The memory of him walking down the street—ruffled shirt and trousers loosely hanging over a gangly body, worn-out sandals, jhola on the shoulder, a leisurely pensive walk—continues to haunt me. A lonely, pathetic figure after the suspension order from the university. I wondered what was on his mind, what his plans were, how deeply had the recent events affected him. The street with potholes wore a deserted look—dry leaves and torn pages blowing in the wind, hardly any traffic or people—and was acutely depressing. In retrospect, the foreboding of a pending tragedy.
Two days earlier, a colleague in his department phoned me late in the evening and told me that some journalists had forcefully entered Siras’s home. He was found with his partner, a rickshaw puller, in an intimate position. Photographs were taken and public shaming was planned. At the time, the university proctor and public relations officer were dining in the guesthouse some two hundred yards away. I immediately contacted Siras to verify and comfort him, only to find him shaken, unsure of himself, insecure, unable to comprehend the injustice meted out to him. Before these events unravelled, I knew little of his sexual orientation. However, I vowed to take the matter to its logical conclusion, which eventually did happen, but Siras was not there long enough to celebrate it.