Meenukal Chumbikkunnu: Are we ready to talk homosexuality yet?

Author of the controversial novel Meenukal Chumbikkunnu on moving away from male-centric narratives

Arya P Dinesh Published :  26th May 2017 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  26th May 2017 06:00 AM
Meenukal Chumbikkunnu

Meenukal Chumbikkunnu

As a writer, one of the questions Sreeparvathy had to encounter in the recent past is about her willingness, or unwillingness rather, to write about sex. As her novel centred around homosexuality continues to be one of the hot topics in ‘God’s own country’—owing to a renowned educational institution’s reluctance to hold the book’s release ceremony—the freelance writer-turned-author is pensive as she sits down with us for an intimate chat. Her brand-new book published by Kothamangalam-based Saikatham, is an enquiry into the 
complexity of emotional bonds as it revolves around the lives of two women who meet on social media.
“The story occurred to me as I listened to the experiences of my own friends who are in same-sex relationships. While they live amongst us, talk and behave like us, there’s a certain dream-like quality to their lives. It’s almost as if they’re living in a parallel world,” begins the Kochiite, elaborating on the traits of kindness and vulnerability that’s intrinsically associated with women. Though the idea of male and 
female-centric emotions are no longersolid, given the movements revolving around gender, the public’s reaction to Meenukal Chumbikkunnu has raised some serious questions pointed at the reality of Kerala’s outwardly progressive pro-LGBTQ+ outlook.

All for love
While the responses to her book vary from ‘intimate and emotionally haunting’ to ‘why don’t you write more realistically’ (read ‘befitting the explicit narrative deemed necessary for themes related to sexuality’), Sreeparvathy is nonchalant. “We are so used to the stories where love is reduced to a mere celebration of the body. I wanted to go beyond that and explain the sheer simplicity and beauty of a touch,” she shares. The 30-something adds that, though a majority of readers wants her book to conform to the male-centric narrative, which often dismisses a woman’s point of view, there’s also a section who don’t want to associate with it in any way. “Some would rather have us stay silent about subjects like this, let alone engage with it. Ultimately, it’s about letting somebody else have an opinion,” says Sreeparvathy, when asked about the recent event cancellation fiasco. According to her, the 128-pager is about trying to shed light on the fears and grievances of the homosexual community as they battle with themselves and the society they live in. “The core idea here is love. Everything is built upon that,” shares the writer, who is currently working on her next book centred around the myth of Kali.

Paperback from `110