Friday Letters – 2
#letterstothestar in you
When I met you for the first time, I vividly remember ‘traveling’ was your middle name. I envied the fact that you were at a different place almost everyday and I wondered what it is that Poornima ‘Traveling’ Sukumar is doing that she gets to wake up in all these places I would have loved to be! Like always, the answer was in what you were doing.
Growing up in the Indian middle class mindset, I am aware how hard it is for one to break away from the mould of education, which is the safest path to a secure tomorrow. I am glad you found the support from your parents when you chose to learn art, and more importantly the encouragement to pursue dreams bigger than yourself. Dreams… Aah! Aren’t we all in pursuit of them as small or as big as they may be?
Do you remember what you told me when I asked, “How long do you intend to do this?” after the first Aravani Art Project? I shall remind you if you have forgotten, in a while.
Like most people among us, I too was unaware or rather ignorant of the many stigmas which existed and continue to exist in our society. It appears to me that we have come to a point in time when we are least human, and more of a man, a woman, a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jain, a Buddhist, a Black, a Brown, an Asian, an Indian, a White…..so on and so many. And then the third sex, the transgenders, who belong everywhere but are the most ignored and ill-treated lot of all. It all seems so trivial and funny to me that we have to fight for the very basic right of an individual to be treated as a human first.
What has always fascinated me is what you aspire for, like that one tiny instant when you pulled us, friends, out of our comfort zones to paint the walls of a government school, which is something you personally love- to do something new. Like it is with all new things, it changes the person that one used to be. And it is always the change that is the most important thing, we as a society should aspire for. It is only when the individuals aspire for the common better in the society that we will be able to build a collective conscience, which shall embrace everything new. Everything that is different. Everything weird. And what better place to start the change than your closest friends. Oh, yeah! I have put myself in the ‘closest’ proximity, although I believe that friends are just friends. A friend is a friend is just a friend. Oh, that feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day is inexplicable but thanks to you I experienced it firsthand.
It is in this aspect of embracing the new, the different and the weird that your Aravani Art Project stands apart and stands tall. It seeks inclusion of the individual, irrespective of who you are into the collective us. It is what you said after the first Aravani Art Project that makes you my star. Remember? You said, “Forever“!
And yes, how can working or rather fighting for something as basic as acceptance of the transgenders as humans first be given up before we bring about the change that we are seeking, when we set out in the first place.
I personally hope that ‘forever’ comes and comes sooner than later. Sooner the better. There are a hell of a lot of basic needs we need to fight for together. Write back to me how, what you shared with the Aravanis has affected you and how we have made a few friends at the ‘Aravani Chai Stalls” at various events across the country. Give my regards to Purushi and never stop shining.
Here’s a li’l something dedicated to the Aravanis.
I was a boy.
I was a girl.
Born just like you.
Along the way,
a part of me changed
and I became,
Now I am.
A boy and a girl
A boy or a girl
A boy. A girl.
If it’s hard for you to get,
I am a ‘human’ nevertheless.
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