Photographer and film student Arjun Kamath has shared a poignant photo series called ‘Coming Out’ on his Facebook, exploring the persecution faced by gay and lesbian people in India.
The fictional narrative shares the story of two women coming out to the world, from the initial moment of love and bravery, shown through the character Maitreyi leading Alpana out into a forest, to a horrific symbolic ending.
The lovers emerge from the closet, believing that the forest is a safe place.
‘It’s a free world…’
Maitreyi and Alpana find comfort in each other, and start to publicly express their love.
‘They had finally come out of the closet and now there was no looking back.’
They relax, and start to play and explore their new world.
Maitreyi gets a thorn in her foot, and Alpana comforts her.
They’re blessed by Parivala, a woman who ‘had found freedom in the forest a few days ago’.
But suddenly, the couple are ambushed by Rakshasas – the word for a type of evil in Hindi mythology – who believe that the only acceptable love is that between a man and a woman.
‘The love that brought them together, was the love that tore them apart,’ writes Arjun.
They drag Maitreyi and Alpana through the forest with chains.