[Editors Note: When Tink came over this weekend, I thrust this book into her hands and demanded that she read it. Yes, I’ve reviewed this book already. But it’s such a lovely book and Tink is such a wonderful writer that the book deserves a second review and we deserve to read what Tink writes.]
God loves hair. And God loves wankers. And God loves homosexuals. And if he doesn’t, all he needs to do is read Vivek Shraya’s book. I was lying on an air mattress in Broom’s beautiful little flat (do I sound too much the little girl when I say I love what she has, and want that sometime? The feeling that all that kicking against the tide is worth it because there’s that place and that person to call Home), as always trying to fight insomnia, as I always do at night, feeling vulnerable, pining for an absent security blanket, taking comfort in the whispering voices from next door, knowing there was someone, when I picked up God Loves Hair.
Shraya offers us no insights, no intellectualized arguments on the lives of gay people in India or abroad. It’s hard to say “gay people” as if we were a category after having read the book. It’s so very natural, so much just another thing we do, that to put a label on it seems like the big shock to our systems. You can laugh with God Loves Hair, cry with it, say “Thank goodness I never did that”, and at other times marvel at how there’s someone else who felt exactly as you did: someone else who could come to no conclusions about his feelings, who just did things, as children and adults do, without thinking too much about what these things mean. Hiding in bathrooms and crying, looking away when desire might come one’s way, taking comfort in a bigger, greater, seemingly more powerful thing.
And somewhere in the middle of no-fact and all feeling, all experience, there’s that realization we are all so familiar with: that sinking-rising feeling of knowing. And like most Indian kids, half of it just has to do with realizing desire at all, of any kind, for anyone. Just knowing there’s a pulsing throbbing inside that wants love, that wants to open up home-fortress into which no friends come but for those we need to pay back for their help, and be hit by the storm of things: love, desire, sex, feeling in general. Knowing that the set path of life isn’t as simple as it was all presented years ago, that the byways and the little thorny lanes are more beautiful.
And somewhere between a striking illustration of Sridevi and a light and colour drawing of a boy, his hair flying, flaming, there’s comfort for experience of every kind. And that’s why I’d recommend God Loves Hair to everyone: straight, gay, questioning, whatever, even if you’ve never thought of your own sexuality consciously.