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Two Protagonists Emerge from the Writer's Head in a Locked Paradise
By Adreyo Sen
When Adreyo was five, he – and it was he for the most part, was a brave thing. He would be a G.I. Joe and attack his bullies, casting his mother as the damsel. Adreyo was also a brave girl who claimed to be a fairy as she jumped into the pool to meet her father, eager to attract the man lounging nearby.
Adreyo didn’t see any irony in his self-visualization, complete with a frock and wings on his back. Adreyo wouldn’t know what “a” gay was, well into his undergraduate years, The boarding school master he would later feel a lush softness for would tell his class Wilde was never homosexual.
When Adreyo was eight, she – and it was she for the most part – was a scared girl. Her family had moved from Bombay to Delhi and his mother was tense, worrying about what her husband’s shift to business mean for their finances. She would hit Adreyo at the slightest error.
Adreyo felt emasculated by his mother’s assaults, even if he didn’t know what the word meant. He imagined himself as a terrified, stained maidservant for a prison wardress. He didn’t know that the shameful frisson in the little captive to his misfortunes he was not yet fascinated by was sexual desire. As an undergraduate, he would spend hours studying forced feminization and gender dysphoria.
Adreyo, at fifteen, knew the voice of his writing at five and at the age of eight was very different. He believed in binaries, not realizing that “male” and “female” were distinct lights on an imperfectly illuminated continuum. His tragedy was he soon knew “mania” and “depression” were in surprising proximity on a similar continuum.
Adreyo loved his five-year-old voice, though it was arrogant. And he felt only contempt for the eight-year-old.
In some ways, he was still that unhappy eight.
At fifteen, he believed in the performance of identity. He could be, he know, many different people. Nine years later, he suspected he wasn’t even one. He was a sociologist even before he read Durkheim, but he didn’t think he was a writer. He was a person who wrote, which sounds even more pretentious.
And thus, with the seniors he admired, Adreyo was giggly and coy. And since this was only a performance, he never wondered why he wanted to kiss their cheeks.And yet, he was the school magazine’s Sydney Carton and she was his inky Lucie Manette.
Adreyo daydreamed a lot. He was never in his daydreams. His protagonist was either a foul-mouthed policewoman feminized by stern love, or a shy little thing pursued by an adoring stranger strangely akin to madness.
Madness caught up with Adreyo when he was twenty-four. Fucked and in a ward full of competing agonies, he realized some people never grow up. Not even when they are pierced by the madness that has many names, only one of which is love.
He had never grown up.
And thus he knew his protagonists never had.
They were both him, weren’t they, those two aggregates of all his imagined women.
One, a fey Ariel, who would never grow beyond five, whose courage, once bright, would become darkness. And the other, colorless Lily, scared of her own shadow, who would forever seek to live in the margins.
#Unreal #Fiction #Identities #Protagonists #Feminized #Masculinity #RivalingThoughts
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