Vipin | 03
Mahir narrates the story of Vipin – a dental student from Delhi. His story is of challenges he faced as a gay man in his college, his tryst with toxic masculinity since his early years, and how his father played a role in his growth as a person.
Mahir narrates a verse of poetry, written exclusively for Vipin.
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From MotorMouth Podcasts, I’m Mahir and you’re listening to Queer’s The Word, a show where I reach out to and have candid conversations with LGBTQ+ folks and bring to you their stories, experiences and everything queer.
For today’s episode, I spoke to Vipin, a student of dental medicine from Delhi; and now I bring to you the story behind the façade of his gleeful, sprightly self. His preferred pronouns are he/him.
Growing up as a military kid isn’t easy when you’re made to feel like you’re different and unlike other boys for not being good at tennis or badminton. After spending 18 years of his life living in army cantonments, Vipin believes that army dads often coerce their kids into paths that have been traditionally set and adhered to by generations in the past. An unfortunate and rather undesirable by-product of this is the bequeathing of toxic masculinity to young boys which then further manifests itself into homophobic behaviour. He said it’s particularly hard to be queer in such an environment because even if one tries to break free from the shambles of denial, they make sure you don’t. But, there’s a tinge of relief and joy in his voice as Vipin tells me that his dad realised early that his son was academically gifted and not the sporty kind and thus didn’t force any pre-determined career paths on to him.
Moving from cantonment to college has certainly been liberating on a tiny scale, says Vipin as he follows it with “It’s not the easiest being gay in a medical school.” Lack of freedom in terms of expressing oneself – may it be through items of clothing or simply by one’s demeanour – makes it more difficult for people identifying as LGBTQ+ to fit into an atmosphere that’s so restricting. According to Vipin, the crowd at his college largely consists of people who aren’t too familiar with multiple factions of society. They’re set in their ways, not very open to the idea of change and thus talking about one’s queerness is certainly a task. What he also finds unjust is how tolerant the other sections at his university get to be, but his school being a medical institute only hold talks pertaining to biological sciences. He says that little to no significance is given to the human being aspect of our human bodies. Looks of students are scrutinised to the point that one can’t even wear their hair too differently. Donning a pink shirt would raise more than a few eyebrows. “It’s a professional course,” they say as they supress one’s true, individualistic identity. But this isn’t novel to people from the community, especially those that aren’t out to everyone. Vipin adds that many queer folks have grown up with internalised queerphobia and have a side to them that tries to appear cisgendered and/or heterosexual to the outside world. He’s had to enforce that at college and it’s this duality that hurts.
It may not be all too well but it’s also not all too bad. Even though he’s a different person in the classroom, Vipin has found trust and companionship; a niche for himself with his close friends with whom he can really be his truest, most authentic self. But that’s not just limited to his college. Being an ardent admirer of Taylor Swift, and her repertoire, that he is, in the initial years of being on Twitter he would only interact with Swifties – which is what Taylor’s fans fondly call themselves. Though in the past year or two, he’s found himself talking to Indian queer folks and that has impacted Vipin for the better. He says being on social media gives you an outlet, makes you feel seen and in a way normalises your queerness for yourself by being in the midst of your own kind. It’s not easy unlearning all the bigotry one has grown up with and it’s a constant struggle. The path of accepting oneself is rough and sometimes the toxicity within the community itself can lead you to unwanted, dark places just to seek out someone else’s validation. But even in such times, it’s of utmost importance to not lose oneself.
On the other side of the break, I will be sharing with you a short poem I’ve written exclusively for the delightful Vipin.
Welcome back! This is Queer’s The Word from MotorMouth Podcasts and I’m Mahir. Today, we’re talking about Vipin and after having spoken to him, there was one particular fact that came to mind.
As represented by popular media, coming out is often considered to be a big milestone in the life of a queer person. But what truly is a turning point, is the self-acceptance or even the beginning of coming to terms with one’s own sexuality and/or gender identity. For more than half the battle is won when self-hatred and contempt take a back seat; and that isn’t an ordinary feat, which is why it needs to be joyously celebrated.
And now, it’s time for me to share with you a short poem I’ve written for our person of the day – Vipin.
yearly are cruel summers
that age like murky wine; banal
like the manor on high street with
its voyeuristic ivy embellishing rusty gold,
concealing beneath it – decades of
red heartbreaks and mean regrets;
but when the daylight comes,
accompanying it are winds of change
they mark the end of a tumultuous exile
for new romantics
forge their love stories
like a needle sewing a rainbow cardigan.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Queer’s The Word.
If you identify as LGBTQ+ and would like to share your story with us, you can reach out to me. My email address and Instagram handle are mentioned below.
I’ll see you in the next episode.
Meanwhile, you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – our handle is @MotorMouthPods
You can also check out more episodes of this show and other MotorMouth Originals on our website – motormouthpods.com
You can find music and other credits in the episode notes.
This episode was written and hosted by me, Mahir.
Sound production, design and mixing by Prateek Sharma.
Our show cover art is designed by Rishikant.
Our Creative Director is Gargie Sharma and this show is
Executive produced and created by Prateek Sharma, for MotorMouth Podcasts.