Overview for The Boyfriend: A Novel
One Sunday morning in late 1992, Yudi, a forty something gay journalist, picks up a nineteen-year-old Dalit boy in the Churchgate loo. After hurried sex, he gets rid of the boy, afraid that he may be a hustler. There is nothing to set this brief encounter apart from numerous others, and Yudi returns to his bachelor's flat and sex with strangers. Months pass. But when riots break out in Mumbai, Yudi finds himself worrying about the boy from Churchgate station. He is in love. Chance brings the two together again, and this time they spend a week as a married couple in Yudi's flat, take a holiday, and meet for beer every Friday, till the boy, Milind Mahadik, disappears (he has been hired by a modelling-cum-call-boy agency owned by the Bollywood star Ajay Kapur, a closet bisexual). Desolate, Yudi finds solace in the company of the middle-aged painter Gauri, a highly-strung woman madly in love with him, whose advances he has consistently rejected. When Milind resurfaces, it is only to marry a girl chosen by his parents, for he has had it with Yudi and his kind. Yudi is heartbroken. But all is not lost: in straitened circumstances after marriage, Milind pays his gentleman friend a visit, and stays the night. Henceforth, mutual needâ€”Yudi's for love and Milind's for moneyâ€”will keep bringing them together. In the final analysis, as Yudi tells Gauriâ€”now the mistress of an ageing businessmanâ€”everything works out, and 'life is beautiful'. Full of irreverent, dry humour and devoid of sentimentality, The Boyfriend brings us a tragi-comic love story from the jumbled up heart of Mumbai. In the process, it also examines with unsparing irony the realities of caste, class, religion, masculinity and the gay subculture in India.
R. Raj Rao (Author)
R Raj Rao was born in Bombay. He studied in India and UK, and in 1996 attended the International Writing Program, Iowa. He is the author of Slide Show (poems), One Day I Locked My Flat in Soul City (short stories), The Wisest Fool on Earth and Other Plays and Nissim Ezekiel: The Authorized Biography. He has also edited Ten Indian Writers in Interview and co-edited Image of India in the Indian Novel in English (1960â€“1980). This is his first novel. A professor of English at the University of Pune, Rao is also one of Indiaâ€™s leading gay-rights activists.