The Other Man

A heartwarming and transporting romantic comedy about finding happy ever after on your own terms. Heir to his father’s Mumbai business empire, Ved Mehra has money, looks, and status. He is also living as a closeted gay man. He goes on dates with women to appease his mom, but secretly meets up with men on Grindr. A messy breakup years ago has cautioned him from trying for anything more than no-strings-attached sex. 

Carlos Silva, an American on a business trip to India, who genuinely seems to want to use Grindr to make conversation enters. Their messages turn increasingly flirty, and even the people in Ved’s life notice how much happier he seems to be. Thirty-eight, lonely, still reeling from a breakup, and under pressure from his exasperated mother, Ved agrees to an arranged marriage. He regrettably now faces a doomed future with the perfectly lovely Disha Kapoor.

As preparations for his wedding get into full swing, Ved finds himself drawn into a relationship he could never have imagined―and ready to take a bold step. Ved is ready to embrace who he is and declare his true feelings regardless of family expectations and staunch traditions. But with his engagement party just days away, and with so much at risk, Ved will have to fight for what he wants―if it’s not too late to get it. 

Despite the romantic elements, the story focuses a lot more on Ved’s personal growth, and his journey towards taking charge of his own happiness. While Ved and Carlos definitely engage in cute banter, the sparks are fairly mild. This plot holds up a mirror to what has been happening in Indian society for a long time. Gay men marry straight women, either of their own will or due to parental pressure, in order to produce sons and fulfill their patriarchal duty to continue the family line. No thought is given to the ordeal that wives go through in these marriages. While it is true that gay men experience harassment within their birth families, it is also true that many of them participate in making life a living hell for the unsuspecting women they marry. Gay rights activists do not speak about this much.

The author does an excellent job of showing Ved’s internal struggles. He does not want to do anything that will upset his parents and assumes they will be disappointed if they know he is gay. He wants to tell them but keeps postponing, imagining a number of scenarios that might come up if he does come out of the closet. Ved also feels guilty, perhaps more towards Disha than his parents. She has been extremely kind towards him. He thinks of her as a dear friend, so he does not want to lose her, but telling her would mean that the engagement would fall apart. He is petrified of losing Carlos as well, so he keeps his new lover in the dark. 

About the author- Farhad J. Dadyburjor has been an entertainment and lifestyle journalist for over twenty years. Born and based in Mumbai, India, he has held several senior editorial positions, including at DNA newspaper, as launch editor at the international men’s magazine FHM, and currently at The Leela Magazine. His debut novel, ‘How I Got Lucky’ (Penguin Random House), was a satire on India’s celebrity culture and his forthcoming novel ‘The Other Man’ (Lake Union Publishing) is an urban gay romcom set in Mumbai.