This is the story of an individual who belongs to the LGBT community. He is a professional dancer as well as a teacher and this article sheds light on his personal and professional life. The entire story is described from his perspective.
Ever since I was young, I knew that life is not going to go easy on me. When I discovered myself, I understood, there will be differences. It was from Kindergarten when I was fascinated by dance. I started wearing ornaments, was obsessed with makeup and even started to imitate the way girls used to walk. Honestly, I really loved and enjoyed that feeling.
As I grew up, I knew that I was never looking for someone to make my “Queen”. In fact, I was actually waiting for my “PRINCE” charming. Everyone has their own sense of liking and preferences. That’s how things are supposed to be. So was mine. If I fall in love with a boy then what is wrong there? Many Indians label this as a disease and ill-talks about the individuals. They fail to comprehend that this is just like when a boy falls in love with a girl. It’s a part of all the normal things out there. But no! We are seen as sinners.
Things have improved a bit nowadays, but it was really hard for me to be gay when I was young. It was in class 7 or 8 when I was attracted to a boy from my school for the first time. We went on a school excursion together in Santiniketan (a place in West Bengal) where I realised that my mental and physical interest is not identical to the rest of the boys out there. But you know what surprised me? He actually loved me back! Pretty amazing, right? Yeah! I really felt lucky, it was my first love after all.
However, little did I know about the struggles that were lying before me. As I grew up, I was taunted for being “gay” by many people. So-called Friends, relatives, no one left no stones unturned to pick on me. Now, this made me think long and hard about what I am and what I wanted to be. It took me a little time but when puberty really did hit me, I knew one thing for sure, I am not going to hide from the world. I was proud of my sexuality! Just like every other man and woman on the planet.
Now, lets come to the topic of dance. Dance is something that I not only love but something I worship. But, was that really that easy? No! People, relatives and even my own family members raised questions, “Being a boy why are you choosing dance as a career”? “ Your dad is a sportsman, mother a singer, and brother a businessman, and you’re going to be a dancer”? It really made me smile, you know? All I had to say was, “Yes, I love dance from the bottom of my heart. And love happens naturally! I don’t have much say in that matter, I guess.”
I was only 3 years old when I felt an extreme attraction towards dance. Thanks to “Swapan Ghoshal” the brother of my teacher “Gargi Ghoshal” motivated my mother a lot. He was the one who literally convinced my mom that I should definitely become a dancer. And thus my journey began!
True, there were many who tried to bring me down, pushed me, kicked me while I was down. But there were tons of people who favoured me undoubtedly through every phase of my life. Yes, there will always be both good and bad people. That’s the way of life.
I belong to a lower-middle-class family and honestly, money was always an issue. Just after passing out of high school, I got selected in the school of a famous dancer “Ashim Bandhu Bhattacharya” in Kolkata. It was one of the luckiest days of my life. But the one thing that pulled me back was the fees. I barely had the money to pay the fees to him. But thanks to “Netai Chandra Sett”, one of my Gurus who came to my rescue like a knight in shining armour. He took care of all the payments for 3 straight years and stayed there by my side ever since. I can never ever forget nor repay what ‘Netai Da’ has done for me!
As of now, I am in a relationship with a guy who unconditionally supports me through thick and thin. He encourages me for my bright future and I am really glad to have him as my partner. I won’t be disclosing the name. To me, this relationship is nothing different from the other thousands of relationships in the world. I am just happy to let you know that I am gay and I am happily engaged in a relationship without having to worry about what people will think. This itself is a big win for our LGBT community. Yes, there are “miles to go before I sleep” but I appreciate the progress.
I am also associated with a couple of dance schools as a dance teacher. Now, all I know is to prove those people wrong who used to make fun of me and thought I will be just a failure. I have that strong urge to become something that will make my parents proud and one day, when they hear my name, their heads are held high! But, who knows what lies ahead? But what I do know is I’ll just have to move forward. There’s no looking back!
Coming from a lower-middle-class family I have faced a lot of bullying and mockings. But did I give up? People are not going to change suddenly. There will be hardships. But remember one thing, “The night is darkest right before dawn”.
Coming out as an LGBT ally has been an extensive learning phrase. So, do not feel ashamed of what you are and neither hide who you are! You are on the right track, honey ’cause you were born this way!
Thank you Souvik Modak for sharing your story.