My mother’s words feel like chains around my ankles. Yet another conversation about her plans for my wedding, my family, my life.
“I don’t want it, maa,” I tell her. I don’t have the heart to tell her what I really don’t want but for now, for years, I’ll lie. I cannot even ask to be absolved, since people down here tell me that the one up there despises me. But for now, I’ll just lie.
She ignores my remark and continues to dream about her second daughter marrying an upper caste boy and raise sons. The last time I let the truth slip out, she laughed it off as a cruel joke. She laughed off my being and with a rock on my chest, I laughed along.
I don’t want to marry a Hindu boy and raise Hindu boys, maa. I don’t. Let me dream of marrying my Muslim girl. Raising a dog whom she won’t allow to lick her, and a cat who will definitely claw me more than her.
But I don’t say a word. I nod. Her words feel like rocks on my chest, I want to tell her the truth but the aftermath is what I don’t want. My sister averts eye contact when I speak about my queer identity to her. My therapist nods dejectedly m when I ask him not to tell my parents that I suffer from trauma because of religion. Who owns love? Who told these people they could dictate love?
You *must* love your family, even if they reject your existence.
You *must* love the other gender only.
You *must* love with our permission.
What if I stutter when I tell my family that I love them? What if the gospel on her lips feels better than the conformity on his? What if their rejection feels like a ballgown because that means I can finally be me now? I don’t know the answers, I’m too young for them maybe. Perhaps, the only thing I’m too young to know.
So far now, I just stay silent. Let the pretence of my mother’s words wound my being and wither me away. Yes maa, I do want a Sabhyasachi lehenga and a wedding in Italy. But I want another lehenga, and that will be for my bride.