Gay hiking

Excerpt from the book of the filmmaker Onir’s first-person narrative: ‘…I Am Gay’

I also knew he was gay, although I didn’t know if he was actually dating anyone. We met one evening over wine and dinner and talked a lot. I saw his work, and since he wanted me to be honest with him, I told him it was very bad. We flirted and got a little physical with each other.

It was refreshing to me because he never talked about work or any favors he needed from me; he was, indeed, affectionate and promised to take me to his home town. We parted as friends, promising to see each other more often, and the next morning he even sent me nice messages.

Then came the shock, and my world fell apart. I got a call from a reporter saying the guy contacted her and told her I assaulted him. I would never deny that we got physical with each other, but it wasn’t true that I assaulted him.

I got intimate with him, but it was consensual. I told her it was unfair for her to make the headlines because there was no case against me and she was just doing it based on a misrepresentation. But then, yellow journalism is what it is. . .

The publication’s headlines, which ran nationwide, had my picture next to his, saying I had allegedly assaulted him. I was alone in my apartment, feeling numb, crying, blaming myself for looking for love and lust, confused as to why he did what he did.

I had never felt that anything had happened that night to make us uncomfortable. I was worried how my friends, my crew, Baba and Ma in Calcutta, my sister and her family, Sanjay and her family, Bhai would take it.

I got a call from Baba and Ma. I cried on the phone, and they said they loved me and they trusted me and told me to fight. Soon all my assistants came to tell me how much they loved me. My friends Sanjay, Mukesh Sawlani and Amar Kaushik were there, discussing how to handle the situation. My friend from Humsafar Trust, Vivek Anand, immediately offered legal help. Writing about the incident brings back the pain, even after ten years.