I *heart* Bombay (and well..Boston)

I'm urban..in the way other people are mountain-people or tunafish junkies. I love city life...something about dreary concrete blocks and grumpy people totally gets my juices flowing. Ergo, this will be a blog about me, my two favourite cities (Bombay and Boston), my addiction to Vietnamese coffee and my views on Gregorian chant and it's efficacy in curing some types of tympannic membrane rupture. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pride (In the name of love)

Saturday August 16th was Bombay’s first ever GLBT march – our version of Gay Pride..Of course I was there – after agonizing about what to wear. As you’ll see, I settled for dressing like I dress everyday. After all, part of getting people to accept you, is getting them to accept you as you are. Which in my case is "fashion victim desperately trying to hide a 31 year old belly by inhaling and holding his breath for as long as he can – and then finding a quiet corner to exhale where no one can see him".

We gathered at Gowalia Tank – rather grandiosely renamed August Krati Maidan after the Quit India resolution of 1942 that was passed there. The point of having Pride start there was twofold – one; to ask for the repealing of Article 377 – the article in the Indian Penal (heh!) Code that makes me a criminal for loving a man (Which technically means I’m safe – I’m loveless at the moment), the second; to show that even after the rest of India celebrated our Independence day on August 15th, sexual minorities were still waiting the next day for their right to be free from prejudice.

The Maidan was a sea of color. Rainbow mostly – but with a lot of pink by the gay bois and stonewashed jeans for the lesbians. There was lots of speechifying by the feminists and the lesbians and the trans community with a rather valiant effort by S. on behalf of us gay bois. Meanwhile cut to all of us gay bois at the back of the crowd comparing clothes, colors and accessories. Whoever said we weren’t a shallow and vain bunch! We even had a celeb sighting – a C list celeb in angel wings come to “share” our pain. Yikes! Meanwhile, I couldn’t spot a single gay celeb anywhere (Except my charming friend K. M. looking very dapper in his trademark mascara). We tried to gloss it over talking about how if they had come, it would have overshadowed the march itself but it was very disappointing to have no Bollywood or industry support for the march (Yeah, a couple of lines in the Bombay Times don’t count as support!)

Anyway, we marched towards Chowpatty (a fitting location given the “action” that happens here come Ganpati Visarjan) passing a lot of middle class South Bombay (Yes, apparently it exists!). Curious flat owners leaned down to take pictures of the march (and us…)..Little old Parsi ladies at Ness Baug fanned themselves and kept a look out for Uncle Rohinton and Auntie Tehmi..cops wondered what straw they drew to get stuck protecting a bunch of happy, dancing, singing queers. All the way down to the beach where we sang one last “Hum Honge Kaamyaab”, got one last set of numbers and headed off home.

All in all a great time for me. I danced, I sang, I marched, I got dumped by a guy, I got asked out by this girl (“Are you “really” sure you can’t be bi?”) I can’t wait till next year..Inshallah we’ll be celebrating “NOT” being criminals next year…
(Left: Me - exhausted and happy at the end of the day)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Almost an Olympic sport

"How do you know XYZ?"

"Oh, I hooked up with him a couple of months ago. And how do you know him?"

"Well, my ex boyfriend used to do him a year ago and I'm planning on doing him in a couple of weeks. My best friend is doing him now."

The Bombay dating pool is big. But still, I find myself dipping and double dipping into the same pool that everyone I hang out with is in ... paddling away and deep diving occasionally. Which then lends itself to some piquant situations ... How does one react when you bump into your best friend on a date with someone who stood you up on yours? How do you react when your colleague starts shagging someone you have been actively pursuing for weeks? Is it OK to lose respect for your friend when he does someone else's boyfriend behind his back?

At least Bombay has a big Olympic sized dating pool. Bangalore's was a water filled pothole on the Eastern Express highway in comparison.

My friend A. thinks that it's not like that at all.. Bombay is just a series of large pools (Where am I going with this swimming metaphor? I think so much Michael Phelps amazing body watching has turned my brains). A pool for the creatively-inclined, a pool for the media queens, a pool for the call center crowd, a pool for the lawyers ... and most people tend to swim in their same pools. It's tough to swim in another pool. You have to shower and change first which is such an effort. Then you have to learn the backstroke cause in your pool you've only ever done the breaststroke (Trying hard not to say doggy style paddling!) So you just wade and loll about in your own space. And that's where the issue lies.

I'm sick of me and my friends finding the same people attractive, dating the same people and dumping the same people. It's such a hassle to plan a dinner now...have to make sure you invite someone you like while discreetly figuring out if he was indeed the same person who your best friend detests after their bad sexperience. And even worse, having to NOT invite the person you really like to protect him from the competition you'd have in a group.

And the advertising guy in me wonders if there are still any untapped markets left in here? Is that why gay men look for younger and younger partners to date? Just to get there before anyone else has had a chance to date them? To find somebody who has no baggage? (As opposed to me who is renting a space in Kopar Khairane to store all my emotional baggage).

When did dating get to be such a chore? Is there anybody left at all?