Acceptance is Bliss

Preeti Brahmin posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-53 on 2023-06-12

“Are you sure he asked us to meet him here?” Irritation was evident in her voice.  She felt it unusual that Viraat hadn’t received them at the airport as he always did .  “That’s what his message says. Luyten’s Delhi, Jantar Mantar” Said Tikanath quietly. Sitala fell into a reverie,  engrossed in thoughts of her son. In school , he had compensated for his lack of interest in sports by excelling in debate , stage performance, art and academics . She couldn’t have been prouder. People attributed his talents to his genes and hallowed lineage of learned ancestors. She had sealed her place of honour in the family with Viraat’s birth, for he would undoubtedly bear the family’s torch of fame. But since he left their small hill station to pursue a career in the fashion industry, he rarely visited. He was thirty-five and unmarried. She had  begun to dread family weddings and their curiosity about why Viraat wasn’t willing to settle down. The city had changed her loving and sensitive boy into someone she hardly recognized.  Her musings were interrupted when abrupt chants of “Aazaadi! Aazaadi!” rent the air. A flood of people carrying  rainbow flags, balloons banners and bobbing placards emerged from the bend ahead-  ‘Born this way’   ‘We’re here we’re queer’  ‘We are real’  ‘Free us to free yourself’. Sitala felt her husband grab her hand. She looked at him with terrified eyes but he held her gaze as if pleading with her.  “I…I don’t understand… what is it you want to tell me? What is going on?” She said, eyes wet and lips trembling. Amidst the din of beating drums , she saw strange looking people in unicorn hats and  outlandish attire dancing  and performing acrobatics. One of them wore a black cropped jacket . A thick silver necklace covered his chest. His hair was closely trimmed and an ornamental chain stretched from his nose right up to the left ear. Harem pants hung low at his waist, around  which he  reeled hula hoops with seductive expertise , batting false eyelashes and sticking  his chest out perkily. “ Our son is in that crowd . I know it’s extremely difficult for you to accept this fact Sitala. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for him to face his reality? He came out to me recently . But he craves your acceptance. He wants to show rather than tell you the truth. It might be easier for you both. So here we are today.”  She felt her heart constrict into a cold ball. She swooned and would’ve hit the ground had not two strong arms broken her fall. She opened her eyes  and found the hula hoop dancer holding her, too choked up to say a word. He was Viraat.  A deep frown  etched her brows and mustering up all her energy she smacked him across his face.  “That was for hiding things from me. Now help me up. I want to walk with you in the parade. ”     Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!