Friday, April 5, 2013

Alien Nation

As I grow older, I’m becoming more like my father – cynical, asocial and wiser than for her own good.

This wisdom that I speak of comes in identifying the boundaries that divide us; that makes us who we are but also disassociates us, and often with an air of being better off, from each other. This, of course, is a normal part of growing up, or now as I would call it, growing old.

This natural stage of development manifests itself in more complex (read, troubled) ways through socially constructed notions of hierarchy. When you’re a minority in every crucial aspect of your identity, this is like a day-to-day challenge (read, nightmare). Surely, the ones with the wind in their hair would say that this is ultimately all in the head and if you perceived life more affably, the karmic process would favour you without fail. Except that I didn’t see differences, and in many key ways I still don’t see them as interferences, until I was shown in manners I least expected and when I was clearly not asking for them.

In my idealistic notion, I believe I represent all things diversity– in the way I speak, those I speak for, the way I dress, the TV shows I watch, the music I listen to, the friends I keep or the ones I only choose to have an occasional drink with. Yet, to most people and from their respective contexts, I’m strange / queer / exotic / different – an alien. I’m either exotic courtesy my race or place of origin; strange because I don’t conform to some (rather) fixed notions of beauty; queer because of my appetite for sexual innuendos or the number of people that I incidentally know are gay; and different for all these and other inexplicable reasons.

While a lot of people have liked me more or found these very qualities endearing, I’ve more often been (and will continue to be) derided, insulted, trivialized and (attempted to be) silenced for this very heavy baggage that I carry about. And before anyone could assume this has anything to do with people less educated, less read or any less savvy about the ongoings of the world – everyone ultimately is limited to a context and a certain environment including me. Only that I’ve always been very conscious of the limitations of my worldview yet perpetually made attempts to go beyond and only been successful to a significant extent when the effort has been just as mutual.
Unfortunate and also surprising that in many cases, it wasn’t. While I’ve never tried to offend anyone in particular, I realized a lot of what I say and write might be, in the sense that it disturbs some set views, perhaps, even occasionally attempts to invalidate contexts that came as given realities to you. Agreeing to disagree with each other and tolerating difference of opinions are much deeper in color than what may appear on the canvas. Surely, our opinion will be sound with where we come from but often don’t we let it get too convenient as well? Aren’t you scared of the latter over riding your worldview despite the feign bliss that it promises?

In my lifetime, I’ve had to deal with some very uncomfortable realities and a lot because I chose to deal with them as they came than repress or whisk it away for the fear of losing stability. Each one pushed me a little bit more out of the fairytale view that most mainstreamers grow up with and successively as a result, I became different /queer/ strange/exotic – an alien.

In a world where increasingly diversity is becoming a part of pop culture and queer is cool, don’t let up on asking even the most basic questions for your satisfaction or challenging notions that haven’t fully seeped into your thick membrane even if that is a part of the mainstream that you eat, drink and breathe. 

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