While most people have alarm clocks, I get to wake up every morning to "gay ma*****od, good morning".
It is, I grant you, not the usual, but there it is.
I was one of the first early Twitter users from the film fraternity. And back then in 2009, I thought I was going to enter a world where people liked me, knew me, knew my work - it was going to be fine! All about the love, not the hate. And it was. At first.
But then started the phase where I began to wake up to "gay ma*****od, good morning". Every morning. Or just "hi gay". I am routinely called "chakka". Every so often, I'm told I'm a transsexual/transvestite/sister-shagging homosexual, which is actually, if you think about it, a contradiction in terms.
And I've tried to figure out what's behind the nonstop trolling. I've discussed it with friends, family, even my therapist. Why is it that every time I put up a pouting picture on Instagram, I'm just called chakka, gay, I'm told "chup kar ch***ye? That's my favourite, by the way. My absolute favourite. Anything I ever say, these three golden words are thrown at me.
So I'm back at my therapist asking what is it about me that makes people abuse me. I understand I'm not the most masculine human being, I'm not the most macho stud walking the block, and I also understand (even if I think it's ridiculous) that if you're seen as a little effeminate, you're made fun of. And I know I can be sometimes, especially when I dance. (When I dance I forget what happens to my hands and feet, and it's a bit of a problem. You see, while in my heart I feel I'm matching Vyjayanthimala and Hema Malini step for step, I also know I'm coming across as a strange caricature of a Hindi film heroine. On acid.) Then there's the fact that I pout and I can't help it because I want to suck in my cheekbones, and then my lips protrude (and I do have kind of luscious lips), and there I am, and I can never smile for a picture again. If I did have a six-pack to show and a great waistline to put out there to the universe or beautiful muscular legs, then I would not have to pout. The only thing I have going for me is a jawline. And dammit, I will use it! And so, ok, when I do, my eyes on their own sort shift to a half-lidded, Blue Steel type stare, but well, it goes so well with the pout. Of course now I've reached a point where I no longer know how to smile for a camera. It has become a disorder: I call it poutitus. (Maybe medical science could call me since I'm so good with the diagnosis?) And since I am so afflicted, I clearly deserve the trolling I get daily.
Only, of course not.
I realise that I'm kind of everywhere: I'm judging a reality show, then I'm dancing on it (which I really need to rethink); I'm hosting a talk show; I'm directing movies; I'm producing movies; I'm writing. So is it my over-accessibility, my sometimes unjustified affability, and my constant availability - the reasons I am so regularly trolled?
No, of course, it's not. As the famous line goes, I do know it's not me, it's them.
I went through the stages, the three emotions: anger to indifference to high levels of amusement. At this stage, frankly, I'm almost excited to be trolled, or I would be were it just about the trollers and their sad little minds.
By the way - it's not like I consider being called gay an abuse or a bad word (though I am intrigued - endlessly - by the equally endless obsession with my sex life. Or, umm, lack thereof).
What gets my goat is the misogyny therein, the sexism that's so rampant. The ability to hurt and wound.
Take Anushka Sharma, what did she have to do with a lost match?
There's a particular brand of pervert just looking to hate, and they're often drowning us out in the din.
My therapist says I should write it out, so Dear Troller, here's what am I saying to you:
You're probably as unattractive as you seem to think me. You probably hate my selfies, because you don't love what you see in your's. You obviously have no job! And your solution to life's frustrations is to take it out on me (and a few unlucky others). And now that we have the pleasantries out of the way, I want to tell you that you don't actually disturb me any more. What would disturb me was if I allowed you the smallest amount of influence over my life.
"Good morning, gay m********" is now my wake-up call. I used to wake to a more standard, let's call it sun salutation, but now there's something new and I am getting used to it.
And so even though you don't deserve it, I'm going to share this with you: I do realise that famous people are the most annoying to those who aren't.
What you don't realise is that with a certain level of fame and celebrity come deep levels of insecurity and anxiety which none of you accounts for. Everyone thinks I land in a chopper on top of my building and I have the most cushy existence. Could you understand that I might have the most messed up life myself? That I am probably in bed lonely most nights, sometimes even crying myself to sleep. I acknowledge that I am materially privileged, but I am not emotionally privileged. There are reasons for me to be lonely and sad on most days and I am probably as sad as you, the troller.
The difference is I energize myself and my surroundings with a certain amount of positivity and optimism, and all you do is hate.
I maybe as sad as you, as lonely as you, as messed up as you, but here's what I also know: I'm just a lot nicer than you.
(Karan Johar is one of India's best known film and television personalities)
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