Friday, May 20, 2011


pic by :    parikshith sambasivan

i know the coldness,of the summer,
i have seen many such winters in summer before,
but never did i think i would, without you
see life beyond the shore...

then one day, you called out my name,
in this dizzy whirl, i found a world,
i now found new wing,
and realised i was also a bird

deep in the mountains,
when you fly over,
i would wait then, with pride in my eyes,
with wings not so strong but,
i'll  idly watch you fly out of sight...

then when one day,
you call out my name...
i would then, 

be born again...

when the phoenix left,
ashes turned to fire,

with a promise
"i will be born again, 

after being offered to the pyre..."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The not-so-queer case of Male-Jhol

this was an article i wrote for the "out of the closet" page of the DNA newspaper. 

Male-Jhol… naa... this isn’t a hindi word. 
It is hip and hinglish. I am one of the many males)  in this orgasmic island city whose hormones get thumping and pumping, cajoling and jholing looking at other males (call us a minority and I will give you a thappad.

Yaah yaah.. I am gay. And I love men. I think of making love to a man.  I am engaged to a man and have a ring to prove it.

And let me tell you. Our joys our sorrows are as different and unique as a boy to a girl or vice versa. (What are they called?yeah STRAIGHT!)  I’m often asked who plays the Man and who the Woman in the relationship is. The truth is that gay relations are unique and different so are our love stories. We don’t
fit into moulds. We define moulds.

I don’t believe that I need to identify as man or woman in the relationship or for that matter the sexual act. We are two men in love. Period. ( I mean no period  ) Our love stories are just the same and break offs – ditto as straight ones. 

Let me share my love story with you.My first love. (One sided though) In an early night of a drizzling June, at the windy Bandra reclamation, I fell in love… and for the first time. Was it love at first sight? NO. It was love at first kiss though. And now I know the questions raging in your mind.

Aiyoo. So did someone see. Naahi vaatla bheeti?

Nahi.. Mumbai is a busy city. Who has the time to see and bajaao seeti.  He was not the perfect man. But he was as imperfect as me and perfect that time for me.  As the dark clouds further stained the orange sky, and the drizzle ended and therewas a cloud burst. It was a perfect gulzar moment for us with a very situational
“ek akeli chatri mein jab aadhe addhe bhegh rahe the" playing in his iPod that was plugged into our ears,  a ear each.  – now it was “jaane do naa… paas aaoo naa…” all this at the very straight Bandra Reclamation that kissed the Arabian sea. 

The moon waxed and  time waned. I looked at my watch, two hours had passed. We decided to move to our respective homes. I called out for a “rickshaw”… and surprisingly, he sat in it.  Puzzled, I stood there muzzled. He said, let’s spend the night together. I muttered huskily “where”. He whispered “Bombay”. I hopped in. The rickshaw meter kept  ticking and we sunk into our past and present and future. from bandra to andheri. and from andheri to bandra and then from bandra to sion and then from sion to goregaon, we just “rick”ed it all over the ricked night.

He spoke I listened. I spoke and he listened. And the conversations that were initiated this dawn-less night, held us together for 4 months. Then we tripped and missed our steps. He found another and I was left alone singing melancholic tunes of the 40s. I kept a big face for 3 months. And then it took me 4 years of sad poems and reams and reams of tear absorbing tissue papers to finally gain the confidence to rise in love again. And finally change my facebook status to “in a relationship”…

Does my rainy day story sound alike the laila-majnu love relationships that go little beyond raat-gayee-baat-gayee?

well, we and our relationships are not queer. And if you insist we are.. then I’d say “as queer as straight ones”

our dill’s, in the same way go rock-and-roll , so what if it is Male-Jhol?

The Sympathy Seeker...

this blog post was specially written for the csa awareness month blog . 
I remember the day when my ship had capsized and I was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.  The devil that was all around me, and the deep blue sea within me. And guess what, I did not know how to swim. Struggling, I created ripples in the water. And all that the world could see is that someone was screaming… yelling, so barmy… seeking attention famously.  I held on to anything afloat – but the things that were floating were nothing but an illusion. I went deep, so deep in the trenches of pain that I could hardly comprehend what I was feeling. Morose, I wilted like the withered petals of a rose.

I was just out of a trauma of child sexual abuse. Something that I had been experiencing for the past 11 years. I was out of it. The silence and the “want” to speak had been heating up lava inside me. I wanted to get it off my system. I had spent years wanting to speak, and now all i wanted, was a ear to hear.

I spoke. I spoke. And I spoke. People were compassionate with me. Some tapped me  on my back for having found the courage to speak. Some simply cried bucket full of tears with me. I felt nice. I felt nice because I found someone to hear me out. My emotional scars were diminishing i thought. I started speaking – up and about about my abuse. About the fact that I was just merely at a merry age of 7, when i was abused. I was mauled. Clawed. And that I had no language to protest what I detest. I couldn’t object to the objects that were inserted in me. That I cried just once, and felt the pain just once.. It was that first time, and after that, my emotions had numbed and i turned dumb to the pain. At just the age of 7. I knew the taste of semen.

I know what you must be thinking while you are reading this. Some of you must have shut your screens in absolute horror. And the others, must be thinking, and many would have the question at the tip of their tongue but not have the exact choice of  words or courage to ask me… their concern is genuine, and there are some who have been up-straight-insulting.
“To shout, why you didn’t dare?” – o! yaah, people have asked me this, and so poetically, funnily, mockingly. Rhymes, isn’t it? Yes, one can but not deny the rhyme.
But had they only known what it means to be sodomised at the tender age of 7. Something that continued till I reached 18. In school, i used to get up from my bench as my rear used to hurt. And get reprimanded by the teacher. I went to the loo, only when there were none inside. Kidney bursts and private emotional outbursts that happened within me. I tried telling mom about the bleeding, and mom had no clue… she said  ”mangoes! you eat too many mangoes… and that creates heat”… I did not have the power of language then to tell her that “heat” it was, but not mine, someone elses that I was satisfying. And that, in the bargain, i was bleeding.

By the time I grew up, i turned from a boy-whore to a man-whore. Satisfying every sexual need, many sadomasochistic experiments. Experiments that i was the guinea pig for. Did I have a choice? YES!… Did I muster the courage to exercise the choice? NO! Did I share it with anyone? YES.
I confided in a friend about my “history” and he ensured that everyone geographically close and beyond knew about it. Soon, i had college walls adorned with graffiti that read “for gay sex contact harish”. When i sat on my bench, it had chalk marks written “fag”. People spoke about me- in front of me spoke so loudly that I could hear “dont talk to him, he sluts around with his uncle”. I contemplated suicide. I tried. I failed.

I had no friend. And then, I found one. A four legged pal called – Jimmy. I spoke to him. Loud and Aloud. I spoke to him. And he licked my tears. He understood every emotion of mine. And acknowledged me without judging me. That real me.

This gave me the courage. Courage to speak up for animal rights. Slowly, i started speaking up. From animal rights to human rights to my rights… i transited.  The courage to say NO. And all that it took, was a kick and loud and stern NO to stop the abuse. The abuse that lasted for 11 years.
Did my struggle end then? Not really! It was then that it started. I waged a war against the ones who violated a child’s right to be a child. I couldn’t stop offenders in this country that had no law against child sexual abuse. I could create awareness though. Make teachers,  parents and children aware about “good touch and bad touch”. And form a support system for them, should they need to speak. I started receiving counseling calls. I told them that I wasn’t qualified to counsel. But I am good to be a friend who listens. The goodness of Jimmy, and that attribute of his to listen without judging is what lived in me even after he died. A dog taught me something that even god could not.
I spoke at many forums. Openly. Even about my sexuality – which is gay. Because there is this common perception that if you are abused as a child by a member of your own gender you “turn” gay. I believe, that there are two things – sexuality and sexual habits. Sexuality is innate, and sexual habits could be born out of experiences. I did have  consensual sex with a woman. It was a one night stand, but it wouldn’t stand. (LOL).. I could either have “experimented” with  a wife as a dummy, or stood up for my sexuality. I chose the latter. I am a gay man. And I am in love with a lovely man. That’s what I am. My identity.
As I spoke about abuse. There were several calls I attended to. Just that, I cant share about that openly here. And may be, that gave people a chance to believe that I overdo things. And my very close friends, and family too, have said nasty things “do you need to do this” asks someone. “O Do you know people see you as a sympathy seeking bas!@rd” says another. And now that I have two films and a book that i underway inspired by my life, it gives them even more the reason to speak and presume that “I am doing this for my self publicity” or that i cringe too much and “cling tosympathy”.
Does it hurt me? Yes! when it comes from people who matter to me, it does. Do I mourn and cry about it? Yes I do. Do I love them anyway? YES.
One day, they would understand. That it takes a lot of self-talk, self-belief to share your dirtiest secret. And not that it is… but  that even if it was to market myself. What’s wrong? It eventually wakes up the conscience of several souls and magically helps people to heal. The sympathy seeker – me, does wake up, and speak up because I know.
“Nothing but helps a bleeding heart, than a heart that has healed. ”

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