It was an innocuous matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper like millions others – a boy wanting to get married and settle down.
Only, this Mumbai man – Harrish Iyer (36) – is seeking a suitable proposal from another man!
In what is billed as perhaps India’s first, Harrish’s mother Padma (58), placed the ad in Mumbai tabloid, Mid-Day, on Tuesday – and it caught wildfire on social media networks.
“Seeking 25-40, Well-placed, Animal-loving, Vegetarian GROOM for my son (36, 5’11”) who works with an NGO, Caste No Bar (Though IYER preferred),” proclaimed the unique, trendsetting ad.
While one response screamed “Way to go Aunty Padma, Very courageous, Mid-Day,” another lamented “Disappointing to see preference based on caste”. A a third compensated with “Big Hugs” to the 58-year old prospective mother-in-law, Padma.
Waiting in the wings for a suitable male match, Harrish is no stranger to name and fame, though his mother justified the ad contending that the concerns of a gay offspring’s mother are the same as any other parent.
A well-known LGBT activist, he runs the NGO United Way of Mumbai and was listed No.71 in the World Pride Powerlist 2013 – the only Indian in the coveted list – an honour he shares with prominent gays like Sir Elton John, Martina Navratilova, Ricky Martin and the like.
The previous year (2012), he also appeared and campaigned vocally for the rights of sexual minorities in Aamir Khan’s “Satyamev Jayate” show.
With the reactions pouring in from all quarters – and even the global media jumping on the bandwagon – the Iyer mother-son duo is confident that a match would be soon possible.
They also plan the marriage as a traditional, ritualistic, vegetarian affair, though they are also keeping all options open for the probable groom’s choices and sentiments.
Getting the ad published was not a cakewalk for Padma in a country where homosexuality is still illegal and a social taboo.
After most leading media houses rejected it, Mid-Day said ‘I Do’ to Padma, with editor Sachin Kalbag throwing his weight behind the venture on grounds of always supporting equal rights for everyone, regardless of religions, caste, sexual orientation, colour and the like.