When Kunal Married Michael – a NYC Love Story

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kunal and Michael - photo: Lavina Melwani

Kunal and Michael – Photo by Lavina Melwani

 

June 26, 2015: The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States.

It means the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them.

Read all about it here

Meanwhile here’s our favorite story of a wedding which happened in the Indian community last year…

The Tale of the Two Bridegrooms

It’s the tale of  the two bridegrooms and their love story could happen only in New York City.  The Big Fat Indian Wedding re-invented! A ceremony at City Hall with close friends followed by a wedding brunch followed by a wedding reception at an Indian restaurant. Cocktails, cake-cutting and dinner followed by an after-party at a gay club.

With the new draconian laws in India, it would have been hard to have this kind of happiness there and Kunal Lamba who recently married his boyfriend Michael Trotter, is fully aware of that.  After all, he grew up in Delhi at a time when the word ‘gay’ just meant someone incredibly joyful.

Growing up in India in the 80’s and 90’s, as a child he would think to himself,  ” ‘Why am I different?’ ‘Why don’t girls attract me?’ But I still would want to have a girlfriend because of peer pressure'”

A Word in a Dictionary

He recalls: “When I was 12 or 13 I didn’t even know that there is a genre of sexuality called “homosexuality” till I read that word in “Society” magazine once and looked it up in the dictionary.

“As I grew to my late teens, the college I went to was in south India with a very modern edgy crowd and  the students were kind of Americanized with everyone watching Hollywood movies and listening to western music and wearing clothes just like students do here. But when it came to sexuality, my peers had double standards. A gay  guy would always be made fun of and not really accepted. So I simply kept quiet about my orientation and my college days never had an element of a sexual relationship and I feel I missed on a lot of fun.”

Kunal moved out of India in 2006, where he had been working as the events manager at the ITC Maurya Hotel in New Delhi. After a stint of 2.5 years in London, he moved to New York City in 2008. He worked as a food and beverage manager at a midtown hotel, finally making the restaurant Devi his home.

 

kunal and Michael

Kunal and Michael

 

He met Michael, an artist, on a gay dating/hookup site called adam4adam.com. Michael had just moved to Brooklyn from North Carolina, and as they got to know each other better, they became closer. Says Kunal, “Our relationship was a casual ‘friends with benefits’ thing for most part. By the end of 2013 we started feeling the need for commitment in our lives and we both found the best candidate in each other.”

 

10 Questions for Kunal Lamba, Finally the Bridegroom

 

1. How hard was it telling people – friends and especially family?

 We both have been totally “out” about our sexuality in New York with friends, and co-workers. Both our families know we are gay. Although my parents know I am gay, there is only so much we talk about my gay life in the US. So telling them about the wedding was a bit uncomfortable for me and even they did not know how to react. They never opposed it though and gave me prompt permission to go ahead.

 

 2. You must be happy you are in NYC and not New Delhi – as it would have got a very different reaction there.

Oh yes! Barring my close friends I could not be comfortable inviting anyone to a gay wedding in New Delhi.  People might not even believe it!

 

 3. Happily, most states recognize same sex marriages in the US – when and how did you decide to get married?

We decided to get married around New Year’s Eve. We finally decided on Jan 24.  An emotional moment between Michael and I prompted this decision. We got married in City Hall in Brooklyn since both of us used to live in Brooklyn.

 

kunal and Michael
Kunal and Michael

 

4. Tell me about the big day, what you wore, what you did? 

 About 10 of our friends joined us at City Hall Brooklyn for a Friday morning ceremony. Michael and I both wore tuxedos. After the ceremony we all had brunch at a restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. On Sunday we had a reception for about 40 guests at Devi restaurant in Manhattan. We had a cocktail hour followed by cake cutting and dinner. We all went to a gay club after for an after-dinner dance.

 

 5. Was there a honeymoon? 

We have not had a formal Honeymoon yet. I had a trip to India planned right after the wedding and my work became really hectic soon after the wedding as I took up an additional assignment. Then my parents visited us and we had a quick trip to Boston with them. As our official honeymoon we have a 10-day all gay cruise planned in the fall to Mexico and the Caribbean.

 

6. Forgive me for my ignorance but what is same-sex marriage like with two husbands? Who plays the wife – who makes the coffee, the beds and dinner? 

Michael and I both play husband and wife  roles alternatively. He spends more time at home but that doesn’t discount me from making beds. We both take turns making breakfast. We hardly cook at home,  given our lifestyle. There is no wife here,  I guess!

 7. Can heterosexual couples learn something from same-sex couples?

 Only a man knows what a man wants! This is one psychological advantage our relationship has. Also hetero couples tend to typecast on the basis of sex but everything is simply equal without any preconceived notions about the role of an individual in a gay relationship. This equality thing is something which can make a hetero relationship more successful. As I said,  nobody plays the wife! Ha-ha!

 

kunal and Michael

Kunal and Michael

 

8. Would you feel comfortable visiting India and what do your  immediate family think about it?

Yes, of course. These few months of our beautiful married life have convinced me that it’s all about “Us”. With all due respect, the world around is inconsequential as far as our personal lives go.

 

 9. Your advice to gays who may be still hesitating to come out or make a commitment to a partner? 

The “coming out” is a bigger issue than getting married. I personally feel that once you come out to your immediate family – parents and siblings – it all starts falling in place. So win them over. Tell them you are not gay by choice but are made that way. Forcefully getting married to the opposite sex is most likely going to have negative consequences like a divorce. My parents understood as I explained them exactly like this.

 

10. The best part of being married and being a husband and having a husband? 

My husband is the best friend I have. He is my buddy! He understands my physical and emotional needs all the more than a girl could as he has exactly the same needs. Don’t straight guys’ wives always complain about how their husbands are more interested in their female friends? Now, we don’t have to worry about that at least!

 

Readers:

Do rate the article. Would love your comments on this important relationship issue. Would you like to see it happen in India?

 

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

7 Comments

  1. Lavina Melwani on

    Via Google +

    sakina shekivui +1’d: It’s the tale of the two bridegrooms & their love story – only in New York City!

  2. Lavina Melwani on

    MaleFollower [email protected] Jun 25

    Gay Marriage News is out! http://paper.li/MaleFollower/1309634565

    Stories via @bound4somewhere @lassiwithlavina

  3. Lavina Melwani on

    Via Twitter

    Shaadi Ki Shehnai retweeted you
    Jun 24:
    It’s the tale of 2 bridegrooms & their love story – only in NYC. Big Fat Indian Wedding re-invented! #gaymarriage http://bit.ly/1nAaIHp

  4. Lavina Melwani on

    Via Facebook

    Shruti Sain · Friends with Kunal Lamba
    Congratulations Kunal! happy for you!
    June 24 at 10:15pm · Like · 1
    Chitra Nair · Friends with Kunal Lamba
    Congratulations Kunal… super happy for u…god bless
    June 25 at 1:24am · Like
    Shyla Suresh du Cosquer · Friends with Kunal Lamba
    Congrats Kunal!
    June 25 at 3:35am · Like
    Priyanka Sindhu · Friends with Kunal Lamba
    Congratulations :)) fab news!!
    June 25 at 2:19pm · Like

  5. Lavina Melwani on

    Via Facebook

    Kanika Marwaha Congrats Kunal Lamba!
    June 24 at 2:57pm · Unlike · 3
    Lavina Melwani The server is down on Lassi with Lavina – thanks for your patience, folks! Do click again after a while on the link.
    June 24 at 3:35pm · Like
    Suneet Varma This is fantastic- God bless them Congrats !
    June 24 at 3:56pm · Unlike · 1
    Priya Singh What a small world! I used to work with Michael Trotter once upon a time. Ha!
    June 24 at 4:09pm · Unlike · 2
    Suneet Varma Hey Kunal, forgive me I don’t remember- probably met briefly.
    Great to read about your marriage its awesome- Congrats to you both. Happiness always……!
    June 24 at 4:47pm · Like · 1
    Gunjan Bamrah · Friends with Kunal Lamba
    Congrats Kunal Lamba happy for Michael n you. Love gav gunj n gizzy
    June 24 at 6:13pm · Like · 1
    Chokher Bali God bless u guys !!! :))) ♡♡♡
    June 24 at 7:43pm · Like
    Shoumik Ganguly · 3 mutual friends
    Congratulations buddy.
    June 24 at 8:58pm · Like · 2

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