A Cafe Of One’s Own

আমরা অদ্ভুত /’amra odbhuth’/ ‘We are queer’. And there is now a café in Calcutta for those who know or imagine themselves to be odbhuth/queer: the Amra Odbhuth Café, in which people of various hues gather to talk about, and work on, dismantling identities and transforming them on the ground, at homes and offices, in the streets and markets, on buses and metros. It is not easy, this breaking and making – and so is this café not a place of easy refuge or leisure, though it aspires, among other things, to build a shelter for the homeless and threatened queer, especially older trans people – with mattress, sheet, towel, food for each, but most of all a place to find a sense of security and belonging in – wrought from every drop of sweat shed and every rupee hoarded through personal- and crowd-funding. So difficult is this space of coming together, in fact, that even on Café Special days, when the room is crowded and humming with bodies and voices singing, dancing, talking, eating and drinking, agitation and exasperation often mark interactions that teeter on the edge of explosions, both of love and of discomfiture.
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