“I was a kid when I told my dadi, "Aapko meri aur Preity Zinta ki shaadi mein aana hai." I feel like I was born as a part of the community. I was always attracted to girls, everything about them is beautiful. I was 100% sure about my orientation even when I didn't know what the word stood for. It came with its ups and downs, though. When I was in boarding school, I was ragged, mistreated, my appearance was questioned because I was an absolute tomboy, I was even questioned what it was that I saw in girls. But there were also a few who understood what I was going through and never left my side. Being in boarding school was frustrating, but it never let me not be myself. When I was in the 8th grade, I was asked to leave because the nuns who ran the school believed that I was committing a sin and that I was not God's child. My mother was told that I was not what I am supposed to be behaving like. According to them, there was definitely something wrong with me because I was not what I was supposed to be - a girl. I am sure it did not come as a surprise to her. She decided to take me out of that system and provide me with a more accepting environment. I was 13, the age where one starts to mould themselves to a personality which stays with them till the very end. You are not even supposed to be around a company that will not let you be who you truly are. College was a similar experience. None of my serious relationships worked out because my partner’s families weren’t accepting or familiar of the concept. There were some teachers who held it personally against us, which reflected on my grades. I was humiliated for my designs and other factors which led to me repeating an entire semester. It was definitely not an easy ride but issi na naam hai zindagi.

A mother always knows. Maa knew I was different even though it was not openly discussed. With her, everything is very transparent, till date. She is my happy bubble and is very supportive of my relationships. She’s a strong pillar in my life, my best friend who knows everything about me, almost! We got even closer after my dad passed away. Papa, I think would not be very comfortable with my orientation. We had a very different equation. I was still growing and figuring my set of morals and by the time I actually understood things, it was too late. At times I feel like, I should have spoken to him before he left. I should have let him known what was actually on my mind. Tried to understand his perspective on this. Not being expressive is one major drawback of mine. If something is bothering me, nobody knows. I would always try to resolve everything on my own. I am not fond of keeping a journal and have never been comfortable with therapy either. So it was always just within me. I have a tendency to show myself to be strong. However, I am a very emotional person. Incidences stay with me for a long time and then later the minutest of the things trigger me and there is an outburst. Well I now share more to certain people in life whom I trust and bother once in a while with what’s on my mind. The minutest of the things stay with me for a long time. If at all there is anything I can't do, I just think of my papa. There was not one thing he didn’t manage to accomplish, which pushes me to do my best and makes me feel like I can do it too, after all I do have his genes!

Growing up, I would always compare myself with boys. I would think, why am I not like a guy? Why am I not developing in that way? I knew somewhere deep down that I don't want to be a girl. I am very masculine, even in the relationships that I have been in. Even now, when it's just my mum and me, I feel like I have to be the stronger one, the more masculine individual. I am planning on going through the surgery soon. It has been on my mind since I was 17. I have done my research, and I am still sure about it at 25. I just want to start living as who I’ve always wanted to be! All of my experiences have shaped my life and my choices. I always say, life is so unpredictable, and NOW is the only time you have under your control. The sooner you start doing everything you’ve always wanted to, the more things you can tick off from your list. We all know, time and viruses wait for no one. I’m sure each one of us have our own set of experiences, insecurities and limitations, making us all fragile in a certain way but it’s how we deal with it that makes all the difference.”