Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Till Death Do Us Part

Strange is how the greatest truth of life is death itself.  Stranger is how the biggest irony of this life is life's most crossed, sour relations coming together in death.

My Nani is no more. She left us forever with the thought of seeing her family together and happy but she only saw fractured relations. She burned her blood and health in tension and much loneliness in old age; yet she never missed a chance to bless us.

मैं सद् के जावां

Naani's words will always resonate in my mind and heart and my life forever. But there is a huge guilt of not being a responsible grandson to her. I feel ashamed how I visited at her place only once, that too because I was in the vicinity. Yet she never treated me with any less love; in fact she only wished me even more.

वह बेचारी बुलाते बुलाते थक गयी मिलने के लिए लेकिन मैं नहीं मिला क्योंकि मेरा राजौरी साइड कोई काम नहीं बन रहा था कि मैं रस्ते में मिलता हुआ चल लूँ।

I feel disgusted how I took relationships for granted. I always have...I arrange meeting with loved ones in my superficial work life.

The last time I met her in her house was way back in October 2014 I guess she was so happy.

The last time I spoke to her on phone was when mom called her from landline and I spoke to her about Miri and Piri. She was so enthusiastic to tell me those stories.

The last time I met her in good health was in Gurgaon at Amitoj and Guntoj veerji's children's birthday parties.

For the first time I did not wish her on her birthday - because I was busy but she still send me money of her blessings through maa.

But the last time I watched her alive was on 27th Jan in ICU with her being on ventilator. One look at me and she still gave me her beautiful and blissful smile but she had tears in her eyes and i could feel she was in pain.

It killed me in fear that came true on 1st Feb at 11: 42 pm when bhai called me in office to say "Nani nahi rahi". It would not be an understatement if I say moment felt like the world slipped below my feet. I really did not want to believe it.

This morning I saw her lifeless body and that face. She had lost so much health. She was lifeless and I wanted to scream at myself. Today was the toughest day for me. Every moment at Nani's house, those unstoppable crying at cremation house, with visuals of Nani on her death bed before the funeral pyre. And every emotional moment with Maa and Mona Maasi.

Please forgive me Nanaji, but when you passed away, I was though indeed emotinally drained but today with Naniji gone, I felt a part of my soul dying.

I never got to learn Punjabi from her because I did not make time for her selfless love. I took her presence for granted. I so badly wish I can make amends - through the family she gave me, I know.

After the cremation and seeing off the visitors for prayers and langar, it was us all one again together. Maa, Daddy, Bhai, Mamu, Micky Maami, Gunna, Tavraj, Prince Masterji, Mona Maasi, Princy and Sia. (Sia has grown so much. It felt a lifetime knowing her). And I was standing in one corner, looking and watching all. It was this moment that used to happen almost every two weeks when Nanaji was alive and we all kids. I had totally forgot it but today the memories relived. We all have aged but little mature; all together like Nani wanted her children but no hand of blessing from Nanaji and Naniji.

वह बेचारी अपने आखरी और अपनों के ही दिए हुए अकेले पलों में जिसके लिए चुपचाप तरसती रही, आज जब वह सच हुआ तो यह देखने के लिए वह खुद थक कर जा चुकी थी।

Even the last picture of her, though very beautiful, dated back to January last year at Mamu and Maami's 25th Anniversary Celebration.

Yet I am sure her blessings will always be there on us. Because that was her inherent nature - to shower unconditional and infinite love.

Just like she always said with her unforgettable laughter,

"मैं सद् के जावां.."

In her death, the death did us part.. Till death do us part.

Miss you Naniji.

Monday, February 2, 2015

नानी जी...



नानी चली गयीं.. हमेशा के लिए।

उनकी वो हँसी दिमाग में घूम रही है अब। लेकिन अब क्यों। जब वो थी मैने बहुत तरसाया उन्हें मिलने के लिए। बस हमसे दो बातें करना चाहती थी, हमारी ख़ुशी में कितनी खुश होती थी। लेकिन मैं अपने आप में इतना व्यस्त , इतना डूबा रहा की सोचा भी नहो वो एक कमरे में अकेले कैसी समय गुज़ारती होगी।

मैं बहुत बुरा हूँ। बहुत मतलबी। यह कर्म हैं मेरे। क्यों मैं ऐसा था।

मुझे माफ़ करदेना नानी जी। मैं एक वायदा करता हूँ। आपके प्यार के लिए।। आपकी बेटी को बौत खुश रखूँगा। एक पल अकेला महसूस नहीं करने दूंगा।

यह मेरा पश्चाताप नहीं कोई,  ये आपके हिस्से का साथ और मेरी माँ का हक़ है।
मुझे मुआफ़ कर देना। आपसे मिला वो आखरी लम्हा मैं कभी नहीं भूलूंगा। हर लम्हा कभी नहीं भूलूंगा। आप मेरी नानी थे, हो और हमेशा रहोगे।

वाहेगुरु जी ख्याल रखना मेरी नानी का, वो आपका ही ख्याल रखने के चक्कर में अपना ही ख़ुशी समझेगी। और हां, मेरे नाना नानी को मिला देना साथ में।

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Suicide Letter

जब जब दर्द का बादल छाया..
जब ग़म का साया लहराया.
जब आंसू पलकों तक आया..
जब ये तनहा दिल घबराया..
हमने दिल को यह समझाया दिल आखिर तू क्यूं रोता है.. दुनिया में यूं ही होता है ।

यह जो गहरे सन्नाटे है.. वक़्त ने सब्को ही बाटें है..
थोडा ग़म है सबका किस्सा.. थोड़ी धूप है सबका हिस्सा..
आग तेरी बेकार ही नम है.. हर पल एक नया मौसम है..
क्यूं तू ऐसे पल खोता है.. दिल आखिर तू क्यों रोता है ।।

Its weird how I am beginning a suicide letter with a positive thought but If I may put it as a mere coincident that my phone's playlist began with same during my writing, yet no one can ever disagree that isn't every suicide letter started with the most positive light of one's life..

Dear Mom Dad..

Add to same the immense strength and great self-understanding it takes to write a suicide letter; the second greatest an individual can ever show in life, the first being at the time of the actual act of committing suicide.

However here I stand struggling to write one suicide letter of mine; all in a public declaration.

I write same, keeping in mind a very thought provoking motivational quote by Gore Vidal, an American writer and Public Intellectual (whatever the latter means):

"Write something, even if it's just a suicide note."

So here I formally, informally begin:

...


Dear Mom Dad..

I love you a lot, no matter the many times I have hated you, felt embarrassed by even your existence in my every breathing moment. You are my mom and dad and will always be my mother and father. And your undying love and wishes for me is what makes me angry and extremely temperamental in my expression of love for you and to an extent, with bhai also. I know you all love me and maybe its just not you.

Papaji, Maanji, Naniji, and by God's grace many others I am blessed with in family and friends. Like Priya, who has always been at the end of my moods, the most among all my friends and yet stood by me, wishing nothing but the world for me. And this love and bliss is what has always driven me to end my life because I am tired of not even knowing who I really am to decide how to reciprocate. Frustratingly strange indeed when I wrote in the beginning how it takes "immense strength and understanding it takes to write a suicide letter".

Ever since the past few years when I first developed HOSH in my JOSH for life, I have just wanted a normal life. Yes I have dreams and career goals but I want to be normal. And I am not able to understand what is normal to me, what is natural to me. This suicide letter germed from same insecurity; of the war in my soul to know the real and natural me.

I am living a dream career which I recognised by exploring my own strenghts and weaknesses through work and many bruised fallings but at the end of the day I enjoy my time in office to the extent that can leave workplace with a meditation state of mind, heart and soul. But as I age, I fear all wrongs I wished in anger in my life. I fear living a life from a plague thought tongue of past. I fear my sexuality taking my life. I fear being gay.


"I fear being gay."


Shocking, is what I am now feeling as I continue giving words to my thoughts. Never ever did I use this sentence, even in my worst nightmares. Then why did it came in my head to find a typed memory?

After years of struggles, from sixth standard, to be precise, to the moment before I wrote these four self-shocking words, I was thinking that I have made peace with me being gay, which is by the way just a part of my life in the gamut of emotional diversity in my character and personality. But Now I stand more tired than ever.

I am not ashamed of myself. I feel scared, disgusted from me fearing the wrongs that my true self can bring upon in questions and, God forbid, in taunts (also) to all my loved ones.

I really wish I could swing permanently in life but even after tremendous torturous periods of excruciatingly mental and physical pain (that continue till this very moment as I write), I do know this is me - not completely gay, not really gay, but just gay. And I don't want this to be the 'only me', which I feel is only possible if I let myself go from the worry.


Dear Mom Dad..


Writing this letter, my mind is inundated with the thought that truth be told I have failed in a lot of things in life but why when it comes to suicide, all my reasons for suicide are always and always falling on my most private part of life - Being Gay!

It's human nature to worry about the unknown and this feeling can never be curbed, I guess. I do also worry about the unknown as I am also human. But why is it that every time I worry about something, it is about me Being Gay at the crux of all worries.

Its like my whole life is absorbed in just these four words:


"I fear being gay."


I want to share this suicidal part of me, but not to transfer my worries but only to release my worries. For the Buddhist said it wisely, "Till we don't empty our filled cup of mind, we can not explore filling it with anything new. And anything poured in the filled cup will only spill on the sides and it will show in serving."


Dear Mom Dad..


I love you and I only wish to see you happy and proud of me. I don't know what the future holds and how much, buy my present is here for you. And its full of insecurities I have been dying to pour my heart out.

I fear driving, because I think I won't look good driving.

I fear my friends, because they were only filled with lies by me, lies which were very well crafted, to hide my true self.

I fear going out even in our neighborhood meeting the neighbor,because I think I won't be able to stand as a proud man, despite my little achievements.

I fear all our relatives, including you, Mom and Dad, because I won't be the perfect child who grew up to be traditionally married with children, upholding the family's honor.

I have started to fear my office mates because they think I am the perfect catch for a girl because of what I am in front of them but isn't half truth also a stab in the back?

I fear internet, becuase despite it giving me tremendous space to grow, I may got over the lust for sex, but I feel helpless in watching porn. I am addicted to it and it shows on my health. I watch it feeling all I am not in terms of a man. Strange but true, I fear I am not a man - even a gay man. And yet,


"I fear being gay."


Dear Mom Dad..


It was about three years back when during a documentary shoot for a gay aquaintance I realised how happy I am when I am really myself.

I had to speak in front of the camera how I feel about the straight people around me; sort of like tossing the coin on the question of how straight people feel about gays around them. I was told to be funny in my replies but oblivious to how to be funny, I just went with the flow.

By the end of my shoot - in central park - all in open, I was smiling and so were the two girls in production team, the straight cameraman who was my age and the other gay stud who was next in line to be interviewed.

I still can not recall when was a time before this moment when I felt happy about my self as I was feeling that time. I still remember even the straight camera guy became very relaxed with me after the shoot, during the lunch. It made me happy about myself/

The documentary never got made because of some unforeseen circumstances but I am glad I did muster up the courage to shoot, even though it was way more rebel than courage; for Priya and Manish did warn me of 'future' consequences if the documentary, being made for film festivals, became public.

The shoot remains one of the best and definitely the only memory I have of being "out of closet" without any fear. Then why do i fear being gay?


Dear Mom Dad..


The shoot was in April 2012. So technically it will be three whole years in three months from today since that happy memory. And thus it has been since, that I have been trying to come out. But alas sigh...


Dear Mom Dad..


You have brought me up in a very 'responsible' state of mind from my very childhood, and for that I am eternally thankful and emotionally indebted to you. So it excites me and scares me in equal and extreme level that I wish to give you all the happiness in future. It kills me every closeted moment of my life that I won't be able to give you a daughter-in-law and grandchildren in the traditional way. It kills me even more seeing bhai not doing anything to fulfill that dream from his side.

I am scared because of bhai.. but am I right to be same for him? Am I being too selfish to put the responsibilty on his shoulder or am I justified to at least expect this little from him?

I have this faith in me that I will find my true love forever. The day I will find peace with my true self, I know I will find him. Just like one of my most favorite quote for life,

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” 

I don't want to come out in anger and frustration, and a temporary state of mind. I want to be happy and satisfied with myself when I come out; with a genuine emotional coming of age understanding and acceptance of self.

I don't need a job security to come out.
I don't need dropping hints to come out.
I don't need my forever love to come out.
I don't need the world to be accepting of gays to come out.

I do need to drive my new car out of my garage and into the traffic, without worrying about the red lights in my path or the rash drivers who may hurl abuses on my for my driving ability and may even leave scratches on my car.

I just need to drive my car. I really do, but I am scared.


"I fear being gay."


Dear Mom Dad..


I want to share something today; something I am not able to control and is killing me, keeping me awake all night.

I feel alone in my room. Very lonely. It's like I need a hug and I don't have. I never really hugged you as a child and I have now grown up feeling an absence in me. I think of hugging you so many times but I just can not.

I feel because I was brought up listening "the responsible child" adjective for me, I unknowingly developed a shell of emotionless person who can take harsh decision even without the blink of an eye.

Mom you yourself did tell me I am heartless but I guess that is how I grew up. In obscurity, especially during my middle and high school days, alone in the second floor room - not into sports - in my dreams - and even struggling with my initial days of puberty when I could only think and feel gay.

I really used to blame you both for ignoring me and turning me gay but with better sense I really realised that it was no one's fault I am gay. I mean, I have pondered over my past to such lengths that it is futile for me to even think more about my past.

However I can do share how I have grown up as a gay person.


Phase 1: REBEL for LUST:

I started as a rebel. I was young blood. I really wanted to get the first sex thing out of my system. After a few unplanned innocent encounters with school mates and in relations, I was the sex freak who just wanted it at any cost. I like the attention I was getting from the gay circuit.


Phase 2: GREED:

The rebel streak grew into challenger when I quite literally wanted to get anyone whom I can not get by going every extreme. It was during this time when I was first proposed of love and the idea of moving in with that person with his new job in a new city (not Delhi). I got scared here and ducked that person, even though he was the sweetest. I still feel really bad about how badly I ignored him to get rid of him from my life. I wish I can wash my bad karma from this incident; I really I already have.


Phase 3: OVERCONFIDENCE KILLS:

This I would like to say the time I got a bit matured from the love incident. I started to think who I am and what do I really want for future with such a character. But the start of self observant nature brought the most painful and temperamental side of me. It really confused me; making me run for sex to punish me for my deeds. I was never happy in sex during this phase. I cried a lot, cursing Waheguru, feeling like an atheist. It really made me lose some of the golden opportunities during my stint at BVB. I could have really scaled great heights with the support of the college teachers and my friends but I failed to capitalise it. It was extremely painful.


Phase 4: FIRST TRUE LOVE:

This was after my BVB and a few freelancing work when I fell in love for the first time. I proposed him over phone, saying the most non rehearsed lines that, "you made me love those things in me which I have always hated as you love me completely." Our relationship was really short, not even a month. But it was our every night conversation which made me fell alive like I had never been. But then he cheated, I shouted in anger and pain and agony. It really felt like the end of the world.


Phase 5: NO TIME FOR SELF:

This started just after the heartbreak. I was lucky to get start my theater the very next morning of heart break night. I let go all my anger in theater, got myself completely emersed in this professional life, from weekend theater to daily round the clock 7 days a week, 365 days an year theater. Occasionally I started exploring gay party circuit, trying to find like minded persons to laugh with also. So it was all work, even the parties were extreme work..with lots of drinking and drugs (the lighter ones only) in life.


Phase 6: REALISING BUILDING CAREER:

I loved every minute of theater. It made me confident about myself, introducing me to a Guru for life, friends and team mates who never lied to me. But I had to end it to begin what I really wanted to do for life, as a career. If only wishes were horses and I could have never grown old, I would have never left Asmita. But being brought up as a "responsible child", I had a responsibility to be a man of successful career and life. So I left with the biggest lump of heart in my throat. I had decided on journalism after many lists, both in mind and on paper that had many options which were scratched to a final one. There were options like Acting, Modeling, Porn Star, Traveller and Politician that still remain on the list as I hope to achieve them with dedication and a clarity of mind. But all this took many months of self loathing, a short stint at gym, a not so happy but inspiring time at a call centre and many heated rebel moments at home.


Phase 7: FINDING LIKE MINDED by BEING LIKE MINDED:

It was a probably the most confusing, yet my first true Coming of Age Phase. Some two years after BVB, I first realised my overconfidence in my abilities and a strage relying on luck when I went for TVTMI interview without any preparation. Rahul Kanwal Sir failed me badly. But mom dad suggested ISOMES through an advertisement on News 24. I went there, along with Indian Express, cleared both with average to good self analysis but chose News 24's ISOMES for I wanted visual media. The college started good but it started falling apart, with exams and strange fight on self presentation and sexuality. I realised I wanted to be with like minded and only interacted with gay friends, even without sex. I was almost hating the straight guys. But realisation of my actions through my straight friends and teachers, all oblivious to my gay self, made me this time act on changing it all. For the first time I was being with the world in all its imperfections. I was learing and growing and not scared of failing for I knew I will only learn from even that unwanted failure. I was actually growing up normally. I made friends in college that I still love, because they accepted me in my imperfections. I started my career in journalism and earned a goodwill of hardworker, even if not the most talented. Slow and steady to not just win but even enjoy the race with my past negative self.


Phase 8: LAYING PATH FOR COMING OUT:

After an amazingly lifting phase, this one will without doubt remain the most unexpected phase of my life. Unlike in the previous phase where I wanted to stay only with gay friends and contacts for I was hating how straight people treat and mock us, in here I was hating to be in and around straight world for I was hating myself to not being myself and whom I truly am. Hating for being not being myself. Hating to lie and hide about myself, as if I am ashamed of it. All of it probably made me unconsciously feel,


"I fear being gay."


I am however fighting this fear, meeting friends and relatives by finding all the courage I can. I am struggling and I really need strength to not be a failure, else this suicide note chance of becoming my farewell letter in reality.


I really want, correction - I really need to begin my Phase 9 with all my loved ones around. I want my parents, my bhai, my friends, Papaji, Manji, Naniji, Mamu, Micky Mami, Mona Masi, Lady Maasi and everyone - all in the pink of their health. I dont want to lose anyone. I am scared but I am really praying. Please Babaji.


Dear Mom Dad..


This letter has become quite a long one, but what is this meek length in front of the more than 26 years of my life, which today stands at 9671th Day of my Life. I need to do a lot of things but I need patience more to do everything right and just. Forgive me everything for the past; I really love you.


“Everyone believes the world's greatest lie..." says the mysterious old man.
"What is the world's greatest lie?" the little boy asks.
The old man replies, "It's this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie.”


Dear Mom Dad..


You will always be loved. Please forgive me for taking this step. The Phase 9 may be OUT PHASE but for a 10/10 with Phase 10, I know it will be FORVER LIFE.


Please forgive me. I don't want to feel nervous, ashamed, disgusted. This suicide note is my heart to you, which loves you a lot, no matter how rarely I may have said so to you in person. If I able to think even this much, it's because you are my parents. Sorry for letting you down in any and every way possible. I never really breathed for it.


Your son
Bhavdeep Singh Chadha

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