The Feeling of Not Belonging
Few years back the fear of losing myself somewhere in the darkness petrified me. The sense of being miles away from myself was daunting. I, under no circumstances wanted to turn into someone this world wanted to see. I have a voice and steadily my pen started speaking for me and for all the people who were sailing with me. I read Steve Job’s saying over and over again, “Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your inner voice.” And, today I want to write about such voices that are steadily vanishing in the noise.
One of my silent mundane mornings while I was thoughtlessly flipping the pages of The Hindu, a distant melodious song caught my ear. It was coming from somewhere down the road. My love for music got me walking within seconds until I came across this house, where two very tall women clad in Indian ethnic wear and rouge smeared cheeks were singing, and imploring the owner to let them in, on account of an arrival of a new member in their family.
Not that I had never seen a Eunuch or a Hijra ( Queer) before, but I saw them in a different light this day.
They were conveying a message of their reality and existence to the world combating its morning slumber, through a language understood by all that was the language of music. Their song implied their own internal solitude and segregation from the world, it exuded sanctifications that what had befallen them should never ever happen to others.
I have been learning about Queer’s about over a year now, sexuality being the subject of my profound interest. The more I read about them, the more they intrigued me thereby baring me to my insensitivity towards them all my life.
The term ‘ Queer ’ stands for something that is deviant, or unusual, and in the late nineteenth century it became an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities. The term ‘Eunuch’ or ‘Hermaphrodite’ refers to a man who has been castrated very early in his life, ‘Intersex’ and ‘Thirdsex’ are the official terms used for them.
However, the LGBT human rights activists have sought to include them being as transgender.
Even though they have been a part of the Indian society since times immemorial, these unique identities defy the contemporary ideas of sex and gender.
Today, Queer’s live a ghetto life in their own communities and make a living by dancing and singing the songs of love, happiness, and companionship. The society may not consider these hijras at par with themselves (owing to the existing binary notions) and open their doors only to seek their blessings before starting a new life.
What blinds us to their agony I fail to realise because my knowledge is vague as to who stated what normal is, and what is deviant. For I feel, wasn’t humanity suppose to be a priority for deciding on the criterion of being thoughtful and compassionate to all?
Identity, a sense of belonging, and futility of life are the complications of the post- modern world. Identity gives us a sense of being in the right place, which becomes our life giving force.
A Gender identity is the state of personally being identified as a man, a woman or other in a particular culture and someone who fails to comply with the fixed notions of the society is therefore labelled ‘unfit’, as the one who does not belong to us.
A sense of not belonging leads to isolation and leaves one with the struggle to resolve a perpetual internal brawl to survive in the ‘normal’ world.
That morning on meeting and getting into a brief conversation with Preet Simran and Saraswati got me thinking of the binaries of the society that segregates everything in two kinds- good/bad, white/black, normal/other.
These two women and many just like them are amongst us, breathing, existing, and surviving. There is unquestionably no reason for them to think of themselves as inferior and lead a closeted derogatory life. There struggles and sorrows are like ours perhaps more intense.
America’s foremost public intellectual Adrienne Rich said in one of her poems that this is the cage of cages, a life that one lives on the terms and conditions of others. A life that is artificial in every sense, a life that we live for the world. Isn’t it more like closeting ourselves up and succumbing to what others expect of us.
The struggles of Simran and Saraswati are the same, of not being proud of who they are, of everlasting fear of being humiliated, of never having a part to play in the world.
Being ‘Queer’ is being unique, it is not something to be afraid of, rather it makes us stand out different. Let them embrace their queerness with pride while you embrace yours, let them be proud of who they are while you learn to be proud of yourself.
Times are volatile, and we ought to open our hearts and arms to humanity which is beyond the power of anything because, only love has the power to heal and save this world.Preet Simran and Saraswati left for another house giving me the warmest hug and a silent message, “let us not die while we are still alive.”
Let anyone of us not die while we are still alive.