Under the Lucky Star
By Anwesh Kumar
I wish to live in a utopian world, a world where I’m free – free to will, free to live, free to dream and free to transform my dreams into realities. This indeed is that vision that keeps me going and makes me stand by my identity (proudly), that I was once ashamed of. But like any other real story it had its share of dark and depressing days. And when I tried finding a solution, I came across the root cause of all my troubles- “The Closet”.
Those who are “in” the closet are often stigmatized as living false, unhappy lives. However, we all in general tend to live in and out of our closets. The fear of the unknown makes us do so. And not coming out of it when we’re required to can have serious repercussions on our lives.
We as humans are closeted beings. We love to live in our closets- of dreams, of aspirations, fears, sexual orientations, secrets, and of comfort levels. It at first feels good. There is an underlying sense of security that only the walls of the closet can ensure. But then follows the phase of suffocation. The walls that once protected us begin to make us feel restricted. And what follows is the “end of self denial”. This is when it all gets better. No matter what, we need to realize that there is a better world and a better life that awaits us on the other side of the closet. A happier and free one. This indeed is that silver-lining to our dark and depressing phase.
At school, the only things we’re bothered about are exams and relationships. But, life has a lot more to it. Fourteen years at school have made me realize that the two most important entities to our lives are our family and our very own being. And we end up spending the least amount of time with ourselves. We are often more concerned about the people around us and this is quintessentially human. There is nothing wrong about it. We only need to make sure that the thin line between ‘me time’ and the time that we spend thinking about our surroundings isn’t blurred.
There was this one point when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I hated myself for being different, and I hated that there was nothing that I could do about it. I was constantly being picked on for being effeminate by my peers and some teachers. It was almost as if the entire class was on one side and me on the other, struggling to act straight and fit-in. But I always had my sister by my side. I consider myself to be blessed with an amazing sister and a wonderful teacher. I eventually grew immune to all the crap I was going through. I found hope, self-belief sprinkled with loads of optimism that made me grow stronger. The bullying made me resilient. And as Maya Angelou has quoted, “You may tread me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I’ll rise.” We might fall, but we must not break. We must fight for our rights. God made us unique because he loves us. So love yourself, for this couldn’t have been better.
Times are changing, and thankfully people around us are evolving. But unfortunately some people decided to live in the bygone era. So the Supreme Court decided to over-ride the July 2009 verdict of the Delhi High Court, effectively re-criminalizing homosexuality or more precisely ‘homosexual acts’. The verdict is beyond upsetting. It befuddles me and makes me cringe to see how unaware some of us are. Restoring the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in a way sends a message to all the homo-phobes out there that, “Yes, you are correct. Homosexuality is wrong. And we stand with you”. I don’t know if the judiciary realizes how it has actually thrown millions of the so-called “miniscule minority” back into the closet. A life full of misery, loneliness, hopelessness and ignorance. As a gay teen, it made me re-think my decision of coming out.
We belong to different countries, have different beliefs, have different spiritual inclinations and belong to different age groups and generations, but we have all been through the same phase of self denial followed by self-acceptance. I am super-unapologetic about hanging out with girls because that is where I feel comfortable. The fear of the law does haunt me but I’m original and unafraid. I’m certain that to every dark tunnel, there exists a bright light of hope. And today when I look back, I realize how blessed I am to be gay. I definitely believe that being a homo is one of the best things that ever happened to me for it made me all the more resilient, a magnanimous being and almost immune to criticism. The time has definitely come to invest our energy into the social issues related to sexuality for we’re all “born under the lucky star”.