Waking up to the row of deodar trees glistening with raindrops, outside her window, she thought, it was like just another day of rain in winter. Yet it was not. She turned her head to the left where the mirror reflected the laterally inverted time of the clock hanging on the opposite wall. It was 11 in the morning.She looked outside the window again. It was still drizzling, and the view was a little obstructed by her guitar which stood with a broken string,on the window sill.
Knowing fully well she had already missed two of her major classes,she did not bother to get out of her foetal position. Neither did she stir to freshen up. She simply kept looking at the rains.
Dona always loved the rains. She loved the sound of it, she loved the fragrance of it, she loved to be intoxicated by it. She loved it when every inch of her got drenched. After all, it had been a rainy day she had first made love…
But today, the sombre pitter-patter, the pungent smell of earth and the incessant cascade of raindrops seemed nothing but a harbinger of oppression, disappointment, shattered dreams, of bitter-sweet memories, and of desires that were trying so hard, but were unlikely, to achieve fruition.
She sighed and closed her eyes. She was tired, not only had she not slept well last night, but she also could not possibly think any longer, of what was about to come. After what had happened last night.
Until yesterday , life had been a joyride for Dona. She was one of those lucky few who had this innate gift of being cheerful at all times, at all things. A slight hitch had occurred during her adolescence when she was confounded at her lack of propensity towards the opposite sex. But that ‘hitch’ soon turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.
Dona had had clear cut plans for her future; complete her post-graduation and pursue her career as a social activist, admit to her parents as to why she could not possibly be married to a GUY, in the least heart breaking manner as possible. And then settle down with Adele,the love of her life, whomshe had met in a workshop against women-trafficking, and who gave her life an entirely new meaning.
But then, 377 happened!
Dona gritted her teeth, she was feeling…angry, scared, miserable, helpless. Disbelief had been her first reaction when she was dining with her parents last night and watched the news bulletin. Before the profundity of it hit her.
She looked down at her entangled ear phone and smiled, remembering how Adele used to disentangle it for her,always. Her i-pod was on a Floydian loop, asking her, “Can you show me where it hurts?”
She knew that they could always settle down somewhere else, in a country where their love is not a perversion, where sexual orientation is not a crime, where love, in all forms, would be invincible, not abominable.
But the plan was for them to stay HERE -celebrate their love in a city where they had met,courted,realised and succumbed to their feelings…a city whose nooks and corners they had adorned with stories of their own, where they had poured over volumes of Baudelaire, and tea in clay-burnt pots at the corner of the street, played scrabble in the Maidan, enjoying blues at a pub in Park Street….forty years from now….
Tears fell. One, two, like when it first begins to rain.And then,uncontrollably. She could not understand how a law that deprives humans of their fundamental birth-right,their right to love, could have been passed. Who could have been so foolish to think a law could prohibit love? Why couldn’t their story be just another love story?
She turned her phone on,and received all the pent up messages, from friends who must have been feeling sorry for her. Her best friend(male, straight) had tried calling several times too.
What made her day and gave her the will to get up, however, was a single text from Adele, with a customary ‘good morning’ and a kiss, as if nothing had happened, nothing had changed, nothing was wrong with the world…
Her Facebook notifications flooded with invitations to rallies and vigils, protesting against the criminalisation of homosexuality in India according to penal code 377. Shaking herself out of her reverie, she thought, maybe there was hope….
The tirade of the rain had ended. Dona went up to the window and looked out again. She could not believe what she saw.
Streaked across the pale azure, smearing the sky with its iridescence, was a rainbow.
– Prarthana Mitra
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