I wrote this a month and a half ago. I was working on the prompt of ‘Lost in Translation’ for a Clubhouse themed mic room. The day before the room, something big happened. It gave me a way to end the piece. And it feels like it foretold the rest of the month. But my writing is always a work in progress, as is my life. So here it is. For now.
The last time, it arrived brilliantly like sunlight hitting my eyelids in sleep. And the world was brilliance. I was mesmerized by her words, her bearing and her eyes. I did not think about what this meant. Was I queer? Had the times I had said I love you before been lies because they were said to men? Did love mean solidarity? Did it mean being so consumed with gratitude for the other’s existence that you thought it would burst out of your skin? Did it mean wanting to clear a way before them so they moved unhindered, even if they chose to walk away? I didn’t think. I just felt it all. She hurt me. Lashing out is part of her love language. And I had to make the choice of giving myself love over receiving her love. Even in that pain, she taught me a lesson in love.
You are a love song. In the mother tongue, you speak heaven. But I am a battlefield of so many languages. All of them vying for my allegiance, each one straining to define me better. Which one spells love the best? I prefer silence. There’s too much noise in Mumbai and on Clubhouse. How does one hear love when every word feels like an intrusion? Maybe love is not peaceful or healing. There is a lot of talk of breathlessness, of stammers, of quickened heart rate. That doesn’t sound pleasant.
I made the unpleasant choices with men, I chose them over me. But I know this did not mean I loved her less. Maybe it means men have loved me less than she did. The men in my past, knew nothing of acceptance without labels, of affection without conquest, of the difference between connection and planting a flag in a person’s body.
The language of love written in the script of the eyes, lacks clarity, lacks even sight. I have never felt seen. I have not seen. And now, with consent lost in translation, even the language of silence is dangerous.
The man I loved before her was trapped in a dungeon of his past. He could not express anything, not even the merest kindness, let alone love. I would ask him about his past lovers, eking out details, piecing together a story of him. I did not understand my own compulsion with his past. Now I think I trying to understand how he loved, even if I was not to receive that love. I was looking for lessons, any lesson on how love looks, sounds, feels, tastes.
So go the songs. But not one of them tells you how to decipher it. I need a dictionary for the love language. They say I’ll just know. Each time I think I’ve understood this confounding language, it turns out to mean something else.
And now, this feeling again. I smile when this person appears, when they say my name. When I listen even to a diatribe, I feel hope, courage, strength grow like the morning sunlight spreading across my being. It is my sunshine on a cloudy day. The world is light & colour.
Sunday morning began with that thought. With a feeling that I was going to do something reckless. I knew I had to talk to a friend and I even knew who that would be. Then that friend died in the afternoon. In the last messages of jokes between us, he sent me a beating heart emoji. That digital heart beats on and his doesn’t.
So I found escape in pleasure. Deadening the pain, deafening the screams. But pleasure isn’t love. Even I know that. Even if you dress it up as comfort or support.
I woke up smiling this morning, feeling sunlit within. When I opened my window it was raining. I listened to people’s pain, read messages of condolence, shared moments of confusion, of grief. I was told I meant a lot to my friend too. And then in my head, I hear him say “Ideaaa, you benevolent dictator, kashala traas ghetes ga?”
Grief is always a life lesson. Is it a lesson in love too? I don’t know how to decipher it alone. Maybe love is an alone thing. And when it spells my name, it is lost in translation.