The golden sunrays ricocheting from largest dome of the world famous Meenakshi Amman temple scorched my skin beneath my fancy tunic. The khadi-embroidered deep-green and blue top matched my eye colour. A rarity in Madurai and the only factor I shared with my non-identical late twin brother, Jairam.
I was back in the city for Rajan… my first love from eons ago.
Jyoti, these beautiful orbs are like the turquoise seas, crystal clear to its deepest depths….
Jai and I belonged to a lineage, rich in heritage and archaic beliefs. Rajan, meandered his way into our gamuts when we were twelve. A couple of years older, he often visited our home and having a guy friend wasn’t blasphemous since Jai was always around.
Years passed and before I knew I had fallen for Rajan, hook, line and stinker.
The loud cheer shook me out of my reverie. The march had begun. It resembled a carnival, unbelievably so in this part of Madurai. Was it only two years ago while the world barely recovered from the pandemic, my heart splintered into a million pieces?
“I am sorry, Jyoti. You are my best friend, but that’s it…” Rajan had said when I confessed my feelings, ripping my heart out of its chest’s confines. Did I always read him wrong?
“…I am not…” His soft voice still had its pulsating effect on my insides. Wait… was he ill? “… I am gay, Jyoti.” Rajan sighed admitting his sacrilegious subsistence.
My best friend had finally decided to come out of the closet.
I moved away from home for higher studies, gradually coming to terms with it all when calamity befell a year ago. Jai was no more. There was no suicide note, no text, no phone-call, nada.
Super intellect, great looks, mind-blowing career, he had everything… then why?
The roar increased with the gathering in colourful outfits, bright makeup and a sea of proudly fluttering six-coloured ensigns. Slogans added to the cacophonic symphony of drums and chimes. Time flew in a jiffy. My scrutinising eyes finally settled on Rajan, unsettling me momentarily.
Rajan introduced me to his activist friends while I blinked away tears remembering Jai. He would have supported Rajan wholeheartedly. The day passed and the sky changed its colours, now settling with magenta hues gradually blending into the black, resembling my heart.
Rajan and I caught-up on our lives in the past year.
“Why didn’t you come Rajan? Jai would have liked a final goodbye” I said accusingly, letting warm tears traipse their way amidst cracking makeup layers. Vanity was the least of my concerns.
“You still don’t know, do you, Jyoti? About why Jai…”
“Why did he, Rajan?” My throat clogged.
“Jyoti… We… Jai and I, we loved each other. For years. But your parents found out and threatened to harm me. He was crushed, his sensitive soul couldn’t bear it. He… he just gave up.” Sobs shook his body even as, realisation set in.
Jai was denied a pertinent right.
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