#PrideSpecial: There's an ally for everyone with Sushant Divgikr

Six fabulous LGBTQIA+ individuals write heartfelt letters to their first shoulder to lean on! Here's actor and performer, Rani KoHEneur's warm words for his first ally, Jui.

17 June, 2024
#PrideSpecial: There's an ally for everyone with Sushant Divgikr

To my beloved Jui, 

I was attending a lecture in conversational English on a hot summer day in Mumbai when I first saw this bundle of joy giggling away at anecdotes our beloved teacher, Ms Padma, was giving us.

There you were, my then-potential BFF Jui Biswas. You had the most hilarious laugh, which was contagious—and I would keep looking at you. I was in awe of how purely you displayed every emotion.

I hadn’t spoken to you just yet (we were not in the same class), but then we were at the Yoga Center in Santacruz, Mumbai. Once again, we connected on similar things that were both funny and intriguing.

Then, one fine day, we were teamed up together by one of our teachers, a young Brazilian Yoga guru who happened to be camping in India (thank the lord for that).

Well, that was the moment, and the rest is history.

From there on, you and I started having fun, just like best friends do together. And mind you, I was still not VOCAL about my sexual orientation and gender expression.

I thought my friends would just KNOW!

Sooner than we realised, we were in the last year of college. We had already made after-college plans—we chose psychology to major in.

Finally, after all the years we had been in college, we were in the same class...it was like the universe was fighting to make this happen!

“We were destined to be best friends,” you once shouted in between a random psychology lecture—trust me, I will never forget how cute that was!

You had a hint about me being gay but had never spoken about it until, one day, I came to class with my eyes red after having bawled all night!

You saw me and your jaw dropped because I was never the one to be upset...I was always the life of the party.

You came close to me and looked at me for about two minutes, then went ahead to give me the biggest hug. That was enough for me to know that you will always be there for me.

I hadn’t told you about my break-up with my then-boyfriend, but you just KNEW! I felt blessed knowing that I had an angel who knew how I felt without me even telling her!

I came out to you the very next day and you said: “I don’t need to be Einstein to tell you’re gay. I am your best friend...I’m not your best friend because you’re gay or straight, but because you ARE my best friend.”

You also joked how we could now check out boys together and what a relief it was for you.

We hugged and that was that! My first ally! I hadn’t come out to my parents yet. You were the first one I said the three words to: “I AM GAY”.

I will NEVER forget when you said, “Don’t tell your parents without me being there! I’ll be by your side when you tell them in case you need moral support.” We sat and made a list of all the things that could happen if I told my parents about my sexual orientation. When we discussed the possibility that my parents might ask me to leave the house, you said I can stay with you till we start earning and then we can live together. Uff!! God bless your innocence and pure heart.

The plan was to tell my parents that same month. However, that’s when I received a call from you sharing that you were down with malaria, were hospitalised, and wouldn’t be attending college for a couple of days.

My hospital visits with our other classmates Brinda and Niyati became frequent. Then one day, we got the news that your condition was serious and you were not breathing well. We were shocked because you, my Jui, were fine just two days ago.

Everything escalated in no time. Before we knew it, there were several complications and negligence on the part of the hospital. And just like that, within a week, we lost you.

Jui, I am crying profusely while typing this because we couldn’t even hug you one last time. But, I know you are always with me in my heart. You are one of the biggest reasons I am what I am today—fearless and a QUEEN!

You told me to always know that you are going to be with me and you love me.

I look up to you, Jui, now literally AND figuratively. I bow to your love and heart for holding me and fixing me when I was broken. I am so happy I could be in the presence of your love and kindness.

I wish you were here today.

I did well, Jui! I promised you I would do exactly this and here I am.

I hope you’re proud of me, my JuJu.

Until we meet again,


This article originally appeared in Cosmopolitan India Magazine's May-June 2024 print issue.

Image credit: Shradha Swaminathan

Also read: This Is My Coming Out Story

Also read: LGBTQ+ activist Aditya Tiwari talks about growing up queer in a small town in India