On his sixteenth birthday, Ashutosh was given his first gift: a gold chain with a pendant. It was bought by his mother. The pendant is inscribed with the letter A. “In my background, Indian people love gold. They wear gold rings, gold nose rings, gold bangles”. Wearing it round his neck to this day, Ashutosh’s declares “I am very near to my mother.” He is reminded that “as a teenager, I did not know anything. . . my world was the family, the gift was a lot for me.” To earn the money needed, “I know how she gave me that gold chain, and how hard she worked in a school.”
For the last eight years, Ashutosh has faced many difficulties living in England, and unlike the curls and links of his gold chain, his sexual gay identity remains hidden except to a few close friends and family members. Constrained by “an Indian mentality”, gay people “don’t feel good about themselves”. He is protective of his parents in India, he is reluctant to be more open about himself and fearful of the impact on them. “So whatever I am, I have accepted myself. Proud of what I am. I am not going to change it. There is no question in my mind.”
Ashutosh means Lord Shiva, and for Ashutosh this is a blessing. He is blessed by his name and his gift. His mother’s love for him will never fade or diminish in its glorious, golden splendour.
Ashutosh, 31, Indian, male, b. India