Sayanthika, a student of Journalism from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, is a budding journalist, a poetess, and a performer. The chirpy 26-year-old woman believes that her life is like a rainbow, so she leads a colourful life. The first pride show that she had attended was in 2015, which incidentally also happened to be the first pride show that RJ Shilok Mukkati had attended. Sayanthika has considered Shilok a source of inspiration ever since.
When asked to define herself in five sentences, she starts with “a poet”, stating that everything she is today has come out through poetry – be it her sexuality, her opinions on social issues, and even her personal life. For her, everything is best expressed through poetry. When asked, several times, as to why she is unabashed and vocal about her sexuality, she states that her sexuality needs to be asserted in these times and is, hence, open about her identity as a lesbian. Sayanthika had discovered her sexuality at the age of 24, and while recalling her adolescent years spent in Gwalior, she mentions a four-year-long distance relationship with a boy, one that hadn’t led to any sexual exploration.
She also speaks about the incident that changed how she views herself. She shares with us the fact she is a rape survivor. The aftermath of the incident was an extremely difficult time during which she went through therapy for PTSD, trying to put behind days when she was locked up and grappling with moments of self-injury. Having overcome stormy days, she feels the need to come out and speak up because she feels this would make us not victims but fighters, or survivors. Opening up and talking about one’s own experiences is a form of therapy in itself. Sayanthika fought long and hard, staying all by herself for 8 months, and was later taken to a doctor with whose help she spent years in counseling. Here she found the strength within her to start again.
After moving to Bengaluru, she tried exploring her sexuality and felt more attracted to girls. She recalls her experience of falling in love with a girl here. Although she never dated her, the girl became her mentor and guide; she taught her what it is to come to terms with herself and her sexuality. She made many friends over the years and also came out to her parents by sending them clips of college poetry shows she had performed at. She clearly remembers how her mother spelled her out on being gay in a funny experience in Goa. She feels she is blessed to have supporting parents and believes that familial support is essential for members of the community to accept themselves. She stresses on the significance of members coming out to share their stories because a number of us go through the struggles but keep mum due to societal pressures and norms. She feels that the time is right for us to stop keeping quiet and to voice out our stories. Which is why she performs – not just for being vocal to herself but for being vocal for all the women who need that push to come forward.
Sayanthika is currently pursuing a triple major at Mount Carmel College, where along with studying Journalism she is honing her writing skills as well.
In her life, Sayanthika believes that she has not only fought for but also found happiness, and that poetry and her true self have been the twin foundations of that happiness. In this interview, Sayanthika urges women to come out and speak about their experiences as there exist platforms that lend a patient ear and are willing to help out.
Listen to the fascinating conversation below: