Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Official: U.S. To Lift the Ban on HIV/AIDS Entry [finally!]

A few weeks ago, I wrote (here) about the efforts of activists from Immigration Equality (link here) and their attempt in getting the authorities to lift the 22-year ban that of the U.S. holds against foreign nationals infected with HIV. Indeed, one still cannot enter the U.S. territories if one is HIV-positive.

President Obama has now made it official that the ban is to be lifted as from January 2010. Mr Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act and declared that "if we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it." He also declared that the entry ban had been "rooted in fear rather than fact." I am glad somebody actually finally brought up "fear" as a motive for what looks like rational action. Are gay men banned from donating blood and organs in most countries because of fear or because of fact? (That's a question that I shall deal with in greater details in an article that's coming up.)

The US is one of only about a dozen countries barring entry on HIV status.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Blog Is Famous! [big grin!]

Yei! Yei! Yei! (A triple 'Yei!' is a sure sign that I am happy!)

This blog has actually received a review! You can read it here. That's so exciting!

A grateful note to FeralGeographer (click here), to Queer Canada Blogs (click here) and to all the readers out there who keep dropping by!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Announcing the Nigah QueerFest '09

It's on: The Nigah QueerFest '09 will be launched on Oct 23rd at the Max Mueller Bhavan, Delhi. For more details about the QueerFest (the only of its kind in India) please check:

This year sees the 3rd consecutive year of the QueerFest. I was lucky enough to witness the birth of the QueerFest, and even luckier to be part of it last year where I was also one of the performers during the Performance Night. It feels a bit strange to be away this year, and there are at least 5 of us who had been part of it since the very beginning who'll be away. It's heart-wrenching, really, but I am glad there are other people to take over: politically conscious talented youth with a radical agenda, working very hard and having fun all the way.

On the program this year are: the film festival, the performance night, panel discussions, the photography exhibition, a book launch, parties, social events etc. The overall theme this year tends towards Queer Fantasies. For those who are close enough, I hope you'll get the chance to drop by at least a few of the events.

Happy QueerFest '09!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Quote [and a dedication]

[I would like to dedicate this piece to those four young women who have been so much more than just classmates to me over the past years. To Neds, Nisha, Namu and Supi... For still being part of the journey and because it's unreal much I miss you, and because I don't know why this piece makes me think about you.]

This quote is from Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies. A novel that I not only absolutely fell for, but that I am working on. Indeed, Ghosh's narrative is the driving force behind my thesis-- albeit being the content itself! Those few lines from the book are probably the ones that carried me away the most, and in italics, the line that made me gasp for air...

"Now that the disbelief was no longer possible, a great uproar broke out and people began to mill around, gathering together their belongings, taking down their washing, and hunting for their pitchers, lotas and other necessary utensils. The long-planned-for rituals of departure were forgotten in the confusion, but strangely, this great outburst of activity became itself a kind of worship, not so much intended to achieve an end-- their bundles and bojhas were so small and so many times packed and unpacked that there was not much to be done to them-- but rather as an expression of awe, of the kind that might greet a divine revelation: for when a moment arrives that is so much feared and so long awaited, it perforates the veil of everyday expectation in such a way as to reveal the prodigious darkness of the unknown."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grad Students From a Simpsonsian Point of View [two utterly fantastic small clips!]

I found those two videos-- they're just fantastic! They are both really short, and taken from The Simpsons and they give us a rather cynical glimpse into the life of grad students! (Link here and here.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Word of Thanks

Slightly more than a month ago, I threw my tantrum along with my distress up here on the blog, with this post. What seemed more like a cathartic act of frustration at the time resulted in an incredible expression of support of many who are so far, some closer, others who've have been close to me, many who are still close to me, and others who barely even know me...

I haven't updated anybody on what's happening over the weeks that went by because I was still working through the motions of it all. It's probably the ripe time now to thank EVERYBODY who responded to the call. All of you who left comments, who sent in e-mails, who supported me, who chastised me, who asked me to stop throwing my toys around and to simply put them in a box, neatly on a shelf so that I could start playing with them again.

Thank you, SO much. I'd like to thank that man too, who after an entire year without contacting me, sent me an e-mail. I am very grateful.

[And I should probably also clarify that I indeed don't care about the house, the job and the car!]

So where am I?

I am writing the GRE in a couple of weeks. I am also applying to two very competitive programs. I decided to stick to just two, however competitive they may be. Those are the ones that I want the most and that'll give me the space and resources to continue my work. Things may work out, or they may not... But at this point I don't really care.

If one takes the time to look around, one may not see any doors, or the doors that one may see may be locked. But always, somewhere, in some corner or high on some walls, there are open windows one can slide through. I've found many windows, and independent of whatever happens, there'll always be windows. There are ways and ways to do what one loves and all I can be grateful for is that I found what I love doing. I just need to play around with the ways of doing it now.

Yours with eternal gratitude, and with many good vibes...