Asexuality is a lesser known identity on the LGBTQI+ spectrum due to the limited voices echoed in mainstream media. Raveena Joseph speaks to Pushpa Achanta about the asexual experience…


When Pushpa Achanta discovered the truth about her sexuality, she decided to tell her parents and a close relative. “It was 1999 and I was in my mid-20s. My parents were beginning to get concerned about whether I would find a partner for myself and if I would ever get married. So when I told them what I had understood about myself, they were stunned, and I’m glad that they were stunned enough to not react. Otherwise, they could have done some really crazy things and life could have gone awry,”
says Pushpa.

The ‘crazy things’ she alludes to include forced marriages, corrective rapes, shock treatments and all sorts of torture that people are usually subjected to when they reveal that they are unable to conform to society’s expectations of their gender and sexuality. And in the 90s, it was quite a big deal for Pushpa to declare that she did not enjoy sex. In fact, she didn’t even want to think about it or experience any urge to do so. She understood that for her, sex and romance did not go hand-in-hand, but hadn’t yet found a word that could quantify
what she felt.

Today, 45-years-old and based out of Bangalore, Pushpa identifies as asexual and gender-fluid. The Oxford Dictionary defines asexual, in its noun form, as someone “who has no sexual feelings or desires”. This term would aptly describe Pushpa. “The word is less important, at least to me. Using the word ‘asexual’ is a matter of convenience,” she says.

The asexual community is not a highly visible or vocal one in India. In fact, there is hardly any mainstream media discourse about asexuality. For those keen to understand the asexual experience, resources are available in few digital spaces like asexualityindia.org. But unlike other, more prominent voices from the LGBTQI+ spectrum, the asexual community seems more spread out. “I’m not part of any asexual group, and apart from my partner of 16 years, I’ve not met anyone who is asexual, even though I’ve heard that communities do
exist,” says Pushpa.

As an experience which isn’t shared much, there are many misconceptions about those who identify as asexual. The popular ones include equating asexuality to aromanticism, and assuming that this sexual identity is a phase or reaction to past sexual trauma. “For some people, emotional attraction and sexual attraction go together, but not for me. I had a steady boyfriend in high school and we would sometimes hold hands. For some people that would be an expression of sexual attraction, but for me, it was just about intellectual attraction and emotional bonding.”

While dating in her formative years, Pushpa says she was never concerned about how her sexuality might affect her chance at romance because, “it didn’t sink in how much sex mattered to people. For me, emotional and intellectual attraction mattered, but that didn’t mean I could force myself to do something.”

In fact, she says it was only through some understanding heterosexual partners that she progressively understood how much she didn’t want to think or care about sex. “I would be happy if the other person didn’t expect it from me. But it would be painful if the relationship would not materialise just because of the sexual component.”

In a society where sex is taboo and yet asexuality not accepted, a person who might not prescribe to conventional notions about sex behind closed doors does have a difficult journey in figuring out their own feelings towards sexual interactions. “A convenient and more commonly used term is ‘abnormal’,” shares Pushpa.

Strong-willed, outspoken and with friends and family who accept her, Pushpa’s identity does not dampen her social interactions. As for establishing a family, she says that while she and her partner have decided against having children, it doesn’t mean that asexual people can’t or won’t have children, through natural means or adoption. For her, love is enough, and she has that in abundance.

write to me at raveena.j@paulsons.in


It isn’t often that we look within ourselves while we look for magic in our lives, but perhaps we should, suggests Raveena Joseph


Roald Dahl, apart from penning stories that filled children with awe also penned a line that is oft repeated by adults: those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. While this phrase has constantly kept me on the lookout for something magical to shine down on me from the sky, I am also acutely aware of overlooking the stars that twinkle timidly from afar every night. This makes me wonder why the wonders of everyday life do not suffice, and what magic I could possibly want than what already abounds in this world.

Not only are there stars in the vast sky, but also birds and bees, and a euphemism about them that makes humans fly. There are myths and mysteries to feed the adult mind, and stories and fairy tales that teach children how to be kind. There are books that try to explain love, loss, loneliness and longing, and cooks who show you that sometimes your tongue can taste the flavours of belonging. And today, even as life gets ‘curiouser and curiouser’, we have the liberty to understand it through our own choices.

While we live in a world that could be described as nothing short of magical by someone who lived at any other point in the past, we are dissatisfied, depressed and anxious, and hurtling forward day after day, knowing not what we run towards or why. Would we stop if we smelled the flowers? Or would we stop just to check our phones and feel unhappy that our backstage stories are not as picture-perfect as someone else’s
highlight reel?

Life is full of magic, if only we are willing to pay attention to it. All the wonder we seek in this world is waiting to be acknowledged — not found. In expecting a thing to be something it is not, we never find satisfaction or gratitude in all that it is. Case in point is our pursuit of Prince/Princess charming, a one-person solution to all our growing, confusing and ever-evolving needs. A person with near-perfect everything is not possible, and as we seek something that doesn’t exist, we let slip many prince/princess probables along the way. Sometimes, we need to see the wonder in a timid boy who rustles up the courage to ask us out for coffee, or the glutinous girl who will save us a big slice of the cake just because we like it.

In recognising the wonder in others and all that is around us, we set the stage to see it within ourselves. And sometimes, that’s the greatest wonder of all — finding our own magic and learning how to wield it. In understanding ourselves, we not only understand the magic that makes us, but also what it means to us, enabling us to acknowledge it when it wafts into our lives. But rarely do we stop to stare into our own souls. Rarely do we stop to understand and appreciate ourselves.

But if we do not know a colour, how will we know another that compliments it? If we do not know ourselves, how will be know what makes us happy, or feel magical? The greatest gift of all is the one of gratitude, for having all that we have, being all that we are, and being able to do all that we have the potential to do. We are the wonder we seek, and if we truly looked, that is what we will see.

write to me at raveena.j@paulsons.in


Why have we stereotyped bravery? Why has machismo and bravado come to represent bravery? Was the Natyashastra representing only this kind of bravery? Karthik Hebbar asks many questions about how we perceive bravery in today’s world


At traffic signals, when we see a transgender woman standing in her beautifully clad kanjeevaram saree with jasmine flowers in her hair, how many of us see an embodiment of bravery? The strength to accept herself for what she is, embrace it and firmly stand up for it even when the whole world wants to bog her down is the true embodiment of valour, is it not? Why do these brave people get miscategorized? Why are they ridiculed or laughed at more often then? If a man flaunts his nose piercings, kohl-ed eyes and calls himself a ‘feminist’, he will be mocked at, but never looked at as a veera-purusha. Our patriarchal minds look at valour only with the lens of machismo and power.

While the first image that comes to mind while discussing bravery in the modern context is the army, we never think of brave souls like Irom Sharmila or the women from the North East who paraded naked as a strong statement of protest against the atrocities committed by the army officials in the name of AFSPA. Societies will clap and celebrate filmy heroes when they fight against villains to protect the heroines’ honour and pour milk on their cutouts to celebrate their heroism, but dismiss the humble female musician or a feisty Malayalam heroine who spearheads a #MeToo movement. The elitist classical music and dance community will celebrate their vocal musician for his sonorous voice and almost put him on a pedestal of divinity, but the moment he openly declares that the classical musical community is brahminical, biased and classist, he will be dethroned and called a loser. Why are people who stand up for truth in silent resilience, without guns, never considered as embodiments of bravery?

It is time that we relearn the concept of the ancient human rasas in a new light. The Natyashastra may have codified the veera rasa as a navarasa, but it is us who have equated that with acts of bravado and machismo, and as an act of opening the eyes wide and breathing heavily with a widened chest. It is important for us to internalize that this very contemporary physical description of the overtly dramatical expression of the rasa need not be its essence. Veera rasa or valour also manifests in silence. If a khadi-wearing weak old man can chase away the British from India with satyagraha, isn’t that also an embodiment of veera rasa? Let us look for heroes with heart and not just showmanship. Whilst the 56-inches of the world will constantly beat their own drums, let us also recognise the real veeras and veeranganas who stand up for social justice, equality and peace. Veera rasa is not only in the wars, it is also in upholding and sustaining peace.

write to us at editor.provoke@paulsons.in


Vegans and vegetarians across the world take much pride in being ‘purer-than-thou’ when comparing themselves with meat-eaters. But is such selective compassion ethical? Rōmal Lāisram wonders…


They say you are what you eat. But there’s so much politics in that one statement — unfair power games and many layers — that one wonders if you really are what you eat.

The argument around veganism or vegetarianism is a long and treacherous one; especially, if you are in India. Today, these diet preferences say so much about where you stand in this confusing mess of identity, religion and tradition. Purity is measured by how vegetarian you are and being ‘woke’ is measured by how vegan you are. There is also a hierarchy of purity between vegans and vegetarians. Vegans, usually privileged middle-class or upper-class Indians, do not stop for even a second before brandishing their self-righteousness on everyone around them.

How can you kill something for your own selfish greed? How can you eat another living being? How can you watch while a poor innocent animal is being slaughtered just so you can eat a meal? These are the types of questions vegans will throw at people and expect guilt to do its magic — it often does.

What worries me is how even in this, there is power play. So animals that can show you their emotions are living beings and therefore should not be eaten, yet, plants — also living beings and also capable of showing pain and emotion — can be eaten? Vegans accept a supposedly natural order of things that keeps ‘conscious’ humans at the top of the food chain, animals in the centre and plants at the sheer bottom. Somehow eating a living plant is okay? Only because it cannot scream and show pain while its fruits, grains, stalks, leaves and roots are being harvested? Not so ‘woke’ anymore, no?
Yes, I agree this is silly logic. But this is the same logic thrust down the throats of non-vegetarians when it comes to guilting people into not eating animals. Would you eat your own dog? Would you eat your family? How can they kill so many dogs in China? They must be barbarians!

At the other end of the spectrum are non-vegetarians who will consume copious amounts of domesticated animals and birds, and scream in horror when ‘pet’ animals are eaten. The double standards really make you wonder — are these people incapable of comprehension? These ‘pets’ were domesticated too and in some cultures people eat them. Deal with it. Who told anyone that eating a pig, a cow or a chicken was any different from eating a cat or a dog?

Who makes these rules? Who says what deserves to be consumed as food and what doesn’t? Who ever said that just because one ate only plants, they became inherently purer? The only logic that should apply when eating foods — animals or plants — is that it should be simply because your body needs it. Being conscious about what your body needs and can digest easily is all that should matter!

Have compassion for animals by all means, but in the same vein, have passion for plants too and for the humans who aren’t as privileged as you to be able to afford a whole plethora of vegetables or vegan alternatives. Veganism isn’t a workable reality for much of this world — that is a truth one cannot deny. And if you still want to play purer-than-thou… eat air. Yupp, some people claim to exist solely on air… you could try to be one of them! Google it.

write to me at romal@paulsons.in


When a democracy finds familiarity in fear, there is much that we should be asking ourselves says Yogita Dakshina


IN early 2017 when Thaikkudam Bridge, the popular Indian rock band released the official video for its hit single, Navarasam, it intentionally or unintentionally immortalised the expression of fear and despair through Kathakali dancers — all against a perceived landscape of hope, because both the oppressed and the oppressors in this narration were children.

Around about a year later, against the perceived landscape of a secular and liberal India, where diversity is unity, Mohammad Afrazul was hacked to death, and then his body set on fire by Shambulal Regar — a crime that had no motive, except for hate against a religion. In the video of the murder, which Shambulal’s 13-year-old nephew carefully captured for him, the same expression of fear was immortalised on Afrazul’s face.

But this wasn’t a music video. And when Regar was given a ticket to contest from Agra, from within the confines of his jail, by the Hindutva outfit Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena, all liberal outrage ended with a few social media posts. Regar became the hero of groups like the Bajrang Dal — which shares a strong political history with a certain National party — and we were all advised by the parental crowd to stay quiet and still, in the fear that we may face the same fate as Afrazul.

Fear, psychologists say, is a basic instinct of the human lot. We live and love in fear, and when it takes over us, we lose a sense of semblance. And it is this loss of semblance that even Indian mythologies have ridden on, to establish who and what is power. So when Ravana is vilified (because, wrong caste), and Krishna is glorified (because, who doesn’t like a playboy playing an instrument and encouraging violence under the name of dharma and karma), with almost no alternative narrations of it provided, I am not surprised that the same psyche reflects in our current political systems as well. We are made to fear the gods we should ideally revere.

And so, we find ourselves leaders, who come in with a thunderstorm of terror. We love the 56-inch ki chhathi, and their decisions of surgical strikes. We encourage militarization of places we call home, because we love that our ‘heroes’ can instil fear. We call cries of war because violence in power is an art form which feeds the need for us to associate with what is familiar — the need for authority, its ability to create dread, and to forget that those on the other side of these wars and killings, are after all humans like us.

Recently, Pragya Thakur was fielded as a candidate of the BJP in Bhopal. For the uninitiated, Thakur was one of the accused in the Malegaon Blasts of 2008 near a mosque, killing six people and injuring dozens more. And despite having spent near a decade in jail, Thakur has not been labelled a terrorist. Instead, she has been hailed as a Sadhvi with powers to make or break people’s lives. She is feared, for her powers, and therefore we give her power.

Why? Because when our ‘heroes’ create the terror, they are not the terrorists — they’ve just made a decision for the ‘greater good.’ What is the loss of lives, rapes, and extrajudicial killings, when all of this falls in with the cycle of
dharma and karma, amirite?

Earlier last week, given this circus that is called the Indian elections, I was stuck on the roads of Harayana thanks to a political rally, which promised people that there would be bloodshed if required, to sustain Hindustan. When I got back home later that night, considerably harrowed, I was welcomed by Amit Shah’s infamous promises to bring in the National Registry of Citizens, which would focus on only kicking out the Muslim ‘infiltrators’ from Bengal. A relative who was with us that night commended Shah for his clear understanding of who the terrorists really were.

He was politely asked to leave the next day, because at home anyone who abets terror is no worse than those who create terrorists. “Is this what we deserve, after all that pride we take in our country?” my grandmother, a Bangladesh-India partition survivor, asked that day. And it’s a question I wished we would all ask ourselves — more deliberately, more uncomfortably — each and every day.

write to us at editor.provoke@paulsons.in


The stand-up scene in India is changing for the better, but where were we before we got here? Rōmal Lāisram traces the comedy scene in India post 2009, hoping that we never go back to when bullies were considered funny…


I remember years ago, a beautiful date with someone I was madly in love with was ruined by a jarring phone call. A ‘friend’ decided to surprise me by sharing my number with an RJ on an FM station in Bangalore. The deal: I was supposed to sing live. I received the call and the RJ (who later became a popular stand-up comedian) screamed on the phone line, “Romal, your friends think you can sing really well. Could you sing something for us and you could stand a chance of winning tickets to…” I was caught unaware and so I fumbled a bit before I broke into Alanis Morissette’s Ironic. I thought I sounded good, but at the end, the RJ decided to be unnecessarily cruel and said, “Hey, I thought you were a girl, do all gay boys sound feminine?” First, I was outed on a radio station without my consent. Second, my slightly shrill voice, which mind you I am super proud about, was ridiculed as being feminine (like feminine voices are something to be ridiculed — they’re gorgeous!). As the RJ laughed heartily at his own supposed humour, I was left broken inside. 16-year-old me was not yet the heart of stone that I am today — impervious to attacks on my sexuality, my behaviour, my voice, my looks and whatever else a bully might fancy on that particular day.

Years passed and by 2009, stand-up had officially arrived. Who dislikes comedy? Who can ever muster up enough courage to say they dislike comedy today? The scene was exploding across India’s metro cities. Some cities had better performers than the others. While Mumbai and Delhi revelled in their largely male comedians who were unashamedly misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic; down South, comedians like Ruby Chakraborty and Ashvin Matthew kept their comedy clean and stayed away from bullying marginalised communities. In five years, the scene got pretty saturated. Some switched to the video format and groups like All India Bakchod ruled the roost.

The bullying and targeting continued. Comedians continued focusing their jokes on women, trans women, drag performers and gay men — because the largely straight male audience apparently loved it! Every time I tried having a conversation with a comedian about how unnecessary and regressive it was to keep poking fun at these communities, I was called out for being “too touchy, too much of an activist” and the likes. I lost friends because they couldn’t hear anything against their favourite comedians (read AIB), some of whom had become the reigning stars of the supposed educated urban Indian male.

But where was the demand to be ‘woke’ here? If a Kanan Gill, Abish Mathew, Kaneez Surka and Sumukhi Suresh could manage to be funny without poking fun at marginalised communities, why couldn’t the same be expected of an AIB or the horde of disrespectful comedians they had inspired/created? What irked me even more was how, in a few years, the same problematic comedians ‘woke’ up and began promoting themselves as ‘inclusive, respectful of women and non-misogynist’… and people bought it. Where were the apologies?

Today, the stand-up comedy market is saturated, but filled with hope. It makes me so happy to see comedians like Kunal Kamra, who is unapologetically political or an Abhineet Mishra, who took on the responsibility of talking about the mining tragedies in Meghalaya (when nobody else would). I look around and see an openly gay Navin Noronha proudly represent the gay male community; while a Vasu Primlani turns the tables on men as she does stand-up as a proud lesbian. It makes me sigh in relief to see comedy being respectful of marginalised communities, but there’s so much more that can be done.

The age of comedy that further marginalises people or furthers negative stereotypes about them is slowly ending (or so I hope); and the ones who are stuck in their chasms of non-creativity, who have no other choice but to resort to sexist jibes, homophobic and transphobic jokes and casual misogyny… have to realise their days are numbered. Voices like mine are the minority even today and my demand is often called out for being against the freedom of an artiste. But here’s all I have to say to that: if comedy can only be made by poking fun at people who are already the butt of all jokes, then maybe that’s more telling of the comedian and where he/she/ze comes from. A bully is a bully is a bully. Period.

write to me at romal@paulsons.in


An interplay of misogyny and apathy leave us numb to so much noise and violence in our everyday lives. Raveena Joseph asks: what will it take for our tolerance to turn to disgust?


Blood stains on a soiled sheet. Punctured skin that’s been chewed up like meat. The shrieking that follows the breaking of bones. Cries accompanying chaos. Don’t worry about waking the neighbours: the sirens will drown the screams. In ambulances, anxiety hangs in the air, only for silence to be sliced open on an operating table.

Waiting rooms offer a stage, for hope and dread to perform a delicate dance. One step here, one step there. You could really hurt yourself if you don’t watch where.

A mother crying over her broken son. A mother crying over her daughter’s loss. A mother always cries. But why do daughters carry their honour between their thighs? They need new storage space. Can we get extra baggage space like on aeroplanes? Always good to have some on hand. Life is always trying to give you extra baggage.

Hospitals always stock up on soaps and such. No one likes blood on their hands. Or on their floors. There’s always someone mopping and scrubbing in a hospital, have you noticed? So many people, twice as many footprints. People are aplenty in India. That way we don’t mind when some die. Or live a life, defiled.

“Was she raped or is she a slut,” everyone wants to know. The nation wants to know. We need to debate these things on primetime television, screaming, thumping, brimming with moral outrage.

Every story is a statistic. But only some make it to the news. Like Nirbhaya. India’s celebrity victim from 2012. Her gruesome story got the world to take notice that a woman is raped every 15 minutes in India. But no one cared about the stories of those women. They just want to know, “But what was she wearing?” Probably just her fear and naivety.

So does this mean a man rapes every 15 minutes? A man shoves himself against an unwilling woman. A man shoves himself against a woman who claws at his skin. A man shoves himself against a woman wailing and crying. How is it that a man is able to do that every 15 minutes?

It’s a man’s world. And in this world, men are allowed to behave like beasts while woman are taught to sit with their legs together. If she doesn’t, she’s asking for it. She’s asking to scream and wail and plead as he shoves himself against her. She’s asking for pain and punishment.

We aren’t misogynistic; she’s just masochistic. That’s a settling sentence. Very well informed judgement, jury duty and execution. Now let’s flip the channel. Oh item song feat. bare mid-riff of lady with hourglass figure. Do you have a young son? A nephew? Maybe a child in the neighbourhood? Let’s get the kid to dance to this, record it and upload it on Instagram. Remember to #cute. Not #worrying.

The worry can be saved for mothers wailing outside hospital rooms.

write to me at raveena.j@paulsons.in


But that doesn’t mean that only men can be angry. The angry woman embodies nature in its true spirit, explains Rōmal Lāisram through his obsession with Ramya Krishnan and her Neelambari


Has anyone even gotten close to the character of Neelambari, essayed brilliantly by Ramya Krishnan, in Padayappa? The Rajinikanth classic, directed by KS Ravikumar, gave Tamil cinema a strong-willed woman who was definitely the villain in the movie, but so much more adored and remembered than the male and female lead in the film.

Today, when I look back at Neelambari, I am saddened though. Even if she was powerful — and many will claim Padayappa was her film more than it was Rajinikanth’s — her character was one bad stereotype ladled over another. The only reason Ramya Krishnan’s Neelambari was allowed to be so ‘bad’ was because she was bad. She was what every Tamil woman should not aspire to be. The film had a message: want to earn the affections of a padayappa, then don’t be a Neelambari, be a Vasundara (essayed by Soundarya). To be a good Tamil woman, you ought to be soft-spoken, you shouldn’t be rich or self-confident, and should definitely not wear pants or western clothing. More so, you have to be shy, absolutely unaware of what anger is and give into whatever your ‘man’ desires or wants, whenever he asks for it.

No wonder, young girls grew up not wanting to be Neelambari. But that’s what the makers of the film and the whole of patriarchy wanted. Instead, a whole generation of young girls and boys grew up wanting to be Neelambari precisely. I myself always wanted to be as crisp as she was, as stingy with repartees as she was, and those sarees and that style — Sivagami Devi in Baahubali was just a sequel to Neelambari for many of us.
It’s funny how the same traits in a man would be praised as machismo, as the epitome of purushatva or manliness; while a woman who exhibits the same characters would be considered spoilt, immoral and unfit for marriage. I’ve often wondered if people watch Amman/Devi serials and movies for precisely this: an escape into a society where women have equal power and sometimes even more. Watching a furiously violent Goddess annihilate the enemy gives me such a high. I don’t think anything spells justice more clearly in my head. Ringing bells, thunderbolts and lightning… the works. And yet, I am fully aware that this cannot be a reality.

Society appreciates, worships and fears the powerful woman. They revere her, but don’t want her to be their wives, mothers, sisters or even a relative. In reality, we all prefer docile and domesticated women, no? Everybody can’t be Neelambari. Sometimes power is afforded to a woman only after she is wronged. Men like to be the ones in control of this too. They like to decide when a woman can become Kali and when she must be the subservient Lakshmi. They will decide if she must become Durga or stay zen like Saraswati, and they will always decide is she deserves to be heralded as Raja Rajeshwari.

Men often forget, that even among the divine, for every Shiva there is a Shakti and for every Rudra there will always be a Raudri. Powerful women are scary and rightly so. She is the chaos to the order that men build around themselves. She is wild magnificent nature, manifested as human. What else will remind men that their patriarchy is on its way out?

write to me at romal@paulsons.in


Relationships have been built or broken on silence. Once considered a virtue, this human characteristic has far too many devious uses as Rōmal Lāisram discovers


I am absolutely fed up of talking to him. He believes being quiet during an argument will eventually lead to peace. Does he not realise that all I want is confrontation in this situation? How else will we ever come to a solution?” asks 24-year-old Rashmi. Like Rashmi, many young women today face a common challenge — unresponsive partners. A generation ago, elderly Indian women would have told these young women to thank their stars. An unresponsive husband is definitely preferred over a violent one. But today the equations between the genders have changed.

In urban scenarios across India, young women are being forced to deal with unresponsive men. Something a younger generation of men have realised works in their favour. “If we open our mouths and say something wrong, it will be used against us. If we lose our temper, we will be considered regressive. Many of us have no examples to learn from. Our fathers were horrible to our mothers and we definitely do not want to emulate them. We were also never taught how to respond to women and their emotional needs. People over-simplify it by saying, just listen… but is that really enough? I am often blamed for being unresponsive by my girlfriend. But the truth is, I really don’t know what to say,” shares 26-year-old Shaunak (who is still in a very tumultuous relationship with a girl he has been in love with for the past decade).

Rashmi and Shaunak represent two ends of a spectrum, but there are many other kinds of ‘silent-spectators’ in between. Take for example, 27-year-old Dennis: “I’ve realised that the best thing to do in any fight with my girlfriend is just not respond. Your silence will kill her and even if you are in the wrong, it will eventually lead to such an awkward situation that she will give in and forget whatever you did. It works for me all the time. I completely believe silence is a solution to all problems. More so, you should be visually unperturbed by all the accusations being levelled against you. It just makes the other person feel even sillier about the whole situation,” explains the young model who has dated seven women since the age of 16.

Even queer couples suffer from these silent wars. “My boyfriend and I have broken up multiple times. We get back eventually though. I am someone who is always very forthcoming and I say things as they are. Rishabh isn’t like that. After being together for five years, I now know that when I call him out on his misbehaviours, his unresponsiveness is almost always because he knows he is wrong and doesn’t know how to apologise or explain his behaviour. He has cheated on me several times and every time he is caught, his response is the same: deafening silence. It’s very unfair and I sometimes lose control and scream or even get violent, demanding a response or an apology, but he just cannot get himself to say anything. He shows his apology in other forms, but it’s never enough. The next time it happens, might be the last time I have the energy to deal with these one-sided conversations,” complains 32-year-old Jaspreet.

So, is silence really a virtue? I guess it is to the side that benefits from it. The side that has to deal with it, however, surely thinks otherwise.

Names have been changed to provide anonymity

write to me at romal@paulsons.in