Saturday, July 29, 2006

A little bit of randomness

It always amuses me when apparently random things occur. Like for example when my friends Deepti, Jen and Kimberly all came to Bombay one weekend and we had a mini grad school reunion. By pure chance Deepti and I moved to India at the same time but for different reasons, and ended in two different cities. Jennifer who had been working in Mongolia ended her stint there and decided to pop into India as a transition back to the civilized world. Kimberly had been sent as a consultant to India and ended in the same city that Deepti was living in. All a matter of chance of course.

Well since we are never ones to take fate for granted, we decided to congregate in Mumbai and celebrate life's little coincedence. These are Jen's pictures.

Sidenote: Last weekend, my friend Lilly from Cal happened to be stopping in Bombay on her way back from London. Kimberly from DC found herself in Bombay on another consultancy assignment, and Jennifer from the AIF Fellowship who is now officially working in Hyderabad had to come to Bombay for a meeting. Lilly and Jennifer had met during Fashion Week in April. Kimberly and Jennifer had met in Hyderabad. I of course was a common link for all 3. So what do we do, we go out for a sumptuous meal and rejoice on just how small a world it is after all.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

On the 30th anniversary of my birth

Turning 30 is actually an interesting experience. I have enough memories (both good and bad) to dwell on. Enough life experience to make educated choices. And still plenty of more time to make mistakes, change my mind, and generally live. So as this day comes to an end, and I commemorate 30 years of existence I like to take a moment to remember all the incredibly chaotic stuff that has happened to the world and me since 1976. And let's be honest, there has been a lot of shit going on.

Since 1976:
  • I have been married and divorced twice (Alba and Ricky will always be special to me though)
  • The have been countless wars for no good reason, but some with really good spin doctors working the pr
  • I have been working in HIV for 10 years, and have to really ask myself if it has made a difference besides increasing my personal debt
  • Countless dictators have come and fallen from power (but the US still has to deal with Bush in office)
  • I have visited over 25 countries, quite a few I would love to go back to, many I can just scratch off the list and say "been there, done that"
  • Millions of people have died from preventable causes ranging from war, disease, famine, boredom, etc.
  • I have been loved , genuinely, truly deeply loved by my friends and family (and continue to be loved - one of the most, if not THE most, precious gifts I have)
  • Advances in science have outpaced, advance in social consciousness. Sort of like giving a toddler a nuclear device to play with
  • I have experienced loss and pain, and it has made me a stronger person
  • Advances in medicine have stretched the natural boundaries of our lives. You know what sometimes it is OK to die.
  • I have gotten more education than your average puertorican, and I have the student loan debt to prove it
  • Politicians have reach new highs in public embarrassment, from Bush to Kadyrov, one wonders why people continue to trust government systems
  • I have made more people smile and laugh than I can count.
  • Globalization has allow the planet to shrink and the world village to get closer. For better or for worse.
  • I have dance, sang, cried in laughter and sorrow and tried to have ass many human experiences as I can manage. Which is more than I can say for millions of people who dont even have access to safe drinking water.
It occurs to me that I should stop while I'm ahead. Though I'm close to the average life expectancy of the men in some African nations, I'm hoping my western opulence will keep me alive for a few more decades of moroseness and nostalgic musings.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Why is working with gay men like herding cats!?

So for the past two days (out of three) I have been facilitating a workshop on Advocacy for the Indian Network for Sexual Minorities, and I swear that I had to deal with more sexual harassment, immature behavior, and downright bitchiness than an elementary school teacher.

To me its ridiculous that a group of adults, of PROFESSIONAL adults at that, would behave in such manner. Why do we always have to continue to undermine our peers and make ourselves feel better by putting down others!?

Am I asking too much by thinking that we as an LGBT community (and yes while I am working and living in India I count myself in that we!) can actually be supportive of each other, and nurture each other's strengths, an actually seek to learn from each other!?

Why must development always have to feel so freaking territorial!? Why must be "friends" with one group mean being enemies of another!?

And why the do I have to raise my voice for a group of grown-ups to fucking pay attention!? UGH!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Floods, Riots, and Bombings, Oh My!

I know that I have been neglectful of my lil'ole blog these days, but to be honest it really has been kinda crazy over here. In a span of 10 days I had to deal with monsoon floods, Shiv Sena fueled riots (with bus burnings and everything) and then bombings. So I hope you will cut me some slack. And to top it all of, I still have to work! What's a boy to do!?

What has been amazing to me has been the business as usual attitude that seems to permeate the city during these events. While the US has un-ending panic attacks over cesnas flying over the capitol building Mumbaikers just shrug, wipe the dust, help those in need, and get back to work. (Did you know the trains were back on that same night after the bombings.) People keep asking me if things have started to settle down here post-blasts. But you know what, the bombing and ensuing disorientation only lasted 7 hours. And everyone was back at work the next day.

Sonia Ghandi and the President came to Mumbai to pay their respects to the families of the victims, and the people didn't want them to come. They would just get in the way! (Oh, and by the way, the blasted areas were repaired within 24 hours, not a trace left).

I think the US need to pay attention to this sort of attitude, where you acknowledge events, but don't let them rule you. Hum, something to think about, eh?

BTW - The thirtieth anniversary of my birth is in exactly 1 week, panic attacks have commenced.