Personal Stories

My First Mumbai Pride March

I want to say Happy Pride to everyone, because Pride is not just for one day or one month, it’s for the whole life. Live your life with pride and never be ashamed of who you are.

TW: mention of suicidal ideation, suicide

Finally, it happened, Mumbai hosted its Pride parade after 4 years and it was magical. I was very excited to be a part of it as I had never been to one before. This was because I was still exploring my identity and didn’t want to come out publicly yet. But this year I was not ashamed of my orientation and went to join my first ever Pride parade.

Recently, I saw a video where people were asked what Pride is for them. There were so many different answers; some said that for them it’s freedom, equality, celebration, love, happiness, and so many more other personal values. I loved that response because pride is different for everyone and it should be, and for me, it’s all about happiness and love. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” This quote resonates with me, as there have been times when I thought I wanted to end myself. But the love and happiness around me was too strong to act on that thought. I am the type of person who enjoys their own company, and this particular quote has helped me a lot when fighting those dark thoughts that I had when I was in a bad place. Slowly, I started to love myself and found happiness in the small things that matter to me, as I realised that I was responsible for my own happiness. So, I started taking myself out instead of waiting around for someone who would rescue me. In the end, I found that I could love myself the way I am, and those negative thoughts didn’t matter to me. So for me, pride is all about happiness and love. And, that’s my reason for wanting to join the parade: to spread happiness and love to everyone who participated.

Also read: My Experience at Mumbai Pride

I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep the previous night and ended up having a headache in the morning. But it didn’t matter, as I had decided that I would still go to the parade no matter what happened. I was quite late because all my friends cancelled as they were either sick or working, while others didn’t want to be out in the afternoon heat. So, I decided to go alone. I was running late, but since I live in the western suburbs, going to South Bombay was not difficult. I caught a fast local from Andheri Station to Grant Road Station and there were many people on the train, who seemed to also be running late for the parade. While I didn’t know anyone, I could tell that they were going there.

The parade was scheduled to begin at 3 in the afternoon, and I reached there by 3:15. People were already marching and I joined them on the way. Like everyone, I thought they would start late, so I was going to reach there late. But, they started on time, and I joined in between.

It was quite funny to look at the spectators who were bewildered, while others were taking photos and videos of the parade. To me, it was magical – two long flags were there, one was the LGBTQ++ flag and the other one was the Trans Flag. I went under both and saw so many beautiful people who had turned up in wonderful outfits, unlike me who went there in a plain tee and jeans. Many different groups were advocating for different causes, some were fighting for marriage equality, and others were there speaking out for people who had taken their lives. It was amazing to see so many people fighting for the causes they believed in. I felt the love they were fighting for, the rights they were asking for, and the happiness they felt attending the parade after so long.

However, the weather was pretty humid, and the big crowd didn’t help. I could not bear the heat and eventually moved out from under the flag.

So many colorful outfits and beautiful people in the parade. It was heartening to see so many people whom I recognized at the parade. Everyone was taking photos and videos, but I was enjoying the moment walking with everyone and listening to all the slogans. The best slogan was “Prem che, Prem che, taaru, maaru, same che.” I found the whole experience so wholesome and made many new friends who are still in touch.

It seemed to me that everyone was feeling the love and happiness to be there for each other. I had a great experience, considering it was my first Pride march. I had always wanted my first parade to be in Mumbai, the city I love and adore so much, the city I was born and brought up in, and it finally happened. I cannot wait for the year 2025, so I can join the parade once again next year. I hope they have a pride walk for people who stay far from South Bombay, maybe have one in June because it will be International Pride Month. I hope those who missed this year’s parade will join it next year. I want to say Happy Pride to everyone, because Pride is not just for one day or one month, it’s for the whole life. Live your life with pride and never be ashamed of who you are.

This story was about: Community Identities Politics Pride

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A social animal who likes being alone, with the perfect mixture of sarcasm, melancholy, and bad jokes!
Jitesh K

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