Editor’s Note: This post is a part of What's A Man, a series exploring masculinity in India, in collaboration with Dr. Deepa Narayan. Join the conversation here!
You’ve learnt love on Instagram? Other sources are bad omens. My bois tell me it’s bad. Oh, man! What are the other signs? This isn’t worse than:
I wasn’t even born then. Love seemed to be in coffins. What our ancestors deemed an offence, was the release of these endorphins; oxytocin.
Love was a mere facade. It was bent to will dates of the war. It was meant to bridge sacred hearts. Its intent was ill. And the playful hearts? Never mind, they’re just placing cards.
In a bid to be a man, they forgot to be human.
What does love represent then? As I grew up I had sense, lest; unless it was a sentence and the hatred meant it wasn’t endless.
Love was penance, staying in abusive homes, I was a tenant. I saw love oozing black and blue; the essence was love was powerful, demanded respect.
The shades, red and the emotional stains; love’s picture. Growing up I saw the same fiction, the explanations were built around friction, and the need to teach love through forceful diction.
And in a bid to be a man, they forgot to be human.
In school, my friends taught me what a man was. He apparently was jacked and had a mantle. He was meant to be a jock and have multiple angles, of love; not of his own kind. Conflicts of being were dumped in his own mind.
He was meant to be aggressive, ironically passive-aggressive. A cry for help seemed pathetic. Tears ran down his cheek, he has lost his aesthetic; of being.
And with this, in a bid to be a man, he forgot to be human.
Going further down the line, love was manufactured in living rooms and cosigned. The families didn’t care for the consignee. They decide they fit there as they hold chai-teas. I was bound by conviction, and I held my knees.
My niece was a product of love, a love that I posit would eventually come. But I didn’t feel it. As I ran up and down, I didn’t mean it. It’s been a year, and with the inability, I’m seething.
Then comes a segue. I was told a child would be an escape. But it wasn’t to be, as I dredge the past, confronted with the same belief. The child served as a distraction. I felt nothing and words turned into action.
The anger built up inside, as I felt no love for the other side. And the way out of this pent up aggression? It was the love I’ve seen throughout being mentioned.
In a bid to be a man, I forgot to be human.