The GB Talent Show, by Harpreet S

The night was a night to remember. The auditorium was large enough to accommodate nearly seven hundred audience members. The wings were adequate to move about. The staff were averagely helpful, their interference was the least though, in the setting up of sound and décor of the stage, which is always a blessing in disguise for the directors to set up their own equipment.
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The show was touted to start at 4:30pm, but the setting up took longer than expected and it actually began at 5pm. The hosts, Harpreet and Sopan began the show with introductions to helpful groups of the gay community and an overture to the show in general.
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The first performer was Pranit Hatte as Ganga. She has been crowned Ms. Humsafar 2017! And has the starring role in the movie, entitled “Wajood” – it went on to win awards in the Toronto Film Festival 2017 and at Kashish 2017. She performed on a medley – on some of the songs danced on the silver screen by the wonderful and every graceful, Madhuri Dixit.
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The second performer was Ashish Tupe. He is an engineer by profession, an aspiring singer and novelist and has been learning Hindustani classical music for two years now. Music is his passion, and he was there to entertain through music and spread the magic of melody. The song he sang was a classical number “Mere Dholna Sun” from the movie Bhool Bhulaiya, originally sung by M. G. Sreekumar and Shreya Ghoshaal. His rendition was superb and effortless.
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The next performance was by the Satrangi Chokre comprised of the dancers, Sumit and Varun. The theme of their dance was a tribute to the Queens of Bollywood Deepika and Priyanka and the dance form was semi-classical. The idea of the tribute was to salute the work and contribution of Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra to the Bollywood film industry and their success on an international platform.
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On a more sombre note, GBTS introduced a singer, Aaron D’Souza, who wished to talk about an incident that touched the gay community recently. He works for an IT firm and has a strong passion towards singing. He sings for church choirs and various other social events. He gave a soulful rendition of the famous song that stirs hope in so many hearts: Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
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The next performance reflected so much of what has been affecting our community. The LGBTQ+ youth – as a group – experience more suicidal behaviour than heterosexuals. They often lack important protective factors such as family support, social acceptance and so they tend to experience depression. The next performance was directed by Deep Nandi and his Team TKS. At GBTS 2016, they had put up a grand Musical and this year once again, they did not disappoint.
They were there with a new production: With stories of stigma and prejudice we all face at the institutional and individual level. The theme highlighted the need to support each other in promoting health, safety, and inclusion of LGBT youth, as visible and empowered members of our communities. GBTS was proud to give a platform to their newest creative piece “Tu Jee Le Zara”!
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At the end of the performance, Umang Sheth was called upon stage. He was one of the foremost GB core group members and he wanted to speak about the rising cases of suicide amongst the LGBTQ+ community. He felicitated the GB group for having allowed the community a chance to tackle their demons and unleash them creatively, and for being there as a support group for the past 19 years!
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The show then went in for a half-hour long break, at 7pm.
The opening performance after the break was by Sagar Kadrekar. The dance incorporated elements from the Koli community. The Kolis are the original inhabitants of the coast of Maharashtra. They are of course the fisher-folk. And they have their own dance form which is popularly called the Koli Dance. This community is most familiar with – Fishing, the boats and the sea… and by sheer coincidence the name of the performer too was Sagar, which means the sea in Hindi. The community has its own distinct Costumes and lively dances. This dance is generally performed on traditional songs and in group; but Sagar went Solo and clubbed the performance with popular songs with koli and marathi beats.
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Sanket Sawant was the next performer. He is a belly dancer and danced beautifully to the sounds of the darbuka, the goblet drum, played by Raffi Avakian. He also merged the music of Amy Duarte to his act. The audience loved his performance, and he moved his hips to the sound of their applause.
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Most of the LGBTQ+ community have heard the next performers. They were the Rainbow Voices Mumbai – India’s first LGBT choir. They sing songs of freedom, hope and struggle. The choir has members from North to south, and east to west of India and have represented India at London Pride 2017 performing along with Europe’s longest running LGBT choir- Pink Singers
They believe as faith can move mountains, music can move hearts; becoming the voice of oppressed and sexual minorities in India they represent the true spirit of Diversity and inclusivity with love and acceptance. Their performance was soul-stirring. Each of them wore wonderful, similar t-shirts depicting gay pride and determination, and their voices reached the heavens with each Hallelujah.
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The next performance was by another group that is well known in the LGBTQ community: The Dancing Queens! They performed a Rajasthani Folk dance which had all the garba lovers aflutter. This was followed by a Transgender Empowerment Act – a skit, which was in the form of a dance!
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Immediately after this, the mother of Abeena (one of the performers in Dancing Queens) who was seated in the audience was called upon stage, to be felicitated with a standing ovation. Such strength and family support is what the entire community has always needed and counted upon and GB was proud to have her grace the stage.
The last performance of the evening was about magic, love and about the choices we make. It tried to answer the questions of what happens when life throws some real difficult situations at someone… would fall apart and give up be an option… or would one need to stand up and face them? And with a little bit of magic, everything can become easy, or does it? It was a play presented by Colour Positive, directed by Savio and had many actors that the audience had come to love, like Pranit, Chirag, Harish and Abhijeet. There were some surprising performances, great visuals and a wonderful story.
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No better way to have ended GBTS 2017.
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GBTS 2017 would like to thank QGraphy for covering the event, and National College for the venue. The other names from within the family that do require a mention: Ameya, Bala, Deepak, Radhey, Samir, Saurabh, Venkatesh and Vikas.

Charltonjacob on GB Versova Meet

Dearest GB,

The meet was glorious as usual, before writing anything else I apologize for not being a part of the group photograph, I do indeed do not photograph well. It was a very pleasant evening, this was the third time in my life I have attended a birthday cake cutting ceremony that was not from my blood related family. Thank you for that beautiful memory, the chocolate cake was delectable and the ambience “Vatavaran”, well, I have no words to describe it.

I wanted to speak of the vibrant sail boats painting on the wall near the window, as I gazed at it, I was enchanted by it, there were so many contrasting elements in that picture, the strong bold brush strokes that made the boats and sails, the softer strokes that created the waters and the reflections, it was as if the painter was so full of angst whilst creating the boats and sails, and had gotten calmer as the reached to the waters. Another contrast was the sky, warm colors flowed from the left to the center and from the right upper corner a flow of cool colors, like the calmness had settled the warmth of that piece as it came to its completion, like as if it declared this creation is done.

Just as these contrasts created a beautiful painting, the contrasting minds have created a little harmony in our world, one voice at GB states a practical approach, if anything takes a piece of your peace, they should have a piece of you (not the pleasant one) and another voice advocates the power of LOVE, and how in LOVE everything can heal. Both these ideas as opposite to each other as poles of the planet, yet so harmoniously reside in each other. These trajectories of quantified thoughts together will change the world one soul at a time.

Humans have always been a comical species, they critique as fast as light, whatever vision serves them, they shall critique, blithely unambiguous that in this elaborate stage of life we all are in a relentless dance, and whilst we are observing how the others are not performing well, we flaw our own performance. I learnt today that regardless of how the other or self has flawed, we should not stop dancing. The earth revolves on belief and just like gravity, belief has an invisible power to change anything, this preeminent power also resides in LOVE.

All these boundaries are mere conventions, waiting to be inaugurated, with conviction we shall transcend these boundaries into conventions. The world will change, it will get better, we have a long tedious journey ahead, but with your hand resting in the clench of mine I know this journey shall be entirely worth it.

Thank you once again for today I have changed in a miniscule way, I have become a little less anxious, a bit more confident Thank you GB

Faithfully Yours

Pratik on the Post Pride Bandra Meet

– Guys who attended the meet for the first time ever were warmly welcomed.
– People who attended pride shared their pleasant experiences and stated that the size of activist population in pride was remarkable.
– Language barrier within community was highlighted. Sachin Jain notified that an initiative to avert such cause is already taken my publishing hindi articles on blogs.
– One of our friend questioned on attire of few activists. His questions were addressed and justification in regards to it was given.
– Few issues relating to marriage pressures were discussed and a separate workshop needs to be organized to talk through it future was decided.
– Vikram Doctor spoke about the Supreme Court Curative petitions ruling & implications. He shed some light on the procedure of order and answered queries raised pertaining to the petition.
– Very minimal lesbians/ bisexual girls attend GB meets is observed, we tried to seek reason behind it and still seeking it.
– Few pleasant pictures were clicked on parting to capture the moment.
“Muchas Gracias”

Saloni on the GB Bandra Meet

By Saloni

When I found the GB website, I was just looking for someone to talk to. A judgement free and liberal environment. This Sunday’s meeting with the people associated with this group was actually my first interaction with the gay community in such an open fashion. I guess I was expecting a more serious discourse and a more meaningful discussion but what did transpire during the meeting did well for a start I suppose.

It was really nice of Harpreet and the Buas to welcome me into their home and their efforts in creating such a forum are in itself highly commendable. The food did wonders for calming my anxiety 😛

I got the chance to meet some really inspiring people and found information about the incredible work some people were doing to help bring everyone in this country on an equal footing.

What did make me a little uncomfortable was the talk about sex even though it was quite fleeting and harmless. But then this is just my personal perspective. Mind you…not talking about the discussion on HIV. Also, given that this was supposed to be a free and open atmosphere some people did come across as being judgemental with a holier than thou attitude. This is, of course, my personal perception and I’m sure that no one in the meeting meant any ill well towards anyone else. Also, I had expected the discussion to be a little more basic and related to real life personal issues but then again, this was my fault. Should not have expected a group which has been meeting and partying regularly for so long to dwell much on the basics which I’m sure have been covered multiple times in the past.

Having said all this, I am incredibly grateful to the organisers for this initiative. Interaction with a couple of really nice people post the meeting made the entire exercise completely worthwhile. 🙂

I sincerely hope my honesty is not too scathing.

Vikas on GB’s 15th Anniversary

“Tera saath hai toh mujhe kya kami hai andhero mein bhi mill rahi roshni hai “….. these were the lines which were going in my mind when we were there attending GB’s 15th yr celebration meet…. so this was the first meet I attended

We started off with the trip to a beautiful house ..(thanks to Harpreets’s buaji) for the place….where the meet was organized …There were around 50 guys who attended the meet….It was fun as it started with the awesome photo session by harpreet ….Then as everyone arrived we started off with an intro round …Was surprized to know people who attend the meets even though they are from far off places.. we initiated the discussion as to How difficult it was back then in the late 90’s to communicate and especially for our community

It was interesting to hear about how it all started…Thanks to inputs from deepak harpreet and satya …The meeting got interrupted by the yummy samosas and the coldrinks …lets not get there …especially on the coldrinks ….people those who were there would know for obvious reasons… Another side which was discussed were the variety of festivals and what’s the importance of us in those festivals….Thanks to ankit for enlightening us on the some of the perceptions on mythology and our community seen together. .

This was followed by a cake to celebrate the 15 yr anniversary which was yummy followed by another round of photo sessions…We also discussed about the legal progress on the highly awaited supreme court verdict …Satya was of great help in educating as to how the current scenarios may affect the verdict….and yes not to forget the suspense that was revealed about his photo comments

Last but not least we discussed the lokmat amravati issue which happened and what are the legal actions being taken to stop such people from defaming us…It was indeed a evening well spent…Thank you so much harpreet, deepak satya, anand, and all the members…It was indeed a lovely experience …..