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  • Kasturi Goswami

Let Mutual Respect And Gratefulness Reflect Our True Self

A fine Sunday morning ushered in the news of my grandmother's demise. Her death led to an elaborate funeral and a little procession. A hoard of well-wishers who weren't family arrived at the funeral, people no one knew but claimed to be her acquaintances. Grandmama was feisty and believed in independence. She urged everyone to stand their ground and brace the world. A mother to six (two sons and four daughters), she had taught herself the family trade when grandpapa passed away, when my mother, her youngest, was just a year old. A female-centric household wasn't an exaggeration. Five women dominated my two uncles. Hence, they grew more sensible and open toward women's issues than the average man.

You would expect a woman who has taught her children the value of freedom to express their views unperturbed by society to live by the preaching. Still, when it was time, grandmama backed out. My uncle Hex had a secret, a secret that confused him. His best friend of 12 years, Jason, had slipped in the three words, eight letters that appeared utterly bizarre and precious at the exact moment. He had returned the favor, wishing his first to be a secret. Unfortunately, grandmama witnessed the exchange, and she sounded her harsh opinions, Boys are created to love girls. You do not pretend to play house with other boys.

Uncle Hex had no doubts lingering in his mind. He knew his Mama hated his view of love which was unbiased and unscathed by the filth their society called morality. Exasperated by the indifference from his own Mama, he and Jason silently spirited away, someplace far where they had built a home, a paradise.

He remained in contact with his siblings, for they loved him for who he was; they loved him for being the person their Mama failed to gauze upon. When the news arrived, he returned to look at his mother's peacefully sleeping face. He had missed her but never dared to reach back, even though grandmama had tried many times. It was hard for him to forgive her. Now, he stood by her coffin; a heartbreaking letter from his dying Mama clutched in his hands; bawling his eyes out, Mama, Mama. Look at me. I have been a terrible son. I love you. Wake up, Mama.

My dearest baby Hex,

I am ashamed, horrified, and disgusted. My words pierced your innocent heart, and they turned our relationship sour. I wanted you to meet my friends. They have taught me so much; I lacked in ways a mother shouldn't. Your love is pure and right. You deserved a better parent. I tried to reach out to people just like you. They were everything I never thought you were and nothing I accused you of being. I am sorry.

Hex, I only hoped to see my baby and his better half one last time. Oh, bless that boy; he has always been loyal and stood by you when I didn't!

Forgive your Mama, will you? I miss you a lot; come home now.

My son, keep kissing boys in the street.

When I'm gone, keep kissing boys in the street.


Your Mama

People say respect comes easy based on two formats; seniority and priority. Older people secure their spots based on seniority, while our ideal images are based on priority. But is this true? Uncle Hex respected grandmama's pride and image, so he separated himself from her. But grandmama failed to respect the sanctity of his love. She played it out as a mistake; she believed him and his partner to be a dread to society and virtue. Once she realized her mistake, she pleaded guilty. Now it was his turn. He disrespected her wishes, for his hurt ego stood tall over his mother's pleas and warm tears for forgiveness.

Respect and love are two sides of the same page; in fact, effortless when it's deserved. But how do we decide on the list of deserving people? Respect is an equivalent exchange. Our thoughts, our actions, and our words. Respect begets respect. Let us endeavor to be more conscious about our ways of treating others. Each individual should aspire to create an environment to encourage people to focus on aspects and ways to respect others, their boundaries, and views irrespective of absurd defined formats.

My daddy's dying

And he's finally realized I'm not lying

We sit in silence but we're smiling

Because for once we are not fighting

He'd say

There was no way of knowing 'cause all I was taught

Is men only love women, but now I'm not sure

My son, keep kissing boys in the street

My son, keep kissing boys in the street

When I'm gone, keep kissing boys in the street

~ Boys in the street, Greg Holden


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