It's Only Love

A coincidental meeting morphs into a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship between two individuals

Shambhavi Saxena Updated: Jun 9, 2020 17:56:36 IST
It's Only Love Shambhavi (left) with Kiran (Photo: Shambhavi Saxena)

I first met Kiran* at a workshop for mental health counselling in 2016. For Kiran, it was love at first sight. For me, it started only as a happy coincidence—that day, we were the only queer persons in the session—me, an asexual woman, and Kiran, who then identified as lesbian. At the end of the workshop, out of curiosity, I chatted with them** on matters of mutual interest. For a few months after this, we talked over social media—about music, food, dogs and the subject of mental health. It started out the way it did with all of my platonic friendships.

But soon things began to change. Having spent my whole life with no interest in dating or relationships, I couldn’t understand what was happening and why I was so intensely drawn to this person. Once, Kiran instinctively held my hand in an effort to warm me while I lay beside them cold and shivering—the blanket having slid off me. For an instant, forgetting all, I hoped that moment would last forever.

After six months, in 2017, we started dating. We met during lunch and after office hours, and I began sleeping over at their house. When I informed my mother of this rather intimate relationship, she said she had known about it for months. The good news—she was very supportive, as were my close friends.

I now realize how fortunate we had been in gaining their support—it allowed us to proceed with our lives without fear. Honesty was always a cornerstone of our relationship—and talking heart-to-heart also took us in unprecedented directions. Kiran, for instance, started questioning binary gender roles and politics, and soon discovered their non-binary identity.

Starting out as awkward friends, we graduated to being awkward lovers. Currently, I think we are in what can only be described as a ‘grossly married’ phase—we live together and argue most of the time about who leaves their shoes lying around, or who forgets to turn on the water pump!

Sharing a home has increased my appreciation for the more mundane bits of our lives. Sometimes, I come across Kiran slicing vegetables in the kitchen, and something as simple as that makes me fall in love with them all over again. I have also realized that even though our relationship has come a long way (over two years now), we have much to work on if we are to carry it forward. While we have got the major issues sorted out (we see eye to eye on ideological matters and our perspectives have some similarity), we need to work on the minor issues that define our day-to-day lives. We still argue about the allocation of duties, and I still get irritated whenever Kiran tries to analyze me psychologically—something they do out of habit, as a psychotherapist.

I am extremely grateful to Kiran for the opportunity to explore a fulfilling relationship between contrasting individuals. For instance, I am given to bursts of passion and temper and I am vocal about what I believe in. Kiran is, on the other hand, calm, collected and able to provide a balanced and nuanced perspective on things. While we share a lot of interests (so much so that we of- ten joke that we are the same person) Kiran is almost my antithesis, but obviously in a complementary way.

One day, I sensed an irritated Kiran and immediately started worrying about our future. I went to their house tearfully asking why they were upset with me. Kiran’s reaction was one I hadn’t expected—they admitted that they were irritated with me, but that didn’t mean the end of it all. They reminded me that there was always the option of talking things out. Never be- fore had I received such empathy—it was also the moment I realized our relationship had a future.

Empathy and humour are the two aspects that make our relationship stick through thick and thin. We revel in humour as it gives us a sense of comfort and helps us break from the stereotype of a technicolour romance, while also increasing our trust in each other. Empathy takes it a notch further. Our work often involves interacting with people from the LGBTQ community, many of whom share harrowing tales of discrimination and oppression. While this may be depressing, it inspires us to work even harder for the betterment of the community. Right now, our goal is to keep doing the work we do, and we dream of building a life consisting of rescue dogs, evenings full of laughter and, in our own little way, making a safer happier world for other queer people like us.

*Name changed upon request**Kiran prefers the pronoun ‘they’ to reflect their non-binary identity.
Shambhavi Saxena is a journalist. She and Kiran are 25 years old.
—As told to Saptak Choudhury
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