India: From “Darling Chef” to “Dirty Lesbian”

by Ritu Dalmia

chef

The next two years were strange for me. I had a constant barrage of nasty messages being posted on my Twitter account. Until then, I was only used to getting fan mail. I had the word ‘lesbian’ sprayed on my car window, a stone was hurled at me, a man spat at me at the Delhi airport in front of everyone… I was no longer the darling chef of the country but the dirty lesbian who had the cheek to file this petition.

Yes, there were times when I regretted my decision, when I wondered if I had acted foolishly. The strange part was that after a few agonising hours of self-doubt, I always arrived at the same answer: I had done the right thing by filing the petition, and if I didn’t do anything I had no right to complain, like Ella had said to me.

6 September 2018: It was 6 am in London – where I was on work – when the judgment was read out in the Supreme Court of India. I was stunned, shocked and so happy that my jaw started hurting.

When I had decided to file this petition, I truly did not believe that I would see a change happening in my lifetime. And on this day, two years after filing the petition, history was finally being rewritten. I am not an activist and never wanted to be one; yet for me this was my life’s biggest accomplishment and nothing else in my life till then had ever given me this sense of pride.

 
 

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