Sunday, March 16, 2014

The "Caged" Love

Tahir joined the college to pursue his MBA. He is a very talented boy. He is gifted with the writing talent. His friends always used to exclaim that he is a store house of enthusiasm , energy and he has a ocean of emotions which when he penned always felt magical! Only thing which no one understood about Tahir is his dislike towards parties and social gatherings. He had an aversion to people. He used to come to college , finish his classes and go back to library or his room. Every one wanted to know the secret about Tahir. They wanted to crack the code and share it with all. They used to force him , probe him with questions but he was always cool, composed and just passed on a sweet smile when ever people crossed the limits.

There is no girl in the college who didn't try to get close  to Tahir in whatever possible way but he was always shy and used to retort when it used to go beyond limit. Some thought it was just cute as he is shy. Some others thought he is too naive or too rude! He never bothered about what others have to say but he always used to shun when ever there is a pretty damsel trying to woo him in the vicinity!

"A bundle of boredom," "Weirdo" , "Nerd" - He got all possible labels a person as boring as him can get. Nothing flinched Tahir.

Finally the day came when every one will be leaving the college with flying colors. Tahir was recruited on the day 0 of interviews. One of the prestigious banks, Bank of Scotland recruited him and every one was obviously jealous of Tahir's success as he was the only one selected in interview. The gang of boys despised the fact that he will fly soon, where as few threw remarks that even if he succeeded it is of no use as he neither has girl friend nor an interesting life style!

His parents and sister came from Delhi to Lucknow to attend his convocation. Every one was in high spirits but they seemed dull. Fellow students were surprised as one more puzzle loomed in front of them and they were not able to crack it. They just couldn't understand why on earth were the topper Tahir's parents so gloomy.

Tahir's Mom : "You can't stop him Hussain. He is going to Scotland. It is a job which half of the Indians can only dream of."

She was shouting in a high pitched voice in a corridor next to the library. Rajesh, Tahir's class mate who was standing inside the library at a window near to them started overhearing their conversation.


Tahir's Dad: " We got to stop him. Now we can hide the secret under the wraps but if he goes the whole world will know."

Mom: "Why should the whole world know? What is the big deal even if they know Hussain? We can't just let him live like a dead body." Sobbed Tahir's mom.

Dad: " What about our religion ? community ? relatives? What will I tell to them when they ask me when I am planning to get my son married?"

Rajesh came closer to the window so that he could hear better!

Mom: "People will not keep firing questions at you through out their life. They have to stop on some day Hussain!"

Dad: " I can't take all this . It is so shameful. I can't bear this trauma." Saying so Tahir's dad removed his spectacles. Tears welled up in his eyes.

Tahir's mom approached him. She held his hand gently and told in a soft tone, "He is our son Hussain. We can't just spoil his life."

Tahir's sister Nazia entered the scene.

"Mom, dad where have you been. Bhayya is searching for you. He needs your help to get ready."

Looking at their expressions she realized what they would have been discussing.

Nazia: "Mom, dad just let it go na. Atleast for today. Today is Tahir's day. If you can't be with him atleast stay silent. Please don't start an argument here."

Dad: "Why not ? I know why he is going to Scotland. To meet him!" said Tahir's dad seething with anger and frustration.

Nazia : "Dad, you can't change something which already happened. You will be disappointing him and yourself too!"

Dad: "How can I show face to my relatives?"

Tahir who was hearing all this by standing behind a pillar entered the scene. "Dad. Michael knows me from long. We are meant to be with each other. If you can't accept us please don't come in between us."

Tahir's dad had mixed expressions of sadness, anger and pity! Rajesh left the library in two long jumps and the news travelled in university like a wild fire!

Every one started eyeing Tahir and giggling. Girls finally understood why he was an introvert and some boys teased him, some maintained their distance where as some bullied him. Tahir did not flinch.

"Sheesh. You are gay! You are not a man. You can't play with us. You are untouchable. You should be abandoned from the cricket group. " These voices echoed in Tahir's head at that moment. He is used to them now. There were moments in his past when he felt so vulnerable that he even thought of suicide many times. His own mom and dad were aghast by their son's acts.

His liking towards woman's products, his desire to get nailpolish on his hands, the way he wanted to dress, all these things used to shock his parents. His father beat him mercilessly with a wooden cane till his body could take no more. His dad made him take oaths that he will try to at-least pretend to be normal till he finishes his graduation. He googled every thing about being a transgender and showed to his mom and dad but his dad never softened! His mom however , read , empathized and warmed up to him eventually though she always used to face the wrath of the neighbors and their perennial questions. Tahir never spoke to his dad after one night when he beat him with his leather belt. No other punishment could repair Tahir's mind or mend his traits. 

He was 18 when he got attracted to Michael, a boy whom he met during a trip. They became pen friends and then facebook friends and skype friends and they were inseparable. Tahi'rs life bloomed all of a sudden. Michael was the first guy in his life who understood him. Michael felt the same about Tahir. Their relationship was going strong much to the disgust of Tahir's dad. His mom kept mum but sister used to talk and try to understand him with each passing day. Finally she was in a position to just let him go and not cut his wings of freedom.

"Caged" love: Image source : here
Tahir was a bright student and Michael was highly creative. Michael wanted to become a professional photographer and Tahir wanted to be an investment banker. He is quick witted and a hard worker who used to finish all friends' assignments but never used to mingle with any! The day has finally come when he finally would get an MBA degree in hand and would be able to fly to his dream land where Michael lives and pursue his career and live happily!

The same day his open secret became the talk of the college campus. Every one eyed Tahir with curiosity as he started walking in the corridor fuming, towards his room. His sister tried to console him and his mum stayed mum as always. Convocation started and every one's name was called. Tahir was awarded the best student of the batch award. He got a gold medal too. He was asked to deliver a speech. He shivered and it took a minute for him to stay focused. After he gathered his composure he started talking.
"Today's date will  be permanently etched in our memories. I feel privileged to receive this award for outstanding performance from the hands of our honorable Chief minister. Today I want to thank my mom, dad and my sister for making me what I am. My mom is my pillar of strength. My sister is my admirer and I adore her. My dad hates me and this my friends is the biggest reason for my success."

Many people gasped. Few shuddered and a murmur started in the crowd.

Tahir continued, "I am not a normal person as per the norms of the society. Few used to call me weirdo, few tagged me as a psycho and few took the authority to even abandon me from their colony, community and society. Few more had the guts to suggest me to commit suicide! All because I am a gay."

This statement received more gasps and aaahhs and oooohs from the crowd!

"Yes. I am a gay and to me it is as normal as being a guy who falls in love with a girl to get married and to bear kids. Actually my situation is much better as population can be controlled."

Few chortled at that statement.

"I tried to change. I tried a lot but I couldn't. My dad beat me with a thick leather belt and there was a night when I almost killed myself. After 19 failed suicide attempts and completely broken heart I was wandering aimlessly when I met Michael in one of the seminars during my twelfth standard final days. We clicked in nano seconds and there was no looking back. I realised he had similar "normal" traits I had and in our own small world we were gay, I mean happy ;-) "

This  lead to some more smiles and cheers in the crowd.

"Obviously there was resentment at home. One fine day my dad even tried to get me married to a girl even before I finished graduation. She ran away the moment I said, we can live together but I swing the other way. I am a gay. I still remember her perturbed reaction :). I was in touch with Michael via skype, phone and we met once in an year.  It has been 8 years now and we are still going strong. You see there is no other girl to hamper our relationship and if there is a handsome guy I make it sure that Michael doesn't get a chance to look at him." Tahir said this with a wink which made people whistle and clap.

" I am gay and this was a punishment to my dad. This is my bad karma, he likes to say that always. The good thing out of this bad karma is that I have put every drop of my sweat and blood in my MBA and here today I am in a position where I can earn a living and the icing on the cake is I am going to Scotland. That is a dream land as my Michael lives there. A lavish life, lovely partner in midst of alps and doing what you really want to do. How many among us are lucky enough to achieve this?"

There was a pin drop silence and every thing Tahir spoke echoed in the auditorium.

"I am handsome, so is my partner and you need not pity me that I am wasting my good looks by falling for a guy. In fact I can write a book titled "Advantages of being a gay" in the next 5 years!"

People were listening to him with rapt attention now.

"However I will never be able to write a book , "How to get in to good books of your dad or society in general if you are a gay!" Sorry dad, I can neither make you proud of my decisions nor can I make you happy by my success but I don't want to be sorry to myself through out my life, so I can't alter my decisions! Irrespective of the memories I had, I will miss home. I will miss you sis and mom. We shall meet soon. Now I would like to call Michael on stage, my true inspiration , a creative person , a professional photographer who loves to write and paint, a person who always and all-ways had my back. He is a Phd in psychology and we will soon start living together." Michael ran on to the stage and hugged Tahir. There were mixed reactions among audience . Few had tears in eyes. Few expressed disgust and few were neutral.

Whatever may be the varied expressions and reactions Tahir and Michael celebrated the best day of their life. Tahir flew to Scotland in few months. They got married. It was a simple event with just few close friends and colleagues. Tahir's dream life started but he had to go further from his parents to get closer to the love of his life and he is still waiting to see if his dad will warm up to him.
Image source: here

Let us hope and pray that in the coming years may be he will change his attitude towards Tahir!

"To love and to be loved is the biggest victory.
  To love and to get the approval of everyone is the biggest mystery.
  Love has no boundaries or logic and at times it is caged.
  Lovers in bloom always rekindle the love and stay young even if they get aged!"

After many hurdles Scotland has legally approved the same sex marriages. Read this news on BBC-  Registration opens for same sex marriage in Scotland . It 
becomes legal on 29 March. Let us hope change comes eventually through out the world!

This post is submitted for Indiblogger's  Go Further to get closer contest. Do watch the British airways ad below on youtube

 and do visit Britishairways.com when you are here! Thanks for reading!

23 comments:

  1. This is a great story with an underlying message...Beautiful Afshan...All the best :)

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  2. Wonderful story. At first I thought he might be gay. Then in the middle I thought he could be a "she" (there was a Tamil movie like that). It turned out my original instinct is correct. Again, nice story.

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    1. I know that tamil movie. It is Kanchana if am right ! Remembered it after reading ur comment :) Thanks for reading

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  3. Such a different take and a story that sends a deeper message of love. Good luck, Afshu!

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    1. Thanks Rachna. I am glad u liked it ....

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  4. That was such a descriptive and heartfelt piece of writing. A very intriguing post, I must admit. Beautifully written :)

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    1. Thanks Bhavya !
      Long time no c :) good to see ur compliment

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  5. Sometimes you have to do what is best for you. Sometimes it means going away from the family.
    This was a great post.

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    1. Ya some times Distancing ur self even frm ur loved ones is needed.
      Thanks Red Handed

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  6. It looks like it will take longer for society here to accept gays what with the recent ruling.
    Yours is a different take on the theme. Nice.

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    1. It surely will take a lot of time to change ppl's perspective.
      Thanks for reading Shail

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  7. Brilliant Afshan. The society which we live pride itself in so-called bullshit norms and traditions as if it's the biggest thing in the world. Live and Let Live is something they can never accept for lesser mortals like them. It's a shame how society define relationships, be it, homosexuality, same sex marriage,live in relationships or prostitution, for that matter. We have become so selfish as human beings and it's the biggest human tragedy.

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    1. Ya usually whatever we don't do or follow is abnormal to us :) Y to talk about homosexuals / Prostitutes. Just take religions what ever they don't do is unnatural or abnormal to many !
      Thanks for reading Vishal

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  8. Very sensitive topic...it's a wonderful way of bringing it to the fore. long way to go before there is an acceptance and tolerance ..or even respect to basic human relationships.

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    1. Thanks for reading Moon beam ! Yep it sure will take a long time :)

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  9. Do what makes you happy rather than looking at the society for happiness.

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    1. Thats true Sheethal. Thanks for ur time here :)

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  10. Touching story Afshan. As a society we are so judgmental and intolerant towards everything that is beyond our definition of normal. Sad!

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    1. hmm ! Kya kare :( Thats the tendency always !
      Thanks for ur time Sfurti

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  11. Great message for society and parents, and a good entry for the contest. Two birds with one stone :)

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Thanks for your time :)

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