A boy. A village. A death.


There was a boy.

There was his family.

There was a village.

There was a sheikh.

There was Islam –

There was this boy.


His memory grievously entangled itself

As a rope around his neck,

Around his neck was

A rope,

A loss,

A life, not to be lived.


There was a boy

And this boy was my friend.

We were teenagers &

He was funny,

Weirdly beautiful,

Wildly queer –


Allah didn’t approve.

The community didn’t approve.

The sheikh didn’t approve.

His family didn’t approve.

His village didn’t approve.

His entire being





And so the rope

Landed on his neck,

Somewhere inside I felt

The tightening of his life

Not to be lived,


And I can still feel the ripples

of this tragedy

Causing me pain,

Robbing me of my friend

Over and over and over again.


Reading at CEMB’s Pride event in London


Back then,

There was no word for it.

There was no word for who he was.

In my language,

They called him “Naag Naag”

Meaning “woman-woman” or “double-woman”.

Meaning he was not normal, in their eyes.


But in my eyes

He was just a funny kid!

So hilarious,

Weirdly beautiful,

Wildly queer.


Here comes the memory of the rope again,

The rope around his neck

That rope.

Me robbed.

Him gone.


Back then,


There was the sheikh,

There was the family,

There was an entire village,

There was a fuss;

There was them.


And then there was us

He made me laugh

He made me laugh so hard

I could not stop and



I was naive and ignorant and

He was unsure of his own body but always
we had fun,

Laughing and talking, and giggling, and running;

Him smiling his gorgeous smile

And his electric laughs and yes –


He was confused

But oh…… so, so, so, so lovely.


I tried to kiss him once.

Turns out, he was into the boy next door.

We almost died laughing

At the absurdity of it all.


He told me

“I don’t know why but I feel…nothing”

I could not verbalise

That I knew,

I knew he was different.

I knew that was okay.

He was my friend,

I loved him

And he made me laugh.


That rope again.

The rope tangled around his neck.

The rope,

The pain,

His face,

All horribly gone.


Every minute,

Every moment,

Every memory…….

is a union of

the rope & his character.


The rope, painful.

His character, beautiful.

His tales, strange

and told with utter wit.


The day they found him out

is another vivid

haunting memory.

They beat the crap out of him

and the boy next door as well.

They told my parents

I wasn’t allowed to hang out with them anymore.




There was a village.

And in this village,

there was a sheikh.

And there were whispers


He is gone now.

The rope around his neck

The dark mark of the whispers.

He never got a chance to find answers to his wonderment.


There was a boy


In that village,


With his family,


And their sheikh,


Within Islam.




His name was Abdi.


His name was Abdi.


His name was Abdi.

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