Book Review : Straight To Normal By Sharif D. Rangnekar

 Title :  Straight to Normal : My life as a Gay Man 

Author : Sharif D. Rangnekar

Publisher : Rupa Publishers

Rating : 4.5/5

Genre : Biographies & Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Format : Paperback

Price : 295

Rating : 4.5/5

About the Book :  ‘God is the reason why I am who I am.

Nature is the reason why I am who I am.

I don’t want to die because of who I am.’

As a fifteen-year-old, Sharif D. Rangnekar could not fathom why he felt aroused watching men dance in a Jermaine Jackson music video. He soon found the ‘answer’ in a book that told him that this was just a phase and it would end once he got married. He almost did. Straight to Normal is the autobiography of a gay man who had to battle bouts of confusion, vulnerability, fear, dejection and depression and also unlearn the normative definition of lust, love and everything in between, in order to thwart the desire to kill himself and find a reason to live. Through the twists and turns of hate and affection, love and break-ups, violence and near peace, he finally finds the courage to speak for himself and others like him. After several failed attempts to write this book due to the fear of the law and society, as a fifty year-old gay man who does not want to see a single person losing hope and life, Sharif has written his story where he describes how he gained an identity but lost a near lifetime, looking for love and companionship. Through this book, he hopes that anyone who feels pressured to appear ‘straight’ finds the strength to be who they are.

About the Author : A communications consultant and former journalist, Sharif D. Rangnekar uses every possible platform—talks, writing and music—to advocate change and garner support for the LGBTQ community. He is the frontman of Friends of Linger, a band that is credited with India’s first dedication to the gay community—‘Head Held High’. He curates the platform ‘Embrace: Music Justice Arts’, which blends art with social justice. He held senior positions at The Economic Times and The Pioneer, before leading Integral PR as its CEO and later as its chairman. He was named PR Professional of The Year 2013 by IPRCCA. Sharif provides counsel in the area of diversity and inclusion in workplace, specific to the LGBTQ community. He is also associated with Open For Business, a global forum that promotes such policies.

My Say : Now, that’s what they call being courageous enough to talk about your identity and opening about your life. Hats off to the author of this genuinely well written autobiography. I read this memoir in one go, and every time I was reading the next chapter, the only thought which was coming to my mind was “Section 377 affected so many lives”. I am not against of something but, what’s their fault if God has made them Gay. Why they had to hide it and, why they were not allowed to live a normal life? This book left me with so many unanswered questions.

Sharif has penned down this autobiography with the depth of his heart. From knowing about his sexual inclination, his heartbreaks and opening up about his identity to Ma, each and every moment is written with so much of honesty.

This memoir shakes you up to the core, as it’s been few hours I have completed this but, I am still in it’s impact. We all try to fit in the club of society as somehow we all are suffering from ‘FOMO’, but, in this race we forget to accept ourselves. We often neglect the fact that there is no competition. We all are different, and life is all about cherishing and treasuring the gift of being different.

In the end, I would like to recommend this book to each and everyone, as it is not just about LGBT issues, but it will take you to the world of author, where he beautifully described his journey of being ‘Gay to Normal’.

Happy Reading & Good Luck Sharif ♥️

You can buy the book from here