What is a summary of "Rite of Passage" by Manoj Nair?

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“Rite of Passage,” written by Manoj Nair, is about Prem and his relationship with his mom and Ramettan.

Nair’s short story starts with the narrator reinforcing the close bond between Prem and his mom. Since his dad died when he was seven, his mother had to bring him up by herself. “She was the one he listened to and went to with his needs,” says the narrator. If someone questioned his behavior, Prem used his mom as an explanation. He’d say, “My mother told me to do so.”

Then Prem leaves his mom and goes to college. He meets an alluring and popular man named Ramettan. Prem tries out for the dance team and makes it. Ramettan, as it so happens, does the makeup for the dance team. Ramettan and Prem hang out and see a movie together. Prem starts to have feelings for Ramettan. After winning the dance competition, Prem and Ramettan share an intimate night in the hotel room.

Unfortunately, Prem can’t figure out how to make peace with his sexuality. He wonders why he doesn’t think about girls sexually and if his relationship with his mom has adversely impacted his sexual identity. He isolates himself for a long time, then goes to see Ramettan and sees him doing a fantastical dance. Prem isn’t sure if what he saw was real. What is real is that Prem was “never able to come to terms with his inner urges, his sexuality.” He doesn’t marry and becomes “just another scientist.”

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