“The day I returned to India from the United States, the mood in the house was festive. My favorite delicacies were on the dining table and my family had made numerous plans to pamper me. After all, I had been away from home for so long, figuring out life on my own. Since I was the youngest and the first girl in the family to leave not just the city but the country for studies, my homecoming was all the more jubilant.
For me, the day was remarkable for one more reason. The LGBT activists and supporters were protesting at Jantar Mantar after a significant court judgment. I was following it on the social media. I left home to join my friends in solidarity. I was an art school student with a funky hairstyle and vocal expressions. I also had an interesting placard to go along with my appearance. I was picture perfect for the news feed.
Next day, my face was on the front page of most of the major publications of Delhi. These pictures turned the morning into exactly the opposite of what it had been the day I had arrived. My parents now were furious. They asked me why on earth my face was on the first page of newspapers, supporting the LGBT community.
I was asked if I was ‘gay’. I explained that one doesn’t need to be ‘gay’ to support the cause. I told my family that I know many people who identify themselves as LGBT and I want to stand with them in this moment. My parents decided that I could support the cause from home – without publicly protesting at Jantar Mantar, and appearing all over the city’s papers. I was expected to follow the decision without any qualms.
I knew that I had to stand up for what I believed in. I was raised this way by my parents. My parents had been on my side for all my crazy decisions. I knew that they had nothing against any specific community or me. Their behavior was fuelled by their fear for my well-being. They did not want me to face any controversial questions. So, I decided to handle it my own way.
I left quietly for the protest march. My parents assumed that I was going to meet my friends, especially after the furious morning discussion. On my way back from Jantar Mantar, I called my father. I told him that I loved him and I was following his teachings – standing up for inner belief. I informed him that I went to protest against his wish. It was not to revolt against them, but to practice what I had been taught all my life. I requested him to make an effort to understand my point of view from a neutral stand.
Just as our parents reveal the world’s nuances to their kids slowly, grown-up kids must also reveal the fast-changing world to their parents slowly. I have decided I will never lie and sneak out in situations when my beliefs contradict those of my parents. I will tell them – slowly, at a speed that they can handle. ”