Flower Boy Next Door

Once upon a time there was a girl, calm and quiet, mostly unnoticed, a bit of a recluse. Her world was behind the locked doors and the shuttered windows of her home, where she could comfortably be herself without holding the burden of self-consciousness or regret. She was afraid of the outside world, and the people in it, especially people who called themselves her friends and well-wishers. Because behind the fake smiles and caring attitudes, she would always find mean and unkind individuals. It was hard for her to trust anyone, and make new friends. A bad high school experience and her best friend turning against her had changed her happy life. So, she found solace in solitude, and peace in loneliness. She would read a number of books borrowed from the library, travel the world through television, observe people, edit draft manuscripts for a living, and at the end of the day jot down her thoughts and confusions beautifully in her virtual diary - all from within her protected cocoon. And then there would come a fairy who would change everything. ‘Flower Boy Next Door’ is about her and the ‘next door’ people around her. Come, delve into their lives.

Enrique Geum, the Korean com Spaniard game maker was the fairy to the shy and reserved Go Dok Mi, who eventually managed to bring her out into the world, bask in the sheer beauty of it, and fight her inhibitions and let go of her reservations. He was one of the very few to secure her trust, and make her believe that imperfections and vulnerabilities in someone can be a gift. And this way, the forlorn looking girl began to smile again, and mustered courage to venture out.

All this while, another guy next door harbored feelings for Go Dok Mi, profound enough to be called love. He respected her detached way of living, yet wondered why. Being a comic designer, he had dedicated a webtoon series to her, portraying her simple life and sweet nothings in a very touching way. Every day he would wake early to stick a miniature sketch in a small piece of paper, to the milk packet delivered at her door. And she would reply in writing, a paper sticked to her door. That was his only means of communication with her, though anonymously.

Personally, I liked Enrique more- he could be a cute fellow prancing here and there, laughing crazily while video shooting, jumping and dancing in his polar bear scarf and making a pouty face; or a more serious and handsome person with anger or tears in his eyes. I think Korean men are the only species in the world who do not fear of the ‘cute’ tag, or take it as an insult. Where else would you find men wearing pink pants, or funny scarves, or behaving innocent. There were moments when I wished to turn Enrique to a porcelain doll, and adorn one of the corners of my room- he was so cute!  


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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