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Not hetero, not homo, let’s all become none-of-your-business sexual.
I was aimlessly roaming about in Khan Market one evening a couple of weeks back, when two young boys called out to me. ‘Are you Sonal Kalra?’ one of them asked. When I nodded, he said, ‘We regularly read your column. And specially wanted to thank you on behalf of our friend, on whose request you wrote a column on gays around two years ago. It changed his life forever.’ They were referring to.
A Calmer You piece I wrote on December 3, 2011, titled ‘So your friend is gay? Big deal’. I was left very humbled that day. You see, what I write each week in this column is neither intelligent, nor important enough to change lives. Most weeks in this space, you and I laugh about inane stuff and needless, day-to-day stresses. For it to change someone’s life can at best be by fluke, so I was mighty pleased.
Also what impressed me was the confidence with which those two boys referred to their gay friend, quite in contrast to a few years back when the volume and tone of most people would subconsciously go a few notches down on switching to the topic of homosexuality. Today, as I write this piece in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling that seems to go against the freedom and rights of gays, I feel terribly sad and sorry for that confidence. I’m sure the newspapers today are, as they have been this past week, full of intelligent, in-depth analysis against or in favour of the court ruling. I consider myself not qualified or capable enough to fully understand or decode the background or implications of the heavy duty legal terminology these laws and judgments entail. What bother me, however, are the following few questions that stress me, even as a layperson. Do they stress you too?
1. what’s wrong with our priorities?: If we had been a country like Denmark or Switzerland, where the crime rates are the lowest in the world, I would have still understood the need for people to focus their energies on making laws that govern the future of human evolution. Like who will sleep with whom and whether that is amenable or detrimental to the society at large. We, my dear countrymen, belong to a nation where crimes of all nature — some way more grave than choosing a wrong gender to express love — are rampant.
How about spending our energies in filing petitions, making laws, enforcing guidelines etc on those, so that we can aaraam se someday reach a stage where we can afford to have drawing room debates about whether guys should sleep with guys. I would hate for someone to get me wrong here and think that this is undermining the importance of such issues. Oh Puhleez, you’ve got to admit that neither homosexuals nor heterosexuals should want — or can afford — too much focus on issues of such personal nature at the cost of problems that affect all of us equally, like corruption, for instance. How about getting our priorities right, people?
2. what’s the obsession with sexuality, anyway?: Even though sociologists, anthropologists, criminologists and all other
kind of gists may want to kill me for trivialising this, but I’m sorry I fail to understand our never-ending interest in dictating something as private as sexuality. Whether it is homosexuals or heterosexuals, whether it is Khap Panchayats telling girls and boys of same gotra to not marry, or religious panels telling people of the same gender to not fall in love — we just seem too interested in passing guidelines about what should or shouldn’t go on in peoples’ bedrooms. Everyone seems to have turned guardian to something — traditions, religion, morality… even rights. I think valid concerns about these things should begin from the point when someone’s sexual behaviour takes even the slightest tones of being criminal or exploitative in nature. Two consenting adults, whether gay or straight, do not need your attention unless they pose a threat or harm to anyone by what they are doing. For once, can we try changing from heterosexual or homosexual to none-of-your-business-sexual (NOYBsexual)? I’m telling you, life would be so more peaceful.
3. can we drop the aggression please?: I know this is the age of much-needed activism and God bless the change that our country is finally waking up to, but I for one am, frankly, tired of being angry. In the past few years, our collective blood pressure as a nation would have certainly gone up by a few significant points.
We are JUST. SO. ANGRY all the time. Thankfully, in a lot of issues, this anger is being channelised effectively to bring about systemic changes and reforms, but a lot of this anger is also simply spilling over the brim, turning us into generic aggrieved parties. Aggrieved about scams, aggrieved about crimes, aggrieved about system failure, aggrieved about lack of rights — like maniacs we shift our focus from one anger point to another, depending upon what topic the hyper aggressive TV debates or screaming headlines of the newspapers have chosen for you on that day.
You know how a lot of you loved watching Amitabh Bachchan as an angry young man in Deewar a few decades back? He brought forth a fresh wave of anger, which jolted a seemingly repressed society from its slumber. Now imagine having to watch the same, highly relatable, angry young man, over and over again in 30 films back to back. Zyada ho jayega nah? Jab Sunny Deol Gadar mein gussey se handpump ukhaadta hai, we all whistle and clap. If he starts to pull out handpumps in all films, our claps would go on
our foreheads. That’s what’s happening right now. Don’t go overboard in harbouring and fuelling so much stress and anger in yourself over every issue that you forget to look at small, happy things that also make up your life. Society toh chalti rahegi, but each one of us has finite number of years to live. By all means take up causes and fight for them with all the passion, but don’t forget that you owe it to yourself to consciously be a healthy blend of joyful and angry, not just the latter. Stress will anyway come on its own, happiness ko thoda dhoondna padta hai. Go look for yours today. It’ll be worth it.
Sonal Kalra feels strongly about gay rights. She also feels strongly about everyone’s right to be gay …and happy