Imaan Sheikh Profile picture
Jun 10, 2018 25 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
In honor of #PrideMonth, here's "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" through a rainbow lens:
Anjali Sharma was a popular, grade-A student at St. Xavier's college.
She liked playing basketball, dancing, and girls.

Yeah Anjali was gay.
She was also in the closet. She couldn't come out. She feared her family would be devastated and her friends would distance themselves from her.

She was, after all, in a country that criminalized people like her.
When a group of exchange students arrived at St. Xavier's, the college administration put its best students in charge of showing the them around. Anjali was paired with Tina.
Tina Malhotra was from London. Quiet, little, cute, and mysterious.
Kind of like a goth, if a goth wore bright colours and flowers.
She was also the most beautiful girl Anjali had ever seen. This was the first time she was feeling things she hadn't felt before.
Introducing her to other students, giving her the college sweatshirt, familiarizing her with the institution's rules — Anjali always managed to find an excuse to talk to Tina.
Over the months, Anjali noticed how much attention Tina got from men. She was probably straight...right? She seemed straight.

They were friends, but it was complicated. How do you just ask someone who they like? This was new.
Tina didn't care about the boys though. All that caught her eye was Anjali.

But it's not easy getting messages across when you're a femme. Anjali's best friend was a man. Did she LIKE like him? Maybe she was just a tomboy & Tina's gaydar was wrong the whole time? Doubts galore
One day, as Tina & Anjali watched the game, they realized they were sitting too close. Knees touching. Eyes locked. Heart rate up. Sharing a brief moment of wordless admission. The kind that's usually followed by a kiss.
It was, like most good moments, cut short by a straight man
While nothing was said, a lot was felt.
But things seldom go how they should.
The semester was coming to an end. Everyone was to go home, but Tina would not return.

She was going to leave for London for good.
The time to say goodbye came all too fast.
Anjali gave Tina her chunari.
Tina now had more than memories to keep — a part of Anjali.
Years went by.

In Mumbai, little girl read a letter from her mother who died soon after childbirth.
"I settled into marrying a man. Society pressured me into living an inauthentic life. Don't let them stop you from loving who you love & being yourself," read the final paragraph.
It also included a picture of her mother's first love, whom she was named after.

Two gifts were passed on with the 12-page letter; the promise of a parent's unconditional acceptance, and a dotted red chunari.
Little Anjali recognized that face. It was the face of a dance teacher whose classes some of Anjali's classmates went to every summer. She was always in their photos.

Summer was here, and this year, the dance teacher was going to have a new student.
She arrived at the dance camp to finally meet her mother's first love. Her namesake.
"Why's your name Anjali?" the girl asked her new teacher.
"Maybe my parents loved the name. And why is your name Anjali?"
"Maybe because my mom loved you."
As the two bonded, Anjali revealed more about her life to her teacher.

"My mom, she told me to always be true to myself. Live life on my own terms, and put my happiness before anyone else's. She's with god now. I miss her."
Left restless by the child's odd responses, Anjali decided to take a look at the photo in the picture frame the girl hugged to sleep every night.

There she was. Her first love.
Many had come and gone after Tina, but the loss was fresh and devastating.
Anjali was slated to enter kind of arranged marriage Tina accepted a decade ago.

Maybe this was the sign she needed to be true to herself. Live life on her own terms. Put her own happiness first. So what if it was "late"? Life was too short to accommodate more of "late"
The day of the wedding, she found the kind of courage she hadn't experienced before. She didn't know where it was coming from

Anjali told her fiancé she couldn't do it. She couldn't love him like a wife loves her husband, and going ahead with this would be unfair to both of them
As she walked out of the marriage hall, a previously unknown sense of relief came over her. She wasn't suddenly living her truth, but she was definitely a step closer to doing so.

A step further from entrapping herself in an unfulfilled life.
...With the help of an uninvited old friend, who reached out anyway.

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