Our Self-Written Obituaries – Lesley Esteves, Alaknanda

Our Self-Written Obituaries – Lesley Esteves, Alaknanda

The 43rd death.

[Text by Lesley Esteves; photo by Shuddhabrata Sengupta]

Lesley Esteves, who passed away at 82 from complications of type 2 diabetes, grew up in Mumbai and later settled permanently in Goa, but spent the prime years of his adult life in the capital, from ages 23 to 45.

Much of the Delhi years were spent proclaiming to the world as loudly as possible, his lesbian sexuality and genderqueer identity, for more than anything, Esteves craved the oblivion of the ordinary. The ordinary ability to walk down the streets of Shahjahanabad unremarked upon; the bland freedom of being frisked at IGI airport without ever having his chest felt up; to hold a girl’s hand in Central Park, Connaught Place, with no one taking notice.

To live that dream, she spent the first half of her life destroying silence alongside her comrades on the struggler’s footpaths of Central Delhi, where change is impossibly slow, and always within reach. The second half was spent in that longed for ordinary oblivion, that face where male and female coexisted, turned firmly away from the eyes of this gawking world. A life of blissful quiet in which the despairing, defiant, proud voices of queer people forever echoed loudly, as they always have and always will in Delhi.

He is survived by his partner and daughters.

Our Self-Written Obituaries invites people to write their obituary in 200 words. The idea is to share with the world how you will like to be remembered after you are gone. (May you live a long life, of course!) Please mail me your self-obit at mayankaustensoofi@gmail.com.