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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Monday, March 29, 2010

Letter from his grandparents

To a friend who has stood by me for a time longer than I have memories of.

Disclaimer: The facts have been played around with. Mostly imaginary. VERY dark - about death.


He took his seat in the plane. In no time, he pulled out a pen and began to write. Like a gas cylinder that bursts out when opened, words spilled over on the paper - often making him strike the lines off twice and thrice.

"Can't believe you're gone", he wrote in a beautiful handwriting - an art which he had developed due to his grandmother. She would read out sentences to him and ask him to write them down. Slowly, words began to appear exactly the same size and structure - that day, his grandfather got him a chocolate bar as a prize.

He was going back to India to attend their yearly death rites. He was talking to them already through the poem he was writing...

"Can't believe you're gone..
Seems like yesterday that I took grandfather to the temple...
And just the day before that grandma made upma for me..."

The poem went on for a good fifteen lines when he felt a choke being put on his thoughts - he began to feel suffocated under it. Why wasn't he able to complete the poem? Why had, what had started to come out as a poem, stopped itself?

The plane took off. Like always, he felt his ears blocking. A strange warm feeling. There was a slight pain too. The pain grew and he heard them... talking back to him....

"Yes we're gone.. and not in the clouds like we told you as a child. When I, your grandpa, left, I looked at your grandma and your mother. And then I looked for you. I did not find you. Miles away in a country I had never seen, I tried to wake you up. You only felt sweaty that night."

The grandmother spoke, "When I joined your grandfather, I felt better. The part of my journey with all of you was so incomplete without him. However, I couldn't, just couldn't help but loiter around your books and your diaries. Your poems and the beautiful handwriting that you wrote them in. I was proud of you for being a grandson whose words never failed his emotions....

I am proud of you for being what you were and for being what you were to us. I am proud of you for wanting to write this poem.

For wanting to keep us alive in you.

For holding on to us. We can't let this go down, child. We can't let you forget us.

We are scared that you might. We can't see that happen. We can't let you complete this poem... "

The voices went down. He woke up, folded the paper and kept it in his pocket. He had realized he would never be able to complete the poem.

The flight had just begun....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Atithi kab jaaoge' - Movie review

There have been many TV serials based on 'guests who later turn not-so-welcome'. 'Knock knock kaun hai' on Zee TV was one such serial in Hindi. The movie looks like an extension of the serial - a two hour long episode of the serial.

The fart and room freshener act has been overdone - it entertains in some early occurences only. The argument with the security guard does not entertain.

The Raavan-Hanuman scene is unique and interesting to watch. The interiors of the flat have been done in an extremely tasteful manner. The 'Suhaani raat dhal chuki' remix/rehash is funny! The climax is not very funny - but tickles.

Paresh Rawal is typically him - excellent. His scenes at times can get loud but that's typical of comedy films like these. Konkona Sen Sharma has done an excellent job - it was the first time I saw her being funny! Ajay Devgan comes third in terms of standing up to the other two actors.

Overall, it's an okayish film made in a very stylish manner. The movie doesn't make you laugh - but it continuously tickles you. And that's no small thing!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

377

My speech at an elocution competition here. I did not win any prize but I knew I created ripples. That's all I cared for.



Vikrant and I studied in school together. He was a bright student, an amazing swimmer, got along well with people of all ages, and was very loyal to his friends. All of us wanted to be him. He was a role model.
One fine day, he came up to me and told me he was gay.
I was shocked! More so because he was too happy to notice my reaction.
He said the 377 repeal gave him the strength to come out to me.
And I remembered - 3 7 7!!
After 420 and 302 we have another number that has found mention among the general people. I had read the headline a few days ago - '377 repealed by the Delhi high court'. I knew 377 had to do something with gays and lesbians. I heard the repeal made them legal, but I did not know too much about it. I would not have bothered to find out more - had it not been for my friend.

377 was a law drafted in 1860 by the British that criminalized any sexual act which was against nature - in those days it meant an act that would not result in reproduction. This means that it was as applicable to unnatural intercourse between heterosexual couples too. While the British themselves scrapped 377 in their country a few decades ago, the law stayed on the books in India. The High court ruling regarding 377 explicitly stated that this law was against the very spirit of the constitution, and though the law still applied to any non consensual acts (read rape, sodomy, paedophilia, and bestiality), it said that the law need not look into bedrooms of adults and the acts done therein by mutual consent.

But then you'd ask me, isn't it unnatural? I mean a man and woman are together, they support each other and they take the family forward. I asked this to Vikrant too. He told me something that I'll never forget.
He reminded me about a couple we know who due to medical reasons were not able to bear a child. He asked me if I would call their marriage and physical closeness 'unnatural' just because it does not lead to reproduction.

That hit the point home - the basis of physical proximity and togetherness is not the ability to have babies but the attachment of love. And if two individuals feel that love naturally, it cannot be called 'unnatural' .

In fact, homosexuality is not considered a psychological disorder anymore and is recognized by the UNO, WHO, American Psychiatric Association and the like as natural behaviour.

Vikrant gave me references of homosexuality in Indian culture, the artworks of Khajuraho, a comprehensive mention of homosexuality in Kama Sutra and other scriptures. He told me about Indian families which have accepted their gay and lesbian children today. He told me about gay/lesbian couples living together in Mumbai for more than ten years.

I was like.. whoa! Never knew! But you know what, today, I am more compassionate towards them. At one point of time, Indian society did not accept inter-caste marriages, education for women, or widow re-marriages. Today, to a great extent it does. Similarly, our society today will make way for accepting homosexuality too.

377 is just the beginning and just as widow re-marriages must have faced back then, it is going to face public wrath.
Should I be angry at Vikrant too? Should I shut him out?


Vikrant lives among us.
Vikrant is like us.
He is a friend to me, a brother to someone, a son to someone else.
Vikrant has a family, a career, dreams.
Vikrant breathes.
Vikrant lives.
And Vikrant loves.
Just the gender that Vikrant loves and wants to spend his life with is different.
Should I hate my friend just because he loves?!
I have decided to accept my friend the way he is.
Would you do the same if someone you love told you he/she was gay/lesbian?

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Winner

video
Note: Vague but I am trying to convey a strong emotion. Hope it reaches.


His chest was squarish and led to the flat torso chiselled like an ancient Greek sculpture. When he ran, the Adam's apple moved up and down in rhythm with his lungs. His hands had veins which became more prominent when he clenched his fist. The hair flew in the air like a lion's mane. When he crossed the ending line, he looked up at the sky. It seemed so far. He stretched his hands up high. He could feel his hands touching the fluffy surface of the sky.

The crowd at the stadium went into an uproar.

They were overwhelmed to see a man touch the sky, he thought.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dreams and secrets: Audio blog

video

Note: The 'I' of the post is not necessarily me alone. Is it you too?
Note(2): Audio blog

I have had dreams on certain nights when I am trying to speak. I can feel my lips moving and driving as much air out of my throat as they can. But I fail to produce a word - despite desperately trying to do so. The words simply don't come. The lips, the throat - they are all doing what they do when I speak. The difference between 'they' and 'I' is scary. It is a realization that the They that my body is, is different from the me that I am.


I have had dreams on certain nights when I go to college and people are staring at me and laughing. I am without clothes. I run to a place to hide but someone seems to be present everywhere. I wrap a towel around my waist and all of a sudden everything becomes ok. They don't mind a man in a towel.


I have had dreams on certain nights when someone knocks at my door. I open the door and go inside. I come out to see the person gone - and my door too. I see my house without my door; the furniture and the gadgets are untouched. I still feel scared. The door is gone. It hits me like a ton bricks that it was the door that was the most important part of my house.


These dreams that I see are insensible and meaningless. Or are they?

Maybe my dreams know how much I need the door to safeguard my house. Maybe my dreams know that my words are required often to hide my thoughts. Maybe my dreams know why you would laugh at me if you saw me without the veil of my towel.


Maybe my dreams know the secret that I have hidden from you.