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It didn’t for me!

But, let’s start from the beginning, shall we? 

Pride month is here, and apparently the Tamil Rajamouli movie, RRR has captured the attention of the American audience! Yes, in a very “pride-like” fashion! It seems the chemistry between the two male leads of the movie; Jr. NTR and Ram Charan is coming across as “heartwarmingly gay” to the American folks. 

We Indians, especially Indian women, however, know that this is nothing we haven’t seen before on any and every street of the country! 

Indian streets are filled with men, walking hand-in-hand, hand-on-shoulder and sometimes hand-in-back pockets. It’s not a new sight for us. Men in India have never been overtly conscious about how they interact with their male friends when they are in public. It’s just something that comes naturally to us; being obnoxiously ‘out there’ in typical Indian fashion! 

Of course, sometimes, women tend to see things differently. Talk about overanalyzing situations and we are your go-to peeps! See two men walking in front of you on the streets, pushing each other playfully or ruffling each others’ hair? Gay! See two men trying to cross a road together while holding each other’s hand? Gay! 

Funny thing is that this perception has been there even before the LGBTQIA+ community became active in the country! Being an ally, it does not bode well for me to say that when I was (much) younger, I was one of the women on the streets making fun of men walking hand-in-hand in front of me. What I forgot is that we Indians tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves.

When I was (much) younger, I was one of the women on the streets making fun of men walking hand-in-hand in front of me. What I forgot is that we Indians tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves.

The Indian society has always, fundamentally had a dichotomic foundation. Where on the one hand women live with the constant jibe of “What will the people say” (Makkaḷ eṉṉa solvārkaḷ), men are free to do as they please, opinions be damned! 

The whole “boys will be boys” motto becomes personified in the context of the Indian society, where any indiscretion on the ‘boy’s’ part is brushed under the rug. The funny thing however is that, when it comes to the male PDA, the tables seem turned! 

Post the spread of awareness about the LGBTQIA+ community, calling every man holding his pal’s hand on the streets of India ‘Gay’ has become a norm. Labels are thrown down like it’s nobody’s business. The pure affection and fondness that one man has for another, of the non-romantic kind, if expressed on the streets of the country, seems to put people off! 

Non-existent gaydars seem to be going off like there is no tomorrow and the western insecurities and habits of labelling any potential expression of affection as ‘gay’ seems to be doing the rounds! Indian women, however, have learned to adapt to the changing times. 

Having remembered how naturally expressive we are as a people, now (most) Indian women just find it funny if they see two men holding hands in a public space. The ‘gay’ label seems to have been tossed out the window by the fairer sex, and perhaps that is why most us ended up loving the adorable chemistry between Jr. NTR and Ram Charan in the Tamil Rajamouli movie!  

The gaydar has ceased to exist folks! At least for me!

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