Pillu

I was resting on the sofa today. My body and mind was calm after a long time. As I slipped into sleep for a while, I saw a visual. With Sonu holding my hand and carrying Pillu, I was walking in a direction I can't seem to remember.

I woke up with a start. Saw that Sonu has left. And Pillu climbed down my shoulder and has moved far away. Both my hands are now empty. Sonu is busy in his world after marriage and Pillu? Pillu has a different world of his own.

Pillu. Pillu used to be with me all the time, as a child. He would spend time in the kitchen with me too. I was never bothered by it. He was very good at studies. He would also like to dress up in different costumes. On one such occasion, he wore my sari - and called himself Rani of Jhansi. I never felt bad about it, actually. He became Savarkar later. He also acted in school gatherings doing all sorts of roles - from a sculptor to a parrot in a popular Marathi song. Now that I think about it, he did not have too many friends in school. His school days flew by, and he joined college later. He had female friends more than male friends now. I was now worried about him. Would a shrewd girl trap him because he is intelligent, I thought. Nothing of that happened.

Pillu who grew up holding the pallu of my sari had become very different. He would get angry/irritated very often. I never understood what to do. Later, he became an engineer and went to IIT Bombay for his MTech. The day he moved to his hostel, he was extremely angry again. I was always puzzled about his angry behavior.

Then he started working. He was moving away from me. I was sad. Later, he started living alone when he was employed. Once, we visited him for about 4 days.

On one afternoon, Sonu and his wife came there. We found out later that it was Pillu who had called them. It was a very memorable moment for me! My family is my world after all! Pillu indulged us in a conversation, while also preparing us for what he was about to tell us. (Before that, he would often say, "I want to tell you something!"). A few days later, he wrote a page long story and put it at a place where I would see it. I read it. He would often write stories with different plots - I thought this was just one such story. How wrong I was!

So, that day, in the course of the conversation, he said "I am gay!". I went numb as heard him talk. I had seen 'conventional' dreams for my Pillu, like all other mothers. I held myself up in 1-2 days and tried to begin understanding him. Pillu's father could not accept himself so easily. However, with time, he is also fine now.

We have decided, it is easy. 10 children are different from among 100 children. My Pillu is among those 10, that's it. I am proud of my son. Today, he lives with dignity and poise. He participates in the activities of Saathi at IIT Bombay. To him and his friends who are a part of Saathi (and Saathi Connect), a salute from me, and my best wishes!

With love,
Manda

(Sonu and Pillu are endearments used in Marathi households for children, across genders. Both roughly translate to child, in addition to other meanings.)

Manda

Manda is a Mumbai-based homemaker, and the mother of a gay man. This article is translated from her original Marathi article.