I was born as Bhushan to an Indian father and an English mother, but my mother renamed me to Bombay because she loved the place. When she re-named me, she had stayed in Bombay for almost 10 years and had fallen in love with everything about it. The beauty of the fast-moving, overcrowded, busy, old yet new lies in its spirit, in its people. The best thing about Bombay is the way it stands united in each calamity and each disaster. Nowhere across the world would you find people who work from 8 am in the morning till 8 pm in the night, and are out to party from 9 pm till 12 am. Nowhere across India would you find rickshaw drivers more educated in life than you and could teach you a lesson or two on humanity.
My mother loved sitting at Juhu beach and just listening to the waves of water. She had come to India as a Business Consultant for a project in one of the top IT Companies of India located in Chennai. She met my dad in the same company and same project and fallen in love with each other. They were also in a live-in which is totally a taboo in the country, they told their neighbors that they were married otherwise they wouldn’t have found a place to stay. At least that’s what my mom told me
They called me Bhushan after my grandfather but then my mother moved to Bombay for work and my father had gone to the US for a few years. In his absence my mother took the liberty of making me more awesome by calling me Bombay! So that’s the history of my name.
Well I traveled to India last year, to celebrate an awesome decision made by the Indian Supreme Court legalizing homosexuality. I traveled with my boyfriend – Johan, who was visiting my home country for the first time. He didn’t know that it would take less time in the flight than on the roads, he didn’t know that Mumbai (Earlier Bombay) serves vada paav (a Mumbai specialty, a fritter filled with mashed potato loaded with spices placed in a bun) with raw red chilly powder, which proved to be a nightmare for his tummy, he didn’t know that the smell of spices in some markets could bring tears to the eyes not only because of sheer joy of looking at something so colorful, but also because they irritate the senses, He didn’t know that my mother had prepared her special fish curry as a surprise for me (that’s the thing about mothers, they surprise you with things you miss the most and things that are your favorites). Last year, I told my mother about me being gay and to say she was shocked would be an understatement. She was shocked and sad and disappointed, she thought I had a choice and I made the wrong one. But then, I gave her some time alone and some other food for thought, like articles from doctors and psychologists, which gave proofs that homosexuality is not a choice, it’s something you are born with. I am lucky that my mother is an educated and empowered female, she took it in good stead and accepted me the way I am. This was the first time she would meet my boyfriend.
My mother is my inspiration, she took life in her hands and made it respect her. She worked hard to raise me, after my father left us, she worked day and night to establish herself as an entrepreneur. My mother, did not even know how to turn on the stove, my father taught her all that and today, she owns a seafood specializing restaurant called “Bombay Luncheon”. My mother was supported by my father’s mother, my grandmother. She was a true feminist and said, “If women don’t stand up for each other when they need each other, there is no point of fighting with the other gender”. My grandmother was extremely fond of food, she believed that food should be pleasing not only to the eyes and the taste buds but also to the soul. She was a vegetarian, yet the choices of food she had were numerous. She didn’t eat non vegetarian food, but she made the World’s best fish curry and my mum learnt it from her. We never had any money troubles because she supported us monetarily. She stood beside my mother to let her become a restaurant owner. I wish my grandmother could be with us, but she passed away few years back, after living a long and pleasant life for almost 95 years. I was so proud of her on her 94th birthday, I pledged I would myself follow her lifestyle someday.
….to be continued