Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
Did you keep new year's resolutions and will you make more next year?
I don't make resolutions. Never have.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin's wife did. To a beautiful blue-eyed baby girl. I'm very happy for them. (Wondering if I'll ever be that happy and proud...)
Did anyone close to you die?
Weirdly, no. This has got to be the first year that happened. I'm glad in a way. But scared that means 2006 will have deaths a-plenty.
What countries did you visit?
None. I considered going to Pakistan to meet M. when he was there but somehow it didn't happen. Ah well.
What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
A chance and the money to travel abroad on a vacation.
What dates from 2005 will remain etched in your memory and why?
January 17th - Celebrating M.'s birthday with him holding me.
August 19th - The end of our relationship. I can still remember how lost I felt that day.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I really don't know how to answer this question. I suppose it will have to be meeting wonderful people from all over the world. (G-d, I sound like Miss World when I say this!)
What was your biggest failure this year?
I lost a few friends. I take it personally that I wasn't able to forgive.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
No. Unless you count the over-indulgence on Punjab Sweet House samosa related gastric distress.
What was the best thing you bought?
A pair of cool looking canvas shoes. They have kept my feet so comfy I'm amazed!
Whose behaviour merited celebration?
A friend of mine K. who left his job and moved to the Andaman islands to help out people who've lost everything post-tsunami. He's still there as of now..it's been a year. He got profiled in a major magazine this week which is cause for celebration. But more than that, I admire him for this.
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Certain aquaintances of mine. The ones still having unsafe, promiscous sex. in 2005!
What did you spend most of your spare cash on?
Wine, men and song. And food, lots of it.
What did you get really, really excited about?
Meeting Mithun Chakraborthy for an interview. I almost pee'd my pants.
What song will always remind you of 2005?
Kajra Re. The single most played song everywhere this year. I have to agree with Kate on this one.
Compared to this time last year are you happier or sadder?
Sadder. This time last year, I was picking up M. from the airport. I don't think I have ever been happier.
Thinner or fatter?
Fatter. All around my belly sadly. Bye Bye flat stomach.
Richer or poorer?
Poorer money wise.
Richer friend wise.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Been a better brother to my sister.
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Whine about how sad my life is. (It really isn't..not when I compare it to those of most other people).
How will you be spending Christmas?
In Pune at a friend's birthday party. And no. My friend is NOT Jesus.
Did you fall in love in 2005?
Nope. I started the year off in love with someone and I'm ending it in love with someone.
Then again, I'm in love with a couple of people I've never met...just by reading their comments on my blog.
How many one-night-stands?
A gentleman doesn't kiss and tell. (That's the polite way of saying "It's none of your business")
What was your favorite TV programme?
The Amazing Race takes the cake another year running! Though the family edition SUCKED!
Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No. The people I hate, I've hated for a long time now.
What was the last book you read?
Founding Mothers (the biographies of assorted wives and daughters of the American Founding Fathers)
What was your greatest musical discovery?
Serbian folk music.
What did you want and get?
The respect of my peers (HAHAHAHAHAHAHH!)
What did you want and not get?
What was your favorite film this year?
In 2005, I'd have to say "Die Mommie Die" (which was released in 2003 I think, but I only watched it this year.
What did you do on your birthday and how old are you?
I watched a movie alone and then bought myself a cupcake. I'm 28.
What one thing would've made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A long holiday through Southern Europe. Alone.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Went from military to Indian commie to urban gay boi. I just haven't found a look that I like.
What kept you sane?
Hanging out at Cafe Coffee Day in Bandra with a good book watching the sea.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Abhishek Bachchan (India)
Gavin Newsom (the Mayor of San Francisco)
What political issue has stirred you the most?
The fact that a corruption issue held up the business of the Parliament for days while important bills needed to be passed. (I'm a politics junkie)
Who did you miss?
Who was the best new person you met this year?
Everyone of you blog readers I met this year. It's amazing how awesome you all are (in your own ways, of course!)
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
There is always someone out there who cares for me (even when I feel all alone)
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
(I hope you dance - Lee Ann Womack)
Friday, December 23, 2005
Christmas cheer all!
So if I disregard the pot-bellied man commenting on my lifestyle, I can move ahead wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and all that. I've spent too long in the US methinks..I spent all of yesterday wishing my colleagues a Happy Chanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa as well. I think my friends think I'm on drugs...to good ol' Bombay ears sounds like Chanukkah and Kwanzaa sound very much like the sounds a PHP-fuelled go-go boy makes as he's climbing out of his thong into his cage at Avalon in Boston. Then again, why would I think Bombay ears (or other parts) know what go-go boys, Avalon or thongs are?
Bandra is THE place to be at Christmas time...right from the streetkids selling you Santa Claus hats (Made in China) at the traffic lights to bargaining with a Bhaiyya selling you those plasticky "Christmas tress" (Made in China). Hill Road is transformed this time of the year. The bit of the street opposite St. Joseph's and next to St. Stanislaus (The Catholic street as Amma calls it to distinguish it from the Muslim street further down towards the station) looks amazingly festive with red, green and white stuff all around (all Made in China). I even spotted a couple of Italian Red/Green/White flags (WTF?) as Christmas bunting! Buying last minute Christmas cards at Cheap Jack ("How you forget Philo aunty men?") to rushing about to Jude's seeing if they have any turkeys left ("What men? I told no keep 10kg bird for me?"), this area is the scene of frenzied activity as aunties (never uncles I see...they're probably starting early on the "Christmas cheer".. hic!) run about finishing up their last minute shopping.
What I like about a Bandra Christmas is how neighbourly and family-oriented it is as opposed to the commercial monstrosity that the West has made it. Watching your neighbours in their grey suits and tight red sequinned dresses going off to St. Andrew's to watch the choir, joining them as they go carol singing from door to door, putting up your Christmas lights(or in the case of this lazy Hindu, leaving them up WAY after Diwali), going to Midnight Mass with your friends and neighbours and finally coming home to listen to some ol' fashioned "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas". Yeah right! A White Christmas in tropical Bombay..that's a Christmas miracle I want to see!
And how can I forget trudging up Hill Road to go look at the Damian Christmas window display? Another olde Bandra tradition..right down to the giant wreath and weird placing of Santa Claus in the manger adoring the Baby Jesus (They had reindeer in Bethlehem?).
And gasping at just how tackalicious the Pot Pourri decor is this year. The whole restaurant seems to be wrapped up in red ribbon and silver glitter...it's like Santa Claus exploded in there. It would help if the waitstaff got some of their Christmas cheer in place though. I was positively sneered at when I ordered a Chicken Stroganoff the other day!
And the food! I love to wake up early on Christmas morning and wait for my neighbours to start handing out the food plates...kalkals, coconut cake, cookies, chocolate, marzipan! It's enough to put me in a diabetic coma for a week! (Of course, that's all the Catholic revenge for my Hindu passing out of deep-fried delicacies over Diwali...trade cholesterol issues for diabetes..fair no?). And then, even though I'm not Christian, handing out gifts to family and friends..that's the best part of Christmas, isn't it?
On a side note, my favourite Christmas line comes from AbFab (Of course...as do most of my life quotes):
Edina: "Sweetie, what is it you're giving me for Christmas darling? I just want to know if it'[s something I want"
Saffy: "Mum! It's the thought that counts!"
Edina: "It's the thought that I'm afraid of sweetie!"
Anyway, Merry Chismukkwanzaa to you! And Happy Festivus to me. Methinks it's time for the airing of the grievances...(Plus 10 to those who get the reference. Points to be redeemed for kisses on Valentine's Day.)
Stille nacht, heilige nacht
You know me. Why listen to the "common" Silent Night when you can listen to the original German hymn? And show off a bit while you're at it?
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Kids today...I tell ya!
In the gay world, it's more of a fetish issue. Some men have fetishes for the older, greying, pot-bellied types while some have a fetish for the barely out of their teens, can't raise a stubble type. (Will receive lots of heat for next statement so read it, understand it and then bitch about it pliz!). Most of the gay men I've met don't want to date their age. The ones I know in their mid-to-late thirties onwards seem to hang out with them 19 year olds; and vice versa. Of course, people my age (late 20's) are too busy trying to pick a side (both age-wise and sexuality-wise) so we're fucked either way! Over the past few months, people I've met who're my age have either confessed to liking them much younger or much older. Not the same age....and I've always wondered why!
Personally, I'm very comfy around people my own age. I grew up in a different time in India. Sorta straddled the old socialist behemoth with the new consumer age. I know what it's like to have waited 8 years for a telephone connection and remember paying Rs. 5 per month as school fees. And I also remember *seeing* my first computer and drinking my first Coke in my late teens. My "gay life" had both periods of extreme guilt as examplified by the 80's and (err) gay abandon typified by the youth of today. It's hard to adjust to people who have no memories of growing up in the 1980's. It's equally hard for me to relate to people who were grown up when I was a little boy in chuddies. And by relate to, I mean in a relationship sense. Not as friends.
Meenu has held my hand as I wailed and bemoaned the lack of datable guys in their late 20's/early 30's. "They're too busy getting married and planning on cheating on their wives" she said. "They're too busy dating EVERYONE else but me!" I said. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I've been told to suck it up (hehehe) and go out with the 21 year old who finds me interesting. I've been told to pull up my socks (hahaha) and date the 43 year old who has the hots for me. I read this interesting (but incredibly badly written) article that talked about how the ancient Hindus believed that the ideal age-gap between partners is 3 years. Which means I should be open to dating 26-32 year olds. But where are they? The 26 year olds are shagging the 40+ crowd and the 32 year olds have taken to robbing cradles...
M. was 30, E. was 32 and I. was 25. And even though none of them was Indian, I still felt close enough in age to them to be comfy around them. The feeling is intensified in India. Here, there's more that I can/should have in common and it just doesn't happen anymore. "Age ain't nothing but a number" as a lot of people have told me. But it's hard! The huge age gaps work for most of the people I know. It just takes a good deal of work for it to work for me. I'll try...G-d knows I'll try! But it's going to exhaust me.
Omaeni Horeta - Misora Hibari
My favourite Japanese singer (and one of my favourite Japanese songs). Her heyday was the mid 50's so I guess she's like a Japanese Patsy Cline...no wonder I like her!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
You know you're a Bandra boy when..
20 signs that you're a Bandra boy...
1. You call every lady older than you "Aunty" and every man "Uncle".
2. Your closet contains atleast one suit and/or one red, tight, sequinned dress.
3. You exclaim "JesusMaryJoseph" when anything goes wrong.
4. You cross yourself as you pass Mahim Creek into Bandra.
5. You remember all the bungalows lining the streets before the builders discovered Bandra.
6. You used to go to SeaRock when it was the ONLY 5-star hotel in the burbs.
7. You live in Bandra West and have never been to the East.
8. It's Mahim Creek dammit! (Not Bandra creek)
9. You know Jeff's biryani is way better than oily Lucky stuff.
10. You've eaten pork at some point (knowingly..or unknowingly..)
11. Every other sentence you speak ends in "men" (NOT "man")
12. You say "Aks" instead of "Ask".
13. You went to either Stanislaus', Andrew's, Theresa's, Joseph's, Duruelo's, Anne's or Mt. Carmel's. AVM is for the Gujjus.
14. You had a girlfriend in the girl's school next door. (or vice versa)
15. You can hear church bells and namaz calls at 6 am from your house.
16. You can navigate through Old Bandra and Pali village without getting lost.
17. You remember what the area where Jogger's Park is now used to look like.
18. You have been to Bandra Gym.
19. You can jive.
20. You always complain about how "they" are moving into Bandra.
Episode 1 of the Ricky Gervais Show - Ricky Gervais and friends
Not really music, but a Podcast off the Guardian site. Ricky Gervais (from "The Office" and "Extras") is one of the funniest guys I've seen on TV. And this "interview/chat" is pretty funny as well! Up next? Russell Peters - the funniest Indian comedian around!
Sunday, December 11, 2005
What I did this weekend...and other musings.
This was a fun weekend! It's been a long time since I've actually had an almost completely positive time...and that includes the insane amounts of sleep I've managed to catch up on. I must be seriously sleep deprived to be able to snore away like I have this weekend. I think it's because the weather has gotten nice and chilly (Bombay style..i.e. about 28C) over the last few days and snuggling up in a quilt with my favourite book du jour (I'm devouring each and every one of the "Adventures of the Five Find Outers and Dog" by Enid Blyton. Am I regressing to Vikster: Age 6?)
On a side note, I'm horrified that I think Pip from that series sounds hot. Hot like a British Public School boy who's being naughty...There must be a special place in hell reserved for people like me..people who find teenage boys in Enid Blyton books hot.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand (Jeez! I'm so easily distracted..what was that? Blueberry Cheesecake? - edit: Colleague was eating some at next table).
So on Saturday I had a party to go to..hosted very kindly by Guppie with the sole purpose of
1. Having fun
2. Meeting new, interesting, intelligent gay men
3. Getting us all laid.
While I realize that three points don't quite make it a "sole" purpose, I suppose I could combine them into one (Edit: Having fun getting laid by new, interesting, intelligent people). It was a "Come and bring a friend" type party so we could expand our "little black books" just that many more entries. So the party was at around 10 pm., but at about 8, Meenu calls me over to Zenzi for dinner with a bunch of people who I'd never met. And me being the sucker for not being alone at home on a Saturday night, and since I was already dressed up (at 8 for a 10 pm party..yes! My life is just that tragic), I went along.
And had a blast! They have the best tuna sashimi at Zenzi. What a pity it's an appetizer and not a main course (then again, with the prices there, I can only afford the odd appetizer..unless I depend upon the kindness of strangers). The conversation was fun, the compliments flew fast, furious and (runs out of alliterative F word). And my new facial hair was much approved by all. Well, the women seemed to like it (as did one guy...who "recognized me from my blog"..WHOA!). I didn't want to leave, but the promise of 20 hot men drew me away and into the wilderness that is tony Bandra (Not "Tony, Bandra" .. though weirdly, both would work). I got to the party to realize that the only people there besides the host and me were 2 old friends of mine...Anyway, began hitting the white wine rather early..and rather soon methinks..because before I know it, there's 20 people in the room and we're playing Twister and Truth or Dare (Yes. A room full of gay men in their late twenties pretty nearly equates to a private girls school dorm room in the 1970's).
Staggered out and back home to bed at 4 am. since I had to take an American visitor out to show her the city early the next morning. Spent a wonderful day with her and my friend Ro, walking thourgh Bombay Universtiy, talking about Indo-Gothic architecture and the law, and hanging out looking at tombs inside St. Thomas' Anglican Cathedral (very "High Church" indeed!). I managed to take some lovely pictures of the tombs and the interiors of the church. Here's a couple of them..The tombs themselves were very sad. Full of young civil servants in their 20's and young English brides in their teens dying in childbirth, of malaria, cholera and of "the heat", being murdered by bandits. Life in early 1800's Bombay must have been hard!
And then an awesome siesta followed by dinner with the folks (and the sister's in-laws). Talked about restaurants, movies and generic Konkani topics like sarees, old Mamamas and Ajjas and the various Amchigele caterers around Bombay.
This weekend was spent the way I like. With friends, with family, with food and with wine. With history, with interresting people to meet and talk to and with architechture. With dreams of Pip Hilton and visions of Ye Olde England. With flirtation, making up with friends-turned-foes and coffee with blog readers.
Suddenly my life doesn't seem as bad as I think it is mid-week. I'm happy.
Libera Me - Interview with a Vampire
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda....Roswitha, you're about the only one reading I expect will know this..
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Talk! Parlate! Parlez!
Well, my mother tongue is Konkani. Apparently, I was some sort of child prodigy who at age 3 could recite the Ramayana and Mahabharata in chaste Konkani and would spend my time correcting assorted great grand mothers as to the purity of their language (Then, like now, I guess I had nothing better to do) Note: These great grand mothers were all about 2 *hours* removed from a village..so this 3 year old Bombay boy correcting them when they say "kalingan" instead of the more orthodox "bacchang" for watermelon didn't go down too well with them.
Ah well...they're dead now. I'm still alive. Though my Konkani (after it's usual meanderings through life at Catholic school where we were told we spoke the language of the devil...apparently God speaks English .. that too Bandra-aunty English) has now been sadly corrupted into a Bombay mishmash, I can still look upon with happiness those days of superiority over old, semi-paralyzed women as one of the triumphs of my sad sad life.
I also speak English. Well, I don't think so. I used to be far better when I was in school. I read my old English composition ("compo") books today and don't know what half those words mean. And my handwriting? Wow! I'd give myself an award for it (Then again, I'd award myself for pretty much anything...You got up this morning? Congrats! Here's your medal!). Though my accent has gone all over the place..Went from "Generic Bombay school kid" to "I'm not vernie" at college to "Keeping up with the Peddar Roadites" in Engg school to "Desi FOBulous" in Virginia to "middle-class Bostonian" in Boston to "Bandra aunty" today.
Hindi? That was my strong point in school. Imagine! A kid who never even spoke a word or even heard anyone in the family speak it till he was in the 5th grade...suddenly I'm up for the Highest marks in Hindi award in 10th grade! Ages 12 to about 16 had me speak Hindi like I was some sorta pundit from the Ganga belt (probably around Varanasi)..without the annoying bhaiyya accent but with the flowery-showery lingo and vocab that the cis and trans Ganga folk have. NOw? I sound like a Punjabi aunty who lived in Goa for a while. Hello-shello men, aaj kaise ho dude?
As for Marathi, I refuse to talk it ever since the Shiv Sena made such a big deal about people like me not being Maharashtrians..like it matters. My people were in Bombay while their's were still starving to death in some god-forsaken village in Amravati and they have the balls to call me a foreigner in my own city? No more Marathi for me, thankyouverymuch.
Gujarati I learnt thanks to my group in Engg. school..all Bawas and GTHs (Gujju'turned'hep..I mean "hayyp"). I haven't had the chance to use it yet seeing as the ones I know are all the HS Juhu-Lokhandwalla/Peddar Road types...refuse to speak in Gujju to anyone..and if they have to it's in a nice America-ni-accent.
I learnt French in school and polished it (off?) at Alliance Francaise in Bombay..the one on Homji Mody street. Somehow I fell in love with the language and how it sounded. The tenses were a killer though but saying the list of "etre" verbs every night before bed helped me out a lot. Of course my accent is somewhere between Mauritian Creole (my teacher was one) and Montreal immigrant. S. thinks I sound funny when I speak it. Well, D'uh! It's hard to sound sane when you're mouthing things like "The rain, it falls today" and "My mother short puts the book thick on the shelf"
Italian I picked up at the Boston Center for Adult Education..because there as here, I was bored all evening with not much to do. Read somewhere (Probably "Lonely Planet"...*not* the travel book..I mean the Bible for singles..) that it's a good hobby and a nice place to meet other people. So I decided to pick Italian for Beginners (alos a very nice Danish movie) along with "How to make the perfect lasagna". At the end of six months, I could make a perfect spinach lasagna and order a 4 course meal at a posh Italian resto. The downside? My married Italian instructor (a woman I might add) fell in love with me. And since I didn't know the words for "your husband will kill me" ("Il vostro marito ucciderà io" as I found out later), I was forced to come out to her during a very weird meal at Legal Sea Foods..("No no, non è voi, esso è io, sono omosessuale!")
The less said about my forays into Arabic (sounds hot..a bitch to read though) and Hebrew (sounds like me gargling and spitting), the better. My forays into Finnish, Russian and Yiddish remain confined to the basic vocabularies and learning wildly inappropriate songs..
And now back to translating into Chinese. How does one say "Java script modulator" in Chinese? I wish I were dead!
Hai Hai - The Punjabi Hit Squad
Please don't judge me..but I love this song.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
It's a small world after all...
Case in point: Last night. Crossing a very crowded Hill Road heading into Globus where Frenchie S. (hereafter to be known as Frenchie) wanted to go shopping for Indian ethnic wear. I was along cause it was the weekend and my life being what it is, I was either stuck reading the History of Texas for the umpteenth time or hanging out with someone I think is interesting but uninterested in me. I clearly chose the more painful of the two (For more proof of my masochistic leanings, refer to the post on expat parties). On went my tight Superman Tshirt (also known as my lucky Tshirt .. seeing as I tend to win stuff when I wear it. Last count? First place at 2 quizzes, 6 women's phone numbers, 3 drinks and a couple of winks from assorted rickshaw-waalas) and tighter jeans (though that had something to do with the fact that there's *now* some junk in the trunk).
Struggled through a conversation in Franglais when unexpectedly Frenchie asks me if I know P.- this movie maker guy. Yes, I say, how do you know him? Well, apparently Frenchie is dating P. How do I know P.? Well, I had the hugest crush on him and went out with him once on a dinner and conversation date. A date that was awesome by both accounts. A date that never led to anything else cause most men (Pointing very pointedly at P.) don't call back. Anyway, I've had this on-again, off-again smiling- flirtateously at P. thing going on and now he's dating someone else I have an on-again, off-again, smiling-flirtateous thing. Hmm. And apparently they talked about me and dating me on their date. WTF? How weird is that! So make that P. - Me - Frenchie. It's a small world after all...
Another coincidence? Actually another 3-4 coincidences..all involving me bumping into people from my past walking along the streets in New York. Walking along 5th Avenue and running into someone I knew when we were kids. I'm window shopping when I hear someone call out my name. I turned around but had no idea who the (kinda hot) guy standing there was..until he refreshed my memory with tales of us playing chor police and dabba i-spice when we were 10. "Ah! Now I remember!" I say.."Wanna have a coffee and reminisce?". "I'd love to" he replies, "But my girlfriend is meeting..." *Stops talking as he realizes I've lost interest after he mentions a girlfriend.*
And the best one of it all....coming back to Bombay on one of my ghar aaja pardesi tera des bulaye re visits. Walking down looking for my gate at Frankfurt airport trying hard to avoid the smokers and testing out my knowledge of basic German while deciphering the phone booth...when suddenly I hear a distinct Marathi accented voice calling out to me. It turns out to be S., my best friend in Grad school in Virginia who I'd lost touch with after I moved to Boston..someone I hadn't seen in almost 5 years! And who looked EXACTLY the same. Right down to the "bob-cut" and 50 inch hips. "Haylo" She says, "Remaimbarr me?" After that it was all what-are-you-upto and whatever-happened-to for the next 10 hours as we managed to scam a couple of Telegu guys out of the seat next to us so we could sit together and make fun of the efficient German flight attendants.
These are just 3 of the weird "it's a small world" type things that have happened to me so far. Is it just me? Or do these happen to other people as well with the same frequency? So far, it's just been friends. I'm dreading the day I run into an ex .. and G-d forbid, an ex with someone else I know! I better plan for that (I have some leeway I think seeing as all my ex's live in Ammrikka...perhaps I should just steer clear of the Eastern Seaboard for a while...)
Shake that thing - Sean Paul
And yes, I *am* shaking that thing. Frenchie's roommate taught me how to do the African ass-shaking....and now I can! It gives me a terrible back ache though! The things we do for attention eh?