What I am going to relate here is based on a true curious case that a very dear friend of mine is going through.
My aim in this narration is not just to come to a solution for him but also to perhaps seek larger answers that might help someone else in a similar situation. I have often maintained that the internet is a very dirty place to be in and this is another validation for the same.
Also dear friend, this in no way is an attempt to seek any kind of mileage through your misery.
It is in your greater interest and also my attempt to ask my wise readers if I have rightly or wrongly guided n guarded you in this case.
My friend *let’s call him Atul* comes from a largely traditional family...you may even call them orthodox and of the old school.
He is a young boy in his early twenties living in old Delhi. He is simple, god-fearing, homely and extremely gullible for he is good with others and naively believes everything in the world is basically n essentially nice. He has just this year started his career which looks promising owing to the fact that he is very dedicated, honest n hard working.
Atul is also a bit of an introvert.
I am surprised how I was allowed to let in on his confidence for he hardly mingles much even with a handful of his friends, let alone random strangers on the net. I got in touch with him through his blog n it’s been more than a good one year since we have been kinda best of friends.
I was the only second person he had added on his Facebook friends list whom he did not know personally after another guy-friend who shares similar interests with him, as he is a musician n Atul learns n practices music himself.
He is like a kid brother whom I feel very protective of for he is so out of the way nice that it is easy for others to take advantage of him.
A few months back Atul made a big disclosure to me.
He had been troubled often by some “problem” that he would refuse to discuss and after a lot of pestering I would give up for not wanting to invade his private space*though he himself would admit that he has no reserves with me*
Atul wrote a long mail to me in all his simplicity, for he felt he had no courage to tell this to me over the phone and since we are separated by many states, it is impossible to meet him to discuss what had been gnawing his mind.
Atul revealed to me that he might be a bisexual or perhaps gay.
I was shocked...not because I have any reservations against a person’s sexual preferences...but because someone who has never had much of an exposure to the outside world, would so emphatically come to this conclusion that he just might be different from the other boys. He has never been in any relationship, is shy of girls and boys both, let alone be in an intimate situation with anyone. But rather than arguing as to how he knows it so decidedly, I chose to first make him come to terms with it*I know my fault therein*.
He said he felt it was a "curse" and he had often cried about it alone at night and felt like running away to an unknown place.
He had not disclosed this to anyone out of fear of social malice n was almost certain that I would stop communicating with him after this revelation.
I was aghast at this ridiculous assumption!
I mean in this century and in these times...someone could still feel like THAT!
It is not a curse...it is not AIDS*n even if it was*...it is not contagious...it is not devilry or treachery!
Why the f@#% would I want to break my friendship with you because of what or whom you might like to get intimate with, in your personal space?
It took a huge amount of conviction from my end to make him feel that it was normal. If he felt like that, he should come to terms with it instead of burying himself in shame, though he would have to put up a facade before the social backdrop he came from, as they would never accept it. But that does not mean he should stop being what he was. Well I said a whole lot more...which is a separate issue altogether.
After hours and days of reasoning...he felt at peace in being who he was instead of cringing at the mere thought*I should have then only realized that something was wrong but I was more to comfort him than reason with him then*
But surely he knew what he wanted.
Then last month then came another news.
He told me he was going on a ten days trip with the foreigner friend of his who was coming to India and wanted to travel around.
Atul had mentioned this very dear friend*his first internet connect* on many occasions and how having similar interests as his, Atul was taught much by this friend, let’s name him Justin.
The moment Atul said he was going away alone with Justin, is when the thunderbolt struck me.
Atul n Justin were in a relationship.
N me being me, I confronted Atul full on and asked if my suspicions were true.
Reluctantly, he agreed that they were.
There was more than just friendship.
My dilemma now is that I am thoroughly convinced that Atul is absolutely straight.
He has no gay-ish or bisexual tendencies what-so-ever.
He has been convinced by Justin with whom he has been communicating on Skype, etc through the last two years that there is more than just friendship in this case.
Justin came in Atul’s life, when he had no friends and no social life really. Justin is older, in his mid thirties, a confirmed bisexual, been in many relationships and virtually jobless for he works only when he gets assignments.
Hence he was always online for Atul to feel Justin was the friend in need n indeed.
Atul avoided Justin’s initial advances and even expressed the impossibility of the situation.
But Justin was no new bird to be fooled by chaff.
He loomed around, long enough n persuasive enough to slowly impress upon the vulnerable sensibilities of my dear friend.
He showered attention n affection on this innocent soul when he struggled to fight that void in his life and soon got led into the belief that they were meant to be together.
Atul is a conformist of the ideology that says there can be only one special someone in life and of course he is now assured that he has found that someone.
So torn between his family’s pressures to get married to a suitable girl of his community and his desire to escape, he accepted the proposal of a get-away and even got his super simple family convinced that they should let him have one trip to live his life before he gets churned by the domesticity of a nuptial knot.
He has confronted me with the information of his travelling partner after many of the arrangements already done. His parents have given a nod since his son has never asked for anything before and they feel that perhaps this might help him come out of his shell. They probably have never even heard of the “ridiculous” idea that a boy can fall in love with another boy. His elder brother is apprehensive but I am sure he feels extremely awkward about mentioning it directly to him.
I have told Atul a firm NO from my side for the trip.
I feel that he is being used by his so-called friend and Atul has a 100% chance of leading a “normal” life if he does not allow this deviation to cross his path.
Justin being a whole lot more experienced knows how to get young boys to believe that this is a soul mate thingy.
Even if his feelings are genuine, he’s been with scores of people before.
On the internet we show others only what we want them to see!
We don’t know what diseases or drugs he is bringing on board.
We know that Atul is not strong enough to resist his advances and being in closed rooms of hotels with him for ten days is like walking ahead on the axe.
His family would never accept his living with another boy, so there is no future in this what-so-ever.
And he is so morally sound n family rooted, that he would not be able to live with the idea of his family resenting him for anything.
If he goes for this trip, I fear he would return even more confused about his sexuality. It could mar his susceptible mind for good.
It might spoil his chances of trusting again.
He has had crushes on girls through college life, though never had the guts to approach anyone even for basic friendship.
He has not been attracted to any other boy except Justin.
Justin could be with boys whomever he likes...Atul is just a virginal, pure soul that is difficult to find in the modern times and hence the attraction there.
Atul has already given his consent to his parents to look for a match for him, partly due to which they agreed to send him on the trip.
Please tell me if I am over reacting or over fearing for this dear friend.
Please tell me if this trip scheduled in January would actually do him good and I should just shut up?