Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The power of one

Vartanama, Jul '14
By Pawan Dhall

Photo credit: Pawan Dhall
The first wobbly steps of a child . . . first complete words uttered by the child . . . the child’s first birthday!

The first time a child goes out of home alone to school or for an errand . . . or the first time the child stays home alone.

The first pangs of love in school or college . . . the first heart break.

The first rank in studies . . . the first time you flunk an examination.

Your first job . . . the first increment . . . the first promotion . . .

The first rebellion at home . . . for love, desire or principles!

The first sexual experience for you . . . the first sexual experience for someone else and you are the first partner for them!

The first time your sweetheart is about to fly and you are there to assure them when the plane takes off . . . or lands.

The first time your lover travels abroad and you are the one showing them the world . . .

The first time your child, dear friend or partner is leaving town for studies or work and you are there to see them off.

The first great photograph of a sunrise or sunset!

The first time you confide in someone trusted about an intimate matter . . . the first time the dam bursts and you tell the world as it is the truth about your desires.   

The first time you walk in a march to celebrate your gender or sexuality . . . to sound the bugle against violence . . . to shake off a lifetime of fear and stigma.

The first time you visit a place and you know there will be many more times.

The first experience of the loss of a dear one . . .


Photo credit: Pawan Dhall
Each of these occasions has the power of one . . . the power of that first time that transforms life; that builds us one way or the other.

Something very similar is what it has been for the Varta blog to complete one year, with this issue, the 12th one. The birthday issue will be the next one in August 2014, but with this issue the effort to initiate a dialogue on intimate dreams completes its first cycle. And it has been a privilege for Varta to bring forth news, views, ideas, experiences and thoughts to its readers – and to receive their feedback and suggestions – a privilege that Varta wants to experience again and again.

At a personal level for this author, this issue also marks the first year of an effort to revive one of India’s first queer publishing initiatives Pravartak (1991-92 and then 1993-2000) – perhaps not in form, but in spirit; with a broader canvas of content, yet not forgetting to look back at how it was; maybe not with the same sense of thrill that comes from first stepping into the unknown, but with the same energy to complete a job far from done – achieving dignity and equity in the spheres of gender, sexuality and intimacy.


Pawan Dhall aspires to be a rainbow journalist and believes in taking a stand, even if it’s on the fence – the view is better from there!

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