A gentle breeze caressed Aman’s rainbow painted face and he felt calm like never before.
“Yes! I’m what I’m and I’m proud of it!” The euphoria building up in his mind gave him goosebumps.
Tears of happiness pooled at the corner of his eyes as he watched the pride parade with his friend Ravi by his side.
“Ravi, it was impossible without your support…” The gratitude in his voice was unmissable.
“I didn’t do anything unusual… good friends help each other!” Ravi gave him a high five.
“You made me believe in myself and encouraged me to confide in my parents. Although they didn’t accept me for what I am, still it feels like a heavy burden has lifted off my chest… at least now I accept myself…” Aman smiled.
“They will accept you too… because they are your family… it might take some time but they will come around… trust me!” Ravi tried to uplift Aman’s spirits.
“Ravi, will you join the parade with me?” Aman requested and Ravi obliged.
They both bustled into the parade. It was a myriad of colors. People wore funky costumes and held banners with slogans on them. The energy was contagious. Ravi held a rainbow-colored flag and cheered for his friend.
“Pride is for everyone!”
In his excitement, he bumped into someone and knocked off the person’s huge multi-colored mask.
Ravi apologized and picked up the mask. He froze in his place.
The unmasked man wore a satin beaded top and ankle-length yellow skirt. His face was loaded with makeup and colors to hide his real identity but it couldn’t deceive Ravi. After all, Ravi had grown up seeing this face. It was his father.
A scream escaped Ravi’s mouth but died in the mayhem of slogans. Time stopped for him. His eyes popped out. The mask slipped from his hands and his legs trembled so hard that he fell down. His father’s face was a sea of terror and embarrassment but his fatherly instinct made him hold his son rather than running or hiding. But Ravi jerked him away and glared at him with all the hate in this world.
“Unbelievable! You disgust me!”
Ravi got up and ran away from the parade. He tossed the banner and his slogans turned into angry whimpers in just a matter of seconds. He was shocked and distressed. Ravi was still reeling in his misery when he felt a hand on his shoulders. It was Aman.
Ravi turned away from his accusing gaze.
“Families support each other, come what may… isn’t it?” Aman questioned.
“It will take time…I know you will come around my friend… trust me!” Aman patted Ravi’s shoulder and left.
Ravi was speechless.
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