Love No Matter What!
Komal Ahuja juggles many roles, from a teacher to a corporate trainer to a homemaker and now a writer. Her poems and stories have a plethora of emotions, waiting to be discovered. Her book, 'Love No Matter What', takes a closer look at the world of transgenders and intersex. It touches upon an extremely relevant and poignant aspect of our society. Komal shares with us her journey with the book........
I was a homemaker by choice,happily married a mother of one son. As he grew up I realized I had some extra time on hand, I didn’t feel like staying at home and I was eager to do something. A lot of ladies around me would often ask me to come for parties but I wanted to do something more and meaningful. My family was not too keen on letting me step out and work, but I could see my husband struggling with his responsibilities and that’s when I decided to pitch in.
The journey was not easy, I had ventured into something I had no clue of, I had to learn everything from scratch. My husband enrolled me in all classes related to the industry. It was a major boost! He instilled in me so much confidence. Things started falling into place and I am still grateful for all the support that my family and domestic help gave me at a time I needed it the most. I have worked hard all these years, I am now leading the company and my son is proud of me.
I was working eight hours a day and didn’t even realize how the day went by, soon my son soon moved abroad to pursue higher studies. I felt a sudden vacuum, a void I didn’t know how to fill. My son had always been my emotional anchor and his absence really hurt. One one early morning I was sitting and just sipping my tea, still missing my son terribly. I started crying remembering him and it was then that suddenly out of nowhere I had a vision, and Naina,Manish, and Chandini were born (the characters of my story). It was in that instance that the story idea was created and within a week’s time I had the entire storyline ready. Everything was clear to me, except Devi’s character. She had a beautiful feminine face but a masculine body.
I started educating myself about the Shiv naaris. I read all the literature available. Their lives are tough, devoid of all love and empathy. The more I read the more I realized that here is a community who is ostracized for absolutely no fault of theirs,something had to be done.
It was around this time that the murder of Salma a Shiv naari took place. It shook me no end. No one came forward to claim the body. I was disgusted. Was life so ‘napak’ ? Were they so unwanted, so terrible that they did not even have dignity in death?
This had to change and I made up my mind to do something to this effect. I wanted to write the story and reach out to as many as possible. I made my way to the Haaji kothi and requested the group of Shiv Naaris who live there to let me into their lives,to speak to me, to connect with me. It was during one of my conversations at the Haji Kothi that my eyes fell on this woman standing in a corner of the room. She was stunning. She was beautiful and well built. I said to myself this is my Devi. I had found her.’
I wrapped up my work and rushed home. I wanted to know more about the community. As I searched for information on the internet. I discovered that there are people called the intersex. “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” This revelation shattered me, being born an intersex is a medical condition just like being born deaf, dumb,blind or autistic. Then why do we continue to love the rest and abandon the intersex ? Don't they deserve love or a family?
I worked on the book for a year and the first draft that I pened got accepted. It was nothing short of a miracle. People struggle to get their manuscripts accepted even after rewriting it a number of times. The Shiv naaris had blessed me," Ek hazaar kitabien likhogi tum,tumhari har muraad poori hogi". I believed their words would come true. You’ll write a thousand books, all your wishes will be fulfilled.
I am often criticized for encouraging superstition,it's not superstition it's faith. I believe that when people are sad God listens to them. We have ostracized this community for years. They have nobody to call their own. That’s why they are elevated souls and God listens to them.
Post the launch ,the response that the book got has been overwhelming.Readers loved the book. They wept and smiled through their tears by the end of it. I am guilty of making a lot of people cry but then they are moved and they look at the shiv naaris and smile. This makes me happy.
Honestly, even I underestimated the power of the pen. Readers thank me for making them more human,for opening their hearts,for introducing them to a world hitherto unknown.
The response that the book has got has transformed me . I actively work to sensitize various stratas of the society towards this community. In the recent past, I have organised talks and campaigns in the hope of creating a conversation which could help the Shiv naaris at least get the basic human rights.
I address this community as the Shiv naaris as I feel that they are blessed by the powers of both the male and the female, which according to me are attributes of Shiva and Parvati.
'Nazariye badalne ki koshish kar rahi hoon aur umeed karti hoon ki nazaare apne aap badlenge'. I am trying to change perspectives, and I hope visions will change on their own.