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    Gender is binary, they said. Gender is LGBTQ, they say. Gender is different from sex, they say. Gender is personal, they say. Gender is clothing,… Read More
    Gender is binary, they said. Gender is LGBTQ, they say. Gender is different from sex, they say. Gender is personal, they say. Gender is clothing, they say. So what if Clothes start to dissociate themselves with gender? Then where will the relationship between gender, clothes and identity stand? Read Less
Love Story of a Cloth

Born into a land far, far away from the city, it travelled the whole nine million and one yards to reach its first home; a shop where it was nurtured and moulded into a charismatic object, suitable to be taken away to what would be its real home. As time passed, the cloths around it were sold off to the eligible few and sent away. The cloth finally reached the front of the shelves, leaving its every thread and curve naked and on display. It now had to constantly and consistently live up to the identity its shop created for it as many visitors would come by and ask to see it. "All enquiries are coming from very decent families", said its keeper, joyous as ever. The cloth had to be coy and elegant at all times; The pride of both its present and future families. Beautiful, as it was, demand for it was high too. The shopkeeper was worried about the simpler cloths, but this one, no, this one was going to be a piece of cake. This one was going to belong to the most dignified, the most beautiful woman.

A few days later, in walked a beautiful boy. The cloth hid behind another fabric to cover a chuckle. It was rather surprised to see a boy enter its shop where it usually just saw women. "A lone boy in a cloth shop, hmmm, funny, very funny." He came in with a drawing in his hand; a drawing of the cloth. Peeping and seeing this, the cloth's texture flushed, "He actually came here looking for me.” 

Behind the oddness though, of being given to a man, there was a sense of adventure too. For the boy was going to do with it something unexpected. He was going to make the cloth unforgettable.

Henceforth, began their love story.
Every night, the boy would carefully unwrap the cloth of its neat butter paper and drape it around himself in different styles. The cloth could feel his frustration as he wasn’t able to figure out what to do with it. He was searching designs he clearly wanted to create out of it, but something was stopping him. The cloth supported him extensively while he gave the cloth utmost love and affection. It was a torrid affair, albeit with immense respect for one another. It was what the romantics would call love, rather uncommon in the cloth community.

A year had passed, a few more cloths had come into the closet. They were a happy family, the boy, the cloth and the other cloths, all in love and support for one another. They were a community which only existed behind closed doors; was only seen and heard by the walls and mirrors. None of the cloths had ever left the room. None of them had felt rain. None of them had felt a gush of wind against their smooth selves. Nothing. They would hear fights between the boy and his parents. It would hurt. He would come back to the room and sometimes cry to them. They would console him, but they felt helpless.

One fine day, amidst their mid morning conversations over the mirror, he said, "Enough is enough. I am tired of letting you weather in the closet, saving you for a precious day when they won't diss you. I love you and I don’t want to hide my love from the world. I want to take you to meet my friends, I want to take you to family gatherings, I want to post pictures with you on Facebook. I want to take long walks with you. Why not make their dissing our pride?”.

Ever since, there has been no looking back. 
I found my true identity. He found his. And together we also found a new ‘us’. 

I may not be the cloth I was expected to be, but I’m out in the crowd, oblivious to expectations of me, open to experimenting and enjoying my body. I belong to myself and not to a man or a woman. I never asked him this question about himself either and I never will. I don’t want to know his orientation or whether I'm being worn by a he or a she or a them.

This is my story. I’m the cloth who got out of the closet. I'm the cloth who fell in love and will not be shy about expressing it. I'm the cloth who doesn't owe anyone any answers. I’m not the queen they thought I am, I’m not the king they now think I am. I am the Jack of all, the annoying misfit who seems like the useless card when in hand, but unveils its strength with time. If you don't drop it, that is.

They told me gender was a universal truth. 
Then why has its regimented trail left behind hordes of name for me, none of which I ever consented to.

A balance of the two forces is considered to be the song of nature; a song which doesn't want me.
But I'm silence. I don't need a song to exist; it needs me.

Some days I sit and wonder if I can ever become one with high fashion; the same high fashion which constantly takes cues from my life. Thing is, my existence is fashionable to be conjectured upon but never to be lived.

All the signs on the walls point to 'them'. The mundane existence of 'he' and 'she' is more alluring to many. Maybe because it's comfortable to not evolve. No wonder the Jack still gets confused for the joker.

Modelling and costumes by Shiraz Singh
Photography by Neha Karode
Written by Neha Karode and Shiraz Singh