In-Between by Roshan Morve and Surbhi

Love is love. It should not be in a binary form so the sexualities. The idea of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ always comes in between, so the struggle keeps on going. The small village is known by name as ‘Sangharsh.’ In this village, everyone is doing sangharsh i.e. struggle in their lives. Many people are doing farming and some are working on wages in other’s farm. There is very less number of rich people, who are having the property. About 90% of people are dependent on 10% elites.

In this village, many communities live together. There are two different communities who share bonding with each other. Though, they are living together with the objection of other religious people. Many tried to apart them but fail to do so. These families never bother about anyone and live with harmony. They used to share many things together. At the age of thirteen, the little charms growing day by day named Alia and Karuna. They are neighbours and happy to learn, eat and go to tuition together. Alia is an eldest in her family and Karuna is a younger girl in her family. Alia has only one brother and Karuna has two brothers. Most of the time, Alia and Karuna like to spend together and happy to live with each other and want to hang out all the time. It is their daily routine, after taking the breakfast they meet each other and go to attend the school and then tuition.

Alia and Karuna love spending their time with each other. They love sharing food, mood, conversation and what not. Their love begins in the history classes as they both do not like studying history. History is a subject where they feel bored and want to go out. But due to strict rules in the class and fear of parents, they do not dare to bunk the class. But they used to discuss their life “(love) history” very seriously. Their love story starts in 2008. It is just after their lunch period. Alia used to sit next to Karuna along with another fellow. Rotation of seats used to shift often in a week. The unaware feelings were growing-up day by day. The sort of attraction towards each other was quite uncertain. The concept of ‘love’ was not known to them. Their love was as new as they were in that stage. They are started getting close as they prefer to sit together. As how Karuna and Alia are good friends like that their family also have friendly relations. Thus, there is no restriction for going to each other’s house. As there is only a wall boundary, after crossing it, the world is for them only. Karuna feels that she likes to wear t – shirt and ‘male’ kind of outfits. However, on the occasion of Diwali and Eid festivals, they celebrate these together with the family. They purchase the new dresses on these festivals. However, they both like to have shirkhurma, laddoo, sevai, anarase, and other delicious dishes. While eating, they never bind any restriction and enjoy different cultural foods. Since childhood Alia and Karuna have been feeling the discrimination of being a girl and that they do not like. Their experiences with their families are the same with both of them. Their family gives preferences to all boys then their numbers come in any issue. But was this the reason where they have sympathized with each other? Because of this attitude, do they fall in love? Who knows the reason …. Or love does not want the reason to love someone …??? There are so many questions, those remained unsolvable ….

Due to viral fever, one day Alia fall ill. She has a fever and after two days of fever, she has hospitalized for more than four days. As in this village, there was no hospital available so her father takes her to the city. During that time, Karuna feels so depressed and anxious. She could not go to see Alia daily because Alia has hospitalized. After the blood test, it has diagnosed that Alia has a dengue. After knowing this news, Karuna becomes more stressed and worried about Alia. Karuna is not having a proper meal at home. Her mother is observing it and she tells to Karuna, “My child, have a proper food on time. Alia will be cured soon and she will come back to play with you. I know you that she is your good friend. Her family is taking care for her so, you do not to worry. Karuna asks with a slow tone, “Can I go to meet her at the hospital and stay with her?” Mum replies, “No, no need to go, you just attend the school and take care of yourself. She is coming back after four days.”

Karuna is counting the days now. She sits alone on the bench and feeling alone too. On the first day of Alia got hospitalized, Karuna was crying. But slowly-slowly she is trying to get normal. These days were so difficult to pass. After the fourth day, Karuna hears that she got discharged and coming back. Alia’s father has booked a small van for her. He has no money to pay. Karuna’s father helps him to bring his daughter back and Alia comes back to her house.

The number of lessons and home works Alia has missed due to her sickness. Karuna wants to help her in this regard for completing her home works. Karuna writes her homework and teaches her some lessons too. After this care and love, they are feeling so comfortable with each other as usual. Now, their relation is taking a new turn in their life. They both like to touch, to feel, and to have their company.

The age is so small where they have started attracting to their adult relation. The little tree of thirteen years old has grown up now. The journey of immaturity over maturity is begun to fight. They completed their matric exam; Alia gets good marks than Karuna. Karuna gets very fewer marks where her family annoying on her for getting so low numbers in the matric.

In all subjects, Alia got first class so, here, Alia and Karuna get apart here. Karuna’s life shifting with so many changes with their relations. She has gone and Karuna falls for her over and over. Alia’s personality is all that Karuna observes and Karuna loves too. The way she used to walk and talk was very attracted towards Karuna. Mostly the people around Alia, they always support her back because of her kind behaviour and maturity. Karuna is affected by the most influential drug; this drug is “love” where Karuna never wants to go out of this.

Now, Karuna stands up like a young-grooming girl. She is with her and her study is all along. With a bit pressure of intermediate Board examination land-up in her life. Karuna wants to join a coaching center so, she asks for her where she used to go for tuition. Alia suggests that to join the coaching with her. Karuna happily joins the coaching center with her and so she is happy too. Fortunately, she gets more time to spend with her. Time passes and feelings are so immense accordingly. Her mid-term result declares and so un-expecting things happen in 2009. She gets scolded by her my parents because of poor results. As she was not studying well. Just right after the result, she takes admission in some other coaching center, but their feelings was all there with her all the time.

But fortunately, after one year, Alia’s father took the admission in Karuna’s college. Alia’s father has no money to spend on education. They are happy to study in the class. Finally, they come together in the same college. The college and have started their love relation. Now, they are growing up, as how the branches of the trees have been growing. They are well mature enough to understand everything. Alia says, “Your love can never be ordinary as you are! It’s even hard to remember and to forget you as well. Since from the day I started knowing you, the so unremarkable journey of my life started to begin with. And I think….”Karuna is so obsessed about Alia too. If any boy will see her, she does not like it and she becomes so possessive. One day, Alia wears a new dress on her birthday. She comes to the college, and sits on the first bench where everyone is looking at her. She is looking so pretty. On that same day, one boy proposes to Alia and Karuna comes to know about his proposal. Later Karuna requests to that boy tell him that “Do not follow Alia, her father is very strict and they can beat you till die. It is better for you to keep a distance.” That boy tries to see Alia but unable to tell anything to her. So, he just comes near and tries to help her. Even when he talks to Alia in the absence of Karuna. In that evening, they celebrated the birthday where Karuna gives her android mobile as a gift and here Alia kisses to Karuna. Alia likes that very much. They share their numbers and Alia took many photos on that mobile. All their memory captured in that mobile. From that day, they start chatting on whatsapp. They like chatting till late night but secretly. Slowly – slowly, their relation is becoming strong. In their love story, they do not understand when the final exam dates have knocked on their door. The exam is about to start before summer days. During exam days, they used to share one bed. In one night, they both cannot control themselves and start kissing. Karuna touches to Alia and she likes her touch. So many things happen in this night. They took many photos and share each other. Whenever they have some feelings, then they send photos. Sometimes, they have video calls too. Through the wahtsapp video calling and Google videos they anyhow become satisfied.

Here, Karuna’s feelings get involved in after and after. She just lost herself in her world, where she never wants to come out. Two years went off in her love only. And now they are two years old in their relations. They both have fallen in love. Mutually, they get involved with each other. In between, many problems come, and they fight for small – small things. Many times, misunderstanding happens and they get separated but there was energy which makes their relationship even stronger.

Alia is splendidly well with her co-curricular activity and that was one of the reasons Karuna should proud of. At this time, Alia is known by many. Their friends like to see them together. Not only we love to be living together, but also people love to see us together. The most important thing which actually Karuna wants to emphasis upon is this sort of attraction towards girl and girl is highly not accepted in this India. Still, India has its own issues to those we have not come out from caste and gender-related issues, then how this relation will be acceptable in the society? Karuna thinks that it is not easily possible to society for accepting this girl to girl feelings and relation. This kind of natural attraction is taboo in Indian society. People do not take it casually, they might say this is abnormal and disease still today. The many questions arising like: Is it a disease or dismantle act? Do not we have the right to love to whom we want? Do not we have the right to select a person with whom we want to live with them?

But Karuna was fortunate enough to not to be recognized as abnormal neither she. Most of the people were aware of but never say unexpected things to them (not being particular). But what if they would know their relation? Will they treat the same as now how they do? How we can prove their relation? Why do we need to change our relationship for our family and society? Why do we need to change our intimacy for others?

Now, they are in their pubic age. They are well matured. They do not have any religious boundaries nor any gender issues. Even they do not accept caste and gender issues. They are two angels, who meet on the earth and start to dream about their relation. Their relation has become so strong and now they are a soul mate. They have selected their ways and now they are not seeing back. Love need not be perfect but should be true and pure. So, as Karuna is expecting. But on that dark day, it goes wrong and gone mess up everything. Karuna says, “I cried you cried, I ignored you ignored, I moved on you moved on!!! I would have been always anonymous if I would not have fallen in love.” Karuna is so thankful to Alia but who knows what Alia does feel? Does she really love to Karuna as how she is doing? Or Alia is in a dubious condition?

Alia does not like to continue her intimate relation with Karuna because of her family pressure. As her parents decide a groom for her. The boy is from her mother’s relation so, he already knows Alia and he accepts the marriage proposal also. One day, he comes with her parents to see Alia. They bring lots of sweet and give to them. The boy’s name is Khalil. Khalil is so smart and a successful engineer. Alia’s parents are happy with him and accepts him as their son in law. Now, Alia has no any excuse to give to her parents. She finishes her college education and now she has no escape. They have forcefully arranged her marriage and start marriage planning. They select a boy from the city, he is well earned and they believe that their Alia will be safe with this guy. At last, Alia is not sure about her identity. She does not accept her real identity and trying to be with her parent’s decision. They have started the marriage party. Karuna does not know about Alia’s situation. She cannot resist to her family. Her father is so strict and she knew that they will kill her if they know the relation with Karuna. Karuna is in her own world, she is so upset about this marriage. She writes a message to Alia for running away from the home and we will live together in another city where no one will ask them about their relation. But Alia is not responding anything and she has blocked her number and blocked on whatsapp. Even she deleted all her messages and photos. Karuna thinks that Alia has ditched her. The love has gone somewhere else from Karuna’s mind. After the message, Karuna’s mother asks her to cook something for the guest. Unwillingly, she is cutting the onion like she feels cut the body parts of Alia. But she does not express anything in front of the family. Her suppressed desire makes her so weak day by day.

Here, Karuna is in a pathetic situation. She does not understand anything what to do. She cries and cries many times but no one is there to listen her voice. However, after the marriage, two years have been passed and Karuna wakes up. Slowly – slowly, she has built a relation with a boy from her college. One day, the common friend of Karuna and Alia, Suja came and tell the story of Alia. Alia has divorced her husband because he was abusing her and dominating. They do not have good bounding of understating. Now, Alia is confused about the relation, what to do? To accept Alia or that boy? However, she is asexual or bisexual? She does not know anything. Is this duality happened because of the pressure of the mainstream? No one knows about it. There was a touch, and feeling in between. She feels and accepts the touch of her only but now there are boundaries. The boundaries are for them not to accept. Now, she feels attraction with male and she has male friends too. She feels more comfortable with male friends than females. She is trying to avoid making female friends now. Feeling terrible about females and believe that females are cheater and they do not deserve for the love. After seeing the rainbow, Karuna says that this is the world where I can imagine with seven colours like a human races!

About the Writers

Dr Morve Roshan K. has been working as a Lecturer, Teacher, Tutor, Volunteer, Editor, Writer, and Translator for the past 7 years. She is Honorary Research Associate, BU, United Kingdom. Recently, she has joined College of International Studies, China. She has been awarded PhD degree from the Centre for Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, Central University of Gujarat, India on 26th November 2018. Also, she has awarded M. Phil degree from the same university and the centre in 2014. For M. Phil and PhD, she got awarded UGC Non-Net Fellowship. She has completed a project as a Research Assistant, where she has completed a project on “Gender Rural Development” funded by GIDR, Ahmedabad. Her last employment was at Children’s University, Gandhinagar as Guest Lecturer. Her expertise areas are African literature, post-colonial literature, gender studies, cultural studies, British literature, women studies, critical theories, diaspora studies, folklore Studies, English, comparative literature, and Islamic Studies.  She is the editor of Culture and Heritage Journal, Rajshahi, Bangladesh and sub-editor of Prachya Review based on Bangladesh. However, she has shouldering the responsibilities as a core editorial team member of Café Dissensus (Spain based) international magazine. In addition, she has been working as Freelance Editor. She is famous as a poetess, novelist, editor, translator and writer. She has a great contribution to edit and translate books from English to Marathi language. As a chief editor and translator, she has published 74 Children’s Literature books from Emesco Press, Hyderabad, India. She took part actively with her research works in many international symposiums and conferences. Also, she has presented papers in the collaboration of many countries: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Maldives, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. She is a familiar in an international arena for her research with high impact factors.  She is co-author of books: The Criticism of Annihilation and Compassion in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847) (in 2018) and co-edited book Identity Negotiations and Marginality: The Theoretical Perspectives in the Contemporary Age (India in 2018). She has published 17 articles in international journals UGC based journals and high Indexed journals. Also, her 2 poems and a short story have published by reputed magazines (USA based) and international Journals. Morve Roshan K. has presented 24 papers in national and international conferences, seminars and symposiums. She got 9 travel grants from national and international government and other institutional organizer’s bodies. Her interview (The interview taken by Mehedi Hasan and Dr Md Habibur Rahman) on “The History of Bangladesh” has published in the Daily Ittefaq Newspaper Press, Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2017.

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Surbhi is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, India. Her interest area is gender and sexuality. She is working on urban lesbian in India. 

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