Jan 31, 2011

A bitch at work

I started the work-week being all positive. I woke up feeling all pumped up and ready to bring my life back on the most-desired track. This, in my case, includes a direct bus to and fro to work and back, good 9-hour working day, a couple of hours at the gym, another couple of hours rehearsing songs, and quiet dinner, and some time catching up with friends online.

After my morning cuppa, I felt ready to conquer the world. I took my gym bag with me down the stairs of my apartment building, hoping that work would be kind to me. I log on to Twitter on my mobile phone and as I am browsing through the tweets, my direct bus comes in like a whirlwind, stops briefly for a second, and zips past me. I realize that only when I feel the dust-smoke cloud formed by the bus engulfs me.

What a sad start. I get a rick and hurry to work not wanting to lose the time advantage that I had. I walk into work and check my schedule and I find a bitch of an assignment waiting for me. I take a few minutes to finish away a work-related chore that I have been putting off for long.

Then I start working on the bitch. She was full of ticks and fleas, and was fat and a pig. To make things worse, the freelancer that she was to be pruned by had peed and shat all over her, making her distinctly unpleasant to work with. I would like to bitchslap the freelancer so that her cheeks are more skewed than the W's ideas about WMD.

I work away at the bitch incessantly, clipping her overgrown finger/toe nails, trimming her overgrown fur, and giving her a nice anti-helminthic purge before I washed her down of all the sludge. I take teeny-weeny breaks for breakfast and lunch in between. But the bitch is so unwieldy that I can't even pee the whole evening. Well, until I got done with her at least - by 7.03 pm.

There is no energy left in me. I leave the gym bag at work, hoping that I will wake up nice and early tomorrow, turn up for work early, LEAVE work early, head to the gym, go back home, and head to the party at the Banana Bar. I hope there ain't another bitch waiting for me at work.

Jan 30, 2011

In a year's time, he said

You eased into my life that day
When you joked about me getting hit by a car and dying
I wasn't quite sure of it then
But I made sure I didn't get hit

You eased into my life that day
When we went on and on entertaining each other with our wit
I wasn't quite sure of it then
And we made sure we didn't fall in love

You eased out of my life the next day
Saying that I had the chance once and I'd failed to grab it
I wasn't sure what I had missed
I am not sure about it now either

You eased back into my life today
Saying you were unwell and had a terrible period of ill health
I wasn't sure how bad it was
And you gave me vague answers

You eased back into my life today
We joked about for quite awhile until I had to say goodbye to you
I wasn't sure if he'd be my mate
And you wished me well in my endeavor

You'd eased back into my life today
When we decided playfully that in a year's time, if we both were single, we would take it up again
I am not sure if we were joking about it
I won't be until the coming Jan 30th

Jan 29, 2011

The best pride ever!

Working half-day – slogging, quite literally – before heading down town for the pride march and the accompanying festivities isn’t the best idea. But I had to do it because it fell on a working Saturday and I had to at least work half-day. I reached just in time to catch Celina Jaitley and Ashok Row Kavi address the crowd. No sooner as she left the stage, the organizational committee wanted me to speak on the megaphone, which was a bit crazy I thought. I managed to utter a few sentences before getting off the podium and joining the pride march.

The march itself was pretty amazing. It was very strongly populated. But what made the afternoon/evening/night most memorable was the company. The company of a man who claims that I had written something bad about him on this very blog after our first date about 2 years back. I’m talking about Craigie. He is the funniest, sarciest bitch that I know and I love him. He kept me company through the march, and then at the post-march party at Café Ideal, then at a friend’s apartment/terrace, and then finally at the post-pride march GB party.

We laughed so much that I really can’t remember the time when I had laughed so much. Maybe back in 2007/2008 when Vinokur was at his best! That’s how funny he was! Americans are funny, but Craigie is special and takes the humor to another level. We happened to have the company of one a DDG, handsome German actor H. who was with us most throughout the evening. We had a blast! This is how partying should be. Fun, laughter, merriment!

Of course, I had my share of luck with a bunch of older men at the GB party, a couple of whom I was forward enough to make out with. But alas, all of them are married and have families and are closeted. Well, I did meet a single Kiwi guy – my second Kiwi guy in a week’s time – who might be an interesting person to hang with. But Craigie and H. made 2011 pride really special!

Jan 28, 2011

The Queer Ink Open-Mic Night

The last time I went for a semi-open mic event, about a year back, I came back disappointed – so much so that I had promised that I would never do it again. But then, three months or so later, I went on to to perform a song on a rooftop party where the choir that I used to sing was performing. I performed ‘Living Your Dream’ and I got a wonderful response. On that day, I had dedicated that song to Sidd Coutto, who was then part of Shor Bazaar.

Tonight, after a whore of a day at work, when I took a train to Bandra station – I was already late – I was not very apprehensive. That must have been because I had performed solo sets a couple of times in the last two weeks. I texted the organizers mentioning that I would be arriving late. To my surprise, and I’m grateful for them, they had put me as the last performer for the event. That made me feel proud!

There was a lot of wonderful talent out there – singers, story writers, poets, comedians – almost everything under the sun, just like different shades of the rainbow! Alisha Batth was there accompanying a friend of hers on the guitar and my friend Georgina Maddox did a couple of wonderful songs. My good friend Deep recited a short story that he had written, and another friend Praful recited a Hindi poem.

Finally, my name was announced. The organizers were kind enough to give me extra time to perform two songs. Despite some sound problems with plugging my guitar on to the mixer, I gave a good performance. I played ‘The Rainbow Song’ and ‘Living Your Dream’ and I was fortunate to get a rousing applause for both the songs, especially ‘Living Your Dream’.

After I wound up, one lady came up to me and told me that she was crying when she was listening ‘Living Your Dream’. That’s such a wonderful thing to hear!  I was so happy after the event that on my way back home in the train, I donated Rs. 100 as charity to educate poor school children in the interior of Maharashtra!

I should do this more often!

Thanks to Shobhana S. Kumar from Queer Ink for this wonderful space for queer artists!

Jan 27, 2011

Queer Gear for the Straight Ear at the Carter Road Amphitheater

Yesterday’s ‘Queer Gear for the Straight Ear’ event as part of the Queer Azaadi week celebrations was a grand success! For the first time ever, I performed with three separate bands on the same stage (Shor Bazaar, Cirkles, and Ideat Savant). The crowd was about 150 strong at best but was supporting all the acts who performed (including MH04, Alisah Batth & Alisha Pais, and Amar (Sax) and ??? (xylophone)).

Shor Bazaar performed ‘Rasili’, ‘School’, ‘Savita Bhabhi’, ‘Nikamma’, and ‘Pagli Ladki. We got a great response for ‘School’ and ‘Savita Bhabhi’. Ideat Savant performed ‘The Rainbow Song’, ‘Living Your Dream’, ‘What I Have Lost’ and ‘The Prayer Inside This Song.’ We didn’t get much crowd response, probably because the crowd had thinned out and we were playing originals. Cirkles played ‘I Want To Break Free’ and ‘I Will Survive’ to a 30-strong cheering group of supporters!

But the highlight of the evening was the fantastic performance by Alisha Batth and Alish Pais! Wow! I can’t describe how beautiful, vibrant, and energetic they sounded! Notable covers they performed were ‘I Alone’ bye Live and ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.

This event got covered the Hindustan Times. They story, which can be found here and here, quoted the chorus of ‘The Rainbow Song’. This is such a proud moment in my life – when my lyric got published in a national newspaper.

All in all, a super success!

Jan 26, 2011

The Indian Express Article

Today, an article about gays and their use of the internet to 'come out' was published in the Indian Express. Yours Truly was featured in the article, that too with a photograph. Here's a link to the article.
The Digital Afterlife of the Queer
Richa Bhatia, Indian Express, Jan 26, 2011*

Coming out to family and friends is not always easy. A number of
dedicated websites have now developed to provide LGBTs with a support system

It was in his early twenties that Madurai-born Shridhar Sadasivan typed the keywords—connection, community, Queer Chennai on the Yahoo group MovenPick (a non-sexual support space for lesbian/ gay/ bi/ transgendered (LGBT) people in Chennai). What was he looking for? Confirmation that his sexuality would not be an impediment in the larger social context, something that MovenPick provided. As opposed to children from hipper, and less conservative outposts, Sadasivan, now in his early 30s “suffered with shame and guilt” all through his teen life. “I had no clue about homosexuality. I had no one to reach out to. I tried to kill myself. I found Internet and it helped me understand my sexuality, accept and be comfortable with who I am and then come out to my friends and family”, shares Sadasivan, who is now currently based in New Jersey, United States, where he works in the IT industry.

Past the closet days, Sadasivan is now making a splash with his profound stories that are published in the Tamil magazine Thinnai and Thendral. He is also a member of the executive team of Orinam.net, a bilingual LGBT resource website and is trying to create awareness in the mainstream about LGBT issues through his writings. “Indian kids normally discuss attraction, sexual feelings with friends. But kids with same-sex attraction can never discuss with their friends, so there is no support system other than the Internet as of now,” rues Sadasivan.

It is a common queer narrative. The rise of the Internet has kickstarted the emergence of a worldwide queer support system. “The personal coming out experience is certainly enhanced by the emergence of online communities. The website lends them anonymity, as people do not give out their real names. If you are anonymous, you can say whatever you want, people can’t judge you,” says MJ, Mumbai-based co-founder of the two-year-old portal gaysi.com, a first-of-its kind initiative in India, where the desi-gay community comes together and shares personal stories of their struggles and their coming out narratives. Over the past two years, the website is seeing traffic from all over the world,with about 500-600 hits a day of late. “Besides international dating sites, there is no online platform where desis can come over and connect. So we set it up pumping in money from our own pockets,” said MJ. Though still not a commercially viable project, she is wary of asking for donations. “The advertising revenue is next to nothing, so we are looking for other ways of marketing, including endorsements from corporates who are not hesitant to support our cause,” she says. 24-year-old Agnivo Niyogi sees larger implications for the LGBT presence on the web in the socio-media landscape. “Of late, the LGBT community is seen as a good market to invest. It can prove commercially viable through right marketing and niche products. We already have queer stores and queer e-zones,” said the Kolkata-based Niyogi, who is also a contributor to the one-year-old monthly magazine Gaylaxy, an online LGBT magazine. Though there are overseas niche websites such as TwoBrides.com, TwoGrooms.com — a one-stop-shop for gay weddings that offers products, information, wedding stories and ceremony topics — the scene in India is very nascent. “People are not willing to come up with such ideas. There is a lack of initiative,” rues Niyogi, who works as a content developer with New Age Knowledge Solutions.

There wasn’t any internet in Thiruvananthapuram, when Krishna Kumar Venkitachalam, now 31, came to grips with his sexuality. There was no one to talk to either. In his early days, Venkitachalam, logged on to Yahoo groups to “find friends online”. Since then, he has moved base to Mumbai, where Venkitachalam, who has a degree in Orthopedics, works in a KPO by the day and slides into the musician avatar as Kris Bass and gigs by night. Bass is also a popular blogger at www.engayinglife, a seven-year-old blog started in Mumbai. It was through the blog that Venkitachalam chose to come out in 2007. “My sister and her husband first read the blog in 2003 and came to know about my orientation, though I officially came out to my parents in 2008. My mother had known about it for sometime but chose to ignore it since she thought I was too young. She is very supportive, though my Dad is still shaky about it,” shares Venkitachalam. His blog, about “a queer, amateur songwriter and a bassist gives an insight into a person who is also gay”. These days, he is perpetually online, hanging out in chat rooms “not to seek sex but intelligent conversation”. “I am not a gay activist,” notes Venkitachalam. “I am just letting people know that I am pretty much a next door type guy, who also happens to be gay,” he said.
Of course, there are errors in the article. First of all, there WAS internet when I came to grips with my sexuality. That's how I got to know that there were millions of men like me. There were very few people to talk to, and I came out to my friends first. Then, this blog wasn't started in Mumbai. I started blogging when I was in Thiruvananthapuram.

I don't exactly know the time when my sister and my brother-in-law came to know about my orientation, but I guess it was around 2004/2005. I was always out on the blog and I have hardly used it as a means to come out. Of course, my friends, when they come across it at first, come to know about my orientation (because the header says that I'm queer).

I have always come out to people personally - either by telling them on their faces that "Dude, listen how can I get in bed with you?" or "Girl, do you have a father/uncle than I can have sex with?" - or by joking about it, just like I did in the first part of this sentence.

I had indirectly come out to my sister way back in 1999 when I had made a website for myself. At that point, my home page had a statement saying that "I'm definitely not a heterosexual." My sister had read it and I thought she had chosen to ignore it.

Then, I came out to my Mom and Dad in 2009. That was the first time they came to know about it. I don't think they have ignored it ever. But they do have problems in talking to me about it. I must admit that my Mom is getting much better at it now.

So, I became famous once more. Thanks Indian Express.

Jan 25, 2011

Thursday's gig

In two days, I will be making my debut as a singer/songwriter with a five-song of Ideat Savant (http://myspace.com/ideatsavant) set at the QAM Pride-related event in Carter Road amphitheater. The details of the event can be found at this link. Alongside, both Shor Bazaar (Noise Market) and Cirkles (Shoonyas) will be playing sets. So, it is a very special event for me, where three of my projects perform at the same stage. Apart from us, Alisha Batth & Alisha Pais and the band MH04 will be performing.

The rehearsals have gone pretty well. I hope that the event will be grand success. Wish me luck!

FaceBook event page
http://queeerazaadi.wordpress.com

Jan 24, 2011

Social clowning

It's a known fact that I like humor. I like clowning around and like to make a joke out of myself. But even more interesting are instances when I feel the urge to involve a total stranger into my web of humor. It usually happens with waiters and waitresses.

So, yesterday evening, at the gay party, I met this wonderful Kiwi guy. During our conversation, a particular waiter, who brought us a vegetable salad with a dip, interrupted us every 10 minutes or so. He was rather portly and had a sly smile on his face. On the fifth time, I asked this waiter:
Do you like this guy?
The waiter laughed and was visibly embarrassed and never returned to interrupt us again. I don't think I hurt his sentiments or anything, but I at least made him laugh.

Today evening, on my date with the same Kiwi guy, we went to a Café Coffee day. The waitress came up to us with the menu card. As we were trying to decide what we should order, she started advertising some merchandise (mugs and other items) that Café Coffee day is offering for the Valentine's day. I couldn't resist it. I asked her:
Do you think we two are dating?
She was surprised and started blushing and smiling profusely. I couldn't wait to come back in again.
In fact, we actually are. You have a good eye!
She smiled even wider - if indeed that was possible - and didn't know what to say. We consoled her saying that we'll decide on the items and let her know later. She went back to the counter and turned back at us and smiled. She did that at least three times.

I think I have gotten this habit from Vinokur. I still remember Vinokur's sister Cis saying to him that the words that he chooses to use during such occasions might be too heavy and harsh on his prey. I guess that holds the same for me true.

Jan 23, 2011

Straight date for a gay evening

I finally broke the jinx - I went out with the most beautiful woman that I know. That too, to a gay party. She is the aunt of my gay friend. It was a fundraiser party for the Queer Azadi March week. We met at the Bandra station. I was wearing a mix and match outfit with a kurta, jeans, and flip-flops. She was dressed as beautiful as ever in a saree and with a matching stole and shoes.

On our way to find a cab, one of the straps of her left shoe gave away. It was very embarrassing for her as she had never had a shoe-malfunction in any of her previous dates. We found a cab soon and got into it. However, the cabbie ran into his family by the roadside. He wanted to give them a ride back home and said that he'll find us a cab first.

My gracious and beautiful date was so kind, she let the cabbie's family travel with us - not only that she paid him a minimum fare too! I was moved by her kindness and generosity. In the second cab, we traveled to the venue of the party - Dios at Tardeo - the same venue where I had one too many drinks a couple of months at a birthday party where Cirkles were performing. On the way, we found a mochi (cobbler) and he managed to fix my date's shoes. We bought ourselves Kolhapuris as a backup for.

It turned out to be a good decision - one of the buckles on the shoe that my date was wearing came off as we were walking to the venue after getting out of the cab. We meet our common friend Dee at the entrance - he was surprised to see us two together!

It was just about 10.15 pm by the time we entered. We went up to realize that there were hardly any people at the party. I hardly knew anyone except for the male money-mongering whore who I had seen in a few other parties. We got ourselves a couple of beers and sat at a couch with a fantastic view of the moon in front of us and talked.

Soon, people started trickling in and my date found a lot of young men who she from FaceBook – yes, Facebook. She knows dozens of young men who seek her company and advice on FaceBook. She is a fantastic lady and she offers her heart and soul to all of these young gay men who don’t have acceptance in their families. That’s how awesome my date is.

I took a look around and I found a bunch of my friends from other parties. I hung out with some of them. I tried to work my humor, but some of them were so bitchy and shallow that they took offense. That’s part and parcel of humor and sarcasm, I guess. Then, I found my dear friend Craig who was hanging out with his usual bunch of friends. We bitched about like how we always do. We love each other so much!

Then, I saw this male-whore trying to butter up a cute looking Firangi. Not only did I want to talk to this Firangi, I also wanted him to be warned about this whore trying to extract money from him. So, as he made his way to the bar, I sneaked in and bumped into this white guy and warned him about the whore. After that, I hung around him to see if he would initiate a conversation with me.

He eventually did and we spent the entire rest of the evening talking to each other. I was a little worried about leaving my date alone, but she was having a good time with her boys. Before the party ended, I exchanged numbers with the Firangi guy and we decided to meet up the next evening.

On our way back, I was a little worried if my date had felt bad. But I guess she didn’t. So, it was a good evening outing. I should do this more often.

Jan 22, 2011

A Friday To Remember (part 2)

(coninued...)

We got back on stage and played a short acoustic set. After that, we invited our friends and a talented bunch of musicians to perform a few songs. They invited our drummer to play with them for four songs and invited me to play drums for the fifth song. I started the song slow and I gave a shoddy performance behind the kit. But it was all mean in fun and I didn't want to take all the negativity forward to my set of three songs, which included 'Torn' by Natalie Imbruglia, 'The Prayer Inside This Song', and 'What I Have Lost'.

I introduced 'The Prayer Inside This Song' as a song written by my ex-boyfriend (Vinokur) in 1968 when after he had a hangover with cocaine. One guy in the crowd jumped out of his seat and asked me 'Your boyfriend?' I nodded. Later, I was introduced to him and he said that he was gay and was happy to see someone from the same 'clan'! The set went okay, I thought - my voice was a little tired after the first set with the band. For a show without a proper soundcheck, I think the performance was good.

Later the band took over once more and we did a five-song finishing set, at the end of which the crowd started requesting for more. For some odd reason, Dr. R and Jay were in a hurry to leave - they didn't even hang around to say a proper goodbye. I went back to my apartment with my date to have a drink and a lovely conversation which was sprinkled with a couple of private (special) performances of my songs. We slept really late. We woke up late and had coffee at home and breakfast at the Mucchawallah Dosawallah. Then I saw him off in a rick.

That capped a wonderful day of ups and downs where I think I succesfully managed all three major facets of my life. I tag this as a #win.

A Friday To Remember (part 1)

Yesterday was a classic day when I was called to combine all three facets of my life - work/music/gay socializing - in a manner which would envy most.

I woke up late, thanks to a late-night rehearsal, which resulted in me taking my pills later than usual. I had a hectic day at work with reviews of trainee assignments and a separate document to edit. At the end of the day, I was called in for an unplanned discussion about a client complaint on an assignment - one of the rare times I fucked up at work - that dragged my eventual departure from office even more.

I was late for soundcheck for my gig at Not Just Jazz By The Bay with Cirkles (Shoonyas). I messaged my bandmates to let them know that I was running late. Ironically enough, I reached the venue the first. I was a little anxious because I was performing a few original compositions of mine (for Ideat Savant). Ideally, I would have liked to soundcheck my set, but the band soundcheck got so delayed than we finished it at 10 pm, just 15 minutes from the starting time.

I was surprised to see my friend and shrink Dr. R and her husband Jay turn up for the event. It had been about a year since I had talked to them and I didn't know when to start. After pleasantries, I consciously tried to avoid the converation drifting to my depression and career choices. I must say that I was relatively succesful.

I was expecting a gay friend of mine, the date from the New Year's Eve party that I had attended to turn up as well. He didn't have company and since my old friends had turned up, I thought of hooking them up with my date. He arrived as were finishing our first song of the day. I beckoned him over and I suggested that he hang out with my friends, which he evntually ended up doing. I don't know if he would be comfortable, but I was hoping he would.

Well, our set-list got a warm response, and we played an electric set really tight to get a rousing applause from the crowd. Unfortunately, our vocalist was struggling with a sore throat, and we took a break after an hour and 15 minutes on stage. The break was rather long, and I took the opportunity to catch up with my friends and the date. We had a nice conversation and I introduced everyone to my bandmates. (continued...)

Jan 21, 2011

Must-not-miss events during the QAM week - Ek Madhavbaug and Dancing Queens


ABOUT EK MADHAVBAUG

Ek Madhavbaug is one of the pioneering Marathi language plays written on homosexuality and acceptance of the Gay community. The poignant play tells the story of a 21-year-old youth coming to terms with his sexuality. The play is seen from the view point of his mother. The Mother discovers that her son is Gay and through his diary, relives his journey of discovery of his own sexuality. The play strikingly brings out the emotions of a mother and son and will leave no soul untouched through its intensity and heartfelt content.

Chetan Datar had performed the original Marathi Play at the Humsafar Trust in 1998 and since then it was a dream that we shared with Chetan to translate the play into the hindi language and provide it a larger platform

The performance reading is done by actress Mona Ambegaonkar. She has given award winning performances and is still remembered for her work in television serials like KADAM, CID and AMBER-DHARA. Her films include MANGAL PANDEY, WHITE NOISE, and amongst her plays are KASTURI, RADHA-NIVAS, SITA-SURPANAKHA & SANDRA AND WHATEVER YOU SAY.

The hindi version of the play was first performed at Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2010 at PVR Juhu in April 2010 to packed audiences and received standing ovation from the audiences

Ek Madhavbaug will be performed on 26th January 2011 at SNDT University Auditorium in Juhu, Mumbai as a part of the QAM Pride Week Celebrations!

Do come!

ABOUT DANCING QUEENS

Dancing Queens is coming together of 20 male dancers who impersonate as women and perform dance numbers of all time famous Diva’s of Hindi Cinema. The first performance of Dancing Queens was done as a fund raiser for Queer Azaadi Mumbai 2009. The show was supported by various Community Based Organisations and friends. The show was a big success and nearly two-hundred friends (within and outside the community) attended and were entertained with mesmerizing performances. The show managed to raise Rs. 30,000/- for QAM 2009 in a single night. It also got coverage from leading news papers which brought visibility to the initiative.

Dancing Queens are back again on 26th January 2011 at SNDT University Auditorium in Juhu,Mumbai.

Be there!

(Write-up: courtesy Vivek Anand from the Humsafar Trust)

Jan 20, 2011

Happiness, Beauty, Creativity, Apprehension

Happiness lies in what's inside of you
You need not search for it, else you may fail
Happiness lies in what you choose to be
You need not search for it, for once let it grow

Beauty lies in what's inside of you
You need not look for it, it's in your mind
Beauty lies in what you choose to see
You need not look for it, it's there to be seen

Creativity lies in what's inside of you
You don't search for it, it's in yourself
Creativity lies in what you choose to make
You don't search for it, it's already there inside

Apprehension lies in what's inside you
You need not hide it, it's in your mind
Apprehension lies in what you choose to be blind to
You need to hide it, otherwise it grows inside

Jan 19, 2011

Blue Lies (2011)

You were spinning right in front of my eyes
I couldn't hold on to you tight
You were spinning out of control
I couldn't save you, you were addicted

You picked me up from the crowd
And rushed toward me with tears in your eyes
You embraced me in front of the crowd
I couldn't believe it, I was addicted

Addicted to your blue eyes
Addicted to them blue pills
Addicted to your blue eyes
Addicted to them blue lies

And it between all this, you wrote to me
Dear, I think I can't take this no more
And in between all this, you wrote to me
Dear, I think I love him a little more

You were trembling in front of my eyes
From happiness or disbelief, I didn't know
You were trembling on the way to our house
I wasn't so sure, you were addicted

You were making love to me ever so tenderly
Was it love, I'm sure it was
You were making love to me ever so passionately
I couldn't believe it, I was addicted

Addicted to your blue eyes
Addicted to them blue pills
Addicted to your blue eyes
Addicted to them blue lies

And in between all this, I cried to you
Dear, I think I can't take this no more
And in between all this, I cried to you
Dear, I think can't bear this anymore

Queer Azaadi week calendar


This is the final draft of the QAM pride week calendar. I must also link you up to the official blog of Queer Azaadi Mumbai. I'm expecting this year's march to be the biggest yet in Mumbai. But don't forget to turn up for the other events that have been lined up. Don't you even dare to not check my performances on 27th and 28th!

Jan 18, 2011

Singer/songwriter debut

Well, the Queer Azaadi March this year features a week of queer-related activities leading up the pride march on the 29th of January (Saturday). I have already applied for a half-day leave on that day.

More importantly for me, however, are the dates 27th and 28th, when I'll be performing as a singer/songwriter at two separate venues - at the Carter Road Amphitheater, Bandra and at Cooper Candies, Pali Hilll, Bandra, respectively.

On the 27th, I'll be joined by Rob (on guitar/vocals) and S (on djembe, percussion). The fantastic Alsha Batth will be performing alongside. On the 28th, I'd be performing solo for just a song or two at the Open Mic Night event. Both will be memorable days in my life, where I'll be performing songs that I wrote, songs that are so very personal.

This will the first time that Ideat Savant (my pet music project) songs are being performed live. As a prelude to these two gigs, if things go well, I'll be performing a 3-song set with Rob and S at the Cirkles gig at Not Just Jazz by the bay on the 21st of January. That makes it a total of three singer/songwriter gigs in a week's time! Wish me luck fellows!

Here is the QAM schedule:

Jan 17, 2011

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon - Part 2 - and more

After waiting for nearly three hours, watching some not-so-professional performances from the other bands, we finally got on stage at around 10.45 am. After plugging in and doing a preliminary soundcheck, we started off playing our 'legendary' medley of 'We Will Rock You', 'Pichle Saat Din', 'Saare Jahaan Se Achcha', 'They Don't Really Care About Us'.

Before we could finsh our first (medley) song, the police came over and asked us to stop performing. We had no other option to pack up and leave. That was a total disappointment, and had gotten us mentally tired on a Sunday that was supposed to be rejuvenating. From there, we took the train back to Andheri, checking out the pictures that our friend had clicked.

Rob and I went together to his place to rehearse the songs that I am performing at the Queer Azaadi March-related event on Jan 27th (Thursday) evening at the Carter Road Amphitheater in Bandra. However, our rehearsal was cut short by the Shor Bazaar project to try and make a background score for a B2B movie/video. A lot of time was spent on that and that drove me even further into boredom.

By around 5 pm, we finally managed to complete the draft that we intended to make. But at that point, I was mentally, and perhaps physically, drained. I came back home, checked my e-mail and social networking updates and decided to take a nap. That nap, starting from 6.30 pm, carried me well into the early morning. I woke up at 3.30 am trying to figure out what had happened.

I had to take my pills, I remembered. I did that and spent an hour online catching up with my lovelies, including Bruno, the lovely Franco-Italian professor. After an hour or so, during the time I met another wonderful man from Virginia at SilverDaddies.com, I went to bed hoping that I would wake up in time.

Today showed me how frustrating a musician's life can be. From the highs of the jam with Bad Influence to a 'no show' with Cirkles to a boring backround score making session with Shor Bazaar (Noise Market). That's how a musician's life is - full of ups and downs. Well, that's how life in general is, is it not?

Jan 16, 2011

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon - part 1

Today, I'm on my way to the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, not to run, but to perform with my band Cirkles (Shoonyas) at the TCS stage. In the first class compartment in the fast local to Churchgate, I see dozens of men wearing track suits and official T-shirts of the marathon. Most of them don't seem like athletes, but at least they have the spirit to participate.

The Twitter world is abuzz with celebrities and fellow tweeters tweeting about the marathon. My expecations are on the rise. I hope this will be worth the experience of getting up early in the morning after a physically draining week and an emotionally draining night when India escaped by the skin of their teeth agaist South Africa at Kingsmead, Durban.

I'll update again after the experience. Until then, join me on Twitter!

Jan 15, 2011

Farewell to a friendship

I had another chat conversation with my sister this afternoon, the first one after our previous one in which we insulted and hurt each other. As a modus operandi, I started the conversation asking about how things were and how the weather was etc – many of my friends had advised me that it was the best way to go about such an unhealthy relationship. She said she was fine and asked me if I was and we thanked each other. I thought things were working out well. I tried to dilute the conversation by sending her and my Mom a recent picture of me taken at the New Year’s Eve party.

Eventually, however, she brought the topic of our previous conversation. She said that she was sorry to have been so blunt and hurtful. She said that she didn’t like to mask her feelings and wanted to be honest about how she felt about me. I told her that we had fallen out of the friendship that we had – we were each other’s best friends for many years during our combined childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood – and that to maintain whatever that was left, it was best that we became ‘fake’ friends.

I also mentioned that I felt more free during online chats with my mother because she seemed to understand me more and appeared generally kinder and more gentle in her dealings. She seemed hurt – more hurt than me, probably because I already knew how our relationship was going to end up anyway. She said that she would rather be not in close touch than be ‘fake’ friends, to stop being touch with me for some time at least. I couldn’t say anything but ‘yes.’

I guess, things ended up just the way that I had written in the song ‘Hope It’s Over’ about me and her. The final line ‘Yes it is’ sounded a tad too harsh, but it’s exactly what has happened. This is the song that I had dedicated to her in the only gig of mine that she had attended. This was in late 2009, I think. Anyway, an ending which might be sad, but is true.
Hope It’s Over (2008)

When did I stop being, what I used to be
Where did I start falling, you weren't looking
What did I start chasing, it feels so long
Whom did I leave stranded, I fell so hard, I felt so low

Was it you, was it me, who knows

When did I stop listening, it was deafening
Where did I stop looking, what lies ahead
What did I start wishing, wish I'd be there now
Whom did I try faking, I tried so hard, I felt so lone

Was it you, was it me, who knows
Was it you, was it me, who knows

The hope that is left, is it too heavy to confess
The hope that is left, it's so easy to forget

Was it you, was it me, who knows
Was it you, was it me, is it over?

Is it over?
Yes it is.

Jan 14, 2011

'Goosebumps' moment

Music makes me happy. Very happy. That is the main reason why I’m on a sabbatical from surgery, pursuing a career in music which seems rather optimistic and utopian. There are occasions during which I get pleasantly reminded of the reason behind this sudden diversion in the career path. Live performances to a packed audience, a studio/recording session where everything seems to ‘click,’ a brilliant songwriting moment etc.

Rather more uncommon, however, is the goosebumps experience during a jam session with a band when you get everything right – when you can’t quite believe that the music that you are hearing is being performed by a bunch of people that includes yourself. When that happens, it’s like an orgasm with a loved one (I’m not talking about sex with a random person, mind you).

Yesterday, one such moment happened. It was with my new band Bad Influence. We were auditioning my friend Mik for the drummer’s slot. Mik and I are friends through our freelancing work with the band Pralay. On our menu was the song ‘Sober’ by Tool. It is a relatively difficult song for a drummer, which our previous drummer wasn’t quite able to ‘play.’ Mik arrived, played, and conquered! It sounded simply amazing!

When I left the jam room, I had a big fat smile on my face. Dear world, this is why I’m doing what I’m doing. :-)

Jan 13, 2011

The beauty of people

There are some people who are beautiful, not because they are blessed with attributes of widely-accepted social criteria of beauty, but because they are charming and graceful in their own ways. Many people around us - chaiwallahs, shopkeepers, rickshaw-wallahs etc. - are beautiful. Some narrow-minded people, especially straight men in my experience, find it hard to comprehend such beauty.

Take the case of the chaiwallah across the road from my apartment. Last winter, after a rehearsal, my bandmates and I went down for naastha at the mucchawallah dosawallah who operates across the road from my building, by the side of this chaiwallah. The chaiwallah, a typical Mangalorean man, with classic charms of a man from that region - the smile, the warm expression, the humor, the shyness, and the shine in the eye - was handing us our glasses of cutting chai when I suggested to my bandmates how beautiful/handsome the chaiwallah was and how good looking he must have been when he was younger - not that he is not handsome anymore!

One of my bandmates started laughing - not just laughing, but he was laughing at me and my observation and my judgement - it must be a coincidence that he called me as I was typing this blog post on my phone waiting for my bus. I tried to present my points but I couldn't get it through him. He was obstinant and stubborn, and in my opinion, narrow-minded. I gave up soon and I was left to wondering if and when the beauty of the world will open out to people like him.

The same is true with a lift operator in my new office complex. By his looks and accent, I think he's from Delhi. He has a charming smile, a graceful presence, and exudes warmth. He welcomes me in the morning with a hearfelt 'good morning' and makes polite enquiries about work whenever the occassion suits. Tonight, as I was getting out of the office building with my gorgeous friend AK, I was lucky to catch the same lift that this liftman was operating. There was the usual - a smile, a warm 'good night' and the works.

I thought twice before asking AK if she too thought that he was beautiful. Then I realized that she's a wonderful woman with little pretension. I asked her and she concurred. In the brief conversation that we had, she mentioned another sweet liftman and his 'beauty'. I walked out of the office complex with a smile on my face remembering the conversation with my bandmate. Maybe my friend wil open out to the wonderful world of 'beauty' soon too!

Jan 12, 2011

Rainbow Song - acoustic version

Find more artists like Ideat Savant at Myspace Music



This was recorded a few months back at my friend/band mate's home studio. This is one of the songs that I'm planning to perform later this month as part of the Queer Azaadi (Pride March) activities. I hope you enjoy it.

Jan 11, 2011

So much for blood relationships

Last weekend, I had a chat conversation with my sister. I thought it was about time that I mentioned the developments in my life vis-a-vis men and romance. I didn't want her to know after the rest of the world already knew, which already is the case unfortunatley.

As usual, our conversation was nothing but rude and unhealthy. I opened my heart out to her and I guess she did it too. Our feelings to each other were categorically unruly. She asked me things like 'Why do you meet before you get to know them/like them?', to which all I had to say was 'That's how relationships are made, by meeting peope and knowing them better'.

When I told her that humor was a very important factor when it came to choosing a man because I had a good sense of humor, she said that she thought that I didn't. That's how shallow our relationship has become these days. If she didn't know that I was funny, she hasn't known me at all, I said. She said that what she knew of me from the past, I didn't have much of a sense of humor. Incredible!

And then, as usual, she asked me to make decisions carefully, as if I didn't know that already. She thought that my decisions have not been well thought through and that's the reason why I'm having such a miserable life. I asked her how she knew that she was right? Then she asked me 'Now, who's being rude here?'

With that she and I decided that we better not chat with each other any further. This is the reason I should believe why families are not meant for the welfare of people like me. Also, I know why it was such a wise choice to have decided to separate myself from the family and adopt 'friends' as the primary family. As someone told me the other days, and I quote, 'Friends, to gay people, are what family is to straight people'.

Jan 10, 2011

My Addiction

I can't see, I can't breathe, I can't lay still, without the sight of you
I can't scream, I can't fight, I can't play cool, without you being there
I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't stay still, without the sight of you
I can't dream, oh my plight, I'm such a fool, without you saying hey

Like dark chocolate
Like a cup of latte
Like a glass of scotch
Like an OCD
So hard to shake you off

My addiction, it's a contradiction
My addiction, it defies deaddiction
My addiction, it feels like corruption
My addiction, no one's jurisdiction

I can't feel, I can't shield, I can't bear it all, without you inside me
I can't leave, I can't move, I can't just live, without you being there
I can steal, but I can't give, I can't keep up, without you inside me
I can't plea, I can't flee, I can't but slide, without you saying hey

Like dark chocolate
Like a cup of latte
Like a glass of scotch
Like an OCD
So hard to shake you off

My addiction, it's a contradiction
My addiction, it defies deaddiction
My addiction, it feels like corruption
My addiction, no one's jurisdiction

Jan 9, 2011

Faithless?

Turn around and you will see me
My loving words will echo in your ears forever
Play around and you will miss me
My loving words may not have a recipient anymore

Walk around and you will see me
My loving words echoing in others ears
Look around and you will see not just me
But everyone in this phase forever

Why do we like playing around?
Because it reminds us of our childhood?
Why do we like flirting around?
Because it reminds us of our childhood?
Why do we like to misbehave?
Because it reminds us of our childhood?
Why can't we seem to accept the truth?
Because it reminds us of our childhood?

You were around to see me play
But will you be around to see my cry?
You were around to see me display my charms
But will you be around to see me lie?

Jan 8, 2011

What I Have Lost

This is a song I wrote at the Juhu beach one fine evening when I took my guitar with me. This was back in October 2010. Of course, it's about me and Vinokur.
What I Have Lost (2010)

I look back, to see what I've lost
I lay back, to feel it rush in fast
Eight half past, the waves are gushing past
The past oh past, I'm sure it didn't last forever, and ever

I'm here all by myself
And you have moved on fast
And I feel what I have lost
It's so hard to make it/you past

I'm back, to the time that I was lost
I hold back, the world spins so fast
Third year at last, the masterplan has crashed
It had to crash, because we made sure it didn't last forever, and ever

I'm here all by myself
And you have moved on so fast
And I feel what I have lost
It's so hard to make it/you past

Jan 7, 2011

The best jerk

Oh please, would you please, stop it, you bastard
It's not as if the world around you is deaf
What you do does indeed go with the groove of Morcheeba
But that's no excuse to go on and on, so tirelessly

Like a jerk, like an asshole
Like a fucked up pretentious fool

You look back at me and scream as if I'm responsible
It's part of your 'job', as you always claimed it to be
Don't let your dirt spill out like a leak in the toilet
Don't let your hands push on this monster, creating a racket

Like a jerk, like an asshole
Like a fucked up pretentious fool

You are more jerky than a motorized saw
You don't know how to ride this monster
You better quit what you are doing
You better stop what you are doing

Jan 6, 2011

Loveguru and the second date

I have a new loveguru at office, and I'm her loveguru. She tells me what to do and what not to do for every relationship situation that presents in my life. She tells me not to call and wants me to play 'hard to get'. That's something which does not come to me naturally. But I will still try and follow her advice as much as possible.

For today evening's date, she said 'Coffee and conversation' first until I presented 'Dinner and stay over' as an option. She thought maybe that will be nice for such a depraved man in his early 30s. She asked me what I was going to wear for the date, and I said even I hadn't decided. She didn't push me much about anything, but she at least made me decide to buy myself a new aftershave. Maybe I'll just wear a nice T-shirt and three-fourths with sandals

I had almost decided to shave my stubble off to give my new 'Asura'-esque moustache (view photo below) some accentuation. But I'm not sure if I can find time to go to a saloon - I don't want to do it myself, you see. But anyway, I hope this turns out to be as good a date as the first one. It should - it was supposed to be a 'come to my gig, we'll talk date'. Now that the darned gig got canceled, I have my entire evening to play with. Wish me luck!

Jan 5, 2011

The Banana Bar experience

After many months, I ventured out to the open - to the world of socializing in gay-friendly venues. As usual, my friend Vik, who organizes a monthly party at the Banana Bar, sent me an SMS invite. I politely responded saying that I had a rehearsal and hence could not attend. Vik playfully replied saying that I could make it after the rehearsal. Honestly, I was not expecting any reply, certainly not such a spontaneous one.

Suddenly, I felt like taking the plunge. I asked him if he could arrange some daddies for me. He replied saying that some older men are always there at the party. My curiosity was completely aroused - a new venue and the prospect of using my highly polished skills of flirting were too tempting. But I still did not have a date. I tried asking my dear friend Shruts, but she wasn't sure of making it.

I decided to delay the decision until after the rehearsal, which was a boring affair without the drummer. I messaged Shruts to ask if she was making it while waiting for her reply decided to head to the party. Sharing the share rickshaw to Malad station with three other smelly men was the worst part of the evening and made me wonder if I was smelling alright - remember that I was going to party not dressed appropriately after 12 hours of work + rehearsals.

I reached the venue relatively late and was pleased to see Vik come up to me to greet me as I placed an order for a beer. He said I looked more like 'Krishna' because I was dressed in a kurta and had my hair tied up in a ponytail. I replied saying that I was 'Kris' tonight and let my hair loose.

Soon I spotted a couple of friends at the terrace and I walked across the dance floor to meet them. On the way, I ran into a friend who had a very special message for me - I can't divulge the information now, wait for it! Then, the first surprise of the evening came to hug me. Sandy, my friend, whose Dad had rented his apartment to me and Vinokur when he visited me, was there to celebrate her wonderful sister Susie's birthday!

I spent about half an hour catching up with Sandy, Susie, and their gang of friends. Sandy and I go back 5 years, back when I was jamming with Xander and S - that long back, yes! We were so happy to catch up with each other. We reminisced the wonderful days when we would jam with me on the guitar and Sandy on vocals - we used to cover Jason Wade from Lifehouse then!

After that, I set out on my Daddy hunt. I went back to Vik and asked him he had seen any come in. He said he had spotted a few but was not sure where they were. I looked around and all I could see was the one guy that I had already met at a personals site a few months back. But he was busy with his friends.

Thankfully, they were showing the highlights of the Test match between India and South Africa on a big screen. I grabbed another beer and started watching the match. And then, all of a sudden, entered a white daddy with his relatively older-looking Indian friend.

It didn't take me much long me to go over to him and start a conversation. And he turned out to be a great guy! So, Vik kept his promise! And I met a lot of my friends. All in all, it was fun. Looking forward to being there, next time around, hopefully with Shruts!

As for the environment and the ambience, I liked the place better than 'Karma' or 'Let's Scream', where GayBombay parties usually take place. The terrace is a welcome relief to people like me who hate dancing and love conversations. Plus, this place is visited by a bunch of very sexy lesbian girls! So, thumbs up for Banana Bar!

Jan 4, 2011

A social/familial misfit

This Sunday evening, during a break during my songwriting/recording sessions, I logged on to the personal messengers. I found my sister online and started chatting with her. She told me that our cousins were all there visiting her. She also told me that she was chatting from the laptop that she had bought for my mother. She was actually testing the internet connection.

She asked me if I could help her check the bandwidth by video-chatting. I was feeling relatively okay then and said okay. We got connected over poor quality 'broadband' at their end. I saw my cousins huddled together around the computer.

We couldn't really 'talk' to each other thanks to the connection. And there was a whole lot of noise coming from their end. Too many people - three cousins, my sister, my parents, and my wailing niece - and too many conversations going on at the same time. A nightmare for a noise-conscious, ADD-esque, social phobic person like me. I tried working some humor, but my tastes of humor were not quite up to the tastes of my family - innuendos don't work, and any humor that I used came through as heavy sharp-toothed sarcasm, which doesn't really work with my family, except for a few uncles.

So, it was a less than memorable experience and I had to finally make an excuse of having to 'make' my dinner to get out of it. This made me so acutely aware of how much of a social misfit I will be if I ever dared to visit my family as I know it.

Jan 3, 2011

Life and Love

Life is a misery, your soul is sold
She is a lost cause, you are getting old
Life is a parody, your hope is restored
It's lonely path, you ain't growing up

You are the travesty that the world should never see
Your are the ignonimity that the world should never see
You are the mediocrity that the world should never see
You are the nothing that the world loves to ignore

Love is a misery, your heart is sold
She is a lost cause, you are getting cold
Love is a parody, my hope is destroyed
It's a tricky path, you ain't moving forward

You are the majesty that the world always bows before
You are the firefly that the children run behind
You are the amnesty that the world hides behind
You are the nothing that the world loves to akcnowledge

Choose your path carefully as
You are always alone in life and love

Jan 2, 2011

Awakening

Hey belief, hope you’ve not given up on me
Hey grief, hope you’ve not shined up on me
Hey mischief, you have been a blessing to me
It’s a relief, you have dawned on me

Hey face, hope you’ll dawn up on me soon
Hey grace, hope you’ll glaze over the moon
Hey disgrace, you have been my spittoon
It’s a place, where I want to be so soon

Take me there, hand in hand
Lead me there, my heart’s going blind
Take me there, holding hands
Lead me there, my heart’s going numb

(Title suggested by Bruno Nigita)

Jan 1, 2011

Waiting for you

Winter afternoon, as time slowly passes by
Whisper in my ear, your face flashes past
Within me a feeling of pleasure, it persists
Without you this feeling would never exist

Hold me in your arms, kiss me with your charms
Feel me with your hands, give me all you have

Wanting for this moment to stay forever and long
Waiting for your lips to push me down strong
Wishing that us and this would be real, really soon
Waiting, if only it would be sooner than soon

Hold me in your arms, kiss me with your charms
Feel me with your hands, give me all you have