First Day of Acceptance

Bubbly, vibrant, spirited, vivacious, chirpy, energetic, lively are the words I could associate with her. She was my sister’s best friend. I knew her since they were in school. Let’s call her Tamanna.

Once I got married and moved into my new life and new responsibilities, I hardly got any time to think of her, or talk of her with my little sis. There was enough at hand to tackle in my own life. Her memories though fresh had taken a backseat in my subconscious mind.

Then I met Tamanna years later at my parents’ place when I was expecting my second child. My sister’s marriage was getting fixed and Tamanna had come to congratulate her in person. She had completely changed. I mean her physical appearance. I spoke with her quite easily because of the camaraderie we shared in the past. But it wasn’t the same. I had hundreds of questions in my mind which I couldn’t ask her. I’m sure she too could sense the anxiety in my eyes. The only difference: she probably had the answers to many of my questions.

A little later I let the friends be themselves and got into my room on the pretext of taking a nap. The questions came back hounding me all the while. I wasn’t able to sleep. I was awake and could listen to the gossip sessions and laughter my sister shared with her. I had noticed that my sis was pretty comfortable with her. As if she knew everything for ages. I waited patiently.

As soon as Tamanna left that evening, I barged outside my room and asked my sis about what this was all about. My sis informed me that Tamanna had informed her immediately after school that she wasn’t like every other girl. She was more like boys and was interested in girls. Honestly, I was shaken for a while.

That day I learnt from my sis that Tamanna had been abandoned by her parents as soon as she informed them and fought for her right to live her life the way she wants. That was the first day of realization for me. The first day I accepted the truth of existence of alternate sexuality. Till then like most others, I also believed that it is all the western influence. And then on I read as much as possible on the subject and realized that it is a natural phenomenon which many people are forced to hide. Thus ending up in troubled relationships all through their lives.

The first time I learnt about the LGBT club was in 2007 from a colleague during my trip to Malaysia for an official conference. I didn’t take it seriously but I was sure that this colleague is not someone who will lie about such a serious issue. Out of curiosity I had browsed through the world wide web and the company intranet about the LGBT club he had informed was active in our US office.

alternate sexuality

You’ll never understand unless it happens to you…right???

Tamanna was invited for my sis’s engagement ceremony in Delhi. On 18th October 2008, what happened at the ceremony might not be remembered by the 100 odd people who attended the function. But there were four people who will still remember it for life. Or may be just the two of us. Me and my sis. Tamanna and her partner might have gotten used to it with continuous harassment and mockery. Almost everyone including our immediate family members were passing rude remarks and exchanging nudges and prolonged glances at them. I respect Tamanna and her partner for having waited till the ceremony was over. But they left without waiting for the food to be served. And you know what…my sis and I were not upset with them for not having stayed over. Sick our society is! They don’t realize what someone goes through and why someone is the way they are.

Tamanna is well-educated and is working as a senior-level manager with one of the software giants in India. She is doing well in her career and has a supportive partner who is living in with her. I’m glad that though her parents have abandoned her, her younger sister is still very much in touch with Tamanna. That day my respect for my little sis too went up. Proud of her.

I watched this episode on Accepting Alternative Sexualities on Aamir Khan’s Satya Meva Jayate on Star Plus.  I am so so glad and thankful to Aamir and his team for having aired an episode on such an important topic. And I salute all those who were part of the episode and shared their stories. It is very necessary for people to know what alternate sexuality means and accept it. We need to talk about it. Remove it from being a taboo. I know that most of our previous generations and a majority of our generation reacts strongly about these subjects without even bothering to know what it is all about. I mean not allowing your kids to play with kids with alternate sexuality? Is it a pardonable mistake? What is the child’s sin in all this? What are we teaching our kids?

I request each of you to watch the complete episode and share it through as many mediums as possible. Let the knowledge spread and may we have more people opening up to the reality of the subject.

I have seen this happening to a close person and hence it struck me hard. They are our own. They are just like us. They too have emotions and sentiments. They too have a right to choose a life of their choice. Let’s not make it harder for them for no fault of theirs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “First: Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance.

 

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12 Replies to “First Day of Acceptance”

  1. This is a very sensitive topic. Since it is such an un common thing in our society, it will take ages to accept it as normal. And I feel, one cannot really understand it until unless one personally goes through it or a loved one goes through it. A very touching story you have narrated, Rekha. Thing is, if you are not accepting them, that’s okay. That’s your problem. But don’t make things difficult for them. Will watch the episode. Thx for sharing.

  2. Though the taboo is far from lifted here in the US, I’m glad it isn’t as poorly treated as it is where you live. There are certainly still some groups, notably fundamentalist Christians, who believe they have the right to judge people who don’t conform, but sexual preference is not a choice, as extensive psychological studies have shown. To those who believe it is, I want to ask “Why would someone choose to be abused and mistreated by society if they could so easily avoid it by only allowing themselves to be attracted to the opposite sex?” Sadly, ignorance has caused untold damage to humanity.

    1. Ma’am It is taboo in India even and our society with all its all-knowing, you know what types of aunties who have nothing better to do in their life the situation becomes miserable for the people with alternate sexuality. It is not a disease it is the way nature has made them, and as it is we have so many gender related issues in the society please don’t create unnecessary fuss over this sensitive topic.

      1. Exactly! I keep having faith that someday it won’t even bear mentioning because we’ll all see each other as people whose sexuality just isn’t an issue. You’re right though. We think of India as one of the more enlightened societies, but even there, your society has challenges it needs to face. Thank goodness people like yourself are helping to change it, even if it’s just a little at a time.

  3. Your post gives out a strong message. But I agree with Found in Folsom. It might take a long time for society to accept anything they don’t feel as normal. That’s okay. It’s their personal choice. But what needs to change soon is the mentality that their choice is the only choice. When that happens, there’ll be progress. You accepted. Reading this post, someone else would. If they spread the word, some more would. Maybe that’s the way.

  4. In your classic style, you talk about yet another kind of prejudice prevalent in our society, and in so many societies in other countries too. Your blog will always remain one of my favourites – for its honesty and it’s focussed commitment to sending out a message.

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