This week I got to visit the RamChandi Beach. And throughout the vacation I’ve realized how much I love going to the beaches. There is absolute peace in just having to sit at the beach and looking at the waves. I love the way the sand rises inside the water like a cloud of brown dust when you step into the low water land. Sometimes I feel like there is so much to see and so little time. I’m gonna miss Odisha. 

    It’s been an overwhelming ride. From the Peshawar attacks to the missing Asian Airlines, a lot has happened in the last month. And as the year comes to a close I wanted to kind of review the year. And then it struck me, are we really taking a step forward?

    I’ve recently come across a lot of hatred and a not-so-favorable response to the depiction of the gay characters in my favorite sit-com “Modern Family”. This sit-com happened to be my ray of hope when everything in my life seemed gloomy and like the end of the world. This was that one show that made me feel like “Yes, I can have a family. I too deserve to live a happy life and I deserve to be loved”.  That reminded me of that episode where both the fathers of the couple are trying hard to make sure that it’s their son acting as the man of the family, only to realize that their sons lived an equal relationship through-out. There does not have to be a man and a woman to make it all work. You only need unconditional love. Mitchell is very much me in a gazillion amount of ways. In fact Mitchell and Claire are the kind of siblings that my sister and I are. My sister was a lot better than I was ever at sports. I was the docile damsel in distress and my sis my savior who fought all the nagging. And then there are these allegations about how the show depicts its gay characters in the eighties stereotypical manner. Yeah right, a gay football coach is so typical! Ain’t it?! 
          The Peshawar attack has been perhaps the most mindless act of revenge I’ve come across since the Taliban attacked Malala which she rose out of stronger than ever. It is really sad when revenge is the only thing that matters and you do that by killing innocent kids. It’s like the Taliban wants to proclaim it to the world that we are so strong that the only way we can prove it is by killing kids!

    The following is an excerpt from the blog that Leelah had written as a suicide note before being struck and killed on the Ohio Interstate:

“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.” – (Leelah) Alcorn

Source: Tumblr

    I realize that this is a long ride and that me getting frustrated will do no good to anybody. But this needs to stop. There really is a lot better world that awaits us and the only way we can experience is by fighting and living. I completely understand the kind of pressure and stress Leelah must’ve gone through before having taken such a drastic decision. But there is nothing on this earth that is worth killing oneself. The only way we can help is by accepting and understanding. One can never force us to do things that suits their interest. As long as what I do doesn’t adversely affect the people I love and who care for me, there is nothing wrong in standing up for my belief. 

    The world will be a much better place if we could only look at it beyond the existence of a perfect man and a perfect woman. If we could only blur the lines, if a man could someday take as much pride in wearing a skirt as a woman takes in wearing her pants. It’s time we sit back and analyze if we are frozen in time.

From Pride to pride!

Credits: Sambhav

    So this year I had the privilege to participate in the Annual Delhi Queer Pride parade and it indeed was a privilege. Just days before the parade I got to meet a friend of mine who had been participating in the parade since its inception.  He told me how then he had to wake up at three in  the morning to make sure he’s not on any of the papers. Well that was like five or six years ago. We’ve moved on. India and Indians have evolved (except for the Supreme Court who over-rid the July 2009 verdict of High Court re-criminalizing homosexual acts last December ). And that said I obviously was absolutely elated when I got to know about the parade this year. It was a Sunday and I had my last exam that very same day from 12 to 2. I finished the paper as soon as possible and just ran towards the Metro Station. Thankfully I had company. One of my curious juniors joined me for the parade. He made friends too. It was just amazing. But obviously the “Pride Parade” or just “Pride”as we often refer to it isn’t just about recreation. Every year there happens to be a theme or a social stigma that we as a community try to get done with and this time it was “Pride Kyun?” or “Why Pride?”. I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about how people often come up to me saying, “Well we don’t have a straight Pride parade!”

Copyright: Ankur Mondal Photography

So I met this guy who came up to me asking questions about the community and I was really keen on helping him out until he started being a perv and I learned my lesson.

    Apart from the fact that Pride is a place where for once we all get to be together and for all those who’re still not out, this can definitely be a support and a major eye-opener. But other than that there are some things that I feel Pride is all about:

1. Because for that one day I want to celebrate the defeat of the dreadful closet and proclaim it to the world that *I AM* 

2. Because for once we can all come together and tell the Judiciary that we’re not a minuscule minority and my right to practice love is none of your business.

3. Because I’m not scared. Not anymore.

    Just after Pride happened, Goa happened to me and it was such a moving experience. Besides the fact that I had so much fun, I felt like Goa was this crucial filter that had to happen in order to better understand who my friends really are and to really in the truest sense of the word understand why I should be preserving my own ego and not let myself be used. For the most part of my school life I was picked on (which I surely wouldn’t complain about) and I really didn’t have the kind of friends that I could always hang-out with. It was just confusion all around. It bothered me in the beginning, but then I started learning to be immune to it. I might as well look at it as  “My ego is big enough to NOT be blown away by your mindless blabber.” But in some ways I really stopped being bothered about all those things that I now feel that I should’ve been bothered about. In a lot of ways it is best to turn a deaf ear to all such ridicule, but sometimes I wouldn’t wanna sit there and watch. You can’t shoot me and ask me to not bleed! #SarcasmOnly

    So by the end of my third day, Goa gave me something I had never expected from it. Dignity. Self respect. Pride. Perhaps the three more important things that I had let my life be devoid of. The fact that I must learn to be the kind of individual who commands respect. I must follow the very influential and good people, but I have to be Anwesh by the end of it all. You do not have to be X, Y or Z. You just have to be You. We can never make everyone happy. And we don’t have to. We do not have to necessarily be good to everybody. And my dignity must always be my foremost priority. It does come ahead of everything else. My ego must be big but not big enough to be hurtful and mean.. I don’t want to be egoistic and selfish. I want to be dignified and secure. I spoke to Rachna (a very good friend of mine) the same day and I broke down. I had a flash back of everything I’ve had to go through till date. I didn’t know what dignity stood for during my entire school life. I’ve perhaps never been able to respect myself. But I’m kinda sick of the “I don’t care attitude”. Being a little bad isn’t a bad idea after all. I am an equal individual and I deserve respect. I am who I am. And I must teach myself to be the person who you need to respect.

Family portrait. #GOA