Most café invites go unnoticed. But this invite with an impressive subject “Nigah Queer Cafe Open Mic” was unique.
And the mail read:
An open mic evening at the Queer Café with readings, performances, poetry, songs, videos, films, mime, erotica, rants, raves, elegies, odes and limericks. The event is open to all. Entries are invited in
any language. Time slot per reader/performer: 10 minutes.
I had not heard of a hangout in Delhi which invites a crowd of poets, writers, bloggers, musicians, and everyone else to one place and calls it a queer evening. I got super excited and immediately sent a mail to MJ telling her that I would like to read something from Gaysi for this evening. I invited a couple of my friends and contacted the organizer about my act, a piece from my diary.
As the evening approached my excitement grew. To be honest, just the idea of meeting queer people in Delhi sets my fragile heart reeling. The event began at 6:30 and the venue was packed with people. Some of them were in colorful shorts and hats, while others were in their regular clothes. And that’s when it dawned on me, the colors of the rainbow have become a more vivid expression of queerness after the decriminalization of 377!
I looked around and found all stereotypes melting away. Even the thought of calling it a minority community seemed absurd. I was given slot number three. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into until I was called upon to read. In a little nervous and shaky voice, I started reading “Missing”. Between the sentences I realized, I was expressing my love for my girl friend, my choice to be gay and my desire to be accepted. I looked in to many eyes and met many smiling faces as I finished the piece. I had come out of the closet once and for all! It was my first coming out in public. I felt alive! I felt accepted. Once again I carved the possibility of freedom for myself in that very moment and it felt amazing. The applauding crowd and the word ‘thank you‘ that barely left my lips meant the whole universe for me then.
The evening was marked by other fantastic performances. Gautam in his stand up comedy performance was SIMPLY fantabulous. His search for ‘play’, the durex lube was amusing and the fillers by Akhil really had me into splits. Mridula’s excerpt about the Bihari Boy, her new book, made me fall in love with her all over again. She is such a natural and beautiful storyteller that you must experience it to know it. Others were equally witty and heartwarming and it was a golden evening for me. An evening of euphoria and a realisation that we have come a long way since the decriminalization of 377!