On social media, at times the question goes like this:

Cute boy asks me, “so what are you doing now?”

I reply, “I’ll be taking the kids down and then I’ll be coming home and having some tea.”

There is a pause. “Kids?” Then, I can never figure this tone out: “Are you married?”

I inevitably go this route. “Gay guys can’t get married, in India.”

Of course, the conversation then veers, depending upon various factors. If horniness takes over, the fact that I am gay segues into a sexual tone. If romanticism takes over, I am asked, “but you can still marry, can’t you?” If someone truly understands the status quo, they will just say, “Ah, furkids then.” (I agree that it is usually not easy to correlate the fact that I treat my dogs as my kids…but it’s never happened that someone will just say, “oh, how many kids do you have? Which breed are they? Their names?” But I am shooting for the stars.)

Let me talk about the romanticism and my idea of marriage. I have never thought of marriage. Even as a teenager, when I got to understanding my sexuality, I never thought about it. I never wanted to be a groom, of standing before an altar, or at a mandap, or at a place of worship and saying, “I do”. It has nothing to do with me being an atheist. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am not a romantic. I am.

In fact, I am too much of a romantic. I don’t believe in love that is godlike. I believe in a love that is human. I believe that marriage is a series of vows. Promises. I take promises seriously. And my promises can be made without marriage – without putting on a show, for or with others. I have no problem if others choose to do this, it just is not something that I take lightly. It’s like getting a tattoo. It’s a commitment, that I do not see the end of – and for that it’s between me and my tattoo artist. I do not want any regrets. I got the tattoo because I wanted it on my body, not because I wanted to show it off to the world.

This brings me to a very salient point. I am not as much bothered about the world as I am bothered about the Government. I pay taxes. I love my country. I love my family. I contribute to society. As such, I would like rights that any straight, loving, tax-paying patriot enjoys here. I would like to share a home with a spouse. Give him the right to live as my partner. Enjoy the same benefits a straight spouse enjoys: mainly, the identity of a relationship given by a court of law, which no institution can contradict.

Ergo, I would like to be able to get married for one very essential reason. We do not live forever. If at the end of my life, I need life-support, I would like him to have the authority, given to a spouse, to tell the doctors that I was against it. If need be, my spouse should have the authority to unplug me from life itself. This is what I am most interested in, when we talk of marriage. That one can take still care of the other, when the other is dying, or dead.

Without this very important status, afforded by law, and the country, marriage just remains a garland of flowers that will eventually wilt and succumb to time.

“But you still can marry, can’t you?” The cute boy asks, with love emojis in his eyes.

And I shall then copy past this URL and send it to him.

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