Apurva Asrani purchases house with partner Siddhant, says ‘For 13 years we pretended to be cousins’
Writer Apurva Asrani revealed that he has bought a house with his partner, and that for 13 years, they had been forced to pretend that they were cousins.
For 13 years we pretended to be cousins so we could rent a home together. We were told 'keep curtains drawn so neighbors don't know 'what' you are'. We recently bought our own home. Now we voluntarily tell neighbors we are partners 💕. It's time LGBTQ families are normalised too. pic.twitter.com/kZ9t9Wnc7i
— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) May 29, 2020
Apurva is known for writing films such as Aligarh, about a smalltown college professor demonized for engaging in a same-sex relationship in secret. He also served as an editor on the first season of Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven, which featured a gay lead character.
Apurva’s post has been ‘liked’ over 20000 times, and has been received with a lot of warmth. But a glimpse of the replies to his tweet shows that there are detractors as well. “More power to you guys. Big bear hug,” wrote film writer Mushtaq Shiekh. “Congrats guys!!! So happy you look,” wrote filmmaker Nikkhil Advani. And while director Vasan Bala and Sophie Choudhry left red heart emojis, filmmaker and gay rights activist Onir wrote, “Amazing …. congratulations and best wishes for a beautiful life together in your beautiful new home.”
House-hunting in the big city is fraught with discrimination, especially for ‘bachelors’. Owing to the demand, home owners and building societies often turn down single people seeking to rent. Many prohibit tenants with dogs, and others simply refuse people from the film industry. So, it was an uphill task for my partner Sid and me to rent the homes we really liked.
The moment an estate agent saw us seeking a home together, he only showed us the run-down, ‘non-family’ accommodation. We were advised that the way to crack this ‘bachelor’ problem was either to get married (to a girl) or to rent it under my name solo, and tell the housing society that my mother would be staying with me.
At the meeting between the prospective tenant and members of the building society, I would be asked questions like what I did, how much I earned, and whether I liked parties or not. Mom would have to lie (as advised by the agent) that she’d stay with me for a few days every month.
This would usually seal the deal. “Keep the curtains drawn’, the agent would say with a wink, before he handed over the keys. Moving in was fraught with more anxiety. At what point does the other move in? When do we bring the dog? Should we just say ‘he’s moms dog and she’s travelling for a few weeks, so I’m dog-sitting with my cousin, who has moved to Bombay for a few months’?
Sometimes a neighbor in the elevator would size us up and ask, ’Your friend?’ ‘Cousin’, I’d say, praying for the doors to open.
Moving in (to a new place) was fraught with more anxiety. At what point does the other move in? When do we bring the dog? Should we just say ‘he’s moms dog and she’s travelling for a few weeks, so I’m dog-sitting with my cousin, who has moved to Bombay for a few months’?
In our defense, we keep a tidy home. We both enjoy good food and our kitchen buzzes with aromatic activity. We go to bed when most kids are getting out to party, and we rise early to the strains of light classical music.
Our dog was dignified, clean, never barked after dark, and didn’t care to bother people. We were as ‘family-like’ as the family next door, but we were still not at ease because we had to lie. We were once evicted from an apartment after a house help snitched that despite having two bedrooms, we were sharing a bed.
This anxiety went on for almost 12 years, though we were blessed with the support of our parents. After initial reservations about us not getting married, our parents had began to accept that we gave each other the very things they had wanted for us; companionship, commitment and security.
The move to Goa happened just over two years ago, at the peak of my filmmaking career. I suffered an attack of Bell’s Palsy, which rendered my face partially paralyzed.
The accompanying vertigo ensured that I had to leave projects midway, and my recovery, at one of the city’s best hospitals was painfully slow. Around the same time, our beloved canine, Doobie, was diagnosed with a malignant cancer and given two months to live. We were shattered.