Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Beautiful Stranger
There's a boy in Bombay i flirt with. Online. On Facebook. He's a... ummm... 'friend', you see.

He's a cute boy. Very sweet and smart. Almost shy. Except when he tells me he's come out of the shower. Naked. And that he's got a very sizable... ummmm.... 'tool'.

We talk about random things.

His mixed heritage. (Yes, he's an CBCD - Canadian Born Confused Desi.) The extra pounds I put on in Amreeka. My fabulously svelte new figure. (Thanks to yogurt, instead of ice cream.) Sex. Love. And rock 'n' roll. (Fine, not rock 'n' roll that much.) He bemoans the fact that he's single in the big, bad city I love to distraction. And it brings back memories of how I used to gripe and groan about much the same thing when I lived there. (But, no, let's not go down that road again now.) I tell him (in quite a long-winded, flirty way) that I find him terribly handsome. Tall, dark and handsome, to be precise. He moans that the men in Bombay seem to prefer gora Punjabi braawny hunks, with buns of steel and brains of rust. I tell myself (and him, albeit in that long-winded, flirty way) that if we were in the same city, I'd probably jump him.

That's when he reminds me: Don't you have a boyfriend?

Ummm... yes. That's why flirting with a handsome (tall, dark, etc.) stranger/'friend' is so much fun.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009
Passion Fruit
Ten minutes ago, I was in the shower and thinking about that big tub of strawberry yogurt ("creamy strawberry", the label announces) in the refrigerator, lying unopened since I'd bought the damn thing 3 weeks ago. A late-night blog post, instead of completing the Human Subjects Research Board test module, was the perfect occasion to say hello to it, I decided.

Lapping up yogurt in the dead of night, 3.15 a.m. to be exact, and I'm pretty sure I won't be waking up before noon. Suddenly, it's last year all over. Or perhaps, even earlier. It's as if the summer never existed. Nor does the window right over my bed, apparently, which always used to aim a sunbeam unerringly at my eyes. I've learnt to ignore it, it seems. And so I live the life of a vampire.

O, yes, it ties back to the 'Dracula' vintage movie posters framed atop my bed, its crazy lettering proclaiming: The strangest passion the world has ever known! And yes, he's chasing a group of panic-stricken men below the lettering. Of course I had to buy the poster as soon as I saw it!

Only, instead of blood or men, I get my strawberry yogurt. Mmmm.... creamy. :)

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Monday, June 01, 2009
Some Big Words About... *gulp* Race
So I've been following the news coverage on the recent racially motivated attacks on Indian students in Oz-land, and been suitably astounded by the whole situation. Irish Coffee remembers Australia as the ultimate chill place, full of beer and shags on pick-up trucks, but does acknowledge that race might well be an issue for the peeps down under. And that set me thinking, with due apologies to President Obama and his wonderul speech on the subject, what about race here in the US? More specifically, what's it like being an Indian grad student in the American Midwest.

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And to make it even more specific to this blog: what's it like being a gay Indian grad student in the American Midwest?

The truth is: I've never had to face a racist slur (much less an attack!) here - and neither have any of the other Indians I know. Now, admittedly, I'm a really bad NRI-type, in that I don't attend bhajan-sessions organized by the Indian Student Organization when navratri rolls along every year, neither do I actively seek out the Durga puja community around here, I don't hug every single South Asian I meet on campus (even though most of them make goo-goo eyes at you when they see you're brown as well, and then look quizzically at you after you don't reciprocate!), and I don't attend any of the ISO meetings (formal or informal) either. Let's face it: Indians (not just Bengalis) are an intrinsically clannish species, especially when we're abroad. There's nothing really wrong in that - in fact, it's quite natural to want to ally yourself with like-minded people... but when that clannish-ness is on the basis on etnnicity or skin color or regional roots, can that be construed as racist?... and does that give the impression to the larger community (be it White, Black or Hispanic) that hell, these people don't want to mix with us, so we may as well treat them as Other and weird...?

The answer to both questions are decidedly problematic, and need constant negotiations and recognition. The answer is not to adopt an uncritically-in-love-with-White-people approach and abandon one's roots - and yes, I deny having done so! - and is most likely to be found in embracing Tolerance and Openness and Diversity. Big words, I know, if not in a dictionary sense then at least in real-world terms.

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When I first came to my little Midwestern university town, despite my carping and bitching about it's decidedly non-big-city status, I was pleasantly surprised (and a little impressed!) with all the polite nods and smiles I got from random strangers, while walking downtown. Perhaps it speaks to my own unresolved issues (reverse racism?) that I wasn't creeped out if a random White/Black/Hispanic guy on the street smiled at me, but it's another story if a fellow South Asian did.

Being gay added yet another weird component to the whole mix. There's a strange feeling for some of us gay Indians, when we worry about how the whole queer thing will be received by other South Asians - given the lack of familiarity about the concept back home. There's an assumption - usually premature - that Americans understand what being gay/ lesbian/ bisexual means much better than South Asians do. Almost two years hence, however, my world-view has matured somewhat. I've come to realize that not every American is clear - or comfortable - about being queer, and not every South Asian is as clue-less - or as bigoted - about it, as I might have imagined. During the past two years, as I have slowly but surely come out of the closet to the people around me - both Americans and Indians/ South Asians - I've had to negotiate and re-negotiate all the different facets of who I am - male, gay, Indian, Bengali, NRI, grad student - continuously, both consciously and unconsciously, for myself as much as for those around me and those I have come out to. To use an awful pun, it's clearly not been a quick 'race' to the finish, more like a slow, important process, with often unclear dividends at every turn.

When I think of the racial attacks on Indians in Melbourne or Sydney or anywhere else, the first question that usually pops up is why. Obviously, that's not an easy or small question, by any standards, but it does deserve some conjecture on everyone's part. Are we considered soft targets, as so many in the media seem to suggest? Are we the new representatives of a resurgent Third World, and thus the whipping boys of recalcitrant White bullies? How many of us were queer, and how many of us were straight, in these attacks and did the perceptions of being queer play a role at all? Or is it primally because we are not White?

Bottom-line: none of these are good enough reasons.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009
Leather Lions
So this past weekend, I was in the Windy City of Chicago, attending a hoity-toity academic conference. But during the preceding week, while I was chatting with the gay denizens of crazy-wild-Chi-town, the most common question I encountered, when I told them the dates of my visit, was: "O, you're coming for IML?"

Umm,... IML?

IML, as it turned out, was the mecca of all things queer and leather: the International Mr. Leather contest/ conference/ festival. The reason for using those three words and all that "/" is mainly that I'm not sure (yet!) exactly what it is/was. Not quite a festival like the Gay Pride marches, not exactly a conference where fancy-shmancy papers get presented (and ignored thereafter), and no, not merely a contest either.

For five whole days, leather afficiandoes (and yes, they were men, no women at all that I could see!) descend from all over the world to Chicago, in all their bovine (o, I'm sure most were faux leather!) adornments and glittery chrome attachments, to strut down Michigan Avenue. An entire five-star hotel is booked by the IML organizers, rooms are offered to attendees at special rates, conference and banquet rooms are booked for special 'sessions' (to put it most delicately) and a Leather-Mart that houses the most out-of-the-world apparatus, and a long-drawn-out pageant to crown International Mr. Leather is held.

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My first reaction, when I heard the whole deal: O.M.G.... how frikkin' fantabulous! :)

Yes, so you always knew I'm a bit of a skank, didn't you? *grin*

Unfortunately, I had to balance IML and my hoity-toity conference together, so no, I wasn't exactly hanging for my life onto the slings suspended in the ballrooms, or screaming hoarsely in a sweaty hotel-room (well, not the IML hotel-room, at any rate! *giggle*)... I was trying to be a good nerdy academic at the conference, imbibe the High Arts of fabulous Chicago, and engage in some tiltillating voyeurism at IML - all at the same time. So, I visited the world-famous Leather-Mart with a hunky 'daddy', was suitably awestruck at the scope of the human imagination that could come up with all the wondrous inventions therein, and ogled at the furry/ smooth/ gleaming buttocks in full display at the hotel.

But my favorite intermingling of the three? Most definitely, when I hit the Art Institute of Chicago to check out its new Modern wing with a conference-colleague, and spied the many gorgeous leather-men in their boots and chaps milling around...

You've head of the famous lions at the Art Institute, right?...

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Now imagine my roars of approval! :)

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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Spring Cleaning
In the eons long past, I would have a little scrap book of sorts, filled with ticket-stubs, pamphlets, brochures and other knick-knacks from my holidays. A keepsake of the vacation and the memories, I suppose. Nothing too fancy - it was usually a blank exercise book with all those little what-have-yous stapled in, and little notes scribbled on the side. And then, Blogger happened. There was no need anymore to go to all that trouble - it was much easier to post about the things I'd seen, the places I'd been to, (the people I'd shagged)... you get the point. :)

And then there was Facebook.

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I asked a friend the other day via chat on FB whether he thought it was behind the death of blogging. The answer I got was hardly conclusive, but it's something I haven't been able to shake off, either. Satori pinged me the other day (well, to be honest, this was a couple of weeks ago!) on FB that it was about time I went back to blogging, and while I did agree with him in my response, it took me this long to get back on the wagon. The answer as to why (or why not!) is fodder for another post - hell, I need something to keep me going, right?! - and I won't talk about that now. Suffice to say, this my most recent return to Blogger (circa: now) is as much a return to blogging, as it is a return to the root causes of blogging.

I write my self. Think about that for a moment.

On the events side of things, I've been a busy, busy, busy boy. I finished writing up my thesis (in all its 240-page verbosity!), then defended it successfully, said goodbye to my Midwestern university, got accepted at my dream school for a Phd program (due to start in August), presented a couple of great papers at a global conference, embedded myself with Irish Coffee's family (especially, his dad!), spent a gorgeous week in Chicago (arguably the most amazing city in the world), and bought my tickets for a long-awaited trip back home to India later this month. Is it any wonder that I haven't had much time for blogging, so that status updates on Facebook were all that I was capable of? :)

On the personal life side of things, I've been equally busy. It's been interesting, fabulous and tantalizing, living in with Irish Coffee for the past month or so, since the semester closed. I've been experimenting with strange cocncoctions in the kitchen, which haven't been all bad, really. And I've been growing (maturing, I'd like to think) in my relationship, both with my lover and myself. I've been exploring boundaries and central cores both, and I think I've been the wiser for it. I don't mean to sound like a tored old man here - o, you should have seen me party in Chicago this past week! - but I do want to stress on how important that peculiar juxtaposition of stability and mercurial flows is. Perhaps I need to book a spot with The View ladies to elaborate on that one. :)

For the moment, though, I'm satisfied. Scratch that - 'satisfaction' is a bad word to use here. It's more like: content to be here at this space, excited for the crazy new stuff that I know is right around the corner, and clearing up my closet from the past.

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Hello again, Self. :)

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Saturday, February 28, 2009
Tricks of the Tease
So I wasn't going to blog this week (you won't believe my jam-packed sked!) but then I sauntered over to Orange's blog, and saw the whole mess with the ex, and since I'm practically a Dowager Empress at the tender age of (ouch!) 27, it's pretty much expected I dole out expert advice on how to handle men. Bombay Style. :)

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Expert advice on the 'ex', to be more precise.

At last count, it was 6, if I'm not mistaken. There's a way to handle such situations. It's a cool, calm, adult, easy, never-fails way. Read my lips. A-V-O-I-D.

That is, until you're looking drop-dead gorgeous, smoldering sexy siren, with a killer attitude to boot, and he's going to wish he was down on his knees in front of you, doing whatever it is that gets you off - the kinkier the better! :)

I jest, you think? Pah - amateurs!

Like I said before, there's a science to it. Essential items, of course, are fabulous friends who can tide you over while you lick those wounds, heal your pride, and are ready to claim your spot on the meat market again. Let's see, first there was the Call Center Boi in Delhi - broke up, moved away to Bombay, felt fag-ulous again, went back to Delhi for trips and had him splayed out on his apartment stairs... thrice! Salsa Guy? Same formula, works like a charm. Peacock Boi? Yuck. Too icky too even bother with, so I satisfy myself with bitchy smirks when I see him on-and-off in saddi dilli. Banker Boi - danced dirty all night long (lots of times!) at the bars with him, and left him high and dry every time. Nature Boy was different - he's my one best friend from all the dumb exes, but yes, the same formula applied. Avoid for some time, get back into 'fabulous' mode, hang around again, and have a steamy farewell fcuk (or two) in the shower. And as for the Gujju, I'm still playing him now and then - he's dying to get in my pants and I love turning him on, and it's extra-fun because he doesn't know that I'm with Irish Coffee, and he's never really going to get within ten yards of me. *grin*

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I feel deliciously evil now. In a good way, if you know what I mean.

But fun and jokes aside - it's a cardinal rule. You bump into an ex when you're not ready - you RUN. There's a humanitarian twist in there, really. Why give him the satisfaction of knowing you're still broken up in there? Tantrums and scenes never really work, so you might as well forget all about them. Keep yourself intact, and put yourself back into your work and the next hunk who comes walking your way, and the rest, as they say, is easy as A-B-C. That's called the Tricks of the Tease.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Dear Diary
Coffee mug in hand, here I go...
  • Christmas was beautiful. I fought tooth and nail with Irish Coffee and managed to keep the tree up for the better part of January, so his was the only house on the block which twinkled with fairy lights on India's Republic Day. :) We exchanged gifts on New Year's Eve and spent New Year's Day evening at the zoo, which was all lit up and looking spectacular. Yes, yes, very romantic and all that. (Though I'm not too sure if we held hands and did all that mushy stuff!) :)

  • Work has been hectic. Preparing and mailing PhD applications has been taxing, both mentally and physically. The good news is, I've been accepted into all the great schools I applied. The bad news, bureaucracy is being a bitch and it's the same old Indian 3-year university system versus the US 4-year one that is making me want to pull my hair out (...which is, a big deal, really, since you probably know my haircut is buzzed). So, yes, I'm waiting and watching and hoping things get resolved soon.

  • Talking about hairy issues, I almost stumbled in disbelief the other day upon spying not one but two (!) white hairs on my chest. Good God. So now it's official. I'm old. Not even 30 yet, and I've already been put out to pasture. Irish Coffee (smug bastard!) is thrilled. I, understandbly, am less so.

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  • I might be headed to NYC again for a quick trip - as part of the recruitment weekend for one of the graduate schools who've accepted me. Haven't worked out all the details yet, but I am hoping things will fall into place :) (Not too sure I'm going to accept their final offer though, but that's another matter...!)

  • So I found out I have a lousy credit score. More accurately, I have a non-existent credit score.Which makes my obtaining a credit card terribly unlikely. Which makes my credit score remain perpetually low. Am I the only one who thinks the American credit score system is inherently flawed? Yes, Barrack, you do need change! :)

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  • I have re-discovered Dr. Pepper after a hiatus of several months. Not quite Cherry Coke, not quite Pepsi, not quite anything really - least of all, pepper-y! Now that I've re-discovered it, it's time for me to shun it once more, of course. So there.

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  • May is looking good for Chicago. I do love that city. I love the feel, the ambiance, the sky-scrapers, the Mag Mile, and Boystown. I'd love to live in Chicago some day. O, wait. Didn't I say that about Manhattan earlier? (And Pittsburgh? And Cleveland? And San Diego?)

  • So I defended my thesis proposal successfully. That makes me (officially) a Masters Candidate, ripe for the PhD pickings. I've given myself about three months or so to complete the thesis (even though the official deadline is early June - o, wait, that does work out to three months, doesn't it? Whoops.). So, no more doodling on separate projects and papers that have nothing to do with getting that darned thesis complete and graduating.

  • Is it strange that I find this random pic sexy - even though I can't see his face? Are tattoos and a hairy chest all I need to get intrigued? (Perhaps it's the shades?)

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Monday, December 29, 2008
Season's Greetings... and All That Jazz
So this is likely to be the last post of the year, if my lethargy is any clue to go by. To anybody who regularly comes here, and to anyone who may have happened to stumble over... a Merry Christmas to you.

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I've always been a sucker for Christmas, ever since I was a wee li'l gay boy. I guess I got the right idea since way back then: men look fabulous in wings, angels be damned! :)

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Despite my belligerence about sitting at home twiddling my thumbs last weekend, my Christmas did go nicely. (Well of course you knew it would - I'm just a little shriek-y at times, but I usually have happy endings!) Irish Coffee managed to pick me up, and I've been here at his place since last week - and will be for another 2 weeks or so. The Christmas tree came down, we played carols and decked up the fairy lights (is there any other kind? *giggle*), and hogged like pigs on some grrrrrr-eat food over at the family's. So this was my second year as the gay umm-something-like-a-sonny-in-law, and it went pretty, well, OK. Even though Irish Coffee feels everyone's always been very comfy with me, I detected a warmer tone, a greater degree of comfort, with me second time around, and that was good. It made me feel good. :) Suddenly, I'm OK with him not being the black sheep in the family! The best part, of course, was getting Presents. Frankly, I was surprised they even got me any - but they did: three boxes of chocolates, a game, and a card. What can I say? (They wanna fatten me up, Evil American Family!) So, now, I'm all choked up! *grin*

Anyhow, there's just about a couple of days till it's buh-bye to 2008, and hullo 2009. Irish Coffee and I are planning to head down to the fancy Christmas lights over at the zoo tomorrow, and even though it's bound to be chilly, I'm looking forward to it. The two of us are exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve, since we don't really do much of a partying binge in this Midwestern town-let (new word, something like pig-let, and yes, you heard it in the Closet first!) - man, I wanna head back to NYC or Chicago! - so that should be a nice, romantic evening for the two of us. Some great wine, good food, gifts, and a couple of mind-bowing orgasms... each! *winks*

So, yes, in the event that I don't get to blog again till after 2009 gets here... a Happy New Year to everyone!

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And, in place of my usual Sexy Santa spread, since I'm a bit fed up of red suits and hats and have taken a new 'shine' to fluttery feathers, here's a Fantabulous Fairy line-up... :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Crazy-ass FUNNEE :)
OK, so I presume everyone here has seen the 12 gays of Christmas (if you haven't, GO SEE IT NOW!!!), but this one is another crazy-ass-hilarious must-watch clip !



OK, so that's what I want for Christmas now. Right under the tree in a bright red box with a pink bow. :)

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Friday, December 19, 2008
Whatever happened to being the *black* sheep?!
It's a blight most people probably wouldn't call a blight. The out gay man's family. You'd think that'd be so cool, wouldn't it? To have a family who's totally cool about you being gay and include you in every family occasion, birthdays, thanksgivings, christmases, whatchamacallits...! And if you're seeing such a gay man who's got such a happy-happy family, you'd think that'd be perfect, too.

So what do you do, when your boyfriend is this total family-nut and you're not?

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Warning: this is a post where I play the Evil Scrooge Incarnate. Worse yet, I'm going to argue that I have a right to feel the way I do and ESI is actually much maligned. I'm not one to spit "Bah, humbug!" at Christmas - it's just this whole "we love our gay family-member" crap which gets to me. Why, do you ask? Well, frankly, because I'm not used to it.

I suppose I never thought of it from this angle before: the thing about being gay and fabulous in Bombay (or anywhere else in India really) is that you rarely come into contact with the family - the real blood-ties family, I mean, not the gaggle of gay gals your guy (and you have your own, of course!) hangs around with. Family outings then meant you getting your 4 gay friends and him getting his 5, and then all of you hitting the club Saturday night, moving onto someone's house at 3 a.m. for the after-party, some giddy fondling on the couch, followed by some mindblowing sex back at either his or your place. Brunch next morning is optional, but speaks volumes to the dgree of intimacy between your families. That I could handle, that I'm used to, that I like.

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But what do you do when you're hoping to go away to your boyfriend's house for Winter Break, and your boyfriend can't do that because he's in another frikkin' city doing odd jobs for some much-loved family member? There's a part of me which cautions me against feeling all-too angry or indignant because blood is thicker than water (or so they say), and there's another part of me which feels... lonely. And honestly speaking, that second part is winning out right now.

Sure, I know the script. There's supposed to be laughter and moldy family-jokes around the dinner table, great food and nice people - and yes, Irish Coffee's family has been pretty nice to me, really. I know they're nice people who might be a little flummoxed at the new gay son-in-law (well, not really that new anymore!) but they're doing their best...! But what happens when the new gay son-in-law (yours truly) is not really used to this whole thing? My idea of a great Christmas season with my boyfriend is the two of us cozying on the couch, watching a great movie, sipping wine, eating some fabulous dessert, watching the snow flakes outside, and some log-burning sex. It's not my present situation: me growsing and grumbling at home, making coffee for one, doing my laundry, brushing out my tiny christmas tree from the hall closet, and expecting to be alone for the coming weekend... while he's doing house-projects in Timbuktoo. No, I'll still be spending Christmas Day with him, but that's not the point. Christmas is not just a day, it's a frikkin' season, a whole week (or more), and I'm stuck doing thesis work at home and grumbling to myself. (And no, just because I have plenty of thesis work to do doesn't particularly mollify me, either!)

No, the point, quite simply, is this: why did families have to get all "we accept you, come join the mundane-activities fold again, dear gay son" and why couldn't they just step away into the shadows surfacing for the odd lunch or two?

Yes, I'm needy. Bugger off!

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