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‘You’re not even gay!’

A love story almost came to an end when one of the partners suspected the other of having heterosexual affairs. Relationship status: suspended animation

They met five years ago in a gymnasium in central Delhi. Jimmy was 29 years old, a petite fellow with slender limbs, with some fat accumulation around his waist. A fairly charming lad with expressive eyes, was he was acutely conscious of his profession, that of a lawyer.

Jeetu, on the other hand, had just entered his twenties, a simpleton from a village in Hisar. He was blessed with a skinny yet muscular frame, oblong face with sharp features and sunken cheeks. A long-distance runner in college, he is now a gym trainer, looks like a school boy who wanted to be treated as a man, hesitant to enter into a conversation.

He was diffident but, it is fairly clear in retrospect, was open to all kinds of experiences.  Initially, they both claimed to each other that they are straight – a charade that was to be dropped very soon.

They took an instant liking for each other. Within a week of joining the gym, Jimmy hired Jeetu as his personal trainer. They would spend hours together in and outside the gym. Jimmy lived by himself in Vasant Kunj, and convinced Jeetu to shift in with him to save money. They were soon sleeping in the same room, doing things to each other in the dark of the night which they wouldn’t dare talk about in the light of day.

They were silent about their intimacy for a good two months. When they started to confront their reality vis-a-vis each other, they’d spend hours talking about it. In the years that followed — they even started looking alike, wearing similar clothes. While Jimmy lost flab around his waist, Jeetu put on some weight. They looked like siblings.

Jimmy told his elder sister about Jeetu. She in turn informed the rest of the family about Jimmy’s sexual preference: “The love of Jimmy’s life is a man — a rural lad from Haryana who’s ambitious, wants to be an actor.”  The family was quick to learn to live with this fact.

However, Jeetu’s family had no clue about the nature of the relationship between the two. They were happy that Jeetu was getting to stay with a professional who made good money and therefore would be a good influence on their son. To cut the story short, they lived happily together for many years. Jeetu was the passive partner, mostly.

Over time, Jeetu became the most popular trainer in a multinational chain of gymnasiums. He was making good money as he was the most sought after trainer amongst the young married women. At least a dozen hired him as their personal trainer. He would get hefty tips for his services and spending extra time with them. He was so busy he would arrive home late, too tired to share any quality time with Jimmy. And Jimmy was busy too.

It took months for a simple fact to sink in: Though there were living together, they weren’t available to each other.  Jimmy was anxious. “The magic is gone,” he’s fairly direct in his assessment. Jeetu, perhaps, needed some space. He wanted to experiment with his life. He was too young to make a long-term commitment.

They went for a week-long holiday. Things didn’t improve. When they came back, Jeetu wanted a separate room, on the pretext that their timings clashed and they quarreled over petty matters. Now that Jeetu made good money, he wanted to pay the rent for the apartment. He wanted the situation to change: They moved to Jeetu’s flat.

Jimmy was emotionally vulnerable, taking things to heart. Jeetu, on the contrary, was indifferent but, to give the devil his due, he wasn’t an opportunist. Perhaps, he loved the attention Jimmy lavished on him more than the attention giver. He was the fifth and the youngest child in a joint family in rural Haryana, one amongst many. And here, suddenly, he was a pivot to his lover’s life.

The phase of drifting apart started in the beginning of last year, when Jimmy felt that Jeetu was emotionally distant. Perhaps, he needed space. Jimmy went to England for two months on an official assignment thinking that absence would make the heart grow fonder. On his return, he found Jeetu even more distant. He came to know from a nosy neighbour, also a lawyer, that Jeetu would have women over, one at a time, to stay the night on several occasions during his long absence.

Livid, Jimmy confronted Jeetu. There was nothing left to hide. Jeetu said he was training these women in the gym and they are his good friends and that he doesn’t need Jimmy’s permission to have friends over to “my house”. In days to come, he told Jimmy that he’s particularly close to two women, both in their late thirties — one the wife of a diplomat from a European country and the other a rich garment exporter. They are more than willing to shell out a lot of money to have Jeetu spend more time with them. He also likes to spend time with them. And that they make him feel very special, desired.

Jimmy was aghast. “What’s happening between you and these rich women? They won’t pay you to merely chat up with them!” Jeetu’s response was a shade insensitive. He announced in a matter-of-fact way, that though he’s not particularly attracted to women, he likes what they do to him —touch him, feel him, play with him, tantalise him. It makes them feel good, for they are starved for love. It makes him happy to make them happy. They are dear friends.

And then he took a deep breath and added in the same tone, perhaps as an assurance, “You’re the only man I love.” He also explained to Jimmy that these women are not responsible for the alienation they’re experiencing. Jeetu that day broke Jimmy’s heart.

Things got really bitter, beyond repair. Jimmy felt cheated, accused Jeetu: “You slept with me for all these years because you needed to dig your roots in the city. Now that you’re independent and confident — I’m very happy – you are looking for greener pastures.”

Jeetu rebutted, “Even if this was true, I have adequately compensated you. I presented to you my body. And you know my body is my temple. What else do you want?”

“Your body is a whorehouse,” Jimmy retorted and left the room. Six months ago, they broke up.

The rich exporter woman volunteered to set up a barsati for Jeetu in South Delhi. However, Jeetu refused to move in with her. The wife of a foreign diplomat presented him with a mobile phone worth a lakh to celebrate his new-found freedom and promised to take him for a holiday in Italy to demonstrate to him that his features were Romanesque. Jeetu continues to be accommodative towards advances of his women clients – claiming it is a sort of a professional requirement

Jeetu and Jimmy regularly speak to each other on phone. Jeetu confessed to Jimmy that he has started abhorring being treated like a sex toy by ‘rich aunties’ and has reasserted many times, “You’re the only man I love.” They have slept together twice since Jeetu moved out. Jimmy is not sure they’ll be together again and told him with a straight face, “You’re not even gay.”