Rupa Mhatre (name changed) is among the last to exit the just-arrived red state transport bus at the Mumbai Central depot. Pulling her sari over her head to shield against the rain, she runs for cover. The 49-year-old, who has traveled 12 hours by bus to meet me, begins without preamble, “I want to tell my story.” From a small village in northern Maharashtra, Mhatre is an unlikely champion of the LGBT cause. She grew up in a village without hearing of the word “lesbian”, let alone about a wider movement, until her own sexual awakening. The year was 1984. It was love at first sight. She was in Class X when Aparna moved into the neighborhood after marriage. “Our houses were 55 feet apart — I once measured it with a scale — so we would see each other every day. She was very beautiful and I was smitten,” says Mhatre.
August 6 / The Indian Express