The party has moved out of town. The recent raid of a private queer party in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has brought to light a new trend among the gay community of the Capital. According to the police – that raided the party — a number of gay men from Delhi were also present there. Though Saharanpur may seem like an unlikely venue for Delhi’s revellers, the Capital’s gay community says partying at such venues is now quite common.
On New Year’s Eve too, several gay couples headed to nearby destinations such as Jaipur and Rishikesh. “There wasn’t much happening in the city this year, so, I decided to go to Jaipur. Besides being a quick drive from Delhi, my partner and I could go to a nightclub and not worry about being recognised by someone,” says Varun Chopra*, 27.
According to most the choices for gay men in the Capital were limited, especially on New Year’s eve. “Considering most clubs wouldn’t allow just men in, our choices were limited. There were only two parties in town — of which one was at Orange Hara, Saket. I went there at the last minute, but most of my friends had taken off for the weekend,” says Sachin Gupta.* “I know friends who’ve gone on weekend trips to Pataudi and rafting camps near Rishikesh. In Delhi’s clubs, if it’s not a queer night, then it can get ‘uncomfortable’ for gay men in groups,” says Arjun Kapadia*, 26.
In fact, these out-of-town parties are arranged by Delhi-based organisers. “There are now parties happening in smaller towns around Delhi. Even resorts from places like Dehradun and Chandigarh have approached me to arrange getaways. Usually, there’s a party and two-day stay,” says Manish Sharma, an event organiser. Mohnish Malhotra, a Delhi-based gay rights activist who organises events for the community explains, “Dos such as the one at Saharanpur are not formally announced, information travels word-of-mouth — but they usually get a good turnout,” says . Malhotra, however, is optimistic that things are changing. “With a lot of mainstream clubs in Delhi opening up to queer parties, the frequency of such dos might not be very high in the near future,” he says.
*Name changed on request