Jan 31, 2009

Let’s analyze my future

After my recent attainment of the masters degree in surgery, I felt a part of me getting invigorated to search for options to continue my medical career. For the first week or so, when I met and talked with people, I put forth the idea of looking for jobs in hospitals. People like my sister, my uncle and my parents took that as the definitive sign of me ‘coming back on track’, I felt.

My own research, which consisted of consulting my colleagues, seniors and professors had convinced me that there was no hope of finding a hospital job that would give me liberty to rehearse and perform music the way I wanted to. The recession had wreaked havoc on the economy and the job market and finding a nice job, at least as per the opinion from many people outside the medical field, was very difficult.

Mr. Bach, because of his brash, outspoken nature, is the only person who ridicules my attempt to build a career in music with a significant enough force to put me in doubt. Even though I’m not comfortable with people being so in-your-face, he has somehow helped me realize that I need to make a deadline after which I would have to return whole-heartedly to surgery. Before he left for the States, he made me agree to setting the end of this year (or my birthday) this reassessment.

If I don’t make any significant progress/success with my band(s) by then, I would have to go back to working as a surgeon in a hospital irrespective of whether that would make me unable to play at gigs. This way, I just lose a year. That is a reasonable period of ‘sabbatical’ after which I should technically be left unscathed. I must thank Mr. Bach for making me do this. Thank you Mr. Bach!

Jan 30, 2009

Anjor-Kaaya, the musical

Liberation. Something that we all dream about. Something which is close to 'nirvana'. Liberation is closely tied with arts somehow; as is captured in this photograph that Vinokur took during his hippie days. The setting is Manhattan - at the Guggenheim museum. Apparently Vinokur was standing across the street from the Guggenheim and this bus with 'Liberty' printed on it happened to pass by. The folk-lore goes on to mention that he was good enough 'capture the moment' as is demonstrated vide infra.

Here's what Vinokur would caption the picture 'As a bus named Liberty passed in front of a revered expression of freedom in the arts (Wright's masterpiece, the Guggenheim Museum), the camera's shutter opened and closed.' It's a shame that he is so lazy that he wouldn't care enough to showcase his repertoire to the world, don't you think?

Life doesn't always allow everyone his/her share of equality, or better 'liberty' in this case. I allege the medical training as the reason for me to be suffering from the injustice of being left out from arts, literature, history and all the other 'essential' traits of a gay man. I shamefully accept that I can't blame anyone but myself for not indulging in all of this - I wasn't a rich heir living the land of dreams who could do anything with their life without worrying about the mundane necessities of a third world life after all! I do this rather passively - excepting of course delving in performing music.

Some other third-world-ers took it a couple of steps ahead. I was a witness to that the other night and it was enchanting. I might be a very 'soft' critic but I am not lying. I was invited to 'Anjor-Kaaya', an experimental musical written and performed by 'professionals' from various other 'professions' - I use inverted commas to be cynical about the media and the society which felicitate these to some higher level as compared to others - like doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. One of my friends, a microbiologist, the co-writer and performer in the play, had invited me for it.

I was late. I was late by about half an hour. Ashamed, I walked in and found a couple of 'phallow gay frens' sitting right at the back. One of them was about to leave attributing his desire to attend a rock-concert somewhere else. The other one, the more-established connoisseur of art, whose cynical tendencies were rather unpublicized, was to give me company. It took a while for me to get 'into' the play. It was a fantastical story based on a wishing-fountain. Many different stories of unfortunate people from the cross section of society - an estranged teenage girl who sells umbrellas in the streets, a painter whose art goes unrecognized, a dancer who becomes quadriplegic, a mother whose son runs away from home - all were unfolded in front of the fountain which is titled 'Anjor-Kaaya'.

The script was written in old-school hindi, something which I was used to thanks to 'Doordarshan' and 'Vividbharti' from my childhood, and it elicited the reaction of the romantic poet inside me. The stories themselves were painful enough to let the language unfurl it's adjectives and allegories poignantly. The combination of the two sounded like music to my mind and I was fascinated. My friend on the other hand was ruminating about what was wrong and what could be done to undo it. I wished I could agree with him. It was extremely hard and I found respite in one aspect - the background score. I thought it could have been written better and produced way, way better. It's ironic how I suddenly jumped into being a harsher critic in a topic that was familiar to me.

Anjor and Kaaya, by the way, were evergreen, immortal lovers who would try to make the wishes of the people come true by following instructions given in little parchments. There were a lot of interesting aspects in their own characterization with issues like jealousy being dealt with in shades of poetry. The fact that they chose colours and their combinations to find solutions to the problems that the people came to them was suggestive about the diversity in which the society is immersed in and how harmony can be achieved by the appropriate combination of the different elements. A very strong message about and to society, I felt.

More importantly, the actual issues in the present day society were highlighted and presented in a very attractive, romantic method. I don't see that often these days - the stuff that we get to see these days is harsher and cynical about everything relevant. The fact that the entire crew behind this effort were people from different walks of society not trained in drama was probably something which is given far too much attention. My friend, for example, chose to highlight that fact as their only redemption. I disagree. I agree with him about only one point - things could be improved in so many ways - to make it classier, to appeal to the 'art-lovers' who are engrossed with pre-defined notions. Ah, what they miss out on, the message, the sheer elegance of the content.

I applaud my friend and the entire team of Anjor-Kaaya for making me feel closer to being liberated. Thank you!

Jan 29, 2009

The airport date

Most people, including the hoards of gay-bois that I know, agreed that having a date at the railway station was weird. Those who were aware of the rituals of cruising went on to describe how lowly I had become by opting to ‘make-out’ with a stranger at a railway station urinal which of could I would'nt (and I didn't). One of my friends even advised me to be ‘safe’ as such persons couldn’t be trusted and might be ‘carriers’. I don’t know what to say to them.

Anyway, the same person who I had a date with gave me an message yesterday. ‘Kris, I’m going to ‘an undisclosed destination’ and I’m flying via Mumbai. I’ll be free for a few hours before I catch my connecting flight. Can we meet up?’ I was startled. I couldn’t have said no. He had brought me that wonderful multi-course meal to be had on that night in the train and I had to somehow return the hospitality. But there was a problem – I had something important scheduled for the same day. I had to go finish some formalities at the hospital.

I replied saying that I’d love to meet on the condition that he had to come to my hospital. He agreed. We met today outside my hospital. I was surprised that he had virtually no luggage with him despite him being on an extended tour. We had a cozy lunch at one of my favorite (cheap-ass) restaurants near the hospital. After I finished my work at the hospital, we walked around Dadar for an hour or so talking about stuff with a subtle undercurrent of flirting.

This guy is a very handsome, mustachioed, literate gentleman who looks like an Asura or Rakshasa who are the bad guys in Indian mythology. When he was talking to me about a recent photo-shoot in which he was dressed up like a Ravana, I had found the answer to my age old question from my childhood. Why did Sita run off with Ravana (in Ramayana)? Not surprising to me! Ravana was this raging, scalding hot, hirsute beauty! And so are the rest of the asuras. So was this guy!

But soon, it was time for him to catch his plane. I went with him to the airport which resulted in me helping him avoid the mishap of missing the flight as he had mistakenly thought that the boarding time was an hour later than what’s printed on the ticket. I felt cruel. To both of us. Before he went inside the terminal, we agreed to spend a little more ‘intimate’ time the next time we meet. Let’s hope I can experience my childhood fantasy of making out with an Asura soon.

Jan 28, 2009

Social outcasts?

'I hate you'. That's a thousand whiplashes. Let's go a couple of notches down. 'I don't like you.' Sounds much less intense; more like a dozen spanks on your shin. What about something else? Incommunicado?

I'll explain a bit more. You are in touch with a person of interest on a personals site. You exchange pictures and preliminary data with that person. Both seem to be attracted and attractive to each other. You are entering the next phase; the phase when you really want to make sure that the person who you are communicating with must not be kept unaware of a certain important fact in your life. You prefer being honest and are hoping to avoid unnecessary entanglement from both sides.

After you finish talking about the issue, you tend to expect a response. Maybe an ounce of sympathy or a little bit of understanding. You half-expect that person to say 'Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm afraid I wouldn't want to carry on. Let's say goodbye. I wish you the best in the life ahead.' That's a bit too much you feel? From the average sex-monger perhaps? The only problem is that we aren't talking about such people. These are refined, educated ones with a touch of dignity somewhere on their profile.

So why are people so mean and inconsiderate? It seems strange to me. I wouldn't do this at all. I didn't do this actually. I, in fact, went on to commit to sharing the rest of my life with this person. I'm talking about Vinokur of course. He's just a voice for the millions of people who have some chronic-illnesses (in his case Hepatitis C) who also happen to be human beings. They too, like the more privileged 'clean' ones, require and desire love, companionship and courting. Aren't we going to evolve at all? Ever?

Jan 27, 2009

Yet another band?

A year or so back, I had no band. Now, I am an established member of two and prospective member of three more - one being my own private band. Yesterday, after the gig with Shoonyas, I was chatting with a friend of mine and he gave me the card of a certain someone who was looking for professional bass guitar players. Obviously, money was important and so was experience of playing with other people.

Since it was the first time that I was actually going to audition for a band that I didn't have a clue about, I was wary. Today, was our first rehearsal session and my doubts proved to be quite worthwhile. It is a band which has a long history. 'Dinosaurs of Rock', a phrase used for the performance of rock veterans from yesteryears at the annual I-Rock mega-gig, could be used to refer to them. The only difference - there was just a single dinosaur.

The band, which I would refer to as 'Flood', had split due to various reasons and only one founding member was remaining. That meant that three out of the four musicians jamming with me were like me - sessions players, who were just playing for the money. That gave me some reason as to not feel bad about doing what I was doing. Besides, I have always wanted to play with other drummers; I've only performed with E-boi.

The rehearsal was pretty chaotic and cacophonic. You can expect that for the first rehearsal you would say. But I had fun meeting and playing with other musicians, some really funny. I hope that I can really be professional and do my job properly with these guys.

Jan 26, 2009

Something relevant

Being a musician, I find it natural to enjoy gigs of other bands. This is what I used to do before I had a band. I have not lost the slightest amount of vigor to be an excited music fan. But things are not the same with my band members I guess. Sometimes I feel it’s a mixture of pride and ego. Other times I feel it’s their innate tendency to be reclusive. I can’t take either as an excuse though, at least for myself.

So, I was at the branch opening of a famous chain of musical instruments retailer playing with Shoonyas. It was a cozy, in-house gig and we had a good performance. Even though the actual ingauration ceremony featured a performance by  big-shots like the most famous percussionist drummer from India and the one of the most succesful music composer team from Bollywood, what attracted me was the band which was playing after us.

The band is called ‘Something Relevant’.  They are pretty famous and have been around for a few years. They are somewhere between smooth jazz and big band. I had an argument with Rob the other day about the genres and I was startled to hear him ridicule my genre-listation. But anyway, they are very pleasing to the ear with their orchestration of keys, trombone, saxophone and percussions along with the regular mix of guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

But their most interesting aspect is the lyrics. They wrote about stuff like mosquitoes, traffic jams and other mundane things in life in a clever, captivating way and the singing was complimentarliy soulful.  I enjoyed them very much; so much so that I was part of the entire group of people jamming with them with all kinds of instruments at the shop. I met with a couple of band members after the gig. They sure seem worthy of a listen. I would recommend them to anyone with a bit of class.

Jan 25, 2009

The certificate saga

I'm not employed now. Yet, I feel tired and struggle to accomplish the tasks that I set out to achieve. The tasks are simple yet so complex to achieve. A simple task of getting up in the morning, showering and going over the hospital to initiate the process of possessing the certificates for my post-graduation course had to be delayed by a day, daily for a few days. Reasons are to be scoffed at - a) didn't get up early enough b) just felt lazy c) had some other chores to finish d) had other engagements which complicate the itinerary for the day.

To not get up early enough is really lame especially if you have worked in night shifts which require you to not sleep in the part of a 24 hour day when you are supposed to sleep such as being a doctor. During such shifts, there are plenty of instances when tiredness or habit takes you over and you tend to snooze or even sleep wonderfully well. Because of the lurking danger of a threat to wake up on demand and the responsibility to be wakeful enough instantly to perform your duties like someone in their most-alert mode, waking up from such naps is usually easy. And when you do such shifts long enough - I have done such things for over 9 years now - it becomes some sort of a trait of yours - to wake up from sleep at any given moment as you wish to.

I happen to take it to another level. I pride myself to be able to do that. I pride myself to be able to control my wakefulness with my adrenaline, thyroxine (and all the other catabolic hormones which are required bye you to be alert) and my intrinsic drive. I'm a proud person by default. I like to do things well and to be lauded for that. Like most people, I tend to loosen the drive when it's just me who is able to monitor the proceedings and also when I am the only person who would eventually get affected by the outcome of such a thing. In simpler parlance, this is referred to as laziness.

Having critcised myself of being lazy, I would like to take the opportunity to defend myself because I'm egotistic and a hypocrite as well. I don't want to be lazy, I don't want to label as a lazy guy - for heaven's sake, I despise laziness in others. But still, here are the reasons - I spend long hours in the night i) chatting with Vinokur ii) online networking which is primarily fun-oriented iii) doing important stuff like answering e-mail, reading up articles online. On top of that, I have a very non-nutritious diet which basically consists of carbohydrates, milk and eggs devoid of meat, vegetables and other nutrients, without variety, quality, frequency or quantity. The reason for such a diet is obviously shortage of finances and not my laziness to choose to eat bad food.

Add to this the three bands that I play for and all the songs that I need to learn and rehearse and other commitments like meeting interesting people (read dating), attending gigs and live events for fun and for getting more contacts - my days are so packed and I am so tired that a boring chore as to do the formalities to get a certificate, tend to be pushed from the back-burner to the kitchen counter way back behind the big containers of flour.

Yet, I did finish the chore - or most of it today! I had a wonderful time doing it meeting old co-workers from the hospital, most of who were amazed to see me back in the hospital. Apparently they had been fed rumors from my own colleagues and juniors that I had left medicine for good and was chasing the glamorous career of a rock-star. I tried to deny the malice which was instigated in such a suggestion and said that I was just taking a 'break' from medicine. I also happened to go visit two sections of the University of Mumbai, in two corners of the city, which are so different from each other that it's charming to just note the contrasts.

Jan 24, 2009

A tryst with art in Mumbai - Part 2

(Continuation of part 1 - read Part 1 here)

A few weeks before, I finally managed to catch a play at the prestigious Y. B. Chavan centre at Colaba. It was three short experimental plays back to back which were entangled to each other by a story from Indian mythology. The reason why I got to know about the play was that Mr. Bach's nephew, an astonishingly handsome young man, was the manager for the event. During the days that I spent with Mr. Bach, I got to hang out with him and during our conversations, I stumbled on to the fact that he was into theatre.

I have a friend amongst the gay-bois, someone that I rather respect (as compared to the vast majority of other who, I think, are really flaky, childish and boring when it comes to enjoying, discussing and reviewing art) who accompanied me to the play. For me, the naive, novice art-lover who devours art in every which form that is presented to him without paying heed to the quality , the play was an enchanting experience. My friend liked it too, but not as much as me. I came to know from Mr. Bach's nephew (through Mr. Bach) that the play was supposedly full off forgotten lines and bloopers and that my observations were foolish and invited ridicule.

Within a couple of days, I found myself watching another play with this same friend. This time it was another fantasy-fairy tale, another experimental play written and performed by people from various walks of life (young professionals who had a penchant for theatre). It was a hindi play with very poetic, romantic lines which were marked with words which were rather dormant in the streets. The acting was average and I thought the set was rather unprofessional too. Again, the romantic, fanatic, fantasy-st in me took over and enjoyed the play despite it's extreme length. This time though, my friend was very critical about the play and commented that I was so 'uneducated' about art that I would love anything that I was presented to.

One of the days when Mr. Bach was around, I had to spend an afternoon all by myself as he was busy running some last-minute errands before his trip. That afternoon, I walked over to the JJ school of Arts and met T., E-boi's girlfriend. It was a great experience because of the sheer surprise element for both of us. She took me for a tour in the campus and showed me the sculpting studio. It was so beautiful despite them being done by amateurs (students) but I could feel myself getting attracted to art more and more.

Apart from these, two of my 'dates' in the last few months have been painters and sculptors. One, a good friend of mine, has invited me to his studio and shown me his wonderful series of paintings which he's working on. Each of them has a silhouette of a person or object in black ink in a background (in a single color). He explained to me his ideas and they seemed to profound to me and I'm sure the alcohol or the prospect of sex did not tamper my judgment in any way. Another one, with whom I have just spent a few hours together talking is a painter and is a retired dean of a prestigious art school. He tried to open my eyes and mind up to the world of art by telling me about how to appreciate art - by having a clean slate or an open mind.

I feel proud to have so many friends, each acquired through life's weird interconnections, who have helped me come closer to the various versions of art in the last few months. I'm thankful to all of them for making it such a pleasure for me and I hope that this journey gets more enchanting in the years to come.

Jan 23, 2009

A tryst with art in Mumbai - Part 1

I have been here in Mumbai for over three and a half years. That's how long it took for me do anything related to conventional art and culture. The first whiff of this wonderful world came to me during the first few months of my relationship with Vinokur when he used to tell me how wonderful it was to go to museums and art galleries in the Big Apple. We had our wonderful plan about injecting the brown Indian boy with a dose of art, at Mumbai to start with, when we would start living together for the first time. That didn't exactly workout that way as most real-life stories don't. But the desire kept nagging me on. I had decided during the months that I studied for the exams that I would start diving into the wonderful pool of art and culture that Mumbai had to offer.

The first instance came three weeks back when I attended the screening of a documentary film about Narendra Modi and his evil masterplan to remain in power. This movie, which was banned for public screening, is about how the BhaJPa had cooked up mock assassination attempts at Modi and arrested and killed innocent people in Gujrat, their only fault that they were Muslim. I could distinctly feel the amount of culture and intelligence disseminated in the audience which was evident in the little Q&A section after the screening. I'd be lying if I didn't confess that apart from all the culture, there were really attractive older men aplenty there. People with beards, aquiline noses dressed in graceful kurthas and talking about art - the Indian version of a talking Vinokur-blow-up doll!

The first time that I met Mr. Bach was at the Jehangir art gallery. He is the epitome of the filthy-rich south-mumbaiite who hate the suburbs and love their art. He took me in for a demo tour and ended up buying a sculpture of the bust of a handsome man with a long face and a long, but shapely, nose. He still denies any hints of narcissism in this purchase and such claims have been rendered baseless by the sculptor himself (at the gallery) and a couple of his friends and cousins who seemed to have the intelligence to grasp. We had carried on to another huge private gallery where he had purchased three pieces of a piece of modern art on the mythology of the Eklavya's thumb story - one for his own house here and two for his wealthy friends living in the Snakes.

Experiencing the various pieces of art hung up on walls of his fantastic house(s) in town was a de ja vu experience - two of the three men that I had dated prior to Mr. Bach had their share of art on display. One had Picasso replicas and others at his home and the other is a painter and sculptor who showed me his original work over whisky and soda on a wonderful evening that we spent together. It is quit evident that my sensibilities seem to home in on men with something or the other to do with arts, thanks to my mentor, my best friend and my ex-lover - the one and only Vinokur.

Jan 22, 2009

Not Just Bad By The Way

The first gig that we had after my trip to Kerala should have been one that I should have remembered ever so fondly for the rest of my life. But sadly it wasn't. Shoonyas were playing at the same resto-bar at the Marine drive and it was Not Just Bad By The Way (pun intended totally). First of all the name of the venue is far too long. Secondly, it's a little cliched as you might have noticed in some of the pictures that I had posted elsewhere on the internet.

It's just lack of practice. Don't worry, not I nor the band have lost our zing. We would be back with a bang. The only thing that was memorable tonight was this hot looking guy who jived with his friend/spouse for our rendition of Beatles and Doors. I wished I could simply knock down the wonderfully dressed woman and join him. Shucks, I had to play the stuff for the jiving to happen, right?

It was disappointing but these days, I don't let myself get disappointed with musical misadventures. Judging by the kind of skill that I have got, I think I have to expect a lot more of those. In the bottom of my heart, though, I know that I'm talented enough to not repeat the mistakes too many times.

Jan 21, 2009

Random Updates: 21st of Jan

Here's another set of random updates about the who's who in my life
  • Vinokur: He and I are still keeping in touch as the best friends. Like me, he is searching for love, but in Manhattan. His profile picture and the text (that I kinda wrote for him) is getting him a lot of attention, quite deservedly so. But he has not yet found anyone substantial enough to go out for a date. Health-wise, he is doing much much better. The tremors are going down, the sparkle is back in the eye and the agility of the mind is as good as it has ever been! (Love ya, Vinokur!)
  • My Sister: She's going on well with the prospect of relocating to the US because of her hubby's job situation. Funny, because the US is worst affected by recession and the job scene is very bad there. Ironically, she's going to go away from India and finally going to find some freedom in the US. I'm so relieved and happy for her. Long live recession!
    Ray: He's getting busy with his wedding plans amongst other things. I had a brief rendezvous with him on my way home. As usual, I found myself talking more than I listen. I'm very happy for him that he has found someone who he will be happy with. The only major worry for me is that I might not be able to take leave and be there with him for his wedding in late March!
  • May: She's very busy with her stint as a resident in hematology. I hope she decides to take this up as the subject of her specialization. On the downside, her Dad is not doing all that well with Chronic Renal Failure. I felt that I need to visit him and her wonderful Mom someday when I have the time and money. I wish to offer her and her family support in whichever way that I possibly can.
  • Chuck: He is busy practicing his Orthopaedic surgical skills at a hospital in the northern wilderness of Kerala. There is a slight possibility that his family, his brother actually, might be interested in buying the house that I grew up in, thus supplementing the fast-depleted bank accounts of my Mom and Dad. If not them, someone else - it has to happen soon. I don't want my Mom and Dad to suffer from shortage of funds at this stage in their lives.
  • Noise Market: I haven't blogged anything about us recently, have I? Well, that's because there is nothing happening other than the dreary monotony of the promises from the record label with the never-ending series of dates on which they will pay the studio, us etc. We have finally agreed on an addendum to the contract - thanks to couple of lawyer friends that I stumbled on through this blog/internet! I hope things will soon start to happen - even if they do, I'll be starting my job next month!
  • Mr. Bach: He's back in the Snakes spending depressing days in the cold and harsh winter. He's planning a return trip to India soon.

Jan 20, 2009

The terrorist inside me

It's incredible really. I'm talking about the suburban railway system in Mumbai. After getting down at the Lok Manya Tilak terminus in Kurla, I had to switch three trains and then hop on to a bus to reach my home. The point-to-point distance between Kurla and Andheri (W) where I live would be approximately 15 kilometers. To traverse that, 3 trains and a bus is astounding. Remember that I had to lug a rather heavy bag inside all these public transportation facilities.

What kept me sort of happy and non-complaining was the fact that I had some charge left on my mobile phone for some browsing and music. As soon as I got into the Western Railway train which would take me to Andheri from Dadar, I kept my bag by the door and started listening to some 'Live' (the album Throwing Copper, which has definitely shaped my life) while poking back whomeever who had poked me on Facebook.

The music was loud and I was quite oblivious as to what was happening in the outside world – something, I advise you to not try, especially if you are looking a little haggard, have wild, long hair and a beard-stubble. Apparently, one of the passengers in the train had noticed this bag lying 'unattended' to and had asked co-passengers about it's owner. Obviously, people started talking and panicking and in a minute the entire compartment was convinced that my bag had explosives.

I noticed that people were simply getting up from their seats in a neat orderly manner. But the thing that alerted me about the confusion was that everyone was surreptitiously avoiding my bag. As soon as I realised this, I took out my ear plugs and asked someone what was happening. When someone said that the bag was the 'root of all evil', I officially claimed the bag. Everyone was staring right into me. They were pissed of course.

I apologized that I was listening to the music and hence was unaware of the confusion. I couldn't have said that I was 'poking back' someone who I have not even met on the Internet while the entire compartment was preparing for an explosion. One of the passengers was very upset and started questioning me. He eventually asked me to open the bag up to confirm that it indeed had my clothes and stuff. Perverted, I know, but still true.

In the last five minutes of this ride, I was very glad of the fact that I didn't have to pull out the rest of the contents of the bag which included a bag full of cables (connectivity cables), chargers, headphones and an mp3 player – easily would have looked like the components of an amateur bomb in the making. I also sheepishly acknowledged how different, chaotic and weird Mumbai really is and it still remains the Mumbai that I love!

Jan 19, 2009

The Great Indian Train Journey

The incredible coming out expedition had to end incredibly too. What better setting for that to happen other than a two-day journey in the second-class sleeper coach of a train in India! I'm visibly underplaying the torrid time that I had with noisy college-going adolescents in the bus in which I had to spend the night before getting on the train at Coimbatore, but the train experience is a must-do-in-life for anyone who wishes to travel to or in India.

For those unaware of what such a journey tends to bring forth, there is really no other way but to experience it. To describe it in a few words is impossible but then, I'd be being dishonest with my readers if I didn't try. If you let yourself to open out to the possibilities in such a situation, I think the spirit of India will easily percolate into your soul - the kindness, the warmth, the love on one side versus the nosiness, the noisiness and invasion of privacy etc.

I was in the little section for eight people with a family and two young men. The family was not really a nuclear family - it was an elderly couple travelling with their grand daughter and her grand uncle. They were travelling to Mumbai for a wedding. The grand father in the family was a very handsome older man and naturally, I was immediately attracted to him especially when I saw him cuddling with his dear grand daughter.

Soon, with the the under-current of my innate tendency to get attracted to good looking older men, I started a conversation with the family. Surprisingly, they were fluent both in English and Malayalam and the conversation started became very interesting with a lot of jokes and anecdotes. We shared the food that we had with each other and bought each other the stuff that the pantry people brought to us.

Surprisingly, I was enamored to the grand daughter and started playing around with her. We got so friendly that she preferred to be with me; to have me feed her, to take me along for little walks up and down the aisle and stuff. The expectant father in me sprang to life once more and I thoroughly enjoyed it and revelled in the pride of being able to take care of a 2 year old toddler through their mood swings.

One of the two younger men was a gorgeous looking younger man with very sharp, femme features. He was sitting across me in one of the side seats and we had started talking before my overture towards the grand father in the family. He turned out to be quite a revelation - a professional dirt bike racer and a intelligent and charming conversationalist. I was absolutely sure of his gayness until he mentioned that he had someone special in his life and she doesn't want him to carry on with his racing career. Despite that twist, I'm pretty sure that he is gay and that like many, many other Indians, he was just oblivious of his real self because the force with which the society stifles it.

The other man turned out to be a IT professional who happened to reside pretty close to where I live in Mumbai. He preferred to sleep or be rather reclusive throughout the entire journey - typifying his profession and christian background. The only conversastion that I had with him was when we were about to get out of the train at Mumbai - the conversation was about alcohol - Feni, to be specific - that he had in Goa when he went for his friend's wedding.

Date at the Railway Station

There are people who advise me to not publish my personal life in such a public forum. They feel that it's too much information which is not welcome. But that's not my point anyway, is it? The point of this blog is to let me express whatever that I wanted to and provide the option to read it or not. Nobody forces anyone to read any blog. It's a choice that you make and hence, I don't think that I'm force-feeding people here.

So, through the last few months of my social networking, I have been stumbling on profiles of men of interest to me - both sexually and intellectually. Some of them feel the same toward me to and in the event of things happening in the desired progressive sequence, we end up keeping in touch. One such person is this remarkable asura-lookalike artist from the Silicon Valley of India.

For those who don't have the faintest idea of who asuras are, go look up Indian mythology in wikipidea or something. For all practical purposes, asuras are extremely hot-looking, masculine, well-built, mostly-anti-hero type men in Indian mythology who happened to always have a history of being lustful and lust-worthy in an animalistic kind of way. A typical example is Ravana, the 10 headed monster who captured Sita and lost the war with Rama because of the monkey army.

Back to the story - I and he had been keeping in touch through the multifarious ways of the modern Internet and have expressed the desire to be with each other many times before. For some reason, I thought it was exciting to let him know that I was passing through his home-town on my way back to Mumbai and asked him if he could meet me for the brief sojourn of the train at the station.

I was surprised when he agreed. Even more so, when I peeked into the little bag that he had brought with him with a fantabulastic Indian dinner in it. Apparently, his Mom, who happens to be a wonderful cook, had whipped up the thing on request. Apart from the food, we met and had a cup of coffee at the railway station where I flirted with him (with words) in my usual effervescent manner. I wasn't acting or anything - was just feeling great about my coming out experience.

He told me stories about how he had dressed up for a professional photo shoot dressing up as Ravana the other day. I could so see the handsome, sexy asura that resided in his body and I did feel the lust to give him a peck at the least. But I can rein in my feelings. And I did. One thing is clear to me now though after seeing a near-perfect Ravana - I firmly believe that Sita would have preferred to be in his gardens in Lanka than in the plains of northern India with the rather docile Ram.

(PS: For all the Ram Sena activists - this post is is just a modern, sarcastic take on Ramayana. Just like how Dev-D is for Devdas, the novel. And besides, you aren't interested in gay-bois anyway - you guys would much rather molest young straight couples!)

Jan 18, 2009

The Erstwhile-rs : College mates, friends and the rest

The absolute last day of my visit was spent in meeting up with the rest of 'em who seemed important enough to me vis-a-vis my parents. Is this selfish, one might ask? I feel it is. But then, you have to be selfish to achieve anything in this burdening life and once you have achieved what/whom you wanted, you can be selfless to that/them. Thereby, you get to be even-steven and probably get through to Jew-Parsee heaven.

Jokes apart, I had a quite weird encounter with my medical college batchmates. I had wanted to meet more but I just managed to meet just 4 out of the 200 who had once set forth to be doctors in August 1996. Everyone else was/is busy with their lives working, marrying, copulating, nursing, parenting etc I guess. I got to meet three of my close buddies, all of them surgeons, over dinner that night.

J, the closest and kindest of them all, was as wonderful as he has ever been. Despite being a devout Christian – he would be at the Christian heaven even if it files in for Chapter 7 bankruptcy – he listens to me and tries to understand about homosexuality. He asked me how it was to be in a relationship, the hardships that I faced, the responsibilities that I would face after my eventual adoption/parenting of a child.

He is the only one left back home who I can trust with to deal with my parents. The others like Dee. and the remarkably homophobic catholic Pauletta, are either busy or simply not made-for such a responsible role. We three, discussed stuff ranging from our careers the sudden outcropping of out gay folk from our own batch. Each of them has a kid and I tried to, without much avail, extract information from them as to how it felt like to be a father.

J and I, soon afterwards, went to visit a the still-stunningly-beautiful looking colleague of ours, at her home where my erstwhile Head of the Department (her Dad) was present. It was such an unfortunate situation when we started discussing how my career was more music than Orthopaedics now; the Professor was not even making eye contact with me.

Later on, J came home and met my parents which I thought was an extremely nice gesture from him. But then, I'm used to stuff like that from him. He was the one, after all, who had taken care of my father (and mother) when he had an acute attack of breathlessness (and panic attack respectively) one night a year back when I was here in Mumbai doing my residency.

Apart from them, I met my close friend and erstwhile neighbor and his family. He too has a child in his life – everyone who's anyone, in Kerala at least, seems to have one these days – and we discussed things about my life as a rock-star in Kerala. He had been the one who had sorta challenged me to try and achieve success in music (link). But the most entertaining part of that rendezvous was the wonderful conversation that I had with his father in law, a poet/linguist/teacher, about things as wide ranging as the anatomy of the nervous system and the paintings by his son!

I also happened to coincidentally run into the most wonderful neighbors that I have ever had in my life. It was at the railway station where I had gone to meet someone else where I met them and then eventually went to visit them at their new home in Thiruvananthapuram. I was so happy! Catching up with fun folks is always fun! The absolute icing on this cake was the wonderful Thanjavur paintings that I got to see made my the Mrs. of the house and the wonderful nibbling that I received from a 2 month old Pug pup which was the latest entrant into their household. Believe me, I have never had any thing chew on my Adam's apple or my nasal cartilage - man or animal, ever - and it felt good!

The last little snippet here about the meeting that I had with the father of my friend. He was one of the people who I kinda respect because of the way he treats me – not just as his son's friend, but as a friend or an intelligent person. I was forced to come out to him during the conversation and it was surprising to see the kind of reaction from him, given the background that he was trained medical postgraduate. But that's his generation, not his education which imposes itself on such contexts unlike religion as with the case of Pauletta. That just made me aware of how fortunate that I was with the set of parents that I have.

Jan 17, 2009

The Erstwhile-rs : Cousins

In the last couple of days at sleepy old Thiruvananthapuram during my coming out visit, I tried to spend to catch up with the near, dear and not-so-dear ones from my past. It was not really a ritual, something that you would have wished to avoid but rather, something that was agreeable but was necessitated because of the my absence with my parents for prolonged periods of time. Yes, here I was selfish and selfless at the same time – I depend on my friends and relatives for taking care of my Mom and Dad.

On the third evening, I spent time catching up with my set of paternal cousins (with whom I had a tendency to bond better from childhood) having dinner at one of the quaint restaurant which I used to frequent in the last few years of my life at the town. Four of my cousins, all male offspring of the siblings of my father had met earlier in the day and spent some time listening to the Noise Market songs that I was carrying with me on my mp3 player.

About this – they are very excited about my alter-career. It's not often that fame and glamour embraces our family and when its served in the fashionable form of alternative rock, it is exciting even for me. The point is, very clearly, I was excited to. I played them the tracks which would be coming up in the album on their stereo system and later on in the car-stereo and was explaining to them what the lyric is about in a very cunt-sy way.

We had a great bonding moment when the youngest of them all, the 8 year old bag of naughtiness, decided to pose in front of the restaurant as munnabhai while the fag one, quite deservedly, acted as his make up artist. Inside the restaurant, we talked about each others lives and careers and stuff. The three older ones were all either working or poised to land a job so lucrative that anyone, forget myself, would be ashamed of themselves.

Unlike the last time, however, the conversation seemed to religiously avoid the topic of my marriage and it seemed to me that at least my cousins would have come to know about my sexuality through my web presence. That was a pleasant surprise and I felt the cushion of honesty enveloping becoming fatter and fatter thus avoiding the discomfort of having to live/sit with a bony arse a tad less.

The youngest of them all, the one that I really feel fond of, is an adopted child and I have somehow felt more than his 'big' brother since he arrived in my life. I think it's the father inside me that is being gently thawed out. I sat next to him the entire evening and spent some time teaching him how to eat with a fork and spoon and how to be courteous to a waiter etc.

I'm sure that this young man would not have the faintest clue that I did all this. But this would be treasured with me for the rest of my life. Is it just me or am I getting more romantic and/or archaic these days?

Jan 16, 2009

Coming out to my Father

Once I came out to Mom, I had felt that much more than half of my responsibilities during my trip especially because she had offered to come out to my father on my behalf. Today morning, I had woken up late and had a lazy breakfast with my Mom while my Dad got busy doing some of the chores that he does. Soon enough, as if set up on purpose, we started talking. This time, it was not in my room and it was in the lo-o-ng, but narrow, living room downstairs.

I paced down and up the living room while voicing my thoughts about my future and theirs, about my feelings about them and my sister etc. Soon enough, the moment arrived when I asked my Dad if he had understood that I had wanted to talk to him yesterday evening itself. I explained that I felt that I had to tell both of them at the same time but that I had told Mom already.

I went on to explain to him the same way like I did with my Mom – about how I wanted to have someone in my life, how I wanted to actually have a family and kids etc, but how it could only be with a man and not a woman. My father was able to grasp my words much faster and he glanced over to my Mom and gave me a smile – something that I hadn't seen from him for a long time!

Once this was over and done with, I explained my planned strategies for my life more vividly – my father was still apprehensive about my decision to chase music. He's not a romantic, he's much more pragmatic. Now that I had revealed who I was, it was so much easier to convince them about my plans to stick on to the plan of music ahead of medicine until the year ends.

We went to on to discuss about our families and our sister – about her fears about my coming out affecting her life. It is sad and I'm sorry to admit that my sister still believes, and has every reason to believe, that her life is going to get affected in a bad way if more people would come to know about me. It's the reality of life in India. The sexual orientation of sibling could break (and never make) one's life.

I still remember the day when I had gone to 'interview' my then-could-be-brother-in-law, being apprehensive about telling him about my gayness thinking that it could affect my sister adversely. He had then asked me something in the lines of 'What about you? Don't you want to get married?' and I had to say something in the lines of 'I'm not sure about that yet. I need more time and I need to find the right person.'

I guess my fears have been validated, in a wretched way, by the realities in my sister's life. This has, hitherto, revealed the 'underbelly' of the coming out experience in modern India. I guess every feel-good movie story is actually the real story with a cut-throat, cliched editing process. But then I don't think that I, the director, want to show my film to Indian audiences – I just want it to be screened at the prestigious European festivals. The romantic me is sometimes - okay, I'm lying - most of the times, unaware of the reality, waiting to be stung by it.

Jan 15, 2009

Coming out to my Mom

What exactly transpired between me and Mom during the coming out process? Here's the report.

After my tiring 2 day trip in a bus from Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram, I was able to keep my spirits up high when I met my Mom and Dad at their new house. We didn't hug and exchange wishes in a westernized ceremony. I just started talking to my Mom and Dad. My Dad was doing 'pooja' and was running late for a religious engagement (he's on the team from the temple for chanting and all that) and couldn't really participate in the exchanges too much. I was disappointed with that. But I bonded really well with my Mom and we carried on our conversation after Dad had left home after having breakfast. I helped her with her tiring daily chores in the kitchen and we talked and got to know about each other much better than ever before while cooking that day's lunch.

By the time the chores were over, I and Mom had connected at a very deep level talking about life, our problems and the ways to solve them. I felt this was the moment to come out to her. But I had decided on the advice from many people (inlcuding Mr. Bach and other friends) that it was better to come out to both parents at the same time. Because I had to catch Uncle N. (the only person in my family who I had come out other than my sister) and his daughter before she left to give her exams, I couldn't do it in the afternoon. I had a long conversation on deciding the strategy to come out with Uncle N. He suggested that I talk to them in the evening without involving him in the issue. The reason that he stated was that in the event of my parents reacting abnormally, he could be there to give them solace; I'd have to leave anyway after 4 days.

That seemed perfectly fine to me. He dropped me back home and promised that he'd help my parents get in a talking frame of mind before he left for the evening. To our dismay, there were a couple of relatives in the house when we got there. And they weren't going anywhere in a hurry. Uncle N. hung around for a few minutes and by the time he was leaving, my Dad suggested that he's going out to the classical music concert that was on in the evening. I tried to ask him to stay back so that we could 'talk' but he didn't get the hint. I felt rather disappointed and sorry and it was quite evident to me and Uncle N. My Mom on the other hand, got the lead and opted to stay back and 'talk' to me.

In an hour or so, my relatives were leaving and finally I had a window of time where I could come out to at least my Mom. I asked my Mom if she could help me unpack in my room upstairs. She visibly had the intuition that I have been wanting to talk to her and agreed. We went upstairs and in a few minutes we were in a good conversation. Somewhere along, we stumbled on the issue of marriage. I grabbed this opportunity and asked her if she was wondering why I was refusing a marriage. She replied saying that she knew that I had come to tell her something. Voila!

I asked her if she had suspected anything about me. She said no. I told her that unlike the impression that my folks seemed to have, I wanted to find a partner as fast as possible and have a family. But, I carried on, she needed to know something about me, something which was going to be something very heavy and perhaps unexpected, something that she might be hurt by, something that would cause her to react in an abnormal way. But I assured her that I loved her. Then I told her 'I like men, Mom. I can't think of a physical or an emotional relationship with a woman. Instead, I have an emotional and physical attraction towards men. This is not an abnormality, or a disease. It's just natural and about 10% of the society are like this at any moment, both men and women. Such people are called gay.'

At first she seemed to be confused and she needed me to repeat a line here and there. But slowly she was realizing and she started smiling. I was so happy! She asked me why I hadn't told her any sooner. I explained to her how I and my sister had decided to let them not know the news until it was necessary, thus trying to not hurt her. She said that it was unnecessary and I should have told her as soon as I could. She also said that she can accept her son for who he was and will support him no matter what happens. I went on to tell her how it had evolved in my childhood, how I was attracted to my teachers in school and professors in college. Oh, I also told her that I was naturally attracted to men much older than my age. I showed her the pictures of Vinokur and Mr. Bach (both were on my camera).

Soon, the conversation got more personal as she got out of her initial surprise and I started asking her if she had suspected it. She said she hadn't. I asked her if she remember seeing pictures of naked men on my computer some time in the late 90s. She said she did but she hadn't correlated the two. Then I gave her the bounty – I asked her if she rememberd us watching Baywatch for the same reason – David Hasselhoff. That sure gave her the explanations she wanted. Her smiled grew broader and she realized how her likes and mine, at least in men, matched. We talked on for a few more minutes until it was time for dinner. On her way down the steps, she told me 'I'll talk to your father.' I said 'No Mom. It's my responsibility. You can help me when I do it.' She smiled at me and walked down the staircase.

Out of the parental closet

I'm a very proud person today. As I type in write now into my PDA using my bluetooth keyboard, I feel that I've accomplished something that seemed so impossible yet so unnecessarily procrastinated.

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, I reached Thiruvananthapuram and had a wonderful day with my Mom. I helped her with chores and cooking and we had a wonderful conversation, very personal and emotional, about our lives. That seemed like the perfect setting to come out. On the basis of advice of many 'counsellors' I deferred the act until my 'indifferent' father was also at home - he had a busy day with prayers and a carnatic music concert (he's a conservative Hindu guy who doubles up as a priest and a semi-professional mridangam player).

I had talk with Uncle N., the only senior person that I had been out to until then, over the afternoon and he and I decided that I'm going to do this alone and he'll be the back-up if 'things went wrong'. I was disappointed in the evening when my father did leave the home despite me wanting him to stay back.

But, as they say in countless coming out tales, my Mom sort of picked up the fact that I needed to talk to her and she stayed back. I did talk to her and I came out to her. To my surprise, it was so pleasant that I needed to confirm that it was not a dream. She did have some trouble with the 'terms' but she accpted me for what I am. Then, she offered me to talk to my father on that behalf.

But I took it upon myself and I came out to him separately today morning. It was brilliant once more with very little unforgivingness. They both are supportive and are glad that I told them. I'm so happy!

This meant that the dam is finally borken and we can talk. And we did. About everything. About everything in the past. We just set up on a different phase of our lives - one, which seems to be utmost rewarding!

:) Thank you!

Jan 12, 2009

Kris Bass, M. D.

It's true, I've cleared my masters examination. And technically, it's not and M. D. (Doctor of Medicine) -it's M. S. (Master of Surgery). I have finally become a consultant in Orthopaedic surgery. I can't quite believe it and I don't think it has sunk into me yet. I spent the day at the hospital meeting colleagues and professors. It felt nice to have the degree under the belt as I could shamelessly claim that I am chasing music too in my life.

The really good thing which happened was the talk that I had with one of my favorite 'mentors' in the hospital. He was one of the examiners and he must have definitely played a decisive role in helping pass me (along with all the others from our college/hospital). He specially took his time to acknowledge me and advice me. I took cue from him and had a private conversation with him after our initial rendezvous. During that, he made me feel so comfortable about me choosing to chase my passion that I finally feel that it might be possible for me to parallely chase Orthopaedics as well.

Strange it may sound, but it is true. He said that I could be a consultant and pointed out that I would be welcome at any hospital/clinic that I chose to because I had a lot of good things about me - intelligence and knowledge and hardwork etc. He used these adjectives and I feel proud! Now, with this behind me, I feel this should be the moment that I should choose to come out to my parents. And I'm really moving fast. I have a bus ride booked to Thiruvananthapuram starting in 5 hours. I'll meet Ray on the way to just catch up with his life - he has gotten engaged recently and remember, he's my best friend after Vinokur!

I have three days since then and I need to work my stratgies to come out to my parents in the gentlest of ways. I have some written material (pamphlets, PFLAG book) and a few documentaries/movies that might help me and my parents out. Besides, my friendl Uncle N., to whom I'm out to, is going to help me. The only bothering thing is the presistence of my sister that I'm doing something wrong. She claims that I'm being selfish in my endeavors. I hope I can prove her wrong!

Wish me luck once again! I won't be extensively blogging until I'm back in Mumbai, which is by next Tuesday. But I will keep in touch with my phone. An advanced 'Thank you!' set for all of my well-wishers! :)

Jan 11, 2009

In the last seven days or so...

  • Jan 5th - I'm in the middle of being set-up with this guy who is kinda cool by a couple of friends at the GB Sunday meet. I'm excited about it and surely this guy looks interesting. I talk to him over the phone hoping to meet up sometime during the day but due to a GI disturbance at the other end, we postpone it to the next possible time - which is the next day. Funny thing, he sounds like an American over the phone! Strange!

  • Jan 6th - I meet up with this charming guy at the Jehangir art gallery where he is buying a sculpture. The first thing we do after meeting up is to go over to a sculpture of a head of a man which he was planning to bu. He asked me what I thought about it. I blurt out 'It looks like you. You are probably narcissistic and that's why you are buying it.' Everybody laughs nervously and I throw head my back in the Will and Grace style hoping that it wouldn't be the end of my date.

    Thankfully, the date keeps on going. We hang out at another art gallery where he buys paintings and other piece of art which he's taking back to the US with him. We have a delicious Parsi restaurant in Colaba which is where he frequented when he was a child. He invites me over to his luxurious house (houses) where we end up talking and making out and I get laid eventually. This, despite me being in a state of nervous anxiety with excitement - this guy is very attractive! I guess I'll have to catch my breath now (I'm typing this moments away from knowing my exam results; ergo, I'm jittery) and describe this person.

    His name is Bach. Anything more about his life is going to invade his privacy. Just that he's retired and he lives in the US most of the year. He's handsome, charming, intellgent, funny and very, very attractive.

    As the evening grows old, he introduces me to his friends who are visiting him and we have a conversation. At the end of that, I'm not quite sure what's going to happen. All I know is that I want to be with him. He offers me if I want to stay over for the night. 'I don't mind.' is what I say which is couldn't be farther from the truth. So, we end up spending the night cuddling up and talking and getting to know each other better.

  • Jan 7th - We spend the day together when I get to meet more of his friends and family. I'm getting more and more attracted to him. He doesn't deny it either. He's very careful about one thing though - he makes it very clear that he's not going to be here in India most of the year and hence, we should keep ourselves in check always.

  • Jan 8th - I leave early morning from his place for a rehearsal session with Noise Market. I'm tired but excited. As soon as the practice session ends, I dress up and head over to his place with my guitar and some changes. The guitar was because he wanted to hear me sing and he was inviting a few friends over for a 'farewell party' for him as he is boarding a plane on Saturday night back to the Snakes. I get to interact with the most precious person in his life; his adopted son. Later on, he joins me as a 'date' for the release of the album of our friends - Swarathma - Jay was the only person from the band who joined in. The night is another tired night for both of us as we haven't been able to sleep with each other around.

    Something else happened - I got to realize that the judgement of the High Court about the Section 377 is going to come very soon and I am one of the people who is supposed to talk to the media (in Malayalam) about it. Along with the fact that I was moved by Bach's out life-style and the way he is accepted by the family, I decide to come out to my parents no matter what after the results come out - positive or negative.

  • Jan 9th - Bach is busy in the morning with some errands to run and I leave his home early to think of buying something for him as a gift - he was being so nice to me. I end up buying a USB pen drive (cheap, lame-ass gift: only because he had big fat UFO esque looking one with him which really didn't go with his elegance) from Lamington road. I walk around the Fort area and eventually buy him an elegant black kurtha pajama - he loves black, and red. I end up meeting T. (E-boi's better half) at her college just to kill some time before I can meet up with Bach again. Late afternoon, we are back in his house but he's tired and decides to take a nap.

    I decide to rehearse some songs that I want to sing for him - songs that I chose based on what I knew about him and myself and situation that we found ourselves in while he naps. At around 5.30 pm, I get to know that the results of my exam are out and I try to find them out. But the university has closed and I can't know them until Monday. I'm a tense little fuck. Later on, we both dress up in kurtha pajama sets of white and black respectively for the party. There are just very few people in the party - some of them who might be jealous of me being with Bach. I get high on Cognac and sing a few songs along with the most wonderful singer/solo artist who is a friend of Bach's - some of them which might have been considered boring and inappropriate - if only people would understand why I chose them.

    The most incredible thing happened then. I got a call from Xander who is in Dubai and because of my 'high' state and my nervous, emotional state - I end up talking with him. That must have been awkward in the context of an intimate party situation. Bach and I have another night were we discuss more serious issues about my career, future etc. Bach honestly believes that I should fix a date after which I'll have to take surgery back up as a career option if my music career doesn't take off. We have a wonderful night of sexual pleasure.

  • Jan 10th - Another day of errands on top of 'goodbyes' to the family and friends for Bach and I leave his apartment and head back home agreeing to meet later on in the night to say goodbye and seeing him off at the airport. On my way, I change my guitar strings and end up buying a Hohner blues harmonica set just because I was ravaged by the thoughts of the various possibilities with it. The day is spent in anxiety and fear of separation.

    Later in the evening, I go help him pack the stuff. He's a nervous wreck himself with the prospect of travel and 'relocating' after 3 months. He claims to his friends that I have been helpful in making him feel much more comfortable over the past few days. That makes me feel happy. We leave for the airport and he makes it fairly obvious to me that I shouldn't get carried away with what has happened and not expect an 'virtual' relationship with him. He suggests we'll take it up once more when he comes back to India. It does make a lot of sense. I feel that my brain is learning to fight the heart and at least keeping the bout alive. I leave him off at the airport and come back to pour my heart out to Vinokur who is happy that I'm happy.

  • Jan 11th, Sunday: An entertaining practice session with Noise Market and a couple of wonderful documentary films at Humsafar comprise most of my day. In the night I talk to Ray, my sister and Vinokur about the entire situation regarding exams and coming out. I fiddle around with harmonicas and guitar and feel really good. Just before hitting the sack, I get a message from Bach saying that he has reached home safely. I'm happy and hopeful. :) Oh wait, the results are not out yet. I'm not happy and I'm anxious! :(

Jan 5, 2009

Anxious times

Hiding behind the Carrie/Samantha impersona, lies my other-side - the bread-winner, the surgeon, the struggling musician. This side, quite obviously, would be anything but glamorous. But that's probably the reason why it should be highlighted even further on this otherwise frivolous blog. Some of you might even remember I had plans to branch this blog into two streams some time back - one for each of these alter-egos. A few of you suggested that I stick up everything out here - the good, the bad; the glamorous and the ugly. Here I'm enacting those suggestions.

My exam results aren't out yet. They were expected a week back and have been unceremoniously postponed until we-don't-know-when. Actually, the results really don't change anything that I'll undertake in the future. Either way, I will have to start working somewhere and earn. It's just that a positive result will give me a big shot in the arm and boost up my self-esteem and help to rest a part of my life at least for a considerable duration.

Amongst the numerous job offers that I had applied for which combine my writing/editing skills and my medical background, a very few have gone to the interview stages. One of them is even at a stage when I need to say 'yes' and join. Because there are formalities to be completed in the college after the exam results come out, and because a new job doesn't really offer 'leaves' to newbies, I can't join anything unless my exam results are out and these things done and over with.

I'm hoping to convert this phase of uncertainty to try and find more jobs that might be 'better' in what they offer. One of them is to work for a magazine like Rolling Stone which will combine my writing as well as my music background. I'm working with a TOI journalist friend of mine to put together a portfolio which might kindle interest in the editors of such magazines. It's a little tough because I have to work within word-restrictions (which is something unheard of in blog circles).

On top of all this, the tryst with our record label is not reached a phase where the fog is cleared. We are still in the negotiation phase and although there seems to be hope around the corner, it hasn't manifested itself in any phsyical form. It has to work somehow - rather, I have to make it work somehow! Remember, music is what was set higher on the priority scale under love and my medical career. I have already lost more ground in both that I could ever hope to recover. It might sound like desperation - it might very well be actually. But the best thing is not accept it and work at achieving what you set out for. As always, 'denial' is sometimes the best way to face the reality.

Jan 4, 2009

Vinokur at the Big Apple

I've been quite explicit about my post-break-up experience in the mother of metropoleis here in Mumbai and I feel that I should also narrate the experiences that Vinokur has at America's Mumbai. In our conversations these days, Vinokur always highlights the fact that the most difficult thing about getting out a relationship and seeking new people is the fact that you are out there naked to the world. You start missing the security, the comfort and the enormous force shield that you had and suddenly you feel all human again susceptible to hurt, rejection and misery. Yes, it is the bad side of the coin. I'm rather saddened by the fact that Vinokur has been suffering from the bad side of the coin as compared to me.

Vinokur, like me, has been interacting with a lot of attractive men as well. In his case, until now at least, all of these men who shower incomprable praises about the most handsome older man that is there on the Atlantic, run away like Road Runner when they are allowed the knowledge of his health status. It incredible to realize what they are missing out on - I mean, here is this guy who is kind, gentle, affectionate, caring, attractive and lovable who is willing to give you all of that and you run away from that guy despite being in the same city as this guy? That, my friends, is called stupidity.

The most reasonable thing that one could expect from him is to try and re-start the fantabulous relationship that he had with his ex-ex boyfriend with whom he has this wonderful friendship with. Everybody who's anybody in Vinokur's life knows that phase of his life where he was in this relationship was perhaps the peak of Vinokur's life. That person is currently in a relationship which is not totally satisfactory. The caveat - he's also and ADHD social phobic - hence, it is easier for him to not be with any person whatsoever. Because of the possibility of a beatiful friendship being broken because of (possible) advances for an amorous relationship, Vinokur is hesitant to take the step. I wish both these beautiful people break the ice sooner than later and find solace in each other.

Jan 3, 2009

Being single again

In the last three weeks or so, I have been interacting with a dozen or so men. It is incredible really to note that I have had sex with 4 different men in a period of a 10 days after being celibate for over 8 months. I will be labelled as being promiscuous but then, you have to still take a dip in the fall to find if you can catch something special.

There have been men of all kinds and ages actually - from 35 to 65 - remember again that I'm sexually attracted to older men - and some of them have been special. Broadly, they can be catergorized to those with whom you can think of a long-term relationship and those with whom you can't. The trick to find a person with whom you would be happy with both sexually and emotionally.

The best of them, sadly, has rejected to my offer for a relationship. I guess, he doesn't need to carry the entire baggage that I have around at his ripe age of 60. He was everything that I could have asked for - red hot in bed, caring, affectionate, kind, intelligent, funny, succesful - but couldn't offer me a live-in relationship and was closeted. He and I were practically in love until he realized that we couldn't really carry forward the relationship any further. It was traumatic - but again, this is life - the real life, that is.

Then, there is this wonderful artiste who would have been a great guy had he been 'free'. He is in a long-term, long-distance relationship and he and his partner have decided to stick to each other. Of course, that doesn't mean that they can't sleep with someone of their liking. He is a wonderful conversationalist and seems to be a good guy in bed too! We meet regularly with the occasional instance of sex - but it's a wonderful thing to talk to him about all kinds of topics.

The third one is this wonderful, kind person who is perfect relationship-material. But the fact is that I and he have not really had a great time together in bed. It is the same guy that I spent the New Year's Eve together with. He's charming and interesting and a very nice person to have as a companion. But sex too is important in a relationship and it hasn't clicked yet.

Today, I met up with this amazingly closeted married guy. We exchanged a few messages and eventually our phone numbers. We had decided to have a cup of coffee which eventually resulted in me inviting him over for sex in my apartment. The funny thing is that he was so scared about being robbed or harmed in anyway that I felt kindful to him. We had a wonderful act of love-making - animal type love making, without any affection whatsoever - and that was it.

This bring forth the question - is it too early to seek out a relationship? Shouldn't I, at my ripe young age of 29, look to experience as much of sex as possible? Of course, I will be on the look out for the Mr. Perfect to walk in to my life. Until then, I'd be just the carefree gay guy in the metropolis who just wants his share of the Samantha-character in Sex in the City.

(PS: I recently found out on a stupid Facebook questionnaire that the character that I most resemble is 'Carrie')

Jan 2, 2009

'Kris & Vinokur' Version 2.0 - friendship

People must be wondering what really happened. One day I was happily in love in a long term relationship with Vinokur and the next day, I had broken up with him. I thought I had already given a sufficiently long explanation after a brief period of readjustment in my post titled '12 days of Christmas'. Since then, after a week or so of not being in touch, I have restarted communications with Vinokur.

It is pleasing to announce that, as always, we are being very mature and kind to each other and have slipped into the new role of being good friends of each other. We aren't lovers any more; ex-lovers would be an apt term but you have to factor out the kind of uneasiness that you would expect for such people. After all, we can't hurt each other and we care for each other as we have always done. Just that we will be seeking out new lovers. That's all.

The reason why it has happened is because of probably my need for a physical relationship. After the exams got over, I started exchanging messages with men in various personals sites, of course after informing Vinokur. The motive was to hope to find people who I could have a physical relationship with. Being very needy, I have this tendency to get attracted to people easily. Such attractions have varied from infatuation to the onset of full-fledged love.

Of course, since I have been entirely honest with Vinokur, he got insecure and hurt due to such occurences. This made me realize that I'm seeking something here in Mumbai which would only harm Vinokur even more if I decided to continue the relationship. We had a thorough discussion about the situation and we ended up deciding that the best thing that we could do is to end our relationship and hope that we find people who could sort of fill into each others shoes.

Obviously, to just end 'loving' someone who you have loved so much until the moment you choose to, is impossible. To make it more practicable, we resorted to no-communications for a week or so. We were more worried about the other during this period, as we found out once we restarted communicating. One of my dear blog friends helped us keep in touch vicariously (Thank you!). Once I was sure that we were okay with letting each other back into our lives as friends, we did it.

Now, we still chat for an hour or two each day talking about what happened, re-affirming that it was the best decision to have been made and helping each other to get used to the dangers of seeking 'love'. The world is cruel, especially to older men who have afflictions to contend with. Talking helps, believe me. It helps us to maintain our self-esteem high during a phase which is infamous for the lack of the same.

Jan 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

A year has ended and another has begun. It's weird for me after going through what I have gone through. (Shee, I don't make any literary sense these days.) I guess, it's partly because of this extremely funny, yet gay-o-sarcastic video that I found on You Tube. It was recorded by my friend in his band's practice session. Check it out! ;)

Oh and Happy New Year!