The Silent Mourner? No More.

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Way back in December 2014. Location: Ramachandi Beach. Picture by my sis.

Every morning as I wake up, the first thing I do is thank God for what I have today. I am extremely grateful to him for every little thing I have in my life, because not all of us have been lucky enough to have had a happy childhood. As I went through Kevin Kantor’s powerful poem named “People you may know”, there was this one line that hit me the most. “No one comes running for young boys who cry rape.”

It is no doubt one of the most influential poems I’ve come across in a long-long time. He talks about how he found his abuser on Facebook in the ‘People you may know’ section and when he checked his profile, he had three mutual friends with the same man. Such men are no different and do not live in some parallel universe. They very much live with us. Lately I’ve been coming across a lot of stories, more importantly in India than abroad that talk about the horrific crime of child abuse and how no one really looks at it as something that needs to be talked about. Men get raped too. And we all need to be aware enough to stop this from ever happening to an individual again. A YouTube video shared by ScoopWhoop showed a guy narrating his experience as a little kid when one of his teachers took him to the staff-room, asked him to take his pants off and forced himself on him. Another guy told how he was held up at gun point and asked to give blow jobs  to a group of men along with his partner. I was deeply shocked when I heard of all these stories that I had never heard of.  We hardly got to know about it when Shia LaBeouf came out and told us about the time he was raped during his performance art project. Why had I not heard of them before?Because men can’t be raped? Or men raping men isn’t a story spicy enough to be written down a newspaper? Or is it because they never came out and spoke about it? There could be several reasons why I might not have heard about it. But currently what matters is that we speak about such issues like the way people like Kevin Kantor and Harrish Iyer have. Because it exists and it is high time that we fix this. When your child comes to you crying for help, listen to him. Children hardly lie about issues like these. Help them because you care about their well-being.

I’m pretty sure you must have heard about the doctor from AIIMS whose wife killed herself after she got to know that he was cheating on her with another man and was constantly torturing her for perhaps dowry. I have been very vocal about how important it is to come out and not be weighed down by how the society perceives you even in my previous posts. (A Seven on pH-> https://theeffeminare.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/a-seven-on-ph/)

For god’s sake, talk to people. You have an Internet connection. Google stuff. You can never fake things till the end. There’s a threshold level. Once it breaks off, you’ll never be able to keep it all in. I very well understand how difficult it might be for you to come out. Many parents tend to live in denial for years. But they will finally understand. I personally don’t give a shit about what my peers think about myself. I’ve made some very close friends after I came out and have as well lost many. But the friends I have now mean so much to me than the ones who left. People will judge you. I have met men who on getting to know about my sexuality sort of back off. I have as well met men who on knowing that I have come out, have stood beside me and have fought for me. Stand by your true self proudly and the rest will be taken care of. If you still think you need time to come out, for heaven’s sake don’t let another individual’s life be adversely affected  by it.

Last year I was seeing a guy who when we first started talking seemed like the perfect guy. He had told me about a guy at his workplace who was never able to rise above being a judgmental chauvinistic pig. He was picked on every day he went to work. He was also being forced to marry off a girl chosen by his family. And here he was talking to me and living the life of a virtual player on the social network. I advised him to take a stand and at least try talking to his parents before making things worse for him. We can all give it a try. We’re stronger than we think we are. Such dating apps in fact have become a refuge for a lot of guys and have cemented their view that they could perhaps lead a dual life where they can happily date men online, have a perfectly healthy sex life and can as well maintain the image of a perfect husband and more importantly the quintessential man offline. An illusion is an illusion. It’ll wear off one day and will hit you harder than you think it will. Don’t get off guard with such delusional apps. They’ll perhaps do more bad than good to you.

Peace in.

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Picture from last year. Thought it was my last day at Umeed (near Qutub Minar). I got back this year with AAW’s Impart and it was still the same. Always happy to get back to Umeed. Location: Qutub Minar

|When my World was Candy|

Durga Puja Days

So the other day, I was a little low and I was thinking about the time last semester when I was genuinely very happy. A friend of mine was doing a project sort of thing for her Psychology paper and I was her subject. One of the questions in her questionnaire was how often do I get upset. I ticked “I am always happy”. A while after I went, “You know what, even this won’t last forever. I am gonna get back into that vicious cycle of human emotions. But yeah, as if I care!” And almost 7 months after, I just wish I could get back to being that way again. So I switched on to this amazing song from Monsoon Wedding, “Rabba Rabba Mee Barsa“. This song always gets me going. I absolutely love the movie. It is undoubtedly one of the finest movies by Mira Nair and I was incredibly happy when I’d watched this movie for the first time last year. It has the most awfully lovable songs from the late nineties (Remember ‘Chunari chunari’?). There is a certain sense of nostalgia associated with this movie. Every little thing in it reminds me of the way things used to be. From the tap (the T-shaped ones) and the white tiled sink, to the clothes, the picture of Delhi that I had in my mind back in 2000 to the songs again. It was all so beautiful. My world comprised of the little Kaniha, and that long coniferous tree at the end of my block. When I didn’t bother about how I looked, or what I ate. When competition and heart breaks hadn’t taken over me. When liars and fake promises didn’t exist in my life. When I did not have to be the quintessential man. When the real world hadn’t taken over me.

Where did it all go wrong? Duh! I grew up. 2014 has been a roller coaster ride. I used to be a lot different than I am today. I became more real and practical than the dreamy me. I do like the way things are today. I like being secure but there’s always a little emptiness that we all have to deal with everyday. A lot of my illusions have been all shattered. And I am glad. It is very important to face the reality and work over it than just wish for it. God is incredible. Everything that we come across in life is wrapped around with a lesson inside. Difficult to learn but acceptance makes it easier to deal with.

I know I can’t go back in time. But I can’t help thinking about how it used to be. May be tomorrow I’ll think about today and be like, “How amazing were those college days?”. So moral of the story? Let’s not be a tape that keeps getting stuck all the time and keep rolling no matter what. It’s good to be nostalgic, it’s good to go back in time. But sometimes, you need to stop bothering yourself with the past and just suck it up. Your present is what you have with you. Celebrate it. And the rest will be taken care of.

Peace in. 

The Curious Case Of Cross Dressing

The Perfect wedding picture. :’)
Credits: Anmol Kshetriyum 
There has always been a certain sense of stigma associated with the concept of cross-dressing but over the years fashion has evolved greatly and the concepts of what men and women should wear have largely merged into each other. I personally love the way we’re evolving into this generation of like-minded equal individuals where the concept of androgyny is more accepted than it used to be (at least in the world of fashion). It sort of started sometime around Annie Hall, but in the past couple of years it has finally started taking over the streets and more importantly over men than women (don’t forget those skirts on Marc Jacobs!) Here’s a roundup on what you can borrow from the opposite sex’s wardrobe and add a little edge and eccentricity to your look.

Credits: Bhavna Nagpal
Credits: Bhavna Nagpal

 MEN

Do not shy away from experimenting with accessories for women, especially some tribal-inspired (silver and bronze) neck-pieces. They go very well with crisp solid-colored shirts or the ones with minimal designs. Anklets also work very well as necklaces, since they’re chunky, versatile, and mostly minimalistic. Scarves and printed shirts from the women’s section can sometimes be a lot better option to opt for over the ones in men’s section. You’ll find a lot of variety in terms of prints and colors relative to the blacks, blues and checks in the men’s section. Kantha jackets with quirky prints can as well work great for a casual outing. I’m obsessed with the Indian ikat and it is high time men experiment with these fabrics and use them to make kurtas and shirts. We all owe Marc Jacobs for making the concept of cross-dressing more practical than ever. We love how he’s made the skirt look stylish and more importantly ‘okay’ to be worn by men. Wedged sneakers and platform shoes from the women’s section won’t only help you add a few inches but can also work amazingly well for a casual laid-back look.

WOMEN

There’s relatively more inspiration for women out there when it comes to androgyny. Like I said, it sort of started with Annie Hall, and in recent times that one woman who pulls of androgyny like no one does is Tilda Swinton. Her short pixie hair-cut adds all the more drama to her sartorial choices. Rihanna’s puff sleeved tux is one of my all-time favorite look of hers on the red-carpet. Our very own Sonam Kapoor has also scored amazingly well in this department. I’ve always had a thing for over-sized boxy clothes, and women can do so much with them. Check-shirts and boyfriend jeans can be super-chic for college. Jackets from the men’s section have a crisp tailoring and can work super-well to add structure to your body. Then there are shirt-dresses, bow ties, sneakers, loafers, and more over-sized shirts to choose from. Broaden your horizons and never shy away from experimenting.
Absolutely loving my gals in here. The stance, the pose. Everything! :*Credits: Anmol Kshetriyum

I’m not really sure if we can refer to this as cross-dressing or is it just men borrowing from the women’s wardrobe and vice-versa. I’ve always had issues with labels. They’re always complicated and sometimes politically incorrect. Fashion is also about expression and there are way too many of them to label. So let’s just have fun with the clothes and keep ourselves away from naming them. After all in the end the only thing that matters is originality and happiness.

Peace in!