I could have told Iain Lee about this had he only asked me about it. This article in The Independent by him took me back to some two decades or so. What the reporter found was exactly what I found too.
I was visiting a number of places in the UK and Europe, while my brother Barath normally resident in Edinburgh then was to meet up with me in London for a last night together before I left for India the following morning.
I reached London in the evening and checked into the Grosvenor House where Barath was also to check in later. When he did, the two of us met up with some other friends for a couple of drinks at the bar and then went off to a Thai restaurant in Soho that Barath was fond of. We had great food there and it was about ten in the night when the two of us quite maudlin with a lot of booze inside us walked back to the hotel talking about how we will miss each other from the next morning. I was hugging Barath as we were walking and that is when we experienced homophobia, that must have been fairly common in London then and now this article tells me is so even now.
A group of four young boys, could not have been more than just out of their teens started abusing us and making obscene gestures at us. I did not quite register what was happening because it was a strange English that they were speaking, and thought that it was Paki bashing, which too was quite prevalent those days London. The street fighter in me took over and I was ready to pile into the four and asked Barath if he was game for a bit of a dust up. He was saner and told me to ignore the youngsters and explained that they thought that we were queers hugging each other. So, I turned to them and tried to explain that we were brothers and this for some reason made them even more obnoxious! Barath pointed out that I would miss my flight if I landed up in a police lock up for the night and that we should just ignore them and walk to the hotel. That was what we did with the hooligans accompanying us for quite some time hooting at us.
Another story from the family archives for the family now resident in the UK!