LalitVashist was a handsome young man. A bit effeminate,perhaps. He had no shortage of lady admirers. But he preferred the men. Lalit was gay. His elder brother, Mohit, was settled in the USA and doing well as a Computer Programmer in Texas. Originally from Delhi, Lalit had joined the Advertising profession and fared well for himself. He had moved to Bombay two years ago. His boss, Arvind Seth, a married man with two small children, was his lover. Lalit had flings with other men and boys too. He was not one for monogamy but very much into having multiple partners albeit, discreetly. He was not faithful to Arvind! In Bombay, Lalit lived in a rented one-bedroom, with a hall and kitchen, flat at Mahim. Arvind sometimes stayed over, telling his wife that he had to go out of town on work. Lalit’s workplace was at NarimanPoint.
Lalit’s father, Sunil Vashist, was a failed businessman. He had folded up his small-scale industry in Thane and returned to Delhi, where he took to religion. His wife had died five years ago. Sunil owned an apartment in Greater Kailash, which he gave out on leave and license. He terminated the agreement and moved back in. Donning on ochre robes, with a thick beard and long hair, up to his shoulders, Sunil set up his religious order. He called himself ‘Swami Chintamani ‘ and gave discourses on Hinduism; its varied and multiple nuances – after reading them up. Learning and acquisition of knowledge, in any case, are never original. Before long, he had a small flock of devotees. He had cultivated, right at the start, the wife and daughter of one of his neighbors. It is, ultimately, the “chelas” (disciple s) who make the “Gurus ” (Masters) fly! The mother and daughter went about singing his praises. Everyone wants to know the future, although it comes soon enough. They projected ‘Swami Chintamani’as not only a learned exponent in the Hindu scriptures but a palmist as well. It was a good life. Soon enough, ‘Swami Chintamani’fell prey to the pleasures of the flesh. The young girl, Malti, began warming his bed in the nights;sometimes, during the days also. She was twenty-two years old and impressionable. Malti was totally captivated by her’ Swamiji. ‘ This resulted in a scandal. Sunil could no longer stay in Delhi. He was hounded out. So, he returned to Bombay to stay with his son Lalit allowed him to use the bedroom while he slept in the hall. Sunil was aware of his younger son’s homosexuality, although Lalit was then still “in the closet” and had not come out in the open…
A week later, Malti arrived in Bombay! Lalit, of course, was aware of his father’s liaison with her. They took the bedroom. But, again, a scandal erupted about this relationship between a middle-aged ‘sanyasi ‘ ( monk) and a girl, young enough to be his daughter. Sunil confronted his son. He was aware of Lalit’s sexual preferences and also of his torrid relationship with Arvind.Sunil threatened that he would make this public and even tell Arvind’s wife and children. Lalit had to marry Malti to stop the gossip. After a few months, he and Malti would go away elsewhere, and Lalit could divorce Malti.
Having no alternative, Lalit had to, grudgingly, agree to this temporary arrangement. But he made it clear that there would be no physical relationship between him and Malti. And so, Lalit and Malti were married in an ‘Arja Samaj’ ceremony as per Hindu Vedic rites. She spent her wedding night with her ‘Swami Chintamani ’in the bedroom while Lalit was parked in the drawing-room. The arrangement continued quite smoothly for about two months until one day Sunil died suddenly of a massive heart failure!
Lalit was stuck in a farcical “marriage” now. Malti tried to activate his libido, but he detested the very sight of the naked female form. It sickened him. Instead, he encouragedMalti to sleep with other men. She had a few sexual bouts with oneHanif, an elderly businessman from Powai. Hanif was married. He also had a daughter older than her. In great details, Malti wouldrelate to Lalit about her steamy sessions with Hanif to try and arouse him. But Lalit was just not interested. Arvind was suspicious and getting even more possessive. He was jealous and refused to believe thatthere was no physical relation between Lalit and Malti, although Lalitavowed that they were like brother and sister. She continued to occupy the bedroom by herself.
Lalit was in a bind. The first task (home-work) I give to all my clients is toprovide me whatever information, however insignificant or even perverse, about themselves and the opponents. I needed to know, primarily, the strengths and weaknesses of the other side, as well as of the personsI am representing, in order to decide the strategy. There had to be totaltransparency with me, however sinister or bizarre. Nothing shocks me. I am a skeptic. I very well know that men and women are capable of the most heinous, atrocious, and loathsome acts. I must have every detail even before I plan my attack or defensesinceI do not want to be caught unawares. The negative points of the adversary can be used against them, whereas those of my clients had to be covered up and protected. Ifight like water; changing my tactics in accordance with the twists and turns as the matter proceeds. There is never a definite method in any of the legal skirmishes I have wrestled with on behalf of clients. Lalit told me that Malti had two sisters. The elder one was married and lived in Chandigarh. The younger sister, he confided, was bi-sexual. But, he pleaded that she should not be harmed in any way, as she too was from the LGBTQ “Gild.”
I have noted that Fate, or the Universe’s Energy plays a vital role in our lives. As luck would have it, Malti’selder sister and her spousemet with a tragic motor car accident on their way to Shimla for a holiday. The husband died on the spot. Malti had to rush to Chandigarh. As far as I was concerned, thiscalamity was a boon for Lalit, who immediately lodged a Petition in the Family Courts for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and adultery. While Malti’s romps with Hanif, and as well as a couple of other men; all married, were explicitly detailed; complete with residential addresses, names of hotels, and even exhaustive accounts of the couplings, they were not referred to as Co-Respondents, as, otherwise, they would also have to be Served. They were, however, named in the list of Witnesses, even though this is not necessary at the time of filing the Petition. I advisedLalitto move out of his apartmentand stay with friends in the event Malti agitated in the Court. This,of course ,was far-fetched. I knew she would buckle under after reading the details of her indiscretions and the exposureof her younger sister’s predilections for same-sexcapers betweenthe sheets. But, I have always contended that it is better to be safe than to be sorry. Never everunderestimate the other side. She might decide to fight back. Thebattle must be won even before it starts, as far as it is possible. A copy of the Petition was posted to Malti, whichshe accepted. Shecalled Lalit and was very upset that he had dragged her younger sister into themire. But she knew that it was not his doing and that hehad been counseledby his lawyer. Lalit was too gentle a person to stoop to such a debasing level. Malti did not return to Bombay. Nor did she contest the proceedings. Hence, an ex-partie decree of divorce was passed in Lalit’sfavour.
Lalit was now free tocontinuewithhistrysts with Arvind – and other boys and men -unhindered, especially with Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to ‘unnatural sex,’ now being decriminalized by the Supreme Court.
NOTE: ‘Rainbow Colours’ is an excerpt from my proposed book of a compilation of some of the cases I have represented, tentatively titled ‘THE PRACTICAL LAWYER.’ While the names have been changed, the events and strategies are factual.
Author: AMIT KUMAR BHOWMIK
Amit Kumar Bhowmik is a lawyer based in Pune. He has his practice including in the Bombay High court as also other High courts as well as he appears as Counsel in the Supreme court. Although essentially having his practise on the criminal side he is an all-rounder having taken up matters in the matrimonial courts as well. He is a prolific writer and an unabashed champion of women rights.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author