Friday, August 11, 2006

a new member of the next generation, and ramblings about the past

I just got off the phone after talking to HRJ... she has made her contribution to the next generation. Her baby, Arya (stupid name actually) was born on Monday.
She had told me way back in March, when she'd called for my birthday, that she was expecting a baby. Although I had not forgotten about it, it had indeed kinda slipped out of my mind... after all, we talk about twice a year-- in March and in September (her birthday).
She had told me about her previous pregnancy exactly a year before too-- again, when she had called up for my birthday in 2005. She had miscarried in January 2005. Not a lot of people know about it, certainly none (or very few) of our common friends. She had broken down on the phone. I was about to leave for my third date with T., and this of course made me call him and say that I'd be delayed.
Anyways, she announced her pregancy to the MSc batch/friends mailing list only in mid-July, just two weeks before the expected date. She emailed again towards the end of July saying that the baby was late and she was "waiting and waiting". I had been trying to call since the last few days, but always got the answering machine. I'd left a message on Wednesday asking them what the news was. Finally tonight her father picked up the phone (her parents are visiting them in Tennessee to help with the baby) and I got to talk to her. She apparently returned home on Wednesday or Thursday.
I am really, really happy for them!
HRJ. I haven't seen her for close to 10 years probably. It still brings a smile and a sigh when I think of her-- I was in love with her, and still am, like with most people I've been in love with. We both used to live outside the campus in Pune and in those early days neither of us had our mopeds, so we used to take the bus to the university. It often turned out to be the same bus and I liked her right from the beginning. The more I got to know her, the more I liked her, and then very soon fell in love. It was funny. I was a big flirt at that time, and among my female friends, she was the only one I didn't flirt with, though, as she told me later, she did know of my "fondness" for her but she'd always thought I was too much of a flirt... really funny how convincing one's acting can be.
It was also complicated... I knew there were several guys interested in her, and one of them was a very close friend. Plus there was the problem of my sexuality. I had always been interested in guys, and this was confusing. I was hoping that the fact that I was in love with her meant that I was bisexual, and that'd mean that I'd just have to suppress my attraction to guys. But again, since I was in love with her, and more importantly since she was a close friend, I didn't want to do anything that'd spoil her life or scar her or the like. And so it ended up my never telling her about my feelings, until much later when it was too late.
I am not bisexual, I have always been gay and being in love with her was an aberration. One of the things that I am proud of in myself is my restraint with her in those two years. That I did not attempt to take the seemingly easy way (out of my confusion about my sexuality) and woo her. It was of course good for me, but it was good for her too, as I am quite sure that I'd have been successful had I tried to woo her with even the slightest amount of seriousness.
She moved to Tennessee, and I, to Bangalore. We both liked writing letters and we'd exchange letters and emails with regularity for a few years. She would often use me as a sounding board during dilemmas, ask for my honest analyses of difficult decisions, personal issues and so on. And in the course of one of these letters, I told her about my feelings for her. She said she loved reading the letter and it made her feel like she was on the top of the world. But of course I had asked no question, and neither expected nor wanted any answer. In fact at that time I was in love with a (straight) guy: another very close friend, H. And she was seeing a Bihari guy.
Now comes a very interesting coincidence. Around the same time, K., a friend of HRJ and me from our Pune days wrote to me that a friend of her's, JE, was working in the campus, and not being a student was not eligible for a hostel room, so could I help him. Since I was in a double room without a roommate I offered to let him stay there. JE was a nice guy, but we never really hit it off. He was planning to go to the US, and finally found his way to the same uni as HRJ and even selected the same lab. They didn't quite get along in the beginning. HRJ broke up with the Bihari guy, and one day after I had moved to Germany, she called (probably one of the birthday conversations) to say that she'd been seeing JE and they'd get married. That was a bit of a shock, as she'd not told me about him before, and for I was also stupidly jealous of JE. Jealous?! I remember, H. was visiting me soon afterwards and I told him how upset I was and how stupid my being upset was. I had come out to both H. and HRJ by then. H. was the first person I came out to (long story-- another day), HRJ was the third.
Life, love, emotions, jealousy, can be so strange, funny, unpredicable and so devoid of logic!
A very warm welcome to the world of all this and more, Arya.


Wild Reeds said...

Dear A.S.,
I too have my "HRJ"s in my life.. and like you I take pride in never having led them up a garden path. Lovely post.

A.S. said...

Thanks, Wild Reeds, I am glad you liked the post. In my case there has been only one girl I have fallen in love with, and I doubt there'll be any others of her gender. That episode was a very important one in my life to understand and come to terms with myself. On a different note, it is interesting that sexuality is fluid and there is no black or white, rather all shades of grey. And Alfred Kinsey's research suggested that decades ago!