In 2008, when Mumbai held its first Gay Pride Parade ‒ billed as the Queer Azadi March ‒ about a 1,000 people showed up. On Saturday, as members of the LGBTQ community await the outcome of a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the legalisation of gay sex, the ninth edition of the march gathered almost 6,000 participants.
As they walked in a loop from August Kranti Maidan to the end of Kennedy Bridge and back again, one feature stood out: the encouragingly large number of parents standing shouder-to-shoulder with their queer children. Among them was Pradeep Divgikar, who posed proudly for photographs with his son Sushant, who had been crowned Mr Gay India in 2014.
All along the route, the marchers, accompanied by drummers, drew curious stares and amusement (especially when men with women's clothes and high heels tottered by) but nothing resembling hostility.
After the end of every pride
march, participants release multicoloured balloons in the hues of the queer flag into the sky. This year, though, several bunches of balloons had been appropriated by street kids. So the event concluded with only red and
green balloons soaring into the clouds.