It was called the Midsummma Festival - Celebrating Queer Culture. Well, it was part of a festival celebrating the third self :)

On a pleasant sunday afternoon at Alexandria Gardens in Melbourne, hundreds of gays and lesbians and those not 'in between' gathered together to celebrate midsummer. Well, that is what I gathered and assumed. We were taking a walk along the Yarra river, when we were distracted by music and the sound of gaiety. I was particularly overjoyed seeing the sea of people, and before long we found ourselves pulled towards that direction.

Once inside the mayhem, I found myself not batting an eyelid in my bid to have an eyeful of all the goings on around me. Hand in hand, arm in arm, same sex couples of all ages, and some extremely good looking (what a waste in straight terms), were revelling in the atmosphere.

A picnic-cum-fete kind of scene. At the centre was the stage where drag queens in their thongs performed, where artistes belted out numbers and yet some more displayed their other talents. The people sat on the grass, their mats rolled out, the food and beer flowing, and the dogs too in august company.

Food stalls were set up on one end and so were the drinks counter but to get to that bay one had to get a wristband, as proof of age. Then there were other two dance areas where DJs were full on as spontaneous and tipsy members livened up the atmosphere even more.

Then there were the volunteers giving forms and others busy signing . I was curious about that one but sadly, no one approached us with the forms. There was also an immigration help desk for gays and lesbians! But I did get a movie cd on drug abuses, a compilation of six personal stories, which I have yet to watch. Someone was handing it out for free!

Just last year, Delhi had its first gay march. I am coming from a place which has just about begun to accept gays and lesbians. And this one yesterday was a complete eye opener for me. I saw so many old gay partners and in complete comfort with their identity. It is indeed nice to be accepted and live in a liberated world where no one judges the other by virtue of his preferences, I told my man. "Oh yes", he replied as always and not before a woman looked at me and told her partner, "she is nice," something both of us heard loud. Well, it made my day. Admiration transcends stereotypes, ahem :)

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