Being the vehicle of change

Remember Kirron Kher in Dostana? A typical Punjabi mom who has a hard time accepting her son Sam aka Abhishek Bachchan’s sexual orientation. She makes an all out effort including using emotional atyachaar and jhaad foonk to ‘treat’ him and bring back to ‘normalcy’. But to no avail. With some help from his best buddy Neha, she comes to terms with the fact that her son is gay.

But what about a middle-class mother in real life who learns that her son is a homosexual? How is she supposed to react and tackle the social stigma attached to gay
relationships? City-based Amita Sharma was faced with the same dilemma, whose son confessed to her that he prefers men to women.

“He had tried giving me hints many times earlier but I just could not understand. His cousins would make fun of him and tease him and I thought they were just joking. Then one day, amidst all these jokes, he confessed. I was shocked and started crying,” Amita shares with Metrolife.

Throughout Dostana, Abhishek and John Abraham’s ‘relationship’ forms the basis for humour. The portrayal of homosexuals in Hindi films, too, generally is also either cliched or brought in for comic relief alone. Remember Kal Ho Naa Ho?

For Amita too, gay relationships always meant fun. “I had seen gays only in films and it was always depicted humorously. My son, who had just cleared school when he spoke to me about the issue, was until then always aloof and rarely mixed with other children. But I could not sense that this could be the reason behind it,” says Amita, who was recently awarded the IBN7 Zindagi Live Award for accepting and respecting her son’s sexual orientation.

One year after this confession Amita, who had been widowed 15 years ago, managed to understand that homosexuality is not a choice but a reality for many. “I did not even know the meaning of gay. My son said, ‘I’ll talk to you after you’ve cried’. Thereafter, he told me that there is nothing wrong with it. He showed me a lot of documentaries and talks shows on homosexuality. My sister stays in London, I spoke to her and she too pacified me saying that it is not abnormal. It took me around one year to come to terms with it.

“Initially, I was like ‘don’t tell other people’ but my son said he wants to be open about his sexuality. A lot of friends and relatives who use to tease him earlier are no longer bothered. After a lot of emotional turmoil, my other son has also accepted this reality,” she adds.

Five years on, her son, now 22 runs a restaurant, has a boyfriend and plans to get married. “He made me understand that two lives would be spoiled if he were to marry a girl. That is when it struck me that it is best to be open about the issue. I asked him what about kids, he said ‘We’ll adopt’.” A role model indeed!

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