Editor’s Note: Sibling support

Published on Aug 05, 2022 09:03 PM IST
Patralekha and Parnalekha Paul show how a sibling’s non-judgmental support can make tough times easier
In this week’s a Raksha Bandhan-timed HT Brunch celebration of siblings: Actor Patralekha and her sister Parnalekha Paul (Tushar Bhardwaj)
In this week’s a Raksha Bandhan-timed HT Brunch celebration of siblings: Actor Patralekha and her sister Parnalekha Paul (Tushar Bhardwaj)

Talking about his experiences of coming out, an old college mate told a group of us the other day: “I admitted I was gay to an older, much-married friend of mine, who took a night and all of next day to process the information. He told me the next evening that all was well, that it’d be our little secret, but oddly, he refuses to acknowledge or discuss my love interests since then…

“Another friend behaved exactly the opposite,” my friend continued, “This guy’s straight, but now that he knows I’m not, he wants to know everything about how gay people live their lives: how we meet people, who’s ‘the man’ and who’s ‘the woman’, and has even taken it upon himself to find me a life partner!”

I’m reminded of this anecdote as I edit the cover story this week, a Raksha Bandhan-timed celebration of siblings. Actor Patralekha’s sister Parnalekha Paul came out to her as bisexual and took her by surprise. “She had so many boyfriends before that I almost didn’t believe her,” says Patralekha. But, unlike my friend who seemed to tread on broken glass every time he chose to speak his truth, having a sister to share her insecurities with, without the fear of being judged, must have been such a boon for Parna.

Sisters Parnalekha (left) and Patralekha Paul always have each other’s backs; On both:Outfits by Malushree Ruia; Jewellery by Bling Sutra; Shoes by Zara (Tushar Bhardwaj)
Sisters Parnalekha (left) and Patralekha Paul always have each other’s backs; On both:Outfits by Malushree Ruia; Jewellery by Bling Sutra; Shoes by Zara (Tushar Bhardwaj)

“I was 18 when I accepted my sexuality, it was very organic and natural and I never felt ashamed about it,” says Parna. “But it was crucial I come out to someone I feel absolutely safe with. And Patra has always been my safe space.”

On her part, Patralekha says, “I knew the challenges of coming out. My roommate in Assam Valley School was gay, and I’d had long conversations with her about how difficult it is to come out. I was aware that sexuality is a spectrum, and not something one can change or do anything about… So, I made sure I was there for Parna.”

The two sisters appear on the much-coveted HT Brunch cover just a few days before Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of sibling love that’s slowly evolving from being about a stronger sibling protecting a weaker one to one that celebrates a bond so strong and secure, one hopes everyone is blessed by it.

Also in this issue: PVR’s joint MD Sanjeev Bijli, who travels the world searching for good cinema, tells us how it’s the season of music biopics…

Our Social Media Star column converts itself into a listing of those musical meme-makers who take the news of the day and turn it into a parody (Ranveer Singh’s bum, in this case).

And, unable to contain their excitement over Lollapalooza coming to India, Team Brunch’s resident millennials, Karishma Kuenzang and Urvee Modwel, debate on whether the world’s most famous music festival is worth the high price.

Let them slug it out… both will be there, I’m certain!

Jamal Shaikh, National Editor – Brunch and New Media Initiatives, Hindustan Times
Jamal Shaikh, National Editor – Brunch and New Media Initiatives, Hindustan Times

Follow @JamalShaikh on Twitter and Instagram

From HT Brunch, August 6, 2022

Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Jamal Shaikh is National Editor - Brunch and New Media Initiatives at the Hindustan Times. He is a well-known TV host and magazine editor, who has launched and edited the Indian editions of Men’s Health, Robb Report and Discovery Channel Magazine. He tweets and Instagrams @jamalshaikh

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