The First Woman: A Significant Chapter

Artwork by Diya Sengupta

In our lifetime, some of us come across that one person who becomes a benchmark throughout their entire existence. For me, it was the love of my life. Although I don’t know if I can call it love, or an endless adoration.

I met her at 16, in high school. Let’s call her P (her name begins with the same letter as mine). Now I had had temporary crushes before, ones that hardly last for more than a few weeks. Interesting to mention, I was in a long-term relationship back then, with a boy. I was also in the process of trying to understand my queerness, and one of my several internal conflicts thereof.

The first time I saw her was during a school assembly, where she was nominated to hold an important position (she won later on), and so needless to say she was famous. We were never close, P and I, but mere acquaintances who would cross each other in the hallways once in a while. But she had this hold on me, and each time I saw her smile, it was nothing short of breathtaking. She had this glow about her: she could brighten up the whole place whenever she entered a room. In fact everything else would seem dull with her dazzling presence. I would look for her in the school halls every day, sifting my eyes over the crowds just to have a glimpse of her face. If our eyes met accidentally, I would quickly look away. Her eyes… big, shiny, spectacular; they had the power to lift me up. Once she had helped me solve a problem I was facing, that was the first time we ever spoke in person. My heart was throbbing as I walked up to her. But when she looked into my eyes and asked, “Are you okay?”, it felt as if my life was immediately a hundred times better. The words seemed faint, compared to the pull of her eyes. Damn, she was gorgeous. She is gorgeous.

She was helpful too, and kind and empathetic. If there is a definition of inner and outer beauty combined, it is her. She was popular among the teachers and students alike. And she was oh so talented, killing it in everything she did – writing, acting, debate. Once, after school hours I was waiting in the bus bay (where all the school buses were parked), and I noticed P leaning against a bus chatting away with a friend. The guy made her laugh, and the moment she unleashed her megawatt smile, I was captivated. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. The twilight sun rays  were kissing the waves in her hair, and I was falling in love for the very first time.

I was confused. I couldn’t explain why I was so drawn to this one lady, whereas my peers were busy gossiping about cute boys they came across in school. And I had a boyfriend! My feelings were strange (I never wished to date her, nor expected reciprocation, after all she was this exquisite goddess and I a mere mortal, or rather a clown), but they were honest. I decided to keep it to myself, for fear of being bullied or misunderstood. I had little knowledge of queerness and sexuality, and all of this was so new to me. I was overwhelmed.

P graduated high school that year, and moved on to college. I followed the year after, and so did my attraction. Although, it wasn’t as intense anymore. I would spot her on social media, and be filled with a quiet reverence. I got to know later that she is queer too, and gave her a secret virtual hug. I never really stopped liking her, I don’t think I ever will. She lives countries apart now, and even today when her posts pop up on my screen, I am glad to be privileged enough to know bits and pieces of her life. Wherever she is, and wherever she ends up, I hope she finds joy and fulfills her dreams. And I hope she never stops being the woman that she is: fierce, passionate, and beautiful.

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Piuli Basu is currently a postgraduate student at the School of Gender Studies, TISS Hyderabad and has a Bachelors in Sociology from Jadavpur University. She has worked with several non-profit organizations like CRY, SAATHII and Human Rights Law Network and has research interests lie in the social construction of gender, queer theory and body politics. She aspires to challenge heteronormativity through subverting gender. Piuli is an avid reader, enjoys writing and is a fitness enthusiast.
Piuli B

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