New book The Boatman explores life as a gay man traveling India. In the early 80s there was no gay scene in India. At least, that is what any foreign traveller or average Indian would have thought.
But you just had to know where to look and dare to risk and a world of unexpected delights awaited you. Whether in crowded suburban trains, where intimate body contact is assured, or in shadowy corners of darkened parks, young men were always keen to meet you in every city or town.
The Boatman (Transit Lounge $29.99) author John Burbidge became adept at ferreting out such places and made an array of contacts from all echelons of society and cultural backgrounds. Networking among gay men prior to the Internet across the Subcontinent floored him. Be it New Years Eve gatherings at Mumbais iconic Bandstand or all-night parties replete with Bollywood-style drag shows, Indias gay community found ways to come together and celebrate. Police entrapment, theft, STDs and other dangers were ever present, but the thrill of the hunt and the rewards it promised were hard to resist. Which is probably why he found himself going from sexual abstinence to virtual addiction in a few short but jam-packed years….
Written with passion, integrity and humour, The Boatman is packed with incident, anecdote, adventure and above all, real and memorable people. His story shows us how, when we dare to immerse ourselves in a culture radically different from our own, we may discover parts of ourselves we never knew existed.
Now available at bookstores, online retailers and
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