"I had to cross two continents to be allowed to marry the love of my life"
Introducing Marriage Diaries, where we explore the unique challenges faced by modern couples, and the life lessons in love we can all learn
The proposal was magical. We were on a boat ride on the river Seine in Paris. Cyril (Feuillebois) popped the question after a decade-long journey together. So, of course, I said yes.
The wedding ceremony took place in Paris too. We were extremely emotional. Ten years of memories passed through our eyes. And then there was that moment when we were pronounced ‘husband and husband’ in front of our near and dear ones. What else could I have asked for? I was moved to tears.
But there’s always something more to be asked, right? Back home we had yet another reception that took place in Goa. That’s the one closest to our hearts. Our mothers officiated the ceremony along with India’s first ever transgender high priestess.
Cyril and I exchanged vows with the beach and sunset in the background. Everybody was crying… tears of joy. It was truly surreal. But at the same time, I was acutely aware that the beautiful ceremony would have meant nothing if we hadn’t signed the papers in Paris, since gay marriage doesn’t exist in India. This is where the concept of modern marriage arises, which is the freedom to choose your life partner irrespective of gender.
All couples go through the same crests and troughs. All marriages are the same, but for me, I had to take a plane ride and cross continents to legally call the love of my life, my husband.
Marriage is a beautiful institution and kids bring unimaginable joy to the life of parents. All who wish to experience this feeling should not feel restricted and bound by their sexual orientation. We love every moment of being married. I enjoy our quarrels and make-up sessions. I relish the opportunity to plan eternity with him. But, not everyone has the privilege to cross borders to walk down the aisle with the one person they wish to spend their life.
Last month, as we celebrated the anniversary of striking down Section 377, we felt the need to grasp that we have just about scratched the surface when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights and equality in India. Gay couples may not be prosecuted by law now, but they still don’t have the legal standing to marry in the country. Even if they let go of the notion of gay marriage, queer couples in India can’t dream of a happy family with children. Our country does not permit adoption when it comes to gay couples. Take something like insurance for instance. We take it for granted, but it took immense effort on the part of The Lalit to convince ICICI for a landmark insurance policy for its queer employees.
I would like to end with the words of famous American journalist, Hendrik Hertzberg, “Marriage should be between a spouse and a spouse, not a gender and a gender.”
Keshav Suri is the executive director of the Lalit Hotels.