They call India a democracy – where the men in power are ‘representatives’ of the society, where people can speak their minds, where people are ‘free’ – to do what they like, when they like it.
Then there’s section 377, sniggering men, and nagging aunties. There are relatives who are ignorant, colleagues who mock, and neighbours whose opinions does not matter. There are strangers who don’t figure in your scheme of things at all, but still have something to say about your ‘choices’.
There are men who gawk like you’re a piece of meat and those who constitute the quintessential opportunists’ club – who leave no opportunity to see if today they’re lucky enough to have hit the jackpot.
And then, of course, there are those who’ll flash torches into your face, force open your car door, try and snatch the keys out and touch you inappropriately while simultaneously telling you how you’re in a ‘shareef’ locality and how hugging your lover in a car is indecent.
I’ve always been told that I’m an Indian at heart. Maybe this is so, because, I love Indian food too much to ever settle abroad, or maybe because Punjabi fascinates me to no end. I don’t know. Irrespective, I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am, in fact, an Indian.
Tonight I’m ashamed. Not because five men with torches and sticks hounded me, today because I wanted to spend some quality time with my partner who I rarely get to see, but because those men were Indian. And I refuse to be put in the same bracket as them.