#PrideSpecial: There's an ally for everyone with Zubair Sher Singh Kalsia

Six fabulous LGBTQIA+ individuals write heartfelt letters to their first shoulder to lean on! Here's marketing professional and queer rights activist, Kalsia's warm words for his first ally, Neeta.

17 June, 2024
#PrideSpecial: There's an ally for everyone with Zubair Sher Singh Kalsia

My dearest Neeta Di, 

As I sit down to pour my heart onto this page, I find myself grappling with the enormity of the love and gratitude I hold. Your presence in my life has been nothing short of transformative, a kaleidoscope of joy, laughter, and unwavering support that has coloured the tapestry of my existence in the most vibrant hues imaginable.

Cast your mind back to that pivotal moment over a decade ago when I nervously stumbled into your orbit and spilled the beans about my most authentic self. It feels like a lifetime ago, yet your unwavering acceptance and infectious laughter still resonate with me today. In that vulnerable instant, as I bared my soul before you, your response was not merely one of acceptance; it was a symphony of understanding, compassion, and unconditional love that echoed through the corridors of my heart, resonating with a clarity that defied explanation.

I think back to why I found myself comfortable enough to open up to you.

Perhaps it was your encyclopaedic knowledge of the 90s divas or maybe it was your past life as a boss lady on Wall Street, exuding confidence and tenacity in equal measure.

But now, as I reflect upon our journey together, I realise it was both things and more that made you so uniquely real in my eyes.

Your authenticity, your ability to “tell it like it is”, and your fearlessness in standing up to any challenge have always been the cornerstones of our friendship.

Our journey together has been nothing short of extraordinary—a veritable odyssey filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between. From our impromptu karaoke sessions to our late-night conversations steeped in the heady brew of shared dreams, you have been a constant source of joy and inspiration in my life.

But what truly sets you apart, Neeta di, is your indomitable spirit—one characterised by a rare blend of authenticity, integrity, and fierce determination. Your “talk to me” attitude has served as a guiding light in the darkest of times, cutting through the fog of confusion, and uncertainty with the precision of a masterful sculptor chiselling away at marble.

It is not just the good times that define our friendship; it is also how you’ve stood by me through the storms. When I came out as HIV positive, your love and support wrapped me like a warm hug, guiding me towards self-acceptance and empowerment. You didn’t just witness my journey; you were an integral part of it, cheering me on with your trademark sass and style.

And so, my dearest Neeta di, as I raise my metaphorical glass to toast the woman who has touched my life in ways beyond measure, let us celebrate the bond that binds us together—a bond forged in the crucible of love, acceptance, and mutual respect. For in a world often fraught with division and discord, you stand as a shining testament to the transformative power of love to transcend all barriers and unite us in our shared humanity.

Everyone deserves a ‘Neeta di’ in their lives—someone who loves fiercely, laughs loudly, and accepts unconditionally.

With all my love and gratitude,

This article originally appeared in Cosmopolitan India Magazine's May-June 2024 print issue.

Image credit: Shradha Swaminathan

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