The August’17 edition of VIBGYOR: Share your Shade, organised jointly by MASH Prijecf & Thrive+, was reflection, refraction and dispersion of the most golden beam of sunlight on a Sunday morning. Knowledge and insight filled the cozy space of Coworkin, Nehru Place, as each shade of incident light bounced off its walls in all of its glory and Pride. The three hours were brimming with comprehensive experience-sharing and a completely engrossed audience. The celebration of fluidity started off with an extremely powerful message, in the most literal sense – through dance. Two delightfully graceful dancers, Shivangi Johri and Adya, used Indian Classical dance forms to convey the story of Shikhandi, a Queer character who played a very important part in the Mahabharata, hence re-iterating the existence and recognition of the Queer community. The performance conveyed that mythology and religion did not completely neglect the community; and it was only later that the LGBTQIA community was slowly excommunicated and removed from societal frameworks and seen as the ‘other’. The performance stood to eradicate the misconception that religion shuns anti-heteronormative standpoints, by conveying a story wherein a queer character was the indispensable instrument in accomplishing the perennial aim of the prevalence of good over evil.
Aastha Singh Raghuvanshi showered us with poetry and smothered us with goose bumps, amidst constant appreciative clicking. The two poems she performed were arrows that killed us instantly. Oh, sweet death! Cupid couldn’t have done a cleaner job. In her words, “our cause is not a story – stories end – but this continues, as long as love continues.”
The stage was thereafter conquered by Taksh, who’d come out to say “Hey, what’s up!?” This ended up being an amazing session, as stories and experiences flowed both ways. She lightened the mood and loosened the audience up, making them lose those nerves and inhibitions as the sound of synchronized laughter ringed through the air. We thought it was love – complicatedly simple. Taksh exuberated unmatched sass, and deconstructed complicated abbreviations like “LGBTQIA (BCDEFG…)” until it seemed to be a slice of cake.
The experience-sharing was carried forward to witty-land by Kunal Koli, who had an endless supply of anecdotes to share, and spoke about the importance of self-acceptance and how it’s completely okay to not put oneself in a singular frame. He stressed that he’d always leaped from one frame to another, and never really felt as though he cared enough to occupy one frame on a wall painted with the colors of the rainbow.
The colors of these two interactive sessions spilled into the break. Stories and questions were being fired at the speed of bullets. The aroma of amazing coffee and delicious cupcakes dispersed into the air-conditioned space and rose towards the heavens. We followed it, naturally – arising together. As did the good music.
The break was broken off by Afreen, who enlightened us with the tale of her endeavor Queernama, and the countless experiences and tales it encapsulates within its folds. She claimed that no matter how little of a difference each effort, or collective efforts make, stories need to escape through as many pairs of lips as we can collectively muster. They need to be spoken, shared and brought into existence – so that the syllables spoken and suspended in the air can sway with the wind, dancing through the days.
The event came to a close with Grace, who introduced a very thought-provoking concept of how sexuality can be removed from the way a person may behave — behavior mustn’t always imply a particular sexual orientation. She also spoke about attribution of most of the talk related to gender and sexuality to just a few categories and frames – while we conveniently neglect some kinds of sexualities, sidelining them. “Asexuality is a great way to understand sexuality,” said she.
Grace insisted that we consider pondering upon the concept of “inclusivity” and how asexual people are equally relevant contenders, who deserve a respectable and equal position on the panel for discussion on matters related to gender and sexuality.
We left with more than one cupcake in our stomachs, multiple stories, experiences, and an unspoken promise to meet again. And smiles. It was all about the smiles, really.
Country-coordinator, Thrive+, India