Subodh Rathod, 50, and Niranjan Kamatkar, 49, were married in london after nurturing a relationship for 20 years. They first met in India in their 20s, love blossomed, got married in UK and now settled with their parents together.
Exclusive Wedding Pictures and Interview at:
The Wedding Day:
Subodh: The registrar announced us as “husband and husband” – to hear those words, they will always echo in my ears. We were very lucky. And we had already exchanged vows in a ceremony in India three months after we met. In our wedding here we even incorporated some of those same vows, It was in the presence of the five key elements which are vital in the Hindu ceremony – earth, air, fire, space, and water.
We relied on family and friends to help pull the day together. It felt very much like a traditional wedding, because up until the last moment on the morning my aunts, mother and cousins were all screaming and shouting and making sure they were all ready and getting their best saris on, and at the same time making sure we were ready.
Those are the moments that you can never really encapsulate in words.
Niranjan: The spirit of the moment was so great. It defies a lot of stereotypical assumptions people have about Asian families and what they might have to say about same-sex marriages. All kudos to my mother who despite the fact her command of English is quite limited, still managed to tell reporters: “Instead of having a son and a wife, I now have two sons.” For me, that encapsulates the whole essence of it.
I said to my mother, “We’re getting married” and she said, “I thought you were already married. Aren’t you?” And we lived with Subodh’s parents since I came to England – it’s 18, 19 years now. His father passed away but we still live with his mother and we get along. One time in India Subodh had an accident, he had to give an address so he gave my parents’ address, and when I heard, I went to my parents’ place and my mother was feeding him with a spoon, taking care of him in bed.
How long did it take for you to get used to using the word husband?
We’re still not used to it! We’ve been saying “partner” for years.
How do you feel now looking back a year on from the wedding?
There’s a sense of empowerment we get just by being able to utter those words; yes, we’re married, which we wouldn’t have had a year ago. We feel the difference every day, you live the difference every day. A year on, the interactions you get from those who are aware we’re married are incredible, because they treat you slightly differently, more seriously, and we suppose it’s getting that stamp: you’re married now.
What did you love most about each other?
Niranjan: His sensitivity. There’s something very charming and delicate in his approach to dealing with any situation. He stands up for principle – I admire that even now.
Subodh: Apart from his cooking? His mind. He was the library I was always searching for.
What would you say to couples, who want to marry?
Niranjan: There is hope attached, Our marrage will allow other gay couples to make the same move. And showing it’s not just us, but we had our family members there, supporting it, so it’s possible.
Subodh: I’ll only hope that it’s something that not only other countries, but all communities, eventually learn to accept.
Niranjan and Subodh, Both from India, got married on 29 March, 2014 in front of Lynne Featherstone, the MP behind the same-sex marriage bill in London. They were among the first gay couples to marry in England.