Queer Self-Reflections - Kamala
Duration: 00:28:41; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 98.790; Saturation: 0.079; Lightness: 0.258; Volume: 0.098; Cuts per Minute: 0.523; Words per Minute: 120.258
Now when you look back some 5-6 years there is lot of difference in life.
Now I feel happier in everything when I think about different moments that I am experiencing.
Now I am bothered about what people will come to know, what am I hiding from people, I do not have that fear and anxiety.
But sometimes I feel anxious because we are used to nurture the fear and anxiety in our minds so much.
Now it is not like that.
Now it is not so much. Now it is better. Somebody told me once, that if you want to enjoy complete happiness, you should not have fear and anxiety in your minds because if you do have fear and even when you are very happy one moment of memory of anxiety will spoil the happiness.
Not it is not so. Now when I want to do anything I think for a moment and I feel peaceful.
I have good work in life and even in my personal life I am happy.
Earlier I was always afraid; what will I tell my family? What if my family comes to know? Now it is not so.
I still have not experienced happiest moment.
I have told about myself to my parents and friends only a year back.
Sometimes when I think of the past ‘l have I not told them about myself properly, should I have told them earlier’, these questions come into my mind.
I feel happy because I have my own house; I am independently working and living, there is no one to question me as in not negatively but positively in terms of if I want to do something I don’t have to take approval of anyone.
I have full confidence in me and whatever I do I don’t take it lightly.
I am serious about whatever I do and that gives me happiness.
I came to know about myself not in my childhood.
I realised when I was 21 years.
Coming to know at a young age was not my experience but if I don’t keep the age in mind and think about my childhood I feel I am now mentally very matured.
All that fear anxiety that I had developed from my childhood I feel that was not needed at all.
If I had not feared about all these before I could have come out of my problems.
Now that I have come out of those problems and when I think about it positively, I feel I can share about myself with many people;
that this is what happened in my life and I struggled like this. Post that struggle now I feel very happy and I feel peace with myself.
Though I felt the struggle was quite negative, when I think back, I feel whatever happened, it happened for good.
I cannot talk about one moment of tragedy. There were many.
I was feeling that I was very close to my parents in the past but later after all this struggle I felt that I never gave them that importance that I had actually thought of because I could never share what was in my mind openly to my parents.
When I told them about me they were very hurt and so I too was hurt.
Now I feel even sadder because I could have told them earlier but I hid it in myself. I cannot say everything is their mistake.
I too have done many.
They have asked me many times, why you are sad or what is bothering you. I always tried to remain away from them.
I thought if I remained away from them I can handle my own issues.
Though they did not know anything, they would always want to help me out with my situations but I never wanted to take their help.
That hurt them all more.
They came to know about me and my issue very suddenly.
It was not gradual. I feel I never gave them enough time to understand my issue that pains me.
In my childhood I used to talk too much.
I would adjust to everyone.
In the entire street everyone knew me. I would go off to their house for festivals like Ganesha chaturthi and Deepavali to take vermillion and turmeric and sing keerthans.
Everyone knew who I was in my childhood. I don’t know when this changed.
By the time I came to know it was too late in terms of why I became silent.
During my childhood I used to talk a lot and I became opposite to what I was.
I became totally silent.
Even in school my classmates and monitors would constantly write my name on the board for talking too much.
In college everyone thought that I was very silent.
I came to that level.
I don’t know how I changed like this. I realised it very late.
This happened because in my childhood I was molested twice.
I never realised how this bad incident influenced me to become silent. In our house we were all close to each other.
Even though my parents would go to work I would not feel lonely as my grandmother would be with me.
Whatever I wanted to share I would share with my grandmother.
My mother after coming back from office would spend the entire time with my brother and me.
I could never share this incident.
I realised late that due to this incident I became very silent.
I realised this fact when I joined work.
I could not speak about it because I had fear and anxiety in my mind to the extent that it became a heavy pain in my heart. I could not even realise why I nurtured this fear and anxiety in my mind around the incident.
I had become numb to this heaviness of pain.
I realised this when I came out to my parents as lesbian and they took me to one or two psychiatrists.
But did not like the way they asked me questions about it.
They tried to prove that the incidents were my imagination and not real.
That is why I did not like them but what they said something that stood in my mind.
They said the incident in the childhood could be the reason for my present situation or maybe it was my parents the reason and this thought stood in my mind.
Later I kept thinking why I became like this and why I hid these issues from my parents.
Finally when I shared about Smruthi and my relationship to my parents I felt relieved. I told them in detail about the childhood incident and also told them the reason for my silence.
Whenever relatives would come home I would sit inside the room, I would not even like to see their faces.
I did not like to speak to anyone or to go to anybody’s house.
After I shared with them all the things and I told them that I was lesbian I felt relieved.
I felt could this not have happened earlier.
One experience is that there is nothing happier in the world than a heavy heart becoming light after sharing openly.
Even now I feel like if there is anything that happens I have to share it immediately with someone.
I am not ready to let go off the feeling light at heart now.
That is more permanent happiness. Whatever else you buy that gives you happiness that is momentary.
Even if you buy a house the happiness will be there for one or two months or years but later it just feels a house.
This kind of happiness will be there always and there is nothing to stop this kind of happiness.
When you share everything and keep you heart light you can happily receive any happiness without any problems. Whenever I think whether I should share this or not I would feel sharing is better, and then you will feel happy and light.
That is something I will never leave in all my life. This is an experience that is very close to my heart.
Even now I feel that I created sadness and tragedy in my life more than others.
I was not able to speak or share my feelings and that is my mistake but I did not realise it then.
I had no patience and would get angry on others very much, it was not with friends or others; it was mainly on my parents.
I would never talk to them properly.
Even before they would try and speak to me I would have decided that they are saying something wrong and they don’t know anything.
That attitude may be there for many people in their teenage like a rebellion.
It is a phase that I am right and others are wrong.
With me it continued even after teenage.
Now when I think about it after all these years of experience I feel it was not needed.
So basically I could not share or speak out anything about my pain or sadness and to cover that I started lying; lying for small small things like, when I have gone to some different place and they ask me did you have breakfast, I would lie that I did not have breakfast.
I started feeling very bad that I was lying to this extent but I could also stop it. It became a part of my life. I just could not stop lying and I felt I was getting into a loop of traps.
So that part of the struggle, even now when I think about it, I feel it was very difficult for me to come out of it.
But now I know because of this experience I am able to look back into my own life.
It is not about one moment but all these moments were very sad for me.
I know it will take time for me to get over it, yet I feel that phase of my life is over.
May be there are many such moments but right now I am not able to think of any.
There were many such moments definitely.
I think most comical was when Smruthi and I went to my parents and told them about our relationship, my parents called all the relatives and then one of my cousin said that I don’t like men because they are not aggressive enough.
More funny was my brother. He has lived in US and knows about different people. He said me being a lesbian was like substance abuse like drugs.
Then at that point of time it shocked me. Now I feel it is comic because they have believed it some much that they can’t let it out of their minds.
May be it is more like dark humour but still I think of it and laugh.
I started thinking about sexuality and gender a year before.
I never thought about it before.
That was because though my partner and I lived together for 5 years we did not have much interactions with other community members.
This question never came up as we never mingled with other community people.
First thoughts that were in our minds were will others know and through them will parents know and then what will happen.
Now when all have come to know, people ask many questions.
Only then we started thinking about it.
I feel sexuality is not to be defined.
Now when they say lesbian, oh she has long hair, she has short hair and that is why she is the one who gets things from outside, or suppose if you have to go out in the night and so on. Defining this relationship based on heterosexual relationships.
Then there were many questions in the mind; is this true, but we are not like this and so on. Or is that the way and should we follow it. These were initial thoughts.
Now I feel sexuality in a general sense of terms we should say lesbians and we should not define more than that.
In terms of gender I have not thought about it much as there were no such conflicts in my mind about it.
I came to know that I am lesbian at the age of 21 years.
That too I got know I am a lesbian after I met my partner.
Then I started my journey back. I started thinking why in my childhood I did not feel like this. Others have come to know about their choice much earlier in their lives. My partner came to know when she was 13 or 14.
Even other people have shared that they knew in their childhood that they were different and so on.
I would think back why I could not feel that. Even my partner has asked me several times that don’t you feel you are lesbian.
I thought through and felt that the word lesbian was used in a bad connotation and so I feared to identify with it. I feared to even think of me being a lesbian.
Then I thought about it a lot, what this word means, and do I feel so.
Then I remembered in my childhood in my house I never had the problem of mixing with anyone.
My family would not restrict me in mixing with boys or misunderstand it.
That’s why I had both male friends and female friends.
There was one thing different, in college all girls wanted boyfriends but I never felt so.
I used to feel that boys are good to be only friends and when I would see others I would feel they go around for some days and later they will end up fighting.
So I would that this is the reason that I did not want boyfriends.
It was only after I met my partner that I remembered slowly that all my best friends were girls and I would feel intensely for them.
But during that time I was not in a state to understand that intensity.
I would not feel it at physical level.
It was at mental level that I connected with them.
I feel perhaps all these were there in my mind but for whatever reason these never came out of the mind.
I might have had some kind of experience in my childhood or maybe it was due to the molestation during my childhood.
I would not think too much about it.
Even if I became close to someone I would very quickly fight and go away from them.
I did not like to be close to anyone.
Even with my partner though she liked me a lot I never let her come close to me for more than a year.
She struggled hard to understand in my mind and came close to me. It was only later that I started speaking to her.
Now it is 7 years with her and when I think about it, whatever was in my mind was not clear to me.
Now when I think about it I feel lesbian is a blanket term.
When a girl does not like a boy we end up concluding that she is lesbian but there are many things to it like, what does one feel in the heart and how comfortable you are.
It not just about physical attraction or sexual attraction…. It is beyond these.
One needs to think more deeply about this. Whether it is in regional language or in English I feel we have not found out a word that represents our feeling.
Even now we have retained the western influence and words.
That is why I feel I am still looking for the right word and I have not concluded about it.
I studied degree in Bangalore.
From the time of my birth I have been in the same place.
In my childhood I would always think that whatever happens I will never leave Bangalore.
After degree, when I met my partner, we both felt that we had to leave Bangalore after college as it might hamper our life together, though we both liked Bangalore a lot.
It was then that we both applied for a college in Hyderabad.
Before we got the results I got admission in a different college in different place.
I could not wait till the results were announced in this college because if waited for that college in Hyderabad the admission I got in other college would be lost and if I would get in Hyderabad then I would have to stay back in Bangalore.
That we both did not like and so my partner got admission in different place and I got admission for college in different place.
Even after that we were deciding which place would be best for us.
In the place where I was studying there were many relatives for both of us but in her place it was not so.
That is why when I was finishing college I started applying for different companies in the place where my partner was studying. Even that was difficult as I had to face many questions from my family that what work you will get that which you will not get in Bangalore.
I had got job in 3-4 places in Bangalore and I did not tell about this to my partners.
Before my partner finished her studies I got a job is a good company in the place where she was studying. So could convince my parents that this is really a good offer and I might not get such a job elsewhere and that the company is giving good salary.
I also convinced them saying I would come back to Bangalore within 2-3 years and I joined the job in Hyderabad.
Then I did not think about it as migration.
Now when I think about it I feel that it was very much there in my mind.
Though I would not use the word ‘migration’ as such, I came to Hyderabad only for this reason.
After coming here to Hyderabad it was difficult in the beginning. I would always think that if it was Bangalore how wonderful it could have been. Even if I went out to eat I would always feel how wonderful it is in Bangalore. If you looked at houses, I would always feel houses were much better in Bangalore, it is too hot in Hyderabad and so on.
Later I started feeling that in Bangalore I could speak openly or share with anyone my pains or pleasure. I could not go out openly because my parents would always question me as where I was going and why I was always going around with girls.
Here I could go out till late in the night and I got freedom.
When I started associating freedom to this place I started feeling this was the best place for me.
But I had a benefit that I had finished master’s degree, and because I had good education I got good job.
I did not have to think too much about it. I know many people go to different places for the same reason.
Many people migrate from rural areas to cities thinking that they live their lives in a small way in the big cities.
I had not thought about it earlier but now when I think about it I feel sad.
I always think that we because our sexuality is different and because we are different from the mainstream why we should struggle so much, is our life not a life that should be led.
I have also thought about how difficult it would be for people who do not have education and people who leave their houses at a young age, especially for girls, as they cannot easily get manual labour work.
Or it will be dangerous for them.
They cannot get houses easily and even if they do get it will be too costly.
When I compare myself with them I feel I my struggle is nothing in front of theirs. Whenever I have even a slight doubt about me leaving my house I feel that I have crossed that phase and I should only look forward.
I have visited other countries through my job. When I think of queer movement in India I feel other countries are much more ahead of us.
But politically when we compare ourselves that is before ask the political parties as to what we want we have to politically strengthen our movement.
Internally we need to work a lot.
We as a movement do not have unity.
Already we are a minority and within that there is groupism within lesbians.
We have to get rid of our small difference and come forward.
I know it will take much more time to get there.
I feel that we sort out our small difference within ourselves we can mingle in mainstream.
We have many differences like we should not mingle with gays or transgenders and so on.
We don’t know what we want in our lives and in our movement. Until we figure out what we want that can bring us together and bring stability we cannot go forward.
That stability should be in such a manner that in future nobody should say in a shock ‘are you lesbian’.
It should become normal like how people ask how much our education is and where we belong to.
It should be as normal as that. We should not at all feel that okay they accepted us.
We should not at all feel thankful about people about accepting us. It should be that normal.