The year was 1991. Vivek was eight. He realized he was gay. Only he didn't: he just figured that he wanted to be different. And that he was in love - for want of a better word - with Deepak, his best friend. Then Mast Kalandar released, with Anupam Kher playing Pinku, a stereotypical gay character. And Vivek realized he didn't want to be Pinku. So he tried to walk differently, gesticulate differently, and speak in as gruff a voice as he could - all to avoid being Pinku. Funny, poignant, heartwarming and heart-breaking all at once, this is a memoir of growing up gay in India in the 1990s, with Bollywood, books, and the Bombay sea for company.
So Now You Know is a memoir written by Vivek Tejuja & published by Harper Collins. The author has worked with books at Flipkart and now at Verve magazine, and writes regularly on books and the experience of reading, notably on his blog, The Hungry Reader.
I haven’t read many memoirs but when I came to know that Vivek was coming up with one I was immediately excited to read it. The book beautifully describes growing in the 90s realizing you’re gay, surviving through school & seeing movies where you see there is minimum representation whatsoever & even when there is, the said character is caricaturish. He wrote about every single experience of his in detail and how it shaped his life. If you haven’t yet realized why representation matters, this is probably the best Indian book you can read to understand this.
This is my last review of 2019 and I am glad that I am ending my year on such a great note. There very few Indian books out there which actually tells you how does it actually feel growing up knowing you’re gay & how the people around you makes you believe that it’s wrong or immoral. What does it do to the psyche of a child is an important question to ponder upon. Even though it’s a memoir but Vivek’s writing is fresh and it immediately makes a bond on a personal level with the reader. I can’t recommend this enough. Please read it.