Oh Normalcy, What a tease!
“Ladies and Gentlemen, brothers and sisters,
Mister and Mrs, Master and Miss!”
From the lower primary, school taught me the binary
I didn’t need any!
Innocent me, thought school would be a breeze
Like tasting chocolate muffins and icing on cakes,
Turned out, — the cupcake’s
Filled with pus.
And the icing on the cake?
Comes with wriggling worms and unfair terms,
A subtle price, A tall fee;
Freedom submitted in bits and pieces
And my Identity- Wait that isn’t legal!
Oh Normalcy, what a tease!
Insecurity; My best friend in school,
They were always there for me.
In the void where I stood,
Perched between my dual worlds.
One wrong step, I understood;
And chaos, chaos would ensue.
Lies, part truths and half lives,
The sheepish reality of a schooling I didn’t need.
Irony struck though, through my first “safe” haven.
In a Boolean binary world, between 0s and 1s,
I found the Internet, a grey zone,
could be anyone.
Met this charming person
While still in school,
But what he did was uncool.
I didn’t realise that whilst there I lay,
A hidden camera was set on ‘play’.
It didn’t take long for him to infiltrate
My friends list
And then threaten to tear my world to bits
Law couldn’t assist me then,
For we were both criminals.
And my social life was too precious
For one random ass pedophile.
So I kept him on mute
And send him his way,
With some empty threats and thank Luck!
The strategy worked.
Sixteen, I was then, Alone
And somewhat secure in a world built on my own.
And I thought to myself,
“Is this part of normalcy too?”
And I ask you.
Do you build your world as consciously as I did?
Do you measure each touch and gesture,
Steps and glances
So that you don’t toe out of normal?
So that you don’t fall into ‘Abnormal’?
Is that what normalcy means?
To always walk the line,
To live in a box,
Of never living your genuine self?
And yet Normalcy had the audacity to beckon me,
“submit to me, dear, Then your path is clear,
Cordon off yourself, File away your aspirations
Not for the future and not in this nation.”
‘Equality, Liberty, Fraternity’, they said.
“LGBT…plus?” I asked.
“Definitely…Not!” they replied.
All Indians are your brothers and sisters,
And that’s all they can be.”
To which, now
I have a good reply.
“No thanks! And FUCK YOU. ”
And here I am,
Criminal no more,
Standing in this liminal corridor,
A space between constitutionally legal and socially pariah.
Today, I feel near complete.
(in part, not in full)
Yet no more constrained by tiny slivers and strands
Of shame and hurt and pain.
Today, I stand plain,
naked in mind and in flesh
Out, for everyone to see, to feel and realise that
Prejudiced eyes, icy, stark and cold
Can no longer pierce me
And make me feel illegitimate.
Today, I can stand back from lies,
Part-truths and half lives.
Today, I can stand straight and no longer be compelled
That, my friend is progress,
For all of us, and I would say,
A little sip of equality.
Today, I feel near complete,
For still, not all of us are free
And we aren’t truly free,
Until all of us are free.
This poem is among the 13 shortlisted poems under the Rhyme and Reason contest by Rainbow Literature Festival and Gaylaxy, and supported by The Qknit, that was held in May.
- #RhymeAndReason: Breaking Binaries - June 22, 2020