I was in Bombay recently between August-September 2016 after completing a year of working in Abu Dhabi and it was a much needed break (I am sure will need it more often now I suppose, given how easily I get saturated). Of course I had made a lot of plans on how I could make the most of it within the limited 35 days of annual leave. Amongst them, the plan I looked very much forward to was to meet Harrish Iyer. And after series of unsuccessful attempt, we finally decided to catch up with no hindrance.
On 6th September, while coming back from a friend’s Ganeshji’s puja in Kurla, I called up Harrish on my way, and he happily fixed the time. I reached home, got freshen up, booked an Uber Taxi and left home in Seawoods to reach Cafe Coffee Day, Kharghar . I met Harrish, draped in T-shirt and short, hair dyed with rainbow color as he was in America a month and a half back to attend three weeks of gender diversity related Leadership program and all I can say is we’d had an amazing time, we discussed several topics from women’s right to men’s right to LGBT issues and spoke a bit about ourselves as well while gulping over chilled chocolate milk and fresh fruit juice. That day he was super busy rehearsing for a play thus he had to leave a bit early, or else we would’ve extended our time. Nevertheless, it was a barrel of fun and I look forward to meet him once again when I am back to India.
What did I take away from that meeting? I found Harrish extremely down-to-earth, articulate, honest, emotionally attachable personality, sucker for radical love, blessed with a magickal ability to transmute hate into something productive and lovable, unapologetic about his life’s mistakes and very proud of his good work because he’s truly been the pioneer of changes in the social construct.
How did I get to know about Harrish Iyer in the first place? Well, I saw him for the first time in Aamir Khan‘s highly acclaimed social talk show ‘Satyamev Jayate‘ in the year 2012 in the second episode of child sex abuse. You simply type ‘Harrish Iyer’ in the google search engine and you’ll be welcomed with countless articles dedicated to him and newsfeed about his social causes (he’s managed to have a wikipedia page as well). From there on, I started following up his social work.
Most of us all are familiar with his 11 years ordeal of being child sex abuse survivor. The more you listen to his story, you find yourself choked up because the barbarity with which he was violated intensify the pain in your heart because it happened to a 6 year old boy. However, despite having been through the hellish phase, he emerged stronger as ever, to seek love and became more compassionate towards other beings. His canine pet Jimmy was his pillar of unconditional stregth who stood by him in all the highs and lows when humans could.
From Jimmy’s selfless loving service and his own abuse episode, Harrish reborn as a fearless Animal Rights Activists and Child’s Right Activist and eventually with encountering cases where women in large have been oppressed & men, now, increasingly being at the receiving end of law misuse, he’s become an equal rights activist.
Harrish is openly gay, he makes no bones about it and is proud of it. He’s experienced the worst homophobia even in the most liberal city like Bombay but those hateful experiences has never deterred his spirit and never let his mind antagonize his beloved city. He currently write empathetic and insightful columns for a lot of publications like Quint, First Post, which is well received by his readers and followers. He’s associated with LGBT organizations like The Humsafar Trust, organizes pride march with the help of other members from the community in Bombay annually, counsel people from all walk of lives who’re either a survivor of abuse or living with depression (he’s not a licensed therapist but tries his level best to comfort their bruised soul).
I am falling short of words to appreciate how good this person is. I know him personally a bit more now, thus I can vouch for the fact that he’s an individual we all need to look up to, he embodies radical love, the affection, the human we all desire to be like. It might sound a little exaggeration for many of you reading this however given the space he comes from where a person can easily break into piece out of grief yet Harrish did the opposite;
He chose love, not hate.
He chose equality, not discrimination.
He chose empathy, not sympathy
And for this I will always remain in awe of him for life.
Thank you Harrish for making this world a better place in a small yet impactful way. I’ve list of few people whom I seek a lot of confidence and inspiration from while having a bad day which definitely includes you and if I can imbibe even 1% of your qualities, I will be the most happiest 🙂
Once again, Thank you. Never ever let anything in this world dull your sparkle.
Keep shining as ever.