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One-fourth of me

Since the past week, my friends and I have been attending dance rehearsals for one of our friend’s sangeet. The wedding choreographer, in his words, had thought of a dhasu concept for our song Desi Girl. Read on...

india Updated: Apr 24, 2009 15:48 IST
Tasneem Nashrulla

Since the past week, my friends and I have been attending dance rehearsals for one of our friend’s sangeet — the pre-wedding night for which youngsters practise their moves for months only to have their thunder stolen by a 60-year-old uncle on five pegs of whisky with moves that would put the cast of Grease to shame.

The wedding choreographer, in his words, had thought of a dhasu concept for our song Desi Girl. Predictably, it was the Dostana theme itself. So now, in front of a great many uncles, aunties and unknown entities, two of my male friends will check out my third male friend’s rear while he preens to the beats of Desi Girl.

The climax of the sequence will have us girls looking longingly into our respective partners’ eyes while the three of them hold hands behind our backs. And amidst the peals of laughter during rehearsals, I felt proud of my three heterosexual friends for not thinking, “This is below my manly dignity to pretend to be gay in front of hundreds of people.” They played their parts without making a mockery of homosexuality like Bollywood usually does.

Now I’m not championing them as the messiahs of homosexuals. But when I see educated, cosmopolitan youngsters call homosexuality a disease and speak of gays as mentally unbalanced on national television, I think it’s commendable that my friends are so open to the concept without making a big deal of their acceptance of it.

Homophobes are a despicable lot. I might be countered with the old “Everyone is entitled to their opinion” spiel, so in my opinion, being homophobic is nearly as bad as being racist.

To be fair, unlike many others my age, I have been fed on a diet of American sitcoms and Hollywood films where homosexuality is a popular theme and often the most memorable characters are gay. (Will from Will and Grace, Ross’s wife Susan in Friends, Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.)

But perceiving gays as abnormal is not a result of television viewing habits. It stems from an intolerant, insecure, and highly-bigoted attitude which unfortunately many seemingly intelligent and respectable people seem to flaunt.

The other day, two male friends of mine mistakenly ended up going for a ‘couples massage treatment’ at a plush spa. They were massaged mere inches away from each other in a candle-lit, rose-scented room wearing nothing but translucent underpants. One of them was a self-proclaimed homophobe.

After he narrated the incident, I pointedly asked him, “Wasn't your alpha-maleness threatened?” He thought for a while and replied, “Nah, it wasn’t that bad.” I think that’s a start. This is a (sort of) print version of the blog that appears on www.htblogs.com.