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Warm and generously giving, loving as extremely as fighting with absolute clarity of thought, was my friend Rajat, who was non binary and identified with the pronouns they/ them.
25 silver years ago, separated from my husband and with a two year old, I picked up a job and restarted my life. Always the Universe’s favourite, in that part time job I got a loving environment and special friends that offered me unconditional love.
The most precious of them all, going on to become my bestie is Rajat Kumar (name changed).
Considered by me a ‘young boy’ then, almost a decade younger to me, super intelligent, sharp with a sense of humour that could have had the saddest person in the universe, in splits. Warm and generously giving, loving as extremely as fighting with absolute clarity of thought, was my friend Rajat, who was non binary and identified with the pronouns they/ them.
They (Rajat) became my benefactor and protector, my mentor and shoulder to cry on, the person to do all things crazy from dancing on the streets to chilling at night clubs, making presentations to reading books, cooking together, walking, talking, holding hands as we talked late into the night and slept, doing all that two friends could do.
In a short while Rajat became my constant, protecting me from office challenges yet, pulling me up the hardest as my boss, they were my best friend. With them by my side I didn’t need anyone else.
Rajat spread joy with their witty one liners as well frustration and anger with their frank opinions. People misunderstood their brilliance and ability to question as sharp sarcasm; they had a hard time understanding this human, a mystery they could not fathom.
A perpetual entertainer, the warmest human being who always recognised the best in you, surprisingly, they also had haters; those who felt uncomfortable in their presence. In their own inadequacy to accept what was different, they failed understand one so similar, yet so contrasting. These less tolerant plotted to get Rajat out of work, shamelessly construing stories to harm their reputation, not knowing that brilliance cannot be contained!
Rajat went on to grow from strength to strength. They wore dresses with aplomb and grace in the privacy of their home and with friends. However, outside the confines of those four walls, that beautiful jingling musical anklet on their bony ankle, stayed quiet and hidden under socks.
For the world this uniqueness was too much to handle, let alone appreciate and embrace. Rajat’s immense talent in mimicry, ability to kindly handle teams and help them grow; the great sensitivity of a woman juxtaposed with logic made them a fireball making every single woman they met them instantly falling in love. Rajat went on to head departments and become part of senior leadership.
Yet, also understanding that they would be suffocated in a place where they couldn’t be their authentic self, they moved on to explore other countries where they could be the person they were fully meant to be.
Today, over 15 years later, armed with a degree in theatre (after doing an MBA), Rajat has migrated to the West Coast. From being perched on my kitchen platform each day for hours, fighting with the world for me and with me for us…they have met me twice in all these years. This distance in our case has strengthened our bond, and helped me respect, love, and embrace the choices people make, and the right for all to live their life in a manner they desire.
Of course, I miss their physical presence acutely, each day, but feel blessed for this friendship, having found a soul mate that I can share all with, despite the distance.
My Friend, I say this with pride and honour – for they have carved their niche in a land far away, enriching the land with their talent, culture, love, values, and evolving further into a glorious, beautiful, wonderful human in finding their true self and lovingly embracing it. Discovering work with an organisation that supports the LGBTQIA+ community, and ensuring that the community’s voice is stronger today than it was yesterday.
In this month honouring them, I pay homage to my friend with immense love, pride, and a hope that someday we as a country are able to offer the safe haven and acceptance that is each person’s due!
In love and with love – My Friend! Always, waiting and yearning for you to be closer; yet so grateful to have been a part of each others journey all these years.
Image source: merlinlightpainting on pixabay
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