Pass me your panties!

31 05 2010

Do you sometimes wear your partner’s clothes?

My partner and I are kind of the same size and there have been times when I have stolen a shirt or kurta of hers to wear to work. However as I don’t fit into her pants or jeans we don’t wear each others pants. Her feet too, are bigger than mine so we can’t share shoes. (Even if we could, I am not sure I like her taste in footwear!) She owns just three pairs of shoes while I have – maybe fifteen!

What is it about some couples, that they kind of merge into one? I know one other couple who shared clothes, including underwear. Is this common? I would get mad if my girlfriend wore my underwear. There are just some things I don’t like sharing. There are also some places I like to keep personal, like the toilet for example. I don’t want her walking in on me when I am doing my business. I think it’s good to keep some things personal. My aunt never looked into her husband’s wallet for example, even though they had been married for 30 years.

Some couples answer each other’s mobiles regularly, some won’t go places (especially to parties) without the other. I am not sure how healthy this is. Sometimes space can be a good thing, and sometimes hanging on to your individuality is the wisest thing to do when all else breaks down!





And I thought only lesbians merged

29 05 2010

I come from two people you would never think of putting in one planet. No exaggeration. I promise. When they met, one was fresh out of a cloistered and stifling but comfortable home and the other was on an adventure in the backwaters of beyond trying to bring about a revolution. One has the temper of lightening and thunder, the other has the temper of rain falling ceaselessly through the day. He reads words to feed his brain, she reads stories to fill her heart. Growing up, I looked at my parents and thought I would never be with someone if I couldn’t share my laughs.

That part turned out to be true. I always laughed with my girlfriends. But the one thing you couldn’t say about me was that I loved women who were like me. They didn’t look like me, they didn’t talk like me, they enjoyed life differently and I loved them for that. No fear of merging. That thing that lesbians are so afraid of. Lesbian Merging. Imagine dressing like each other in a few weeks or months! We are worried that we will pick up our lover’s expressions. We make sure we use different endearments on each other. Or else we’ll merge and then where is that other person who so excited you when you first met?

No such worries for me. Why worry about Lesbian Merging when I go for women who are so different that it would take plate tectonics to effect Lesbian Merging? I could afford to laugh at the others. And then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that my father said some thing the same way, that my mother does. A few days later, my mother did something else the same way he did.

My father and mother were merging.

It wasn’t only lesbians who merged.

I am not sure if I should be upset about it or not.

If my parents can merge, anyone can merge.

Does that mean there is no getting away from Lesbian Merging?





Starting over

26 05 2010

It’s like starting over.

Like being born again.

Not like an evangelical Christian, although I have heard that many lesbians are Christians too. Seems like a paradox to me, considering all the ways in which a lesbian just is, all the ways in which you find yourself defying, denying and redefining what it is to be a woman, most of which are surely contrary to any christian teaching? I couldn’t imagine going into church and lining up good and proper, ready to join in the singing with all the other straightfaced, straightlaced, straightpeople – husbands leading, wives following, children and pets bringing up the rear. After fucking a woman you love, can you really imagine straightening yourself like that?

I couldn’t.

All that mad lust and abandonment. And that’s besides the abandonment of practically everything we’ve been taught to honor, respect and obey; all those lessons we spend practically our entire lifetimes unlearning?

But anyway. As I was saying.

Oh yeah. The starting over thing. It’s kind of like when you realize finally, or maybe like some of us, very slowly and hesitantly over a very long period of time – that that’s what it was all about. That all those years you spent trailing around the schoolyard behind that one, to-your-dazzled-eyes abso-fucking-lutely beautiful girl – just watching, (stalking probably,) actually meant something? When you actually start thinking – I like, no maybe I love.

Her.

Agh.

Better not share this information with my mother or sister. Not when I’m twelve and all they’re hoping for is that I’ll win the English prize this year too.

I remember spending every single break at school, munching on a Chinese roll and following the adored one and her noisy gang of friends, everywhere they went. I would watch their games, trail along the edge of the wall as they galloped along, absorbed in their own pursuits and never noticing me. Which was a very good thing too. They would have crucified me if they had guessed what I was doing. But I didn’t really know what I was doing myself, so how could they?

Or maybe like some of my friends who shall remain nameless for now- maybe you had all these furtive but delicious boarding school experiences that put you on the right track since you were six…?

O lucky, lucky.

Falling in love with the little girl in the next bed. Or next desk in class. Meeting behind the rosebushes at the corner of Block C. Exchanging notes. Whispering ‘I love you!’ Holding sweaty hands and feeling terrified but not really knowing why. Kissing.

It just feels so good it has to be wrong.

But as I was saying.

Like starting over. From like, zero. You have to re-learn everything. Everything. The clothes, the shoes, the hair, (Oh the hair!), the whole look. Then there’s the stuff inside your head. All the anxiety. The guilt, the rage, the fear… and maybe hardest of all – the becoming aware. Your eyes open, your body changes, your skin feels different. And all this takes years to get used to. Years of fears. And tears.

And everyone around you behaves differently. Didn’t they?

No? Well maybe you had a smooth transition! Maybe you’re from London or San Francisco or Sydney or some other superfucking cool, self-consciously liberated city like that. Mardi gras and dykes on bikes and everyone out and proud and free. Maybe you grew up with queer parents even. Maybe it was easier to be queer than straight in your neighbourhood. Maybe it was all sharp haircuts, tattoos and piercings everywhere you looked, and lots of great footwear. And everybody fucking absolutely everybody else since they were practically twelve.

O boy.

(Or maybe you’re just too smart to let on to us brown, timid, south asian girls that your experience was pretty much and awkwardly the same. White people/brown people living in white places….must be cool above all, after all. Ha.)

But we’re no hothead paisans…not me, and not my friends. We had to claw our way into the space we have made and a small fucking space it is too. And that’s what I’m writing about, I think. Our space and how we got here. In this third world, war torn, poverty stricken, uneducated, nationalistic, moralistic, feudal, homophobic, chauvinistic, self-righteous, corrupt, militarized, paradoxical, sad and crumbling beautiful city, we huddle together, hoping that no one of us has to leave for any reason, yet unable to withhold support from any one of us who’s lucky enough to go.

This is our life. We chose it, we live it. This is our country. We complain about everything. The people, the politics, the war, the foreigners, the locals, the food, the cost of living, the war, the roads, the men, the women, the neighbours, the schools, the war the war the war. But we love it. Like our horrible Siamese twin, we are attached to it and would miss it if we lost it. You could offer us any city in the world and we might even go. Some of our merry little band now live in Australia, after all. Freezing their asses off, working like slaves and missing home – but loving the law and order, the freedom and anonymity of life in a first world city.

We, on the other hand, are the stay-at-homes who would always want to rush back.

Now we have peace. And here we all still are.

Starting over. At home.





One step forward

21 05 2010

One step forward

Two steps back.

You are on hold

She calls you forward

And then steps back

You have no idea why

You don’t know who she is

One step forward.

Two steps back.

Waiting for something

that may never happen

Your fate depends upon her

fate, what will it be?

You have no idea why

You have nothing at all

One step forward.

Two steps back.

You think you are

following your heart

Like you always do

One step forward,

two steps back,

that is what you do





The romance of single life

19 05 2010

When you are one half of a couple for a long time, you forget what it is like to be with yourself. Only with yourself. When you start off, you are caught up with being a couple, spending time with the new girlfriend, the romance, the passion, the dreams.

Then you settle into the groove of being one half of a couple and enjoy the routine, the stability and the togetherness. Even the arguments and making up. Even the little separations, as long as you don’t stay apart too long.

And when you break up, you miss the shared laughter and the inside jokes. You miss the other part of yourself. You miss her weight next to you in bed and your life has a gap.

It’s like silence. Everyone rushes to fill silence in, just the way we want to fill that gap, find someone to laugh and spend time with. But hold on long enough, and one day you blink and realise that being alone is not that bad.

Actually, what a relief it is to be able to suddenly meet a friend and decide to spend the whole day with her. No rushing back home because you think tenderly of your girlfriend waiting for you. No phone calls to reassure her that you haven’t disappeared or had an accident, you just thought you would watch a film with your cousins. And how nice to not have to get out of bed, read as much as you want and not feel selfish about spending your time with yourself. How nice.

It’s not sour grapes. It’s just that I had forgotten how much I love spending time with myself as much as I love being with a woman I love.





39 reasons not to be a lesbian.

17 05 2010

(especially in Sri Lanka)

  1. You can dress how you like (well, more or less).
  2. You can have a cool haircut without everyone having a breakdown.
  3. Your brothers don’t laugh at your shoes.
  4. Your sister doesn’t say ‘its so gay!’ around you.
  5. Your mother doesn’t send you bible quotations on email.
  6. No one minds you holding hands with your girlfriend.
  7. No one minds you having loads of girlfriends.
  8. You can surround yourself with beefy men – so useful for mending the roof, driving you places and carrying heavy boxes up the stairs.
  9. You get to walk into rooms full of men with your boyfriend.. so no funny stuff.
  10. You can hold hands with your lover in public.
  11. You can flirt with your lover in public.
  12. You can kiss your lover in public (Well…you could try).
  13. You can walk into any really straight environment and no one looks twice.
  14. You can have pictures of your partner and children on your screensaver.
  15. You get to wear a wedding ring without anyone asking questions.
  16. You don’t have to hide your books when the kids come over.
  17. You don’t have to hide your DVD’s when the kids come over.
  18. You can sleep-over at your girlfriend’s place without raising eyebrows.
  19. You don’t have to lie when someone asks who your friend is…. that one who’s always hanging around…
  20. You don’t mind wearing a sari to work.
  21. You can use the women’s washroom without other women looking at you funny.
  22. You don’t have to explain why you live with a woman.
  23. You don’t have to explain why you don’t have a boyfriend.
  24. You don’t have to feel like the freak in every gathering (At least until you realize there are other women like you).
  25. You don’t have to know your parents are worrying themselves sick over something you couldn’t change even if you wanted to.
  26. You don’t have to unlearn virtually everything they told you.
  27. You don’t have to spend years of your life feeling guilty about loving someone.
  28. As a little kid you don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering what’s wrong with you.
  29. You don’t have to be the spokeswoman for your entire community.
  30. People don’t define you by your sexual choices.
  31. You’re not obliged to defend/hide your sexual choices.
  32. You can take out a loan with your partner.
  33. You can marry whomever you love.
  34. Your parents love your partner.
  35. You can plan your wedding.
  36. You can tell everyone you’re getting married and they will be thrilled.
  37. Once you’re married you can tell everyone you’re having a baby and they will be even more thrilled.
  38. You can adopt a child.
  39. You can name your partner as your beneficiary.




One third of me is an activist

9 05 2010

One of the things that emotional upheavals bring to my life is obsessive introspection. It makes me look at the run-up to the whirlpool that happened. It makes me look at my actions and it makes me try to make sense of who I am. I didn’t think of myself as an activist until I woke up one day and heard that what I was doing was called activism. I had worked with other groups with a passion for a cause but they had not called themselves activists. Was there such a thing as a professional activist?

I had no issues though. The experience was the same. There is a group of people. They espouse a certain cause. With passion. They live by the principles it entails. I was familiar with this scenario. I had been brought up on the exploits of revolutionaries and too many red shirts around the house. I knew what was expected. Heck, I expected it of others. What is it that working on rights entails that other ‘professions’ don’t have to deal with?

To look for this difference I had to think of myself in different professions: policewoman, accountant, software engineer, data analyst, graphic designer. Why does that FEEL different? If you ignore someone’s intention of suicide, can you tell people you work to prevent suicide? Can you fight for child rights and ignore the 14 year old servant in your mother’s house?  Look the other way and you compromise your principles. And ethics. And values. When you work for a cause, you give your life over.

Activists who think of it as a job? Sounds odd.