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When I saw that I was bleeding, I fled the restroom.

In 3rd standard, during an exam, I went to use the restroom & suddenly I was dragged into the cubicle by a senior student unknown to me, who used to play football. I had no idea what was going on with me when he attempted to violently penetrate me; the next thing I knew, I was in excruciating pain. He became afraid when I yelled out of pain. He released me with a warning not to tell anyone about what had happened. When I saw that I was bleeding, I fled the restroom. Blood was sliding down my thighs, staining my sock.

I attended an all-boys convent school in Delhi where I found

myself feeling timid, often subjected to name-calling & bullying due to my skinny build & darker complexion. Phrases like "Faggot," "Chakkha," "Hijda," & "halwa" became all too familiar in the school corridors.

I never told anyone, including my parents, about what happened to me because I wasn't aware of it at first. There was no question about reporting it to the school because I felt like I had done something wrong. Questions like "whom should I tell" & "where should I go" were on my mind. The experience traumatized me so much that even going into the washroom or being in secrecy became challenging. I was in constant fear that someone was staring at me. This fear stayed with me for quite some time, eventually affecting my studies.

When I gained access to the library, I started reading about abuse & consensual sex. After reading the material, which helped me understand what happened to me in the past, I felt relieved & started gaining courage. With this newfound courage, I came out to my elder sister & to my parents. It was like I had finally released a burden I had been carrying for so long. However, my parents believed it was just a phase that would eventually disappear with time, but I am thankful that they never tried any corrective methods or therapy.

I got through difficult times & found my passion in art. Spending most of my time in the art room, I organized school events & planned the stage, which helped me gain confidence. After completing school, I enrolled in NIFT Delhi, an institution that values diversity and individuality. Here, I felt comfortable enough to be vocal about my sexuality & began coming out to my friends & acquaintances. During my time at NIFT, I studied for 4 years & illustration was a part of my course. I developed a unique style during those years, which was based on my previous experiences. I started to focus more on single figures, which I named "LOLA" art. The idea was inspired by the feeling of loneliness & being left out. Every time I started a story with the use of black & white, symbolizing the feeling of being ignored by people.

As I progressed in my life, I started using various color mediums such as markers, watercolors, acrylic colors, and mixed media in my artwork. Later, I also explored digital design in my art. Being a solitary person, I have noticed that acceptance can make you more open, & this is reflected in my art progress over time.

At NIFT, we studied the human body, anatomy, and subcultures, including kink arts. When my parents saw this, they realized 'aisa bhi kuch hota hai' and became more accepting. Now, they are supportive of me attending pride, dressing up for events, and carrying a big rainbow flag, without questioning my expression. I ensure they are not troubled by my actions.

I don't like to advertise myself when I am at work; I just focus on my job and be myself. Dating is a tough aspect of my life because, in Delhi, people are either afraid of my sexuality or just interested in sexual encounters. Basic decency and communication seem to be lacking, so I am more focused on my work. I have a group of friends who join me in my workouts, and we talk about dating scenarios, sex life, jokes, and have open conversations during our weekend meetups. I am now open about discussing my past abuse and the related trauma. Although I have come a long way, those experiences have greatly impacted my life. I try to raise awareness about sexual abuse, emphasizing the difference between good touch and bad touch, helping others avoid the same misery.


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