Tuesday, December 8, 2015


It was after months of reclusiveness that i went for a party. I had loosely been a part of the queer circle in my city , a constellation of different individuals with myriad choices and being. At various places in the city i had attended conferences , seminars, protest marches. With many of these individuals separately i had cultivated unique relationships. But my dissociation occurred very quickly. It was a despair borne out of not getting the closeness i sought. Being of a fairly intense nature and prone to importunate exclamations of need and regard i had found myself , perhaps rightly given that much of me was a mystery to the others , a source of contempt , concealed under a generalized conviviality. The slivers of warmth i received were insufficient because they were impersonal. In a group context codes of social propriety were observed , though they manifested in hugs and kisses and cloying , mincing compliments. There were currents of authenticity but my displacement, felt as much within as without, exacerbated my alienation. I had been coming to terms , at this later stage in my young adulthood , with the inconstancy and arbitrariness of love, of both its indiscriminate bestowal and precipitate and unexplained withdrawal. There were conventions , adhered to loosely which concealed a selfishness. I was often struck by, with many gay men, of power politics , indifference. Which is why their saccharine solicitations seemed inauthentic. In this regard gay men are just like human beings, or any man or woman or transgender person. It is neither a mark of specialness nor a pathology, this form of behavior.

In that party i witnessed ebbs and flows of conversations dispersed across smaller sub groups. It is not my intention to claim victimhood or accuse people of selfishness though the observance of social codes seemed restricted only to the temporal jurisdiction of planned events. Many people were genuine friends with each other. My forays now seemed to be increasingly like insinuations and encroachments , of trying to grab some importance , a certain conspicuousness. Some may very well have deemed it narcissistic. One of the ways i have changed is that i no longer perceive many forms of human fallibility as having an undercurrent of pathology. Certain impulses are simply human , deeply human. It is harsh to mock at them though when our simple need for love, affection , our uncomplicated expressions of regard are thwarted or foiled or misunderstood the element of guile becomes noticeable. One begins to doubt one's simplicity, either as being hopelessly naive or overlain by a neediness and attention seeking. The knowledge of this substratum of one's perceived dark nature is transmitted through the elliptical, bitchy rumours that are circulated , of the silent hint, that telephone call ignored repeatedly, of  a real uncaring nature imperfectly concealed. The knowledge not just of my serviceability but also of my unimportance became more painful because i was over sensitively attuned to these parentheses and interstices. Doubtless an element of projection is ineluctable but it is also equally true that there is something sordid about relationships at a certain level, in our fragmented contemporaneity.

At any rate i roamed around desultorily as the party began. I was reticent, fearful of striking up conversations of an unserious nature. Yet a party was a space for small talk and exchange of pleasantries. As i traversed the variously ebullient myriad groups i heard occasional snatches of animated conversations, some theoretical discussions around sexuality , an abidingly fascinating topic and casual conversations. My sense of unreality and distance were sharpened. It wasn't as though my detachment indicated an authenticity amid superficial people. As i had realized my provisional reality was being reaffirmed.

I ran through my head the various blueprints i could embody. I could, by furrowing my brow, bringing an ironic tilt to my observations, become the party wit, entertaining with scurrilous repartee. I could talk about books and art as a bibliophile , i could indulge in confessional intimacy, with that accompanying collusion of something subversive hovering unguessed at but intuited. I had seamlessly played these roles before and ended up feeling great self loathing for such performances. As i enacted these pantomimes of  wit i simultaneously watched myself. My exaggerated gestures , lubricious undertones deepened a sense of unreality. I felt as though i was in the presence of a glittering hall of mirrors where artifice, prevarication and concupiscence refracted and duplicated in varied contexts, diffusing, expending and ultimately burning out. It is here that my solipsism was thrown into relief. What i desired was a propinquity that cut through the integument of these superficialities. I desired a profound interchange where the habitual defenses of reserve and watchfulness could be circumvented and true feeling seep through.

I saw Armaan and , having deemed him perspicacious based on past conversations , tried to chat. I responded to his squirming desire to get away by trying to grab a foothold by monopolizing our conversation. As he wriggled with fake politeness, looking for ways to slink away i became even more intenser in my topic of discourse , which was my experiences with depression. But my heart was not in it. A dismal insipidity crept into my conversation. I was jaded, dispirited , no longer in thrall of dissembling. In fact i feel mortified at how my desperation must have revealed itself , a futile attempt at saving face by fruitlessly seeking some ascendancy.

Within fifteen minutes of the party i left. My heart was heavy and i was close to tears. I felt a great urge to weep copiously. I could feel myself being wracked by unshed tears  accreted through my four years of disenchantment with this group. My reentry after an interlude of self imposed reclusion had failed , had only underscored a profound deracination. Out of sight means out of mind. In order not to make a fool of myself i walked briskly towards the metro station for twenty five minutes, deflecting the energy of primal emotion through strenuous physical activity.

I boarded the cab. The decembral air that night was pungent, the stars gleamed wanly , signalling a defeat i should have accepted but had never. I had a lifetime to do so now.

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