I came out very early to society as gay and since my childhood, I have been seeing the world in a very different way which made me this unique right now. I'm super proud of whatever I have gone through and how I overcame all of those hurdles. It would be a ridiculous thing if I would have stayed in my hometown and thought of changing the queer lifestyle scenario of India. But, contrary to that, I have blended my traveling dreams with the exploration of my orientation and the queer community of Pan India. I haven't visited all places yet in India, but I can proudly say, I have visited some of them and explored every inch of queer life in those places. One of the beautiful and the most welcoming city, I have ever visited was the Pink City of India, Jaipur!
This year, I turned 26 and for three years, post my father's death, I have decided to celebrate my birthdays in different places which I have never visited. Hence, making art and architecture as my birthday vacation theme, I landed in the capital city of Rajasthan! I have heard the stories about the traditions and restricted culture of the state of Rajasthan and also the stories about their royalty and loyalty too. Hence, before visiting Jaipur, I had mixed opinions about how my trip was going to wrap up. Trust me, I have never celebrated my birthday in such a unique way! Because, the people of Jaipur, didn't let me celebrate all alone. I ended up dancing with the Rajasthani dancers, my birthday song was sung by a few Rajasthani singers, and clinked my wine glass with a bunch of Jaipuri localite, including my cab driver, my tour guide, a restaurant owner and a bodyguard. Wasn't it amazing and just perfect? It was, indeed!
I was there from the 26th of January night till the 29th January evening. My three days of a vacation made me understand the importance of little things in life which are respect, love, and freedom. Yes, these are very little things, but if you showcase them to others or allow others to portray, the results will be huger than anything else. Now, I have a little family of around ten members in Jaipur, that too, a bunch of Muslims. Accepting an androgynous gay guy is a big deal in any other city because I got criticized and judged for the clothes I wore and the way how I carried myself as an open gay. But, this was not at all an issue in Jaipur. I haven't felt that I was being criticized when I was roaming and exploring the culture of Jaipur. Because they take good care of their guests and maybe this is why the culture of Rajasthan is always famous for accepting their guests. And if you think, Muslims are the people who can never accept gay culture, you will be proven wrong, if you step in Jaipur, because, soon after I stepped in Jaipur, love was showered on me by a Muslim Jaipuri Localite, named Aabid who became my tour guide for three days till I courted the train to leave from Jaipur.
Now, you may wonder, he would have done that because he got attracted to me and my lifestyle and was expecting some intimacy. It was out of infatuation for sure. But, observe the fact, that there was love! And he introduced me to a cab driver named Sahil Khan, who took me to most of the places and Palaces of Jaipur, who treated me like a queen literally. I named it and I got it then and there. It was not at all, just a monetary connection. He treated with respect and he loved the fact that I was the first person, who added the tag called "Ji" after his name. Told you right, a little respect out of love and gratitude to others, will make you lovable for sure. And then, I met a cute guy named Faizy Khan, a restaurant owner, with whom I flirted, way too much and he reverted it too, which was adorable. He hasn't felt embarrassed at one moment and I had lunch for two days in his beautiful Jal Mahal restaurant. And, then I met the whole crew, all of them were friends since childhood. I was overwhelmed with their accepting nature and had too many conversations over coffee and cigarettes. I went to celebrate along, but I came back by making a family over there. It was totally unexpected and indeed inexplicable.
I met a bodyguard, I met a textile designer, I met a shop owner, I met a hotel owner and I met many people and everyone loved my company and expressed their love to me! And, the interesting fact; none of them was gay. They are just gender fluid and they know how to deal with their visitors or travelers or guests or any person, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. They took a proper care of me, they escorted me to the places, made sure that I was happy and satisfied by exploring the places of Jaipur, pick me and drop to the places I wanted to visit, patiently waited while I was shopping for hours and hours, came with me for movies, had lunches and dinners with me, shared beers and cigarettes with me and did everything like how they chill out with their pals. Trust me, in my city and any other city, I never hung out with a bunch of men belonging to a different orientation, especially straight men because I never felt comfortable with them.
Jaipur, being the capital city of Rajasthan, is one of the most visited places in India and the finest tourist attraction too with a mixed crowd. Hence, the opinions of people are mostly blended and the queer culture is quite open in a closeted way though, but you will be accepted and treated with respect at most of the places. But there's a twist to this tale. I have just described the localite of Jaipur who was flexible enough, but the visitors were the real pain in my ass. They criticized me and judged me to the core. And yeah, you are safe with the people from and of Jaipur, but not the people who visit the Pink city. Want to know how I dealt with them? Well, wait until next week. I will share the most annoying stories of how an artistic androgynous gay person gets treated by people who visit the art and architecture of Jaipur!