“I also realized that mentally and psychologically, I was more woman than man,” he said.
“My problem was more than the rest because I was a cloistered gay. The Jatra company showed me the door when the ‘master’ learnt that I was gay. In the 1960s, preference for the same sex was something no one even knew about. I was not surprised,” he said.
“People who organise the Shitala show in different neighbourhoods told me that there is no play, no script, the way one is used to in jatra or amateur (urban) theatre. They said, ‘we’ll tell you the story of the goddess, and you can take it from there’,” he said.
He understood the details, the character, the make-up and he created Shitala by himself. He used to play the goddess saga for Rs 40-60 at different places.
He gets Rs 1500 per month from the West Bengal Government as a fund for ‘distressed artists’.
“Intense and ongoing struggle has been a part of my life. One struggle is the outer one- to earn a living, alone, forsaken and forgotten. The other is the inner struggle with my sexuality, my alternative preference that I needed to hide from everyone. It has been a lonely journey but it has been on my own terms,” he sums up.