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Over paneer tikka at Cafe Palmyra tonight, I must have been under the influence of mint-garlic, grilled-cheese kabobs. Lou Rawls' silk-sari voice wafted above us and I pointed at Pat romantically, mouthing along with the beloved singer (beloved by me particularly), "You'll never find another love like mine...."
"Sarah, we're in a *restaurant*," Pat whispered.
I smiled a who-cares smile, but then felt myself returning to my one-layer-apart-from-my-true-self, typical societal [im]posture here. And it felt bad.
At first, it felt fun for a moment to have been "naughty" and scolded, but ultimately, I felt stifled...not by Pat, but rather by our perceived state of how it is here still, and how we need to behave accordingly.
Could I have been any more self-evident? I showed up to dinner in an Indian cricket-cap, sweatshirt and track-pants -- which I know any athletic female could have done, but believe me, at 5'10" with no earrings tonight, I differentiated myself.
It was all about don't-ask-don't-tell, though, and always, so far, it has felt like that to me in India. Probably, if we were staying for longer than six months, I would hazard a further outness rhythm; of course, I'm out at work, since IBM has a global non-discrimination policy, but am non-verbal, if not invisible, about my sexual orientation when I'm off-site. Four and a half months into our sojourn, tonight was my first "slip."
Lou Rawls kept singing, in any case, which was joyful. If only Barry White hadn't sung, "My First, My Last, My Everything" three songs prior, probably none of this ever would have happened!