Reader || fellow bookstagrammer || Queer || Funny Boy
Cj Mitra, a cis gender gay male who loves to read Indian fiction, queer mainly. His page has introduced me to some very underrated Indian queer reads.
I started following Cj back in 2017 when I was new to #Bookstagram and started talking to him about book recommendations. He is the one who introduced me to one of my favourite Indian queer books, Cobalt Blue, a love triangle involving a sibling duo (brother-sister) who fall in love with the same boy. Trust me when I say this, a lot of Cj’s posts are saved for my never-ending TBR.
He knew about his sexuality at a young age and started working towards building a community at the age of 16 in his city, Allahabad, since then he has met some pretty amazing queer folks who have come together and formed RAQS which stands for Resistive Alliance for Queer Solidarity which is a community formed to educate people about queer issues.
He often talks about how he wants people to be more proactive and take it as their responsibility to educate themselves about the queer community and help raise voice about issues and stand by when oppressed. Something I agree with and have taken it on myself to do my best to understand the community better and support in every way I can.
Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar
Same-sex Love in India by Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai
Criminal Love? By R. Raj Rao
A life in Trans Activism by A. Revathi
Baby by Abha Dawesar
Eleven ways to love - Essays by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan
About the book
Funny boy by Shayam S
A story about a boy who is fighting his inner thoughts about his sexuality and likes, this book is about a boy who loved to dress up as a child, and the book talks about the boy’s development as a teenager and what his mind goes through as he looks at other people get married, the book also covers a very important topic about the Sri-Lankan riots during the 1983 when families were uprooted and had to seek for refuge in other countries.
The book talks about Arjie, the protagonist coming of age story until his family and him take off for Canada seek refuge.
It starts from Arjie was kid and loved to play ‘bride bride' with his female cousins to where he starts to think about his aunt as a bride and how her wedding would look like and slowly beginning to hear the tension between Sinhala-Tamils but not understanding what it was about and why it existed.
After being transferred to a boys school where he can try to get more guy friends and not be ‘weird’ his father thought, but that is where Arjie meets Sheehan. His first sexual encounter which makes him realize which tunnels Arjie into an emotional rollercoaster trying to figure out if he liked it or didn’t just cause everyone around him thought that it was wrong but got around to realizing that it is something he liked and looked forward to for a next time.
Read further to know more about Arjie and Sheehan and about the riots in 1983.