I feel like I have lost my words, an infallible dulling of the mind. And so I have begun to study them in all their multiplicity, colloquial lilt and marvel at the havoc they wreak when a poet or fire starter dare use them as an aberrant risk, forsaking semantics for depth. It reminds me of why I need fragments of language, so that I can, in all my capacity, describe these feelings pouring out, as if from the spout of a watering can. They do not flood but pour and drizzle, so many all at once…pristine or murky with sand and soil. I need them, if not my sentience and experiences shall all but melt inside of me, succumbing to forgetfulness. I have to remember, for I am alive and I am here, filling that bottomless watering can and growing lilies, chrysanthemums and African violets to the best of my ability.
i. In my old house, I didn’t have room for a bookshelf because of all the built-in closet space. One time, a friend came over, saw it and said, “Wow, you must have a lot of clothes.” Another friend who knew me better corrected, “No, half of it’s purely for her books.” What’s in your closet speaks volumes; it’s like compartments of you in physical space. And books may as well be half of me.
ii. I love flipping pages of books. Admittedly, half the time I’m reading, I’ll stop, look at my progress and just flip to my hearts content. That feeling of paper brushing fingertips is incomparable. (And the habit is contagious, just ask some of my friends.)
iii. I’ll never succumb in the argument of paperbacks/hardcovers versus e-books. I know e-books are so much more portable and don’t take up any physical space but isn’t that the point? I want something to take up space in my life, whether it’s in a bookshelf or on a coffee table, I want it there. It’s better than being littered with charger wires.
iv. But in the battle of hardcover versus paperback, I always choose paperback.
v. This summer I’d gone back to my old house to find termites festering in my bookshelf, eating away at the pages and crumbling the spines of my books. My heart broke and I mean that. They weren’t just material possessions. Those books were pieces of me, memories, emotions and gifts from people in my life especially my dad and I felt shattered at the prospect that they could be taken away. Paper perishes. Just like people.
vi. My fondest memory of my dad was going to stores and getting so engrossed in the book sections. I’d show him which ones I liked and never even needed to ask for them. He’d buy it no matter what. He’d never say no to buying me a book. To me, that says everything about his character.
vii. In elementary school in Ottawa, I was that kid who’d get extremely excited about the Scholastic flyers and ordering books off it. I’d count down for the book fairs and don’t even get me started on how awesome the Bibliobus was.
viii. Libraries, to me, are more beautiful than monuments. They’re invaluable and that feeling of walking along the many, many aisles of bookshelves is almost like walking between worlds. They’re right there for you to discover. Plus, they’re so peaceful it’s like time has slowed down or even stopped, in the most wonderful way imaginable.
ix. I really liked the way my teacher in 3rd grade labelled all her books and did the same with mine. One nasty boy in my class ridiculed it.I was quite angry and went into Hermione Granger mode all over him. It’s funny to think about now. ( I was quite the Monica Gellar as a child…I still am now, actually.)
x. In my fourth semester of college I discovered that the most satisfying time to read a new book is during exams. I’d study faster (improperly sometimes) just to settle into bed and read. It really helped take my mind off the tedium of writing those ridiculously long papers.
xi. It doesn’t matter how long my TBR list is, I’ll keep adding to it. It doesn’t matter if I have a lot of unread books sitting at home. I’ll still buy a dozen more.
xii. I enjoy owning books more than borrowing them.
xiii. If my worst enemy gave me a book that I’d love, I’d melt like Olaf in Frozen. Because some books are worth melting for. And I’d have no room left for enmity.
xiv. In rough times, I turn to books. They’re a solace and oh so safe. It’s lovely to be wrapped up in between pages just as you would be in your bed sheets.
xv. The success of finding a new book that doesn’t disappoint is worth celebrating. Usually with another book.
xvi. Re-reading is re-living.
xvii. In the 5th grade, I was in a book club that would read newly published books in the library during recess. It was just as enjoyable as playing outside
xviii. My dad was the one who got me interested in reading and I’ll always have him to thank for the person I am today i.e a bibliophile.
xix. Since I was a child, I always read beyond my age. By the time I was ten, I’d begun reading adult novels. Now that I’m an adult, I so enjoy reading books aimed at younger readers. The grass is always greener on the other side, I suppose.
xx. I don’t mind dog-earing pages and I hate books that have been read and still look brand new. It’s eerie.
Her hand is as warm as your wife’s. Her love makes me feel just as wonderful as your girlfriend makes you feel. Why is it wrong for me to love my girl when you can love yours?
His smile lights up my day just like the way your boyfriend’s does and when he cries I hold him tight. Why can’t I hug him the way you hug yours?
During the 1950s it was illegal, even dangerous, to be a part of any pro-gay organisation and members had to protect themselves by using a code. It was a time when even those who fought for gay rights had to hide in the closet. It was a time when AIDS was attributed to being homosexual, comparing them to lepers spreading disease. It was the time when the gay rights movement started.
Today we see a different picture. The 21st century marks great advancement in the gay rights movement with milestone achievements in the last few years and ones yet to come. 19 August 2013 marks the date when fifteen countries allowed the marriage of same-sex couples. In the United Kingdom, a law permitting the same will come into effect on 29 March 2014. And on 11 December 2013, gay sex was criminalised in India, the world’s largest democracy. In the advancing momentum of the gay rights movement across the world, this is the roadblock.
The Supreme Court of India upheld Section 377, a 153 year old law born from the colonial era, which sets back our LGBT community. The SC verdict hasn’t been received well by the people of India and has attracted the attention of the US who also frowns upon the judgement. It appears that society has changed, people have changed but this law has not changed. This is the century where we continue to press play and move on but India has hit the pause button for the LGBT community. What does this say about us as a nation? Can we still claim that we are progressing? The answer is no, we cannot.
“Love cannot be jailed, it will prevail.”
It is sad to say that in India, murders and rapes are committed and justice is not meted out fast enough to the guilty parties but we are quick to penalise the gay community. And for what? What crime have they commited? They have not killed anyone. They have not hurt anyone. They are just being true to themselves. And apparently that is a crime in our nation.
On the other hand, Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country, decriminalised homosexuality almost 20 years ago and will hold a referendum in 2015 to discuss whether gay marriage should be legalised or not. While they are moving forward, step by step, India has taken a huge leap backwards making the total number of countries criminalising homosexuality from 76 to 77.
Even religion, usually an unwelcome and unforgiving place for gay people, is changing. Pope Francis when asked about gays said, “Who am I to judge?” and backed up this controversial statement by saying that the Church could not interfere spiritually with their lives.
Hence, it is imperative that Section 377 is amended and ultimately wiped off the pages of the constitution like the unwelcome stain that it is. This is the time to speak up and make a difference because at the end of the day, gay rights are human rights. We are all human beings and we should be able to love whoever we want.
* I tend to speak passionately about gay rights and it’s often been mistaken that I’m gay myself. Just because someone is passionate about gay rights does not necessarily mean they are gay just like standing up for animal rights does not make someone an animal. Also, don’t insult someone by calling them gay, that’s not a bad thing and you’re propagating backward stereotypes with what has become such a casual remark.