Before my religion,
Beyond my political affiliation,
Beneath my mask,
Notwithstanding my job,
Irrespective of my educational qualifications,
I am me.
A small drop in this huge ocean of world,
A drop nonetheless.
I dress up,
Wear the labels I’ve inherited,
Or consciously chosen for myself,
To help feel like a part of a society,
Or to assist the Government in governing,
And soon I was just labels.
I cannot be a Hindu and eat cow,
I cannot be a man and love another man,
I cannot receive benefits without giving away my identity,
Neither in boundaries of country, nor in the four walls of my home.
Because there is always a pair of eyes following me,
A set of ears listening in on my talks,
A Government with access to all my information,
Me and my sense of existence.
Privacy is a guard,
It allows you to get rid of your labels.
It lets you breathe,
Because more often than not,
All of us are on crossroads between,
What we want and,
Who we identify ourselves as.
Because God forbid,
You decide to be yourself,
Go beyond your labels,
Dare to defy standard set norms,
You are going to need protection.
It’s ironic how what I eat,
Who I love,
What I say,
Can hurt so many people,
Can cause turmoil in so many lives,
Without actually causing any harm.
But I want the power of choice,
And I demand for them to be respected.
My existence is real and fluid,
My identity isn’t a standard definition,
It is water,
And you cannot promise me a dignified living,
Without letting me be.
-Drashti Gala, V-I