I don’t think I would’ve ever thought about writing an article about this, especially months after having been through the sort of Internet bullying I was subjected to, not that it made me feel any less fabulous about myself (mostly because I honestly don’t give a fuck). But I’m very well aware of what the general mentality of the entire gay community in our country is like and you might not know, but you could be affecting someone else’s self-esteem majorly and you really shouldn’t. I was blessed enough to have a childhood where my parents never told either of me or my sister that we had to be fair enough and well-built enough and good-looking enough to achieve our dreams in life. Neither of us were insecure of the way we looked, or wished for our butts to be bigger, for our noses to be longer and sharper, or for our jaw lines to be more well-defined to be successful in our life. However, the only thing we were time and again reminded of was how we had to be more focused, how we must meditate to concentrate better and never stop learning to be better versions of ourselves. But interestingly, not many of us seem to have been taught of any of this through all those years we managed to exist. Minutes after I won Mr. Gay World India in the month of January, the social media was exploding with, “He’s too ugly to represent our country”, “Oh he didn’t even bother to shave his beard before the pageant”, “He’s too dark to represent me!”, “India couldn’t find a hotter representative?” I laughed them all off! And I’m not trying to be my beauty pageant politically correct self here. Not one bit! If you know me, you’d also know how head-strong I am when it comes to sticking to my conscience and standing by what is right. And I’ll tell you why it didn’t affect me. Because I was made to feel so small each day I went to school, that nobody could’ve made me feel any lesser about me and my existence. I never expected people to find me beautiful on the outside, because it is hardly what defines me. But in the last couple of days I’ve come across way too many friends of mine who keep telling me how they don’t think they’re beautiful, and that is a problem. The way you look on the outside is nothing more than simple grooming. And all your face lifts and beefed up chests can never compensate for your inner darkness.
Nobody saw through how Mr. Gay World India and Mr. Gay World challenged traditional notions of beauty and gave everyone the right to feel beautiful about their selves. And why exactly should I feel any less pretty of the way I look? Because I didn’t fit into your stupid fucked up and limited notions of beauty? Or that you couldn’t come out of your virtual world of Grindr and Instagram filters? Come out of your little shell and let yourself be a part of the world of possibilities. Value yourself with the number of great books you’ve read over your WhatsApp texts, or the number of lives you could change for the better over the number of guys/girls you slept with (do it because you want to, not because you want to tell the world how cool your life is over theirs). You are perfect the way God made you and you don’t have to compare yourself with others (even though we’re all guilty of it). Interestingly, while I was being picked on for being way too ugly to represent India, my good friend Esteban, Mr. Gay Argentina 2016 was being picked on for being his muscular self and not being a representative of the average gay men across his country.
We live in a world today where body-image issues make up a huge part of our life, unfortunately, and that is a very dangerous world to live in. If I don’t judge you for the gazillion surgeries and implants you’ve got to achieve your perfect notion of beauty, please refrain from judging me from the surgeries I chose not to get done on myself. He made me beautiful. He made you beautiful. I am beautiful.