At 28, I have a life that not many can even dream of. My parents have always given a lot of importance to education. And thus, when I expressed my wish to go abroad for higher studies to them; they left no stone unturned to fulfill my dream. Now, the life that I boast of consists a fulfilling career with a supporting, heavy paycheck that takes care of all the bills and also a few luxuries, doting parents and a long distance relationship that seems to be working just fine.
Everything was routinely fine until half a year ago. I walked into the house after a long day of work; only to see my parents rummaging through haphazardly strewn papers and photographs. Only during the dinner time did I come to know that they were a set of horoscopes along with their respective photographs. My parents thought it was time for me to get married. Within no time, they started reading out the bio data of "prospective partners" one after the other. Over and again, they recited terms like "Investment banker", "Chartered Accountant", "Business Analyst at so and so". No doubt, education and career were important to them; so was physical appearance! There were about 30 faces smiling up at me from their glossy and matte finish. In my honest opinion, all of them were certified candies. But they weren't for me.
Looking at my bored and forlorn expression, my parents dutifully chanted the names of my school and college friends, who had tied a knot one after another like they were roll numbered. Some of them were also tasting parenthood. I remember seeing their happy faces smiling at the lenses; many with their newly born and some with their recently possessed fiancé(e) on Facebook. I was genuinely happy for them. Though I never thought I might need to fit in that shoe one day.
I met him at a bar, when I was abroad completing my Masters. We met a couple of times before we decided to throw our inhibitions away and accept that we were meant for each other. Our relationship grew from friendship; and that is what kept us together for the 3 years that I was there and even today. I was skeptical at first. I was scared of being betrayed. After all, I was still an Indian when it came to relationships. I'm not forget-and move-on type. But this man was here to stay. He proved that by giving me a surprise visit last month. I had yet not figured out how to make this relation work. For the moment, I was enjoying being marinated in his love.
I moved in with him within 3 weeks of meeting him for the first time. We spent a magical time together. Though we had a tight schedule, we made it a point to spend quality time with each other. I lied to my parents about having Indian roommates. When they accidentally saw him when we were on Skype, I said he was my roommate's friend. The lecture that ensued then, was interminable. They never trusted Westerners.
Time is running out for me. Parents grill me each day after work, to agree to meet my prospective partner's family and finalize. Dead photographs are still smiling under my nose every day. Calls from punditji haunt me. And parents are relentlessly pursuing this issue. Stress has started making an appearance on my physical self.
How do I tell my orthodox parents about my life abroad? How do I confess to the delightful sin that I committed there? How do I convince them that "marriage with photographs" is not what I want? Being their only child, they have loaded their expectations on me. How do I say that I'm not their perfect child?
Just for a moment, I wish. I wish I could freeze the time when I was the happiest. The time when I was abroad. The time when I first met him at the bar and thought gay relationships do work.