As a child blessed with innocence, I wasn’t aware that gender wasn’t a choice. It is an expectation you are bound to serve. Being lured by dolls, sheathing my hands with jewelry, wearing sarees, braiding hair with locks, brushing my eyes with kajal, and dancing on Madhuri Dixit’s songs highlighted my gender preference in sparking neon, and it wasn’t a sight to behold for my father. He thrashed me relentlessly in the hopes of waking the man within me. Fate did bestow me with a lovely mother. But her working in a different district distanced me from her. School only worsened my trauma for ‘being different.’ I forgot I had a name.
‘Chakka’ became my identity, so much so that my classmates inscribed it on the back of my shirt. I have cried tirelessly, cursing my identity and my existence. Post-graduation, I took admission in humanities in a different school. Clinging to the hopes of acceptance in a new environment, only to watch it shatter. Unyieldingly, I stood up to them, making the boundaries of my tolerance clear. Blabber behind my back prevailed nonetheless. To exist equally was now forgotten. I started to feel suffocated in my own body. After a botched up suicide attempt, I couldn’t rely on death to show me mercy. I Isolated myself in introversion; books and series were my only companions. This extracted the last ounce of care I had for a society that breathes stereotypes and hypocrisy.
Gradually I learned to put my individuality beyond the prejudices and gender stereotypes. I topped my college and went to receive my award in a skirt, radiating the symbol of acceptance. The three years of my graduation helped me see how fragile the word ‘masculinity’ is, the pressure it puts ‘to become a man,’ to be an insensitive creature. It helped me mend my bond with my father.
Delhi restored my faith in humanity by giving me real friends who rebuilt faith in me. They made me take a big leap from my insecurities and embrace my true self. With time and maturity, I can now understand the strength and beauty of my sexual orientation. One should never let any toxic ideology bend them. Bury them in the past where they belong.