*Vivek, 20, is a student and is active in Delhi queer circuit.
Putting two and two together
It was a cold Monday evening in Delhi. I had just returned from college and kept my bag aside to freshen up. I went to my room to take a nap when my phone rang. It was my uncle on the other end who, after talking to me, wanted to speak to my mother too. I handed the phone to her and went back to sleep.
After a few minutes, I heard a loud cry from my mother. I panicked. What I saw outside was something straight out of a nightmare: my parents sitting together and flashing my own Instagram at me. The only sound in the room for the next couple of seconds was my own heart beating at a train’s speed.
I didn’t answer. I didn’t need to. They had put two and two together.
My parents are not the kind of people who’d check social network or so I thought, anyway. So, I didn’t think much when I posted pictures of me with my boyfriend *Sameer on Instagram after our coffee date last night. My mom decided to look at my phone randomly after ending the call with the uncle and stumbled upon my Instagram account and camera pictures.
Cops to the rescue
Abuses followed expletives I hadn’t heard before, at least not from them, and definitely not for me. ‘You are dead to us,’ my mother said to me. Their anger didn’t simmer down. My father only grew drunk as the night approached. I was feeling more and more unsafe.
He seemed ready to march at me and turn me purple with bruises. So I did what I could to stay safe. I called the police.
I took to the other room, ready to bolt it in if they try anything. By the time the cops arrived, the situation was not in my father’s favour. He was visibly drunk and that validated my claim that his threats and verbal abuse were making me feel unsafe.
The policeman talked to me, cornered my father and lectured him about his behaviour and then left. The conversation never went to why they were behaving that way. It was simply chalked up to drunk and disorderly conduct and for that I am grateful. I am not so sure the cops would’ve been in my favour if they realised the abuse was directed at my orientation.
The long, never-ending night
That night was the longest night of my life. Each second felt like a day. I could hear my mother’s cries and my father’s abuses till late. I was alone, scared, shivering, crying and hungry in my own room. It felt like that the night would never culminate into a morning. The whole night I waited for them to sleep or ask me to come out. But neither happened.
Needless to say, I was cut off. I was talked to in curt tones and I had to rely on my internship allowance for travel and other necessities. Even as days passed, things did not get any better. I had to get my internship changed to a job. My parents tried to convince me to leave my ‘zidd’ and become a ‘normal’ man! I wish I could explain to them how normal it felt to me to be what I am.
Since I was not financially independent, I had no option but to continue to live with my parents. So I tolerated everything as patiently as I could, hoping they would change their perspective. But I was wrong.
My mother burnt me
A couple of weeks later, amidst my mother’s usual routine of shouting obscenities at me, she burnt me with the hot pliers she uses for cooking. I ran away and shut the door in my defence.
The physical pain was not as bad as the realisation of how dangerous living there was for me. I rang up two friends who both knew about the situation and asked them if I could crash with them. They replied in affirmative. I filled my bag with clothes, IDs and other documents, booked a cab and got the hell out of there. I haven’t looked back yet.
A few days have passed. I have rented a place close to work. My parents have called me a couple of times, but I haven’t responded. The immediate plan is foggy. I might have to drop out of college course in favour of a correspondence course from a more economical institution. I don’t regret my decision, however. I did what I have to do for my safety. I only wish that wasn’t necessary.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.