What is the key to a happy relationship? Is there a formula for long-term love? Love is not a unidimensional emotion and any attempt to define it is to try to limit it. If there’s anything you must learn from life, it is that love has no limits. Love has no borders.
As the world struggles to make sense of itself, there’s one thing we can all agree on – love turns everyday existence into something sublime.
And so, WeddingSutra watched a gloomy, monsoon Sunday turn magical in Mumbai as we chatted with Debendra and Ankit, a couple who have been together, faced the odds and believe in the power of love.
Disparate on the outside – Debendra is an extrovert, Ankit is more reserved – they complete each other. “We are like yin and yang and maybe that is why we get along well with each other,” says Debendra. In addition to the normal hurly burly of being a couple, these two young men have had to battle homophobia out in the world and at home.
Still, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Here is their exclusive, heartwarming, inspiring love story.
How did you two meet?
Debendra: “I was working in an advertising agency and we were looking for a new work space. We landed up at a co working space where I first met Ankit, the Marketing Manager.”
Ankit: “From that initial meeting itself he had my attention. But we didn’t chat much when he was in my co working space. I did check his pictures out on Facebook. That’s where it all started. We added each other on Facebook and started chatting.”
What was your first date like?
Debendra: “It was quite old school; I invited him over to my place. He brought wine while I cooked pasta for us. We sang together, watched YouTube videos together, danced together, it was like a fairy tale musical. We never looked back.”
What makes you happiest?
Ankit: “I think we’re happiest in general when we’re having just kind of very chill moments; just doing casual things like making food together and being really open with each other. If you ask what my happiest memory is, I’ll have to say I don’t know. I can’t think of one specific one. They’re all happy.”
How did you come out to your families?
Debendra: “I had always wanted to move out once I was financially stable. When the day finally arrived, I was packing and I had an argument with my brother. He talked me into coming out. That was the day I told my parents. My dad couldn’t comprehend it but my mom was completely supportive.”
Ankit: “My parents are extremely protective of me and when I came out to them, they found it hard to fathom what it means. It led to many difficult conversations and they still haven’t come to terms with it completely. I think it is a work in progress but I believe it will be okay. Indian parents have a lot to learn and know about homosexuality.”
How did your families react to the union?
Debendra: “While we were sure about our relationship and its future, we had an uphill task ahead. Our conservative families had major reservations about homosexuality. It’s the elephant in the room with my dad. He knows I’m gay but he doesn’t want me to say it out loud. My mother supported us throughout.”
Ankit: “My parents have not accepted it and are very guarded in expressing their feelings. However, my aunt has been very supportive and she has really helped me deal with this. My brother, on the other hand, is a special needs child and it’s difficult for him to understand.”
What’s your circle of friends like?
Debendra: “Our friends have been very supportive and since I’m active on social media, I’ve received a fair amount of support from people in general. Even the ones that bullied me back in school messaged me apologizing for what they did and the response has been heartwarming.”
Ankit: “I did share this with my colleagues and I was surprised to see the amount of support they’ve given us. It did take me by surprise a little but things fell right into place, thanks to Debendra. Had it not been for him, I don’t think I would have been so confident and vocal about this.”
Any advice to couples out there?
Debendra: “Leave behind the ‘ideal images’ and ‘fairytale ideas’ and accept yourself and your partner for who and what you are, even if it means making some compromises. Without open and honest communication, you can’t sustain a mature, loving relationship.”
Are you involved with any LGBT forum or organization?
Debendra: “I am actively involved with the Humsafar Trust in Mumbai. I am an active member of the Trust’s youth wing that’s run by the youth themselves. We help mobilize queer youth, through events and other activities. ”
#LoveWithoutBorders is our latest editorial series. In a world that is getting increasingly polarised, we are shining the spotlight on couples and love that conquers all – caste, religion, distance, disapproval, gender and every other man-made borders. If you have a wonderful love story that conquered borders, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Bandra Worli Sea Link, Bandra Fort, Mount Mary Steps, Carter road, Bandra
Photography: Dev Purbiya