What a coming out it was as we walked out of GEM bar in Pahar Ganj. Having spent an hour and a half in a silky dark joint full of men we were happy to stand out in the open and face the chill of November Delhi now. As I collected my thoughts and looked at Mosi and Haru’s face I smiled and realised I was drunk. Beautifully Drunk. Pahar Ganj was so well lit that the colourful t-shirts and cotton kurtas made me feel like a lump of jelly. I was swimming with ten million human beings. And as I think about the evening with Haru and Mosi I realise I was feeling complete. We were three women who felt like spirits...No gender, no sex, no sexuality... just perfectly imperfect Gods. A few glasses of old monk and Nirvana sure do go hand in hand.
COMING OUT is a big western word for the lesbian, gay,transgender, bisexual and queer community. As I walked out of Gem bar having spent time with two like minded women I felt excited as I was once again validated. And it is to be validated, accepted and INCLUDED that a lot of us COME OUT.
INCLUSIVE ...to get myself included or when I include someone else is a process, task and responsibility. My Coming out & then feeling included makes me feel I am ok ...and can make you feel you are ok too. And I understood that basic bit of transactional analysis in Pahar Ganj.
One of my earliest experiences of feeling excluded occurred when my mother fell ill. I was seventeen years old. My mother suffered from Bi Polar. In a certain phase of her illness she went through severe hallucinations. And it affected her interpersonal skills. Thankfully she was understood in her college but it wasn't the same with neighbours etc. There was a time when I felt stupid around her. And wanted her to behave. I wanted her to be the dignified mother and not the mother who had no idea about what she was saying. Thankfully we have a psychiatrist in the family. My cousin helped me understand my mother and even at seventeen I managed to include my mother in my scheme of things. I also made myself feel included by talking and not talking about my mother as and when required. But what I remember clearly is that there were moments when it mattered more to have a 'PERFECTLY WELL BEHAVED MOTHER' than just a MOTHER....MY MOTHER. I somewhat understood my complex feelings then. Over the years I have tried understanding 'PERFECTION' better. Why should my mother be PERFECT? what is a PERFECT humanbeing?? Why is PERFECTION linked with COMPLETELY PERFECT BODIES AND BRAINS?? And is there a perfect body or a perfect brain? And if not then why the shame to include the different one? And the answers and the doubts are mine I realise today.
A month back I worked with some children in an adoption centre. And after all the dance and review sessions when I was walking out of the centre I noticed some ten children catching the evening sun… most of them had some disability. I walked towards them to say a quick hallo but wondered whether it was ok to hug. How comfortable will the children be with my touch? Well it took only a hallo from me and one of them held my finger and moved it all over her head. I touched her head and as I hugged her she melted in my arms. My cousin asked me to look behind me. The kid behind me was playing with the shimmers of my kurta. He was fascinated with the colours and the jhumkaas on my kurta. As I walked out of the Centre only one thought came to my mind…ONLY IF THEIR PARENTS HAD NOT WANTED THEIR CHILD TO "BEHAVE" IN A CERTAIN WAY! How many of us can ask for love the way those two kids did?? It takes great emotional intelligence and innocence that no wo/man seeking perfect body /family will ever understand.
The idea of a ‘Perfect Family’ or ‘Complete family’ may be fascinating for some but its a shame for me. Its violently problematic and obscenely incomplete. The concept ignores complexities of nature and health. If we leave our children and our parents because we don’t understand their complex making then we are surely bird brains. We are leaving one a human being and two a human being who needs us. And for what? For that one kodak family picture.
And ironically enough none of us can be really COMPLETE without realising our multiple identities . Ironically enough to realise the COMPLETE SELF we need to smell the coffee and then share it with the one who can't see it... or with someone who has a lesbos in the heart of India and feels gay while munching a choco cookie with that cofffee...
My journal tells me I have never managed to be inclusive without stretching myself constantly. My lil girl concepts of a perfect family, perfect partner, perfect children, perfect genders, perfect minority has required pulling and smirking. You don't move out of your quilt …you don't catch bronchitis... but then you can't go out watch DOSTANA either....
The lesson from GEM BAR is visit every bar where men drink alone and bearers treat women and Kotis like second class citizen. Reclaim your space in the world. The ready reward is cheap rum!! Much cheaper than the cheapest bars in CP.
Ah now I can be sure that my family album wouldn't look like the new manicured ad on the idiot box. But wait there is another lesson and this one is from the little boy and the little girl at the adoption centre ... and this one says Don't complicate life and love... walk upto people…and say hallo!! So Hallo! May love free us all!