t remember when did I “turn” gay. Or for that matter of fact, when did I decide to be gay. As if suddenly one day I realized I got fed up of the entire womankind and decided to focus upon the poor hapless mankind. Funny for me though obviously, it’s a question I come across by everyone: ‘When did you know you were gay?’ And my answer hasn’t changed a bit over the years: ‘for forever…’ Yes. I think I was gay since forever. Maybe I didn’t know it then. But now when I retrospect whole little too-large-to-be-comprehended life, I guess I was gay since the beginning. Probably providence had a fine plan etched out for me the day I blindly entered this world crying like a sissy, which ironically I still do. I still remember my school days. I spent ten of my essential schooling years in a renowned public school in South Delhi. And they were the worst and the best years of my whole childhood. That is, the so-called childhood I did have when I was not returning home from day care everyday thinking that only 3 hours were left, right before dinner when my parents would break out in a quarrel as a daily routine. And yes, those occasional days when I would be aware of some misdemeanor I committed in a recent past which I would get punished for after I reached home. No. The punishment here didn’t mean missing a meal or getting grounded. For me it was a round of good bashing, occasionally with direct contact of hands and majorly with use of the rubber slippers. And this would go on for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. I always schemed that if it got too much, I would go up to some window and start screaming for help. But that was only a wild imagination, for since I remember to remember anything at all, it was a natural instinct to scurry to some corner of a room and curl up to my best so that the blows would hopefully get dodged in the walls and the ones that did manage to hit me would mostly be my legs and other more enduring parts. And as I said, it was a regular thing after a period of time like the taming of a horse in a stable. And I obviously don’t remember when did this routine start. I grew up with this. It was like I knew that every month I would get thrashed for some reason or other. And I fearfully waited for that damned day the whole month. So this is why I don’t really count all this as a part of my childhood. And after the whole thrashing saga, by next morning my tears would dry up and everyone would be like nothing ever happened because it was never new. And I would be off to school.
School. From kindergarten to the 6th grade; my life was miserable. I was a below average loner and a backbencher who was so introvert and reserve that one of my teachers actually suggested my mom to get me tested for speech defects. I could never explain why I was so detached. Anyone being aware of my complete situation would instantly remark ‘Oh the poor thing has so many issues, its quite natural for him to behave this way.’ Maybe. But as for me, I just couldn’t ever connect the two things. I just didn’t find any logical or a rational ground of correlation. But I was like that. Many thought I was a geek or a nerd or a weirdo. Many didn’t even know I existed. But there were definitely some who were considerate enough to treat me like a human being. Here probably lies the beginning of the answer to the question “When did I know I was Gay”. I may have not have known right then that I was gay. But there were such strong signs. To start with, I was never ever among the boys. I just don’t know why. I never mixed with the boys. I would rather roam around all alone or just sit in the lunch tugging at the same old bread and jam with no appetite to get it anywhere around my mouth. And Physical Training classes were my worst nightmares. All the boys in a class had to compulsorily participate in the football while I never knew what kind of thrill everyone achieved from chasing around a ball. The team leaders would pick me the last because they had to and I would eventually separate myself to an ignorable corner of the ground. Strangely, one of the team leaders suddenly had a vision of my capabilities of some kind and started picking me in his team urging me to participate. Sadly, I failed his expectations as I was never really into sports at all. I would rather lose my baby fat jumping around doing Katthak than sweat it out in the field. And by the way, that classmate and me are still good friends. I always make a point of remembering my gratitude of remembering those who have been kind to me, because there are so few who do. And at that point of time it was totally scarce. Every class in our school had a scapegoat. A scapegoat that the bullies relished to butcher around. I was a little sissy since the very beginning, which now has turned into my infamous bitchiness. But then, I wasn’t quite sure myself why I liked to behave like girls sometime. And there were these certain boys who would always make it a point to religiously pick on me or bully me or at least taunt me every single day. And I would just silently gulp down all that humiliation. Now when I think of it, I really wish I could be out of the closet since day one with the kind of support I have right now. I would have kicked each one of their sorry asses big time. But then, probably it existed for a greater reason. So anyway, day after day I passed my life silently, all alone in the backbenches or standing outside the class. I was very absent minded all the time. I would regularly forget my books or forget to do my homework. Neither did I retain my interest in studies after my younger brother was born when I was in second grade. I was totally depended on my mom for my studies. And I was very good at that initially. I was even awarded ‘The Best All Rounder’ in first grade. She always made it a point that I participated in every single activity. But after second grade things depleted big time. I was just an average or below average student all during my junior school. I faced the worst wrath of the teachers. Consequently they would just give up on the hope of me ever pulling up my socks up and actually improve. But each one of them had a strange faith in me that I had the capacity to do better and better until I am the best. It was as if everyone saw some sort of a glowing halo of my bulging potential around my head, except for me to see it.
So somehow I just cleared my junior school. Unlike now I wasn’t at all aware of any trends or what exactly came in the category of what every referred to as ‘cool’. I still remember in the fifth grade graduation when we were ready to start our senior school, we were thrown a farewell bash. Most of them got international music while I innocently fetched some really lame soundtrack of Bollywood movies. Honestly, I still like the songs from that soundtrack. But the thing is the movie wasn’t really that big a hit. Neither was it ‘in’ amongst the youngsters. So obviously no one cared to go gaga over it, leave alone grooving to the music. Whatever it was, it was me who didn’t have the awareness of trends and in or out and all that. Unlike now, while I might really love really artful transgenic music performed by some forgettable artist, I would rather brag about how much I’m into Rihanna’s new sexy video these days (Daydreaming of actually being able to wear those obnoxious clothing in some lifetime!) I do like it as much as that unheard song. But everyone will relate to Rihanna more. So ‘Junior School Farewell’ was the day, when I first heard Aqua’s Barbie Girl and Backstreet Boys’ Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). Ironically those were the only two songs I heard the whole day. And they kept on playing them alternatingly and repeatedly for a million number of times that even today I can recognize any one of the songs from a broken transistor thousand miles away under the sea. Now if I think of it, it wasn’t really that cool as it overwhelmed my thoughts right then making me feel so small and out of the league. Like now that I’m totally into international music, downloading albums left, right and center burning the midnight oil, I can say that in any given period of time it can’t be possible that only two songs be a hit provided the sundry genres and tastes among the masses. It’s just that, the “cool” classmates of mine too were just catching up with the fad, which I did pretty many years later. Now everyone knows Barbie Girl was such a corny song that would get on your nerves and tear it apart. Trust me, just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I don’t.
These were my junior school years. So confused. So unaware. Sometimes I hated those bullies for treating me that way. Mostly I hated myself for how I behaved. But there were very rare times when I loved myself for who I was. Like those times on someone’s birthday I would remember since over a month and paint a card full of flowers and butterflies vibrantly colored in official pinks and purples. Times when I would unfailingly watch every single episode of The Little Mermaid. Times when after mom would leave for her office I would try to copy her make-up routines with those eye-liners and lip sticks. Times when I would imagine myself as Karisma Kapoor do a Le Gayi Le Gayi in front of the mirror (Probably that’s how I got my moves). Times when I would bother mom to give something to do in the kitchen while she cooked her Saturday meals. Yes, these were the times when I loved myself for how I was. I was never in denial. And today I’m so grateful realizing the very obvious fact that I have been gay for forever!