“You’re better dead than alive” were the words Raga Olga D’Silva’s mother said when she found out that Raga was a lesbian.
After remaining in the closet for the most part of her life, Raga decided to come out to the world through her book Untold Lies in 2019, at the age of 50.
Growing up in a traditional Mangalorean household in Mumbai, Raga says she did not know that a woman was even capable of loving another woman.
“In fact, until the 90s, my perception was that ‘gay’ was used only for a man, or to denote happiness,” she says.
In her 20s, she fell in love with a woman, but she says, “I thought it was a passing phase and something that was not normal.”
In 1995, she got married to her best friend and two years later, they had twins. The family moved to New Zealand and their marriage began to fall apart.
When her mother visited her in New Zealand, she found out about Raga’s inclination through an emotional letter that Raga had written to a friend but never posted.
As she was trying to figure out her inclination towards women, Raga struggled with guilt and the question of what will happen to her kids and family.
When Raga started to date women, she was harassed, both verbally and physically by people in the community, and even called a ‘homewrecker’.
“My life suddenly became solely about my sexuality and not the person I was,” she recalls.
In 2007, Raga met her current partner, Nicola. Dating for more than a decade ‘inside the closet’, Raga always avoided questions about who Nicola was to her.
It was on Nicola’s suggestion that Raga finally wrote ‘Untold Lies’, her story, that was taken up for screen adaption by filmmaker Onir in 2020.