They are the only child of two artists, Usha and Sunil Gawde. After first failing out of St. Xavier's College in Mumbai, they attended Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru (Bangalore), and later Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in America, where they earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture. Durga credits their time at RISD for helping them discover their identity, describing the school as "a safe space for people to experiment and express themselves". They have a pet dog, a German Shepherd named Duke.
Durga cites fellow nonbinary person Ruby Rose as an inspiring figure for them.
As a queer person, there can be times when you can feel lonely, but after I started talking about it, many have written to me and identify with the things I talk about. I'm going to speak the truth in an articulate, honest and beautiful way. Even after I'm gone, I am going to leave enough content behind through my work. The more people start presenting themselves authentically, the more people will get used to having different types of people around.
It has been a long and exhausting process so far to come to the realisation of my gender identity. It's easy to feel like an alien in my body and hate it from time to time, and then suddenly love being in it and feel attractive and comfortable. It's hard to explain to people close to me why I feel the way I feel when I'm uncomfortable because I am perceived as an attractive woman, but I don't always feel attractive. A lot of times it feels like my body isn't even mine. The key is to constantly keep in touch with myself and accept my body for what it is and live in the present moment. I have to keep talking to myself and remind myself that I am human and human beings come with a body. I have been gifted with mine and it is a tool to give motion to my dreams.