On Saturday night, reel in a Bollywood movie.
Watch one with not too much thought and just enough hilarity to make up for it
Do not cringe at the
Effeminate boys with obnoxious lisps,
Pink collars turned upwards.
A he? A she? Tainted red lips and a stubble.
Laugh at their oddity.
No punch lines;
It feels right to.
A cacophony of laughter surrounds you
You do not want to be left out of the orchestra.
Do not even dare to know what the word “gay” means
Until it is too late to take back everything you said.
A word to be hushed around aunties.
Let them never know the extent of your vocabulary,
Let it never be cause for them to criticise your parents.
A word to use with a smirk around your friends,
A badge of your notorious maturity,
A symbol of your rebellion, to utter such a forbidden tune
Ignore the cloud of doubt forming in your head.
Learn quick and fast that life
Is never going to be like the movies.
See, in movies, gay people are jokes – lighthearted interventions and giggle generators.
In the real world, they are rag dolls.
Blink back your tears when the same Bhaiya who promised you
That the sky was not breaking just because there was thunder
Paints two boys the shade of the storm for holding hands.
Do not ask your parents why with all the rage you can muster.
Shoot dirty looks at the girl with
Short hair and holes in her face.
Echo your friend when she calls
Her a “freak”
Try not to stare at how pink her lips are.
Do not dream about kissing them.
Brown girls were not made to be entangled with another.
Melanin-rich skin was not made to be indulged by the fingertips of anyone else.
Sin is not something that runs in the blood of Indians.
Bite your lips and swallow your tongue.
Do not try to survive in a world that wasn’t made for you.
Do not convince yourself that wrong things could never feel that right.
Play back the movie.
Laugh at the jokes.
Stare at the freaks.
Do not question what you’re not supposed to.
There is no pride
In being an oddity.
By Namah Jaggi
Namah is a sixteen-year-old from Mumbai who likes to think she’s the paragon of audacity. She enjoys ice cream, rickshaw rides in the rain and the destruction of capitalism.