“Now no one will call you a criminal!”

“I always wanted to be the kind of mother whose kids felt comfortable sharing everything with. So, even when they grew up, I knew what was happening in their lives. Or so I thought…

One day, when Ribhu was 25, he came home and said, ‘Kuch batana hai!’ I was convinced he’d found a girl for himself and was ready to settle, but the conversation took a different course when he said, ‘I’m gay.’

I blurted, ‘Are you sure?’ When he said ‘yes’ my heart sank. It was a lot to process. At first, I refused to believe it. And then I started thinking, ‘What will people say?’ We come from an orthodox family in Bengal. Moreover, my husband was a government employee and back then Article 377 was still functional.

I didn’t sleep that night. The next day, I tried to reason with him, ‘Maybe it’s a phase? Meet some girls, you might like them.’ But when Ribhu firmly said, ‘You can choose to not accept me, Maa. I’ve found a family in my queer friends, but don’t belittle me like this.’ I stopped. The next morning, Ribhu left for Mumbai for work.

After he went away, I tried talking to him, but in vain. Even if he did answer my call, he was disinterested. I could see my son slipping away. So, I called his roommate to get through to him, but he gave me a reality check– ‘Aunty, he just wants you to see him like you did before, as his son and not as a gay man!’ That stirred something in me. I’d disappointed my son and I needed to correct that.

And then, a month later, the verdict on Article 377 was to come out. Coincidentally, Ribhu was coming home that day. So, when the verdict was favourable, I was overjoyed and called him up; he was still on his way home. I told him, ‘Now no one will call you a criminal!’ He was surprised; he had no idea I’d been following the proceedings.

Then his father and I made a placard that read, ‘My son is not a criminal anymore!’ When he entered home, I hugged him tight and said, ‘I love you son, I’ll always be proud of you.’ It was an emotional day for all of us. 3 months after his confession, I finally saw my son smile again. Ribhu came out to the world that day!

It’s been 3 years now and I’ve unlearned and learned so much. In fact, I speak to parents who have trouble accepting their kids. Someone had done it for me once, I’m just trying to pay it forward. But there’s still a lot that I still have to do– once the pandemic ends, I’m most excited about attending my first pride parade!”

1 Comment

  • The way you write make it very simple to read. And the template you use, wow. It truly is a really good combination. And I am wondering whats the name of the design you use?

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