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When Pink Turns To Red February 16, 2009

Posted by nitinkarani in Bisexual, Crime, English, Gay & Lesbian, Times of India.

From The Mumbai Mirror:

The murder of the manager of Cinemax multiplex brings to light the murky underbelly of same-sex unions, says Vishwas Kulkarni

Posted On Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 02:41:11 AM

It seems like just another day in the lobby of Cinemax, a multiplex in Lokhandwala. Certainly not one to remind you that its 33-year-old manager, Mandar Patil, was found in a pool of his own blood with stab wounds on his head, neck and abdomen, dumped at an ice factory opposite a bus depot in Versova. Homosexual intrigue was the cause. Patil, who was married a year ago, had been harassing a coffee vendor from the food and beverages department of Cinemax. Unlike the exorbitant prices of snacks at multiplexes, the vendors themselves are ironically strapped for cash, poorly paid chaps. “Rs 4,500 is all he got, it’s a measly sum. And he was getting steadily depressed with the sexual harassment being meted out to him at the hand of Mandar. Everyone in the theatre management circuit knew that Mandar was a queen, but nobody expected things to get this bad,” said a source, also gay, from the multiplex industry who wished to remain anonymous given the shroud that already surrounds the homicide.

The coffee vendor, Sreenath Jogi, and a couple of his friends took Patil out for drinks to the shebeen in Versova village where Patil and the object of his affection often downed drinks after work. The intent was to convince him to stop making sexual advances towards Jogi. By the time they got down to explaining, Patil was drunk and raucous, the men armed with weapons; the scene turned ugly. Patil was stabbed, but still alive. Then fearful that they would be caught, the men chose to make the scene look like a gruesome murder with theft as motive, which it wasn’t.

The incident brings to light the perils of internalised oppression and how it can take on a frightening machismo that often brings to relief the fault lines of an unequal society. These blood-stained episodes send tremors through society, and both straight and queer quarters are squeamish when discussing the matter at hand because it reveals the constant tug of war between the haves and have-nots in post-liberalisation India. With gay sex as a steamy backdrop, the topic becomes even trickier. “Rs 4,500 is a ridiculously low amount of money. To succumb to sexual demands for such a paltry sum is not possible, to say nothing of how unfair it is. The incident has sent shock waves in the gay community and while nobody deserves to get murdered, one cannot push the limits with such matters in milieus such as these. This was a poor fellow from Versova village who was being pushed to the wall,” says the same source, who has moved from managing multiplexes to working at a reputed film studio.

If Patil found himself imperilled for demanding sexual favours from colleagues, Murli Gehani, a 52-year-old garments exporter, was a victim of excessive liberation. With his wife and kids in Dubai, Gehani enjoyed unlimited privacy in his apartment off Juhu-Versova Link Road. “The abandon was notorious among the community – gang -bangs, threesomes, even S&M evenings – the kink had much currency in Gehani’s love nest. Men from the slums of Mankhurd and Behrampada were often welcome to add further variety to a cast that changed every night, with ‘Mike’, as was his chatroom alias in the gay world, playing director,” says Dinesh (name changed to protect identity). The drama ended when Gehani’s throat was slashed. He was found almost 12 hours later. Broken beer bottles and condoms strewn on the floor were tell-tale signs of an orgy; the post-mortem, revealing that Gehani had enjoyed some anal sex, made it a definitive case of gay crime, with shantytown inhabitants finding themselves at an orgy that was also meant to double up as a heist.

It doesn’t take strangers to get you to find yourself at the wrong end of a sharp knife though. Cash between contemporaries can also be a killer combination, and casually engaging neighbours from a lower socio-economic stratum equally hazardous in pink Mumbai, if you don’t know where to draw the line. Makeup artist Ruzario D’Souza, who earned his time under the sun for having dabbed on rouge onto Maria Goretti, Malaika Arora Khan and Mini Mathur, had his throat slashed and his chest stabbed several times. The culprit: Naresh Narkar, a co-makeup man who also doubled up as a gigolo. D’Souza had defaulted on fees of over Rs. 50,000 for five lovemaking sessions, i.e. Rs. 10,000 per night. D’Souza, he claimed, had devoured him but conveniently forgotten the costs involved, an amnesia that ignited immeasurable fury in Narkar.

Barely a month later in the same year, 2006, Hiraji Meher, a 45-year-old laboratory supervisor from Vartak Polytechnic College, Vasai, was stabbed to death by his own ‘students’; the laboratory supervisor had an orchestra of electronic pianos that found good use at marriage functions in the vicinity, organs that found even better function at night, after hours. The ersatz pianist would lure boys from poor families into ‘Casio lessons’, promising them internships in the studios of established Bollywood music directors. The lessons would extend into porn-watching sessions and a natural consequence of such riyaz: orgy. On October 18, 2006, Meher’s Casio tuition classes hit the wrong note, screeching to a bloody climax. He invited boys from Satpati, a fishing village in the neighbourhood. After drinking copious sums of alcohol and watching blue films together, Meher began adamantly demanding sexual favours from the boys. Meher succumbed to stab injuries.

In a milieu where same-sex love is illegal in our society, outlets for gay men are startlingly limited in maximum city. For the closeted segment, the openings for sexual release are even thinner, leading to dangerous frustration. Homosexuals, sometimes out of desperation (or perhaps even lack of character) cross a precarious class divide in an exploitative manner, occasionally even resorting to harassment. This is where the trouble begins for those who need it so badly. Badly enough to die for it.

Everyone in the theatre management circuit knew that Mandar was a queen, but nobody expected things to get this bad.



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