Given the rampant homophobia and toxic masculinity in the country, you’d think Indian men would back off from anything that is seen as ‘gay’. The notion of “no homo, bro” is everywhere. However, while we are all well aware of this, there’s an interesting phenomenon that largely goes unnoticed, simply because it is so common – desi men like to hold hands with each other.

Now, a British photographer known for clicking famous faces like Rihanna and Eminem has compiled a series of 15 pictures which capture this aspect of desi culture. “It’s about friendship, and Indian men do it without even thinking about it…I found it really beautiful. It’s quite gentle and nice,” Vincent Dolman told Quartz. “But [the photos are] kind of holding a mirror up to Western society, saying, look, what have we lost? We’re just not like that with each other, and it’s sad really.”

“Sometimes, at the beginning, we’d stop people and I’d say, ‘Why do you hold hands?’” Dolman added. “And they were looking at me like I was stupid, like, why wouldn’t you hold hands, we’re best friends!”

None of the men photographed thought there was anything unusual about this act of intimacy. Check out the pictures below:

(Image credits: @vincentdolman on Instagram)