Queen was teased with this moniker by everyone. His name was not Queen but Badshaah (King/Emperor). However, almost everyone in the neighbourhood called him Rani or Queen. The name became so popular that he himself also referred his name as Queen. Or perhaps, he just found a freedom in that name. His heart belonged to a Queen but his body belonged to a King. A queen caged inside a king’s body.
Queen was immensely talented. He was good in studies. He knew Shakespeare like the back of his hand. He was extremely creative and used to make awe-inspiring portraits and oil painting. Yet he had no friends. Boys, his age used to laugh at him for his effeminate style and girls used to choose macho men over him.
However, we developed a close friendship. I was his only friend and we started hanging out a lot. Queen had an amazing sense of style and he became my personal stylist. I am extremely clumsy in the matter of fashion and style but Queen always helped me out. He started accompanying me for each of my shopping expeditions and he used to choose the best stuff. Whenever I dressed up as per his advice I used to get a lot of compliments.
On my friend’s wedding, he did my eye makeup and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say that it was better than the bride’s. My friends’ often used to tease me that I spend so much time with him; probably I should get married to him. There was a condescending taunt in those remarks. His sexual orientation was always a matter of introspection and ridicule.
Queen shifted to Pune to study filmmaking. We kept in touch with each other through letters. Each month we used to send each other a ‘thick’ letter with the latest updates. In those letters, he often used to talk about a friend called Parth. I somehow sensed that Queen had developed a crush on Parth.
When Queen came home, I asked him about Parth and he blushed like vermillion. He looked happy and I felt happy for him. However, after few months I received a letter from Queen that Parth was getting married to a girl of his parent’s choice. Queen was devastated. Parth promised to keep their relationship intact even after the marriage. He had said to Queen that he was marrying a girl only because his parents wanted grandchildren and also because he wanted to spare his parents’ social stigma. However, Queen knew that Parth discarded him like a used tissue.
Parth got married. Within a couple of years, he became a father. Queen remained single. His wound never healed. The betrayal of his first true love remained etched in his heart like a raw lesion.