The Fringe is Mainstream but what about those of us always on the outskirts?

Sadaf
3 min readJan 22, 2024

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I have a very interesting life. Not always an easy life, but always very interesting. I have migraines, which mean that all of the migraine attacks are similar in some way but also different — where it hurts, how much, how quickly it will relieve, will light/sound make it worse or not etc. Similarly, I am on the outside of so many groups/cliques/communities that peering in has become quite a common position — each group I am on the outside of has different variables, but my position is pretty much the same.

I am the only muslim in most work and recreational spaces, and the only non-conservative person in many muslim spaces. I am on the outside of both heterosexual and queer spaces in some way and also on the outside of thin-privilege, rich people and academic/artsy people spaces. I am Gujarati (Sindhis converted to Muslim- memons, settled in Guj) but don’t really have a lot of cultural ties to that idea either. I unfortunately do not feel at home even in therapist circles. Being on the outside like this is a very unique position to understand fringe elements and especially when the fringe becomes mainstream, like it did today with the whole city going Saffron.

Being left out is not nice. There is a vengeance with which one wants to claw the way in. There is an illusion that we can belong or take by force what is not given and that will fill the vaccuum on the inside.

There was a time when we measured ourselves by our unity, technology, art and culture and how we were responding to social issues. Satyam-e-Vijayate ran for so many episodes, and every Sunday, we would willingly listen to a muslim guy talk to us about what is plaguing us. But perhaps we missed out on some wound processing, because the fringe was simmering all the while — and needing a cover for the uncertainty and fear — it has erupted now. Hate and garishness seems to be the norm. The glory is found in resurrecting the past rather than building a viable future.

Have we had no development? That’s not true. We can pay easily and get from one place to another easily as well. Roads, UPI, Aadhar linking — great achievements. But can we turn to the person next to us and trust that they won’t harm us? Of that, I am no longer sure.

Many of the people celebrating today do not mean harm. For them, this is just Diwali that came earlier or the building of a glorious temple. And for them actually I feel the worst. Because they are being made to de-link the tragedy of the mass murders from the celebration, much like Partition wounds were divorced from the Independence and today, we just celebrate in August, we never mourn. I wish these innocent, good at heart people knew how their Muslim friends are feeling today. Their support and celebration is being used for a larger, malicious project without their full awareness. We have all but forgotten how this land was had and the destruction and mayhem linked to it.

All is not lost though. Many clients and friends checked on me, and two of them even sent me hot chocolate and food! There are enough people both with a good conscience and a sharp sense who are not hoodwinked by all this. But this definitely is a certain moment in our history.

No glory will eventually be enough if we don’t mourn. Not everthing lost in the past can be had. But if we can mourn that, we can have a future where there can be more trust, love and solidarity.

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Sadaf

Love psychology, economics, art, music, books, poetry, blogs, cooking and select sports.A jack of all trades, perhaps master of none. Psychologist.