An intellectual phenomenon, almost
Ready for you to stare at but never touch
And debate what these clothes mean, this hair, this skin, this nail hanging limply at the end of my
An armchair critic up to the age of 30. I finally decided to take the plunge and come out publicly in 2004. I had been out to close friends and family for a decade. The catalyst for my activism was the Islamist movement and its growing influence within communities like mine in Luton.
The luminous room was welcoming,
A place where he was transformed,
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes,
This is where his life reformed.
Being the only child was hard for me. Throughout the years, I kept to myself and accepted myself and still felt like I was the only South Asian Muslim in this world.
People putting up the pride flag outside Sambhaji Park where we were to assemble for the pride, community friends hugging each other, I just felt like I was among my people.
An abnormality he thought,
And then with himself he fought.
He thought of himself as foul,
So god's help he sought.
In some places it rains a bit during the rainy seasons. In some places it rains more, and one cannot see a long way ahead. On some days in Ulaua it rains so hard that one can barely see a few feet ahead - in these seasons, the Ulaua river is always in spate.
I stand still looking down at your hand holding the knife,
My body is trembling with fear but you want me to pay you with my life.
The spectators want me to plead for forgiveness in this time,
So forgive me, for I didn't know love was a crime.
A piece of adhesive
Of the colour red.
The scream of a woman -
“Chakka hai ki ladki?”
Her spectacled eyes
Upon my bindi.
All my three years as an undergraduate in sound school, I was the only girl in an entire batch of around 70 students. I figured I’d have no problem blending in with other boys as I always thought we were very much alike. But apparently, they didn’t see it that way.
A lot of people have questioned my gender identity. I have a rather dominant masculine exterior which is often mistaken for me wanting to be a man.
She calms me,
Like the ocean after a life in the harsh desert.
I touch her and the pulse paints a vivid picture,
In my inward eye, she’s my Austen and my Kahlo.
I don't see my queerness or my non-binaryness as the only relevant thing about me. But often, without my consent, it becomes the only thing relevant about me for others, especially in public, which in turn forces me to constantly perform to be allowed some basic things.
I was confused for the longest time because I used to think that there are just gay boys/girls and heterosexual boys/girls. I did not know about bisexuality until class 9th.
It was a Wednesday morning, I was eating my breakfast before I had to leave for work, and my mom came to me and asked, out of the blue, if I had ever been harassed for being gay.
first time I put a dress on
no, not a dress shirt!
it had polka dots and flower pots
a ribbon at the back
to accentuate the waist
or cut lunch some slack
The closet was made
Of charming mahogany
Made with the blood
Of a conservative household
Sacrifices of the heartless
Where we actually are in the UK; part hiding, part free – looking over our shoulder before we kiss. As I glanced back at the other people in the cinema, a million miles away from us… fear someone would see me cuddling a girl was acute.
The documentary opens with a note stating photography and videography are strictly prohibited on the metro. Yet the first shot reveals metro doors filmed from the inside, and from then on we are always and already on forbidden territory.
She touches you
and it feels like
the comfort of raindrops
singing on a sweltering night
mine felt like the ember of broken dreams.