England in 1968 was a culture shock in the most fundamental of ways for me. Everything was grey and dreary, so different to India.
I really stood out as the first non-white person in my school in my new uniform and beret! My convent education did not prepare me for the colourful language of the students towards the teachers. However, having travelled and lived with different cultures helped me to fit in and make friends easily. I was dubbed 'The Peace Maker' because I broke up fights amongst the girls. Oddly I was once asked to sing like Satchmo (a nickname for Louis Armstrong!). The difference between an Indian and West Indian was not too obvious to them at that time.
My Indian identity has always been very clear to me, as has my Catholic faith. As for my sexual identity, I guess I was a late starter, and culturally, it was something I never really questioned or explored. Whilst most of my school friends were getting pregnant and having ‘shot gun weddings’ I was happily playing tennis and being besotted with Doris Day.
A relationship with a woman came much later in life, with my faith and family remaining a stable and grounding force. When my parents passed away 7 weeks apart I was emotionally on the floor. I felt the need to reconcile the compartmentalised aspects of my faith and sexuality. Through Quest, a pastoral support group for Catholic LGBTs, families and friends, I have been able to have a dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy to seek recognition and provision for the Catholic LGBT faithful.