the way damaged people love | TQ Salon

Aug 2016

Conversation: Queerness and the Postcolony

This is the third essay in this conversation. TQ Salon is a series of conversations among activists and scholars of South Asia. The first essay can be found here; the second essay is here.


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i locked myself up after you disappeared on me. and i didn’t know how to go about it as i was unable to make any sense of the situation in a very dissociative and depersonalized manner. i neither could relate to the quagmire of emotions i was experiencing at that time nor to that body of mine i have been living in for the last 31 years. at one moment, i felt like hoarding down every single moment spent with you in that body, like a shrine with scared relics; never to be seen, touched or shared by anyone. at others, it felt more like a coffin of unfulfilled desires of what could have been a storehouse of our love. i am still not sure what to make out of it, what to make out of the way you made me feel, in the course of the little time we had been together in that bed, in that car, in that shower, on those roads, under the blissful and anonymous foggy vigil of those long winter nights; everything we lived through; together, while hugging, kissing, holding hands, eating, talking, sharing and making love; which never tire us for once.

i didn’t tell you but the whole physiological chemistry of my body changed the moment you kissed my forehead, in those yellow colored lamp bulbs i never approved of, on that warm bed with almost a week old sheets with flower patterns, in that cold winter night when you shed down every inhibition. i didn’t know then but i know now that i fell in love with you at that very moment; the moment you start opening up without any prologue as if there was some old connection, a genuine familiarity which didn’t require multiple sessions of mechanical rapport building. i love your vulnerability and the courage to share it so unapologetically that if i wouldn’t had hold you at that time, in my arms, then everything around us would have collapsed.

a part of me compulsively reprimanded not to lose control in that moment because i was so scared. i was scared that i might fall in love with you which shouldn’t be happening because people weren’t supposed to fall in love with a fat, ugly and perennially depressed person like me. that’s not the rule, neither in the book of heteronormativity nor in the book of homonormativity. and what if, just like all the others, you would leave me; alone, hurt and heart broken. i had decided long ago not to fall in love with anyone, not even with you. but i just couldn’t resist. i just wanted you so badly. and i wanted you to desire me irrevocably. so, in those moments, i just decided to take a chance and stopped pretending that i didn’t want you. falling for you was so natural, there was no pretense. we were so complete in that moment, in that embrace.   

the next thing i remember was kissing and nibbling your delicate lips. you tasted of whiskey. you smelled like rain. you emanated desire, and love. and i was happily surprised to experience what has been denied to me for so long, in abundance, with you. i wish i could have saved every single moment between us in a little bottle of elixir which could have granted it eternity.

briefly, in between our love making, i was also wondering if it was actually happening. “did i misread anything? was i a mere fetish for him, a big fatty piece of meat which can satiate his desire for the time being or maybe he was desperately horny and possibly drunk?” i waited, holding you in my arms till the sunrise for the anti-climax. i looked at your calm face, the ebb and flow of your chest; so intimately entwined with mine. i could smell you on my skin. that kind of intimacy frightened me. i never thought i would end up with you like this. this wasn’t supposed to happen, you know. i didn’t realize when you got up and made breakfast for us; tea with nearly full fired eggs which were supposed to be half fried with golden crust. you were looking at me if i was divine, a miracle, an early morning dew dipped prayer. it made me smile, desired and loved.

to be with someone we love is a heroic act of defiance, a grave dissidence to every single normativity of state, religion and society which tells everything about us is somehow wrong. all of a sudden you become a Luti (people of Lut), a mental condition, a pervert, or might be going through a phase which must end before you are damned till eternity. since childhood, people start telling you the way you walk and the way you talk is different but all that kind of walking and talking is so natural to us. it’s not a pretense, never was. but then you are disciplined to be like everyone else. you are bullied, violated, neglected, rejected and silenced. and then you learn to hide, to maneuver, to manipulate, to pretend to be what you are not. then most of us grow up and settle down in heterosexual marriages and thanks to the male privilege we have, we can still continue on with our business outside the holy heterosexual matrimony, with other men. some of us just pick up a fight with mainstream and dominant narrative of religion and declare ourselves atheists and non-religious. then there are those like me, who with all their colors and identities believed in the message of Allah given in 30:21  

“And of His signs, another one is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may find comfort with them, and He planted love and kindness in your hearts; surely there are signs in this for those who think about it.”

you know, i resisted and fought back all the bullying, abuse, neglect, rejection, denunciations, heartaches and hatred just to be with you. and even then you are no more with me. they say it will stop hurting if i will stop keeping a track of us and let it all fizzle out like vapors but unfortunately there’s no Bermuda triangle here.

i don’t blame you or myself for this. we took our chances; maybe against the prophecy tied to our fates and deserted our comfort zones while crossing the fault lines. and now all what is left is nostalgia and an exhilarating pain of gigantic proportions, giving way to the floodgates of my eyes and it’s not even Monsoon. i want to scream and shriek and wail and howl in the most animalistic ways possible to somehow undo this pain.

i try going back to the places, verses, music, memories we tended together but it’s such a poignantly dark and melancholic feeling that i just can’t sustain it either and shut it down. i do smile, i hang out, i try to forget. i keep on pretending this never happened. i smile more, laugh the loudest, hang out with everyone and try to forget even more. because if i‘ll get time to acknowledge the magnitude of the love i have for you, there will be an unprecedented havoc. and i will destroy everything and everyone in our way to be with you.

so, i am locking up myself again. i don’t talk about you to anyone. no one understands. no one, but you and me. and if there ever will be a day, when you will come up to me and say, “Chalo Bhaag Chalian”, it will be raining.

Hadi Hussain is a social researcher and activist who is continuously struggling to resist, exist, indigenize and decolonize. His interests include intersectional politics, feminism, South Asian LGBT discourse, body politics, cultural anthropology, peace initiatives, decolonization studies and transnational indigenous social movements.

2 Responses to the way damaged people love | TQ Salon

  1. Zaid Shahid on Aug 2016 at 1:34 AM

    I hate this piece. It made me weep and ache. I wish you wellness, Hadi, but damn you. (But, you’re awesome. Wishing you Love, always”

  2. Stella on Aug 2016 at 2:19 AM

    I have locked myself in the office and I am crying.

    “i had decided long ago not to fall in love with anyone, not even with you. but i just couldn’t resist. i just wanted you so badly. and i wanted you to desire me irrevocably. so, in those moments, i just decided to take a chance and stopped pretending that i didn’t want you. falling for you was so natural, there was no pretense. we were so complete in that moment, in that embrace. ”

    It almost feels as if I myself had written it long time back. An eerie familiarity.

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