In an alternate life ...

In an alternate life, I could have been hosting people in my own homestay on a mountain top, overlooking a beautiful valley, and cooking up delicious meals, conjuring aromas of the land. Mornings would have me frolicking around in the garden, collecting home grown veggies, plucking flowers for the vases and picking juicy fruits for light consumption. Afternoons before lunch would be a jostle of pots and pans. Lunches would be an amalgamation of conversations in various tongues, licking of fingers, and petting the four-legged creatures in need of love. Post lunch a lull would spread in the property, with some preferring a nap, some getting lazy over the terrace basking in the sun, some retreating to the backyard with a book, and the last few getting busy with making pickles. Evenings would mean unlimited servings of tea and coffee, as per preferences, and collecting firewood together. And nights, ah sweet dear cozy nights, would mean cuddling and blankets and deep sleep and satisfaction and sweet dreams.

Sundays would mean outings, trips, treks and visit to the market. I would eagerly buy things- groceries, spices, tea, perfumes and everything that smells awesome. I would chase sheep, click Instagram worthy photos, write pages, read volumes, narrate tales of yore and listen to long lost memories of love gone by. Life would be peaceful and amazing. 

Now, guess who you are:

In an alternate life, you would be the proud manager, chef and co-owner of a renowned eatery and local gossip hub, specializing in soups and salads.  You would be a favorite of the town’s youth- the college goers. Many would find their peace in the restaurant, in your food, and your laughter. They would confess you their secrets, their crushes, and seek your advice in every complicated matter. Some days you would take up the desi Indian attire, somedays you would surprise people with your chic bohemian getup. Somedays your nose-pin would do the trick, and some days just your aura would be enough to draw people in. You would reign, woman- in the hearts of young and old. You read me tarot and solve problems of my love life when you visit me at my homestay once a year.

In an alternate life, you would be a dancing diva- slim and sexy, long tresses and high heels. You would move your body to the beats, inspiring many to take up dance as a fitness exercise. You would be the talk of the town, basking in all the attention. You would coach couple’s salsa and waltz, everything classy and happening. You would win competitions. But your ultimate satisfaction would be at your artist’s studio- your alternate identity. A parallel universe where you wield worlds with your brush, your technique must coveted and sought after. You sell your art in Etsy – make calendars, bookmarks, paint invitation cards, digital art, pamphlets, and work on several sponsored projects at once. You are highly capable and a multitasker. You pack your bags and visit me at my homestay on the top of a mountain once a year. We make our own adventures.

In an alternate life, you don’t gain weight when you eat. You travel places and eat all the exotic cuisine. You never choose, and go blindly by the local experts’ recommendations. You are a food enthusiast and taster. You train eager students for wine and food pairings, oh those delicious flavours and aromatic spices. You work on a contract basis as a tea sommelier. You brew the most amazing filter coffee, and prepare the most delicious chicken curry. Ah! Comfort food! Restaurants book you in advance for tasting sessions of new menu, seasonal dishes and finalizing the annual events’ list of most sought after preparations. Japanese to Thai to Mexican, you have expertise in all. You bring me a Riesling or a Zinfandel when you visit me in winters, sometimes alternating it with chamomile tea and we cosy up near the bonfire and chat the whole night. And sometimes we cook up a storm in the kitchen as well. 

Did you guess correctly, people ? :D


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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