Saturday, September 5, 2015

Coming out - Freedom to love

The best teacher is the one who teaches us things outside the syllabus.
Source: Arjun Kamath - Coming out.

Growing up, I didn't know much about homosexuality. All I heard were strong objections against homosexuals in India. A film being banned, posters burned, ancient scriptures quoted by both who were for or against homosexuality because let's admit it - our ancestors were far more progressive than us so definitely left some widely contradictory things written in the scriptures. Homosexuality was never discussed with parents, friends, peers, or teachers. I knew I liked boys, so I didn't think about anyone who likes girls instead.

I always believe my thoughts and my perceptions about things happening around us were widened and changed radically when I was doing my masters. A time when I had teachers of such varied personalities that it was an experience in itself to adapt to their teachings. On one end, we had a teacher who made us ask his permission even if we needed to go out of the class to pee and had a strict roll call before starting the class and on the other end we had a teacher who didn't even ask our names for one entire year and never stuck to the syllabus. That was also a time when we were treated like adults. We were learning, but were no longer thought about as a bunch of kids, but rather made to think like individuals, citizens, and a new generation.

A big part of the first year in my Masters was to watch films and discuss them (The best part of my life and something that made me fall in love with films as a medium). I don't remember what we were watching, but the issue of homosexuality was being discussed and I remember my professor asking us as a class that one question, which changed my perspective about homosexuality forever.

He asked us - Do you choose whom do you fall in love with?

Being someone who was always in and out of love in my young days, I took a moment to think and then come to a conclusion that no, I didn't choose any of the people I fell in love with. It just happened. I am not a scientist so I can never explain the chemical reactions or the physiological changes that happen in one's brain when one falls in love. The only certain thing I know is that I didn't choose with whom I should fall in love with. It happens. It happens that I like boys, but that's also why I can now understand how a girl falls in love with a girl or a boy falls in love with a boy. No amount of science and rationale can convince me that there's a formula for falling in love with a boy or a girl. It simply happens.

So if I naturally fall in love with boys, then why should I blame someone if she falls in love with a girl? I may not understand the attraction, but I have no right to deny, challenge, condemn, or even insult such a relationship. If two people fall in love, it's entirely up to them how they live, love, and care for each other. As a girl loving a boy I don't want any interference in my relationship, if my relationship is so personal, then so is that girl's relationship with her girl or that boy's relationship with his guy.

That day when my teacher asked us if we choose whom we fall in love with, he taught us that some things are beyond our understanding and that's why we should not tamper with it if we don't know how to handle it. Just because I don't understand a relationship, I am not allowed to disregard it. I learnt to be a little more human that day.

I want that freedom to love anyone that I want to, and I want that freedom for everyone around me.

This post was triggered by watching this beautiful picture story created by Arjun Kamath and shared by Storypick.com. You can view the story here: Coming out
Also, this is how I want to celebrate Teacher's Day by remembering how my teachers contributed to help me become who I am today.