DaShanne Stokes once said, “Love should never mean having to live in fear”, and rightfully so. Pride month just went by, and we cannot help but stay in the awe of reviewing the journey of the entire LGBTQIA+ community to date.
Recently, Spill Your Thoughts came across a wonderful couple who has not only seen the highs and lows together but has also witnessed their development through the years as an entity, unwilling to give up on each other.
Inder and Ashish are Indian natives who started this beautiful chapter of their lives nearly 8 years ago when they met in the IT hub of India, Bangalore. However, we’re all familiar that everything in life is not as easy as making lemonade. The couple is no exception. They had their own fair share of challenges and hardships that they went through to become what they are today.
We interviewed them to get insights into where they started, how they came to be, and where they are today. Let us dive deeper and get to know them closely!
Contrary to what one would expect, their early lives were not very similar, except for the fact that they both had to deal with a couple of difficulties of their own. They told us that Inder had a tough childhood and was forced to mature way before his age. After the death of his father at the naive age of 3, Inder was traumatized. To get past the financial restaurants of his family, Inder started seeking employment opportunities when he was 14. He had to compromise with his higher education to become the “man of the family”.
Hailing from slums, it was difficult for Inder to get over the constant battle, both on his inside and outside. He was still trying to figure out what it means to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, while people around him continued to cast slurs on him, because of his background.
After taking an ample amount of time, he realized that it is the feeling of love that matters and not the gender. And feelings are never wrong. They are very subjective to each of us. Steadily, Inder adopted a laborious approach to relieving himself of all the family responsibilities.
Speaking about his current position, Inder said that it was only after he enrolled himself at a Visual Merchandising course in London, did the idea of ‘Dkloset’ – the only LGBT store in India — ventured into his mind. Gaining all the courage, he decided to open his store in Bandra, the heart of Mumbai, and the response was overwhelming.
After the success of Dkloset, Inder decided to create a space that is safe and personal for the community that he hails from. This decision marked the birth of Rage. Nothing in life comes easy, neither did this? Even after facing months of backlash from venues and patrons, Inder did not give up. In the present day and age, Inder has had his events hosted in Top 5 Star properties, and Ashish is definitely very proud of him.
We then talked to Ashish about how his life has treated him till date. It turns out that Ashish faced the same ambiguity, struggle, and confusion trying to figure out what his feelings meant, that many young people experience. The Indian society back then was not very open and appreciative of people coming out as liking same genders or following uncommon sexual orientations.
Growing up in a hetero-normative society, Ashish never felt confident enough to describe how he felt, not to his family, and not to anyone else. To drive his mind away from all the anxiety and suffering caused by the feelings, Ashish adopted the defense mechanism and channeled all his energy into academics.
As one would expect, results on the academic front were bright.
When talking to us he also said that “There was a time when I was so desperate to fit in, I used to mock and make someone else the butt of all jokes (pretending to be a homophobe) just so that no one would suspect me and could deflect the comments coming at me.”
After months of facing an inner conflict, he came out to one of his best friends, who suggested that he gather as much information about the subject and the community that he belonged to. After acquiring all the possible information that he could, Ashish felt much better and confident about himself. Nevertheless, he pursued his career interests that took him to be a significant part of an IT firm based in Bangalore.
Remember how we mentioned that the two paramours first met at Bangalore? While Ashish was working in the city in an IT firm, Inder was invited to the city to join and participate in a pride parade. As they encountered, Inder made Ashish so comfortable about his feelings that he let all his guards down.
Ashish told Spill Your Thoughts that he believes that at times you might meet the right person but if the timing isn’t correct it won’t work. Luckily, each of them was in love with the right person and the time could not be any better.
Hoping to live together in Mumbai, Ashish came out to his workplace and asked them for relocation to the capital city. Their dream came true when Ashish’s workplace authorities obliged for the relocation. However, they were not aware of the challenges waiting for them in the following year. When IPC section 377 was reinstated, it had a negative impact on Inder’s work. They stuck through each other through thick and thin, and never gave up.
They also took their journey to social media and are supported and followed by many.
Fast forward to 2021, when the couple is leading a happy life, wanting to get legally married and raise a beautiful child together (because, of course, the paternal instincts have started to kick in!). Inder and Ashish display what the millennials call ‘true love. We wish them nothing but the best!