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Gender

From The Broken Mirror Of Hope

June 24, 2019

What is your identity? What is your eyesight, is it male or female? What is your heart? Do you refer to it as he or she? What is the colour of your emotion? Do you dress up your emotion? Do you flaunt it in ways that suit the coloured lens of the world you inhabit? Yes, we do. I stand guilty of not treating another human being just as me.

Emotion is as fluid as the water and blood running in your veins. Do you see yourself in the totality of who you are?

As I rummage through my things that are tucked away in some corner of my mind, I am forced to look at the summer noon of Delhi. Those lanes with the tree shaded pathways, homes with blaring air conditioners, windows tightly shut with the mind too. The troupe of Hijras who are dressed loudly with make up and low saris revealing their infertile tummies and an ill-fitting blouse with padded bras and one man among them as their troupe member.

They are tired of running away from corrupt policemen and searching home to home for a newborn or a newly married couple to bless, sing and negotiate the price for the blessing. We buy blessings like a commodity. It’s all a business that blooms in the name of faith.

My heart used to bleed to watch this glaring injustice of gender identity acceptance. Just the sheer shame I felt rising in my cheeks as I saw another human being being treated like a pariah for this difference. Yes, we live in dystopia.

I feebly smiled at them because I was guilty of not being able to help, eradicate this bias or even wipe their tear. I was always greeted with warmth that is found in the honesty of pain and an ardent need for redemption from this chain of identity that they fought forever.

Over time I realise how insensitive and inhuman we all are. All this mumbo jumbo of acceptance is beautiful in essays and writings and in LGBTQIA marches. No one really wipes their tears or give them equal opportunity in this unequal world of division on sexuality, monetary status and the list is endless.

As we celebrate this month of equality in sexual orientation, I shut my eyes and and I can vividly reminisce the bleeding lipstick, after an entire noon of running from home to home. The eyeliner and mascara that has dried on the face after streams of tears that have not been wiped by one human to another.

Yes, my flight is not safe like yours.
Yes, my step doesn’t match yours.
Yes, I don’t glide over the turmoil of the tide,
As smoothly as I should.
Yes, I crave my mother’s touch.
Yes, I crave the sunshine.
Like you I am human too.
My heart isn’t a vagina or a penis,
It is shaped and beating with trepidation.
Like you I am scared of the rain and thunder.
Take me as I am,
Yes, my flight is not safe like yours.

Gender

Kumari That Was Not Killed

November 18, 2018
Kumari That Was Not Killed

As the winter sets in on the fading sunlight against the Ganges Ghats. West Bengal worships the pre puberty girl child as an reincarnation of the divine Goddess. It’s celebrated as Kumari Pujo. Little girls are given a bath and dressed like a bride. Resplendent in her attire of flowers, the traditional red sari and jewellery she is worshipped in homes and temples. The spiritual leader Ramkrishna Paramhans in his Belur Math has the Kumari Pujo that’s celebrated with divinity that only a goddess deserves.

The Howrah Bridge stands stoic, the river flowing gently below. It teaches us resilience. With the advent of technology. Clinics have sex determination tests. And unfortunately female foetus after its gestation period is aborted in our country. The girl child is a burden. She is viewed as a taker and not a provider. Innumerable stories that wrench your gut. You hear how the baby girl when born is left out in the cold without a shred of clothing on her. So that she dies. Cold and blue. The mothers cry is choked because her voice is silenced by the patriarchy of her household. We face this level of discrimination in India. Where the blooming bud is torn away from the branches. Because she may bloom unhindered and happy. Let’s take a leaf out of this garland of tradition from West Bengal. Where your little girls are treated like beautiful divine flowers. Her essence is her freedom. Worship her like the reincarnation of the goddess in you and me. As the Ganga flows with the debris of stale worshipped flowers and the ashes of the dead. Let India be reborn into a secure country, where the girl child is taught to feel the wet earth under her feet, the rain on her skin and the sunlight on her face.

Gender

Acid On My Face But Not My Spirit

November 15, 2018
Promise Bangle

Unresolved issues are the most gnawing space in our heads and hearts forever. When I sit back and recall the memories that haunt me. They are the hurt that I didn’t resolve and just didn’t address. Over time they became just painful memories and I didn’t try to find the reasoning behind them. They happened because it was my inability to accept certain things which were not meant for me. With this deep knowledge of understanding that life has many colors. There is a distinct black in all this vibgyor of multifaceted personalities and their myriad colors.

To me, the Promise bangle is like a handcuff that doesn’t imprison you but releases you with a vow that you will remember. A need to let the good thoughts enter you and release the caged ones of your mind. The ones that make you wrench in pain. The unrequited love, the deceit, the lies and the truth too.

The Promise bangle is endorsed by Shanti, an acid attack victim who didn’t let her disfigured face stop her from looking ahead. When you buy the Promise bangle you are endorsing a cause. A cause where the proceeds go towards the welfare of acid victims.

This ornament has a secret chamber where you can write your promise and roll it into the bangle inside. It’s your message in a handcuff with the promise that you will not be silent when you are being asked to accept patriarchal archaic rules.

I watch the handcuff against my skin shining into the light and catching the rays of wisdom. It’s prudence to not always prove a point with your voice and words amidst the bunch of cocooned minds.

My promise comes in colors of black, gold, silver & rose. I wear it like a sisterhood of the beauty that was destroyed by an angry man whose advances were thwarted by an unwilling woman.

I promise to keep my promise of standing up when I hear an unpleasant story of another woman, spoken in social harmless lunches where often lynching is a norm of bonding.

It’s my promise to bond with another woman, keeping her failing and winning in mind without judging her journey.

Gender

Faith Knows No Gender

October 8, 2018

The world is moving forward in tech, healthcare and an increasing sense of entitlement among people. Yet, in the margins of society lies the transgender community, still seeking dignity and acceptance among us.

As we surge ahead with modernization, our thinking still remains stunted and biased towards them. I urge each of us to see that unshed tear at the corner of their eye, that needs a benign hand to wipe away.

Gender

Love is an emotion and tears are salt. Salt & emotion is not he or she.

September 6, 2018
Love is an emotion and tears are salt. Salt & emotion is not he or she.

I always dreamt of open fields, open skies and open minds. Minds that are not hindered with the societal diktats of right and wrong.
In a historic judgement today the archaic Section 377 has been scrapped.

Gay sex is not illegal anymore. I often wonder if emotion and love has gender. Does your muffled cry at night have a gender?
Then why conditions for loving someone you desire need government approval.

I have seen close friends sink deep into depression because they are not allowed to speak or express their gender choice in loving someone.
Finally we are waking up from this long slumber of darkness where light is entering through the crack in the windows.  It’s seeping you, me & all of us with a knowledge that India still upholds respect of choice. Like any democracy should & would.

Cry out loud, love strong & intense and never apologise for who you are. Among the best artists and best designers world over are LGBT hindered voices that express anguish in their art.

With my ever increasing love & loyalty to Indian fashion & designers.  I salute the creative genius of the designers who rule the roost in Indian fashion & has taken India on the world map with their sensibilities and aesthetics. Here too Art has no gender.