Queer Ink India, the publisher/retailer in India of all things gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender launched their first ever book of queer short stories in India. Edited by lesbian writer/journalist Minal Hajratwala, the book contains a selection of 30 stories from people within the LGBT community, representing a broad spectrum of the ‘queer community’.
Actor Nandita Das – who acted in Deepa Mehta’s Fire that explicitly explored gay relationships – was there at the launch at Crossword, Kemps Corner, Mumbai to lend her support. She is also featured in the book in the chapter ‘A QueerkInk Conversation – With Nandita Das and Chitra Palekar’.
After the initial introductions a few of the writers from Out! read a part of their story to the audience to give them a taste of what to expect in the book. Varied and wonderful, vivid and a bit raunchy would describe most of the tales. Both Nandita and Minal answered questions from the audience about sexuality, how things have changed over the years, how Fire was a film that perhaps contributed to that change, how gay men and women write differently and how gay people in India are more integrated in society unlike in Western societies where you can find ‘magical gay ghettos!’
That an event like this can take place so openly at a ‘mainstream’ book store says a lot about how much we’ve progressed, we just need to get over some of the stereotypes that we’re so used to.
Actor Nandita Das said a lot of sensible things at the event like: “You can get away with hating people but you can’t get away because you love somebody,” talking about how difficult it is for same sex relationships to thrive. Take a look at the video below to find out more about what she said.
Check out the video of the event here or on youtube:
Some of the writers reading out a passage from their stories: