It was close to midnight at Pegs N Pints pub in Chanakyapuri – New Delhi's diplomatic enclave. Illegal acts were being performed close to the maximum security zone of the Indian Prime Minister's residence.
On normal days, Pegs N Pints is "normal" - strictly straight. But on Tuesday evenings as the clock struck ten, queers start trickling out of their closets. Lying husbands relegate pretty wives to dinner alone. Guilty sons fake extra tuition classes. Bored European diplomats exchange grey-colored blazers for black leather jackets. They all gather together in Pegs N Pints – New Delhi's only discotheque offering "gay nights on all Tuesdays."
Camouflaged as private parties hosted by a certain "Mr. David", these unofficial "gay nights" remain dependent on word-of-mouth publicity. Despite requests, no one from the bar management was willing to be quoted. The secrecy is understandable since gay sex is forbidden under the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and is punishable with imprisonment.
A recent The Times of India report on serial killings in Mumbai casually mentioned cops questioning a man sitting at Chowpatty Beach "if he was a homosexual, the latter confessed and was brought to the police station."
Inside the Den
It was an unkempt place. The wooden counter was scratched, the beer glasses chipped, and the restroom out of order. But nobody cared. No one minded the expensive entry charge of 400 rupees (about $10). This is one of the few watering holes for wealthy gays not willing to risk interrogations by cops in shady parks. Beggars could not be choosers.
As the evening progressed, the crowd started filtering in. The dance floor was downstairs and a boy with a teasing smile was girating to Shakira's Hips don't lie. Roving eyes were coming to rest at him. His smooth chest and gelled hair shone in the blinking strobe light. He shook his shoulders, moved his flat belly, waved his arms and flung his feet. He took leaps, invited others, hugged someone, moved on to the next, never staying at one place for more than a moment.