an unfinished song

The strains of “Subah, Subah, yeh kya hua…” played in a loop inside her head. She smiled. The cool early morning air felt good. She lifted her arms and flexed her wings. She spread them wide letting the wind play with them. Her eyes watched the black vees floating calmly against the azure blue sky. She kicked off on her course.

Sumit stood speechless while she held the baby…baby didn’t register yet. He watched her: Aditi…that is Aditi. …my Aditi. Is that her? The afternoon sun burned a part of her face as she sat with eyes downcast, tired hands weakly holding on to a piece of knitting. Her hair shone like a halo around her face where the sun caught the silver of her loose curls. So very, very beautiful – still. His breath caught in his chest. He had never wanted a child. It had been her wish.

Clutching at his left side he eased himself into an old cane chair across from her. She looked up then. He followed her eyes to the front gate. It swung open as the thin, wasted form of a young man walked in without turning to put the clasp back on.

The sight of the slightly built young man with a shock of black rumpled hair stirred a vision in his mind – of an excited man rushing, half carrying, half pulling a frail young woman hugging a bundle of swaddle and smiling, all the way to the house. Almost the age of this young man that walked into their strange life right now.

Strange life, because he could still not fathom it. This morning they had had a child. At six thirty p.m. they are here with a little mud pot sitting in a corner near the staircase, somewhere inside the empty house, holding the ashes of a child.

“Did you call him?” Aditi turned her eyes in his direction. “Have you?” She seemed to have forgotten why she had turned to look at him. She looked away abruptly, as if he hadn’t spoken. The curtain in a door behind them fluttered slightly. He raised himself and very slowly walked indoors stopping by a door that looked into a lovely little room. Lyric had been like her mother. There has always been so much rhythm in her. Everything about her space – from the little potted gardenia on the windowsill to the Japanese painting of a monastery standing on top of a hill to the shiny Tanpura and all her belongings arranged on the white marble floor in the way she liked was proof – of how much in love she had been, with her life.

There was a seat arranged near the window so Anurag could sit there and watch the changing colours of the sky while she did her riyaz. It rang in his head, her clear young voice caressing the sombre notes of Purvi as she released them one by one into the air like little pet birds. So much love!

These two had been inseparable from their childhood days: fatherless Anurag and Lyric. He sat on the floor now with his head resting on the bed that had been hers. The letter lay at his feet. There was a little breeze and it caught the piece of paper which floated up at him. Sumit reached out for it and started to read, for the hundredth time, for he just could not think of a way to deal with this yet. How could he have not known? Or seen? How could they have all done this together? And why could she not talk about this?

No, that she could not. He realized that at least. Talking wasn’t going to make a difference. This would take action and that is what she has done!

“It is love: yours and mine. I like Shamik. I hope he and you are both happy together. Papa taught you and me to respect choices people made. I hope you would respect mine. This isn’t about anger or sorrow or like the man on the street might call it – frustration.

I loved you as the man in my life, you loved me like your favourite tee-shirt, I guess. You wore me – to shield yourself from harsh weather, of hatred and fear and doubts and suspicion directed at your love.

This is my way of asserting my rights – not giving in to a life that needs be bound by choices other people make in the name of protecting us from ourselves, so that you and I, Anu, cannot make ours.

I exercised my choice rather than live a life as prisoner of a homophobic society’s misguided whims. I chose to be free. Will you please, always, remember this about your wife, Anurag?”

Sumit and Aditi had met at a concert. His lyrics and his music had drawn Aditi into his life and one day Lyric was born out of music they had created together in their life. Their child had been born of a song, and had lived like a song, lovely while it played, lovelier in its cadence heard in thought in the silence after it was sung. Only, Anurag sat there like a question mark, like the incomplete arc of an unfinished song, that Sumit could not yet hope to right.

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Amend IPC 377, Save Lives

Why Use the Bible to Find Sanction for Criminalising, if Being Gay is a Western Trend? Does Kamasutra Disapprove?

let the window be open

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up the government for using inadequate evidence to oppose decriminalisation of gay sex in private among consenting adults.

The court was hearing a petition filed by 13 NGOs, including Naz Foundation, seeking the court’s direction to decriminalise homosexual acts among consenting adults by amending Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code

“We cannot compel our society to follow the trend of western society,”Additional Solicitor General P. P. Malhotra had said.

Exactly, can the state or general public in any circumstances compel the society, which comprises of individuals, to follow any trend? Isn’t it infringement of an individual’s rights?

If we hold that, to be gay is to be ‘influenced by western lifestyle’, how come we are quoting from the major religious text of the West, in defence? Wouldn’t it more appropriate if we turned to our own sacred texts or atleast Kamasutra ( after all it is the Kamasutra ) !

Gays still cannot legally marry or adopt in many Western countries even now, but no one could put a man in jail because of what he does with his mate in the privacy of his own bedroom unless his partner complains of inappropriate behaviour. That last bit is an important part – consent is an important consideration and implies a matter of conscious choice made by an adult.

It is not like they are killing each other or hurting other humans or forcing everybody to do what they do. So why can’t we and the state let them be?

Why do we have to catch hold of gay men and marry them off to unsuspecting women and cause four or five different lives to be shattered and wasted? In India especially, where arranged marriage is still in vogue, have the Government stopped to consider the plight of hundreds of thousands of women who are subjected to not only risk of HIV infection through philandering gay husbands but also doomed to a very un-gay marriage for life – (in addition to becoming unfortunate mothers of infected children in some cases) ?

When did the public of a democracy give the state mandate to moderate bed-room practise of two consenting adults?

Those people are not saying “anybody”, they are repeatedly stressing on the phrase “consenting adults”. They are saying ‘let men choose for themselves’, why is that so hard to understand or accept?

The other question is, can criminalising an act, change or detract behaviour? Doesn’t it merely push things under the carpet to fester and cause damage? In this case it is not even behaviour, studies suggest it is much more complex and intrinsic than ‘behaviour’, which can be learned and then unlearned making it comparatively simpler to deal with.

We are so concerned with issues of crime and punsihment, we are not even considering the help and social support some people might need. It is also the duty and responsibilty of the state and society to ensure welfare for and well-being of people who are different, not necessarily perverse or diabolic or abnormal or subnormal or diseased.

In addition to NACO reports, and UN reports, let the Government also ask for reports on the number of divorces that are caused due to mismatched gay-hetero incompatible partners. There would be a problem in getting that data though, simply because they would not come out of fear of persecution and wives and mothers and girl-friends are either blissfully unaware or still fail to notice or accept the truth.

But this piece of news suggests that we are close to throwing open that window soon.