It was the 6th edition of Delhi Queer Pride March yesterday, 24 Nov 2013. I am lucky to be able to witness it with my own eyes. The excitement there was palpable. And the colours were vibrant. It was a fun parade to watch because Kinnars and some other flashy people were hilariously flirty. People wore masks, wigs and footwear. The expat population was out in force and there were plenty of straight people too. People assembled there at 3pm and went to Jantar Mantar protest area at about 6pm. It is a short road but dancing to the drumbeat etc took its time. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the celebration. A fun event where I was outsider.
People came in groups mostly and most of them had friends who supported them. I was alone. People were gregarious and dancing, smoking, laughing. I was shy. There times, numerous instances where I had a chance of reaching out to other people to chat. But I didn’t because of what-they-would-think-of-me syndrome. In the chance cases where I did put myself upfront, was I too closed off? In the end, I didn’t do what I could. It is a good thing I was the part of the parade alone to know how much work I had to do on myself. If I wasn’t able to enjoy my own company, how can I ask others to bear me?
But that is too pessimistic a view. It is not like I regret going there. I did shout slogans and waved flags. I also laughed, cheered and jeered as I liked. I drank some Maaza and chewed on Orbit when I got bored. I sat when I was tired, I smiled at smiling people. But I remained in a sphere of my own. There was a huge flag which was held by a a lot of people and I couldn’t even gather my confidence to go upto it and wave it with others. Wish I could. I approached only two people, one a photographer and the other a straight guy whose brother was a journalist. I was approached by a self-professed poor man who was there just to get someone to sleep with him for the might – hopeless flirt. And the other was a guy from Guwahati who is here in Delhi for 3 years now. He was a student in psychology and was there to support gay rights. He saw me at my best, when I was shouting “Kinnar-samaaj zindabaad” (approximately: kinnar society ftw). And that was when he decided I was good enough to be talked to. Actually, we had exchanged glances in the midst of a happy moment when he was bold enough to come up to me to talk. Slow and methodical. Maybe he was applying his psychology studies on me? Whatever. A nice person is a nice person and he sent me a friend request too, so as it turns out, the parade was not a complete waste.
Then also, I saw with my own eyes what it was like to be gay in India. Gay pride parade is mostly an upper-class phenomenon as I saw it. I wish I could change it somehow; that Supreme Court would pass its judgment on article 377 next month, hopefully taking a broader view of the situation, a bigger parade might be there. I would ensure to be there; I didn’t even know before yesterday that Supreme Court judgment was still under review. So I would try to be more active n the politics of it all and also be more confident as I was in the year before: it was one coming out after another among my peer group as it all culminated in my coming-out speech in the Hansraj farewell party. But in Roorkee, I again went in a closet. It is true that Varshini and Saikat know about me, but then many others don’t. Yet I have had meaningful discussions with many people, none of whom have been able to understand me still. There is a yearning to tell my story ou loud, which was at its loudest when I was departing from the scene yesterday.
It was 6.30pm and I didn’t know what to do with myself. People talked among themselves in small groups, the rush of the moment drained now. It was dark and many were already leaving; I didn’t want to. I was wandering lifelessly, almost lost in the familiar CP. I was furtively glancing at people around me if I had avenues to talk but it seems like I didn’t like the whole afternoon before. I tagged alongside a funny group of short girls who seemed to be from North-East. Then I slowed down in front of a foreigner who was all alone. But he wasn’t in the parade. Did he come there by himself? If I was someone else, I could have just started to talk with him when he was sizing up the cheap shoes in the stalls behind Indian Oil. But I couldn’t have been smooth and I just withered away. Even a last attempt to talk to a guy with the masks ended with his shooting suspicious glances at me. As the other photographer in the very start told me: “People think it is all about raw sex when it isn’t. It is all about love.”