It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and my ever-so dramatic Punjabi mother wanted to watch a Bollywood masala movie. Unfortunately or fortunately, Margarita With A Straw seemed like the only promising movie worth watching.
When I told this to mother, she asked me, ” Koi comedy movie nahi lagi kya?” ( Is there no comedy movie playing?) I replied in the negative and told her that she wouldn’t like Margarita, so we should ditch the plan. I speak from experience when I say that my mother usually does exactly what I ask her not to. So there we were, at the theatre in the sultry heat, buying our tickets.
Since I was acquainted with the story line of the movie – of a disabled girl discovering her sexuality – I wondered if it was a good idea to watch it with my conservative Punjabi mother, who had never talked about sexuality in the open, and for whom, being gay or bisexual was not a very ‘normal’ thing.
Ten minutes into the movie, and everything seemed ‘clean’ when Laila (Kalki) starts masturbating to an audio of a porn clip. I could sense mom getting uncomfortable, but, well, you get what you ask for, mumma!”How did you like the movie, ma?” I asked her during the interval. She looked a tad-bit uneasy and clearly out of words. “Now you know why I said you won’t like it,” I asserted.
The movie ended quickly but I made sure that the drive back home would not. Just like in one of the scenes in the movie, the daughter had now taken the mother’s role. I patiently explained the concept of lesbians, gays and bisexuals to mumma and she listened like a fascinated kid. “So, you mean, lesbians can’t be with guys?” she asked innocently. “No mom. They are not attracted to guys. Also, anybody can be a lesbian or a gay. It’s absolutely normal. Even I could be a lesbian,” I winked at her.
Still looking a little apprehensive about the concept, she paused for a moment, smiled and said, “Whatever makes you happy, my daughter!”I am glad we chose to watch Margarita With A Straw instead of the usual Bollywood jazz.