“Can Lesbianism Be Cured?”: Out of the Closet In a Mumbai Local

An unusual encounter in a Mumbai local train and what it tells you about the untold stories of people in the city

2 min read
Commuters disembark from crowded local trains in Mumbai (Photo: Reuters)

A million aspirations, dreams, frustrations and heartaches jam-packed into train compartments like sardines in a tin. If you’ve travelled by a Mumbai local, you’ll know what I mean. You pass through so many nameless faces, but each of them have a story to tell. And on a rare occasion you get a peek into a secluded narrative that runs through one of the occupant’s lives. Noted LGBT activist Harish Iyer recently posted an incident on his Facebook page which gives us an interesting insight into one such untold tale among the Humans of Mumbai.

Read it below:

A local train whizzes past at a Mumbai station (Photo: Reuters)
A local train whizzes past at a Mumbai station (Photo: Reuters)

Random He (around 60ish, at a railway platform): Mujhe aapka number mil sakta hai?
Me: ji zaroor.

(He feeds the number on his phone and moves away strangely as the train approaches the station)

(A big crowd boards the train and somehow we both enter the same first class compartment and pick up seats opposite to each other. He acts as if we’ve had no communication with each other. Suddenly my phone beeps - it is a text from him.)

He: You just gave me your number. I am xyz... need to ask a question about lesbian.
Me: Please ask.

He: Can it be cured?
Me : You cure diseases. This is not a disease. You just need to accept it. It is the life of our loved ones that we need to value more than “log kyaa kaheinge

He: Can you speak to my wife?
Me: Most definitely.

Can you come home? Is it too much to ask?
Me: Address and time this Sunday, so that I can come with my mother to your place?

He: xyz...yz..... I am surprised I am asking you this.
Me: I am not surprised. And I am happy to be of any help.

He: Cheers.

( We both look out of the window with a sly smile)


(Not verbatim)

I can never get tired of this city and the stories that emerge out of its womb. This city has so much to offer in terms of understanding. Not to say that there is no homophobia, but more often, love beats hate hands down here. I love this city and its people.

Needless to say... I am a proud Mumbaikar, a proud Maharashtrian.

(Courtesy: Harish Iyer’s Facebook page)

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