GB BANDRA MEET, AN IN-DEPTH REPORT
This report is a personal description of the events at the GB Bandra Meet on the 7th of April, 2013, and is written with the intention of recounting the course of events and topics discussed at the meet, to serve as a recap for those who attended and as an insight for those who could’nt make it. If u feel i’ve missed out anything, feel free to add it in the comments below.
People started coming at the pick up point, at B&R, Opp. National College from 5.50pm itself. Thru the course of the next 30 min, groups of guys headed to the venue, which was the home of the aunt of a long time GB member. This warm hearted lady has opened her doors and her heart to us since 1998. We can never be thankful enough to her for her support and hospitality.
The meet started informally with basic introductions at 6.55pm. A lot of faces were long time familiar ones, but it was also a delight to see a lot of new ones. I might be wrong, but roughly 50% of the attendees seemed to be first timers. Some of the guys who seemed a bit apprehensive initially, quickly got over their butterflies and settled into the warm welcoming atmosphere. I clearly remember, after the round of introductions got over one of the guys spoke up again and said that his real name was not ABC but was XYZ, and that he wasnt feeling confident abt disclosing his real name sometime back, but since he was more at ease by then, he wanted everyone to know him by his real name, which was very sweet.
The event saw quite a few Core GB Members in person too, Bala, Harpreet, Deepak… Vikram Doctor was dearly missed with one guy even mentioning how much he loved the way Vikram Doctor spoke at the Bandra meets 🙂
As usual, all the attendees were guys, 1 dog, and no girls.
The meet didnt have any pre-set agenda of discussion as it sometimes is, instead the participants were welcome to just discuss what mattered most to them. Bala kicked off the start of the meet by formally welcoming everyone after the round of introductions, in his usual soft n smooth manner, only to be interrupted by one of the attendees who couldnt wait to ask when would GB host/ organise the next GB picnic ?? Rumour has it that GB is planning an expensive one sooner than later, but don’t let the word out now it seems, the planning is still underway.
Having discussed picnics, the guys wanted to know more about when we would be having the next famous GB cooking meet ?? it seems that that too is being planned. Some of the guys contributed excellent suggestions about taking the cooking meets a notch higher. A suggestion was made to try and have the next cooking meet at a place such as FoodHall/ DolceVita/ Godrej Nature’s Basket so that more people could attend and also to bring out the talent from within the community. It was decided that this would be looked into with 2 people taking up the rsponsibility.
Another suggestion was made abt how GB shud probably try and start a 1-800 helpline or some sort of a helpline for it members. The pros and cons of the suggestion were debated and it was decided that Bala & Harpreet would take up the responsibility of uploading links to gay friendly counsellors/ helplines etc…, on the GB homepage.
It was also announced that GB very soon hopes to organise 2 workshops, one on Anal Hygeine, and the other on, well, ummm… How-To-Gracefully-Exit-A-Relationship… The news was greeted with both astonishment and appreciation by the audience.
One of the attendees suggested GB organise an artistic event to bring out the inner artist in everyone. Another participant stressed the importance of making gay guys aware of the importance of make-up and skin care.
Since everyone was in the mood for discussing events by now, another suggestion was made about how nice it would be if GB could probably organise, within itself, a Gay Biker’s Club, or probably a Gay Runner’s Club or maybe even a Gay Cycle Enthusiasts’ club…. This seemed to be a bit dicy after the lukewarm response to the Gay Running Event B.H.A.G organised annualy at Jogger’s Park, but none-the-less the core members were welcoming of the idea and said that GB plans to lauch a sort of a forum where people could from now on formally submit their ideas and maybe even, in Bala’s words, Co-Create, the event with GB’s help that they wish to suggest.
It seems that Bangalore has had a very active group called G.R.A.B (Gay Runners And Breakfast) club, where every morning gay guys run to get fit and then congregate for breakfast, and it seems that their breakfasts have only become more popular over the last 5 years. It was suggested that we start a G.R.A.B thingy in Mumbai too, and the suggestion was welcomed by Bala who gave a very positive nod to the audience. (Bala, we are waiting to hear more from you on this front).
After this, the conversation steered more towards stressing the importance of safe sex, about upcoming GB parties, about protecting oneself from FAIRY HAWKS (cute guys who lure you and then extort money) and about approaching the police in such instances. The importance of being able to speak Marathi or atleast taking a friend along who is fluent in Marathi to the police station in such an instance was stressed. One of the youngsters even mentioned that his friends and himself had started making a note of the phone numbers and P.R IDs and in some cases even the photographs of these fairy hawks. Another guy recounted his experience where he had met an apparently decent guy thru P.R, only to find out later that the guy was a murderer who then started stalking him. The importance of using one’s judgement of character and the importance of discussing with friends a potential guy, before taking him home, was stressed immensely.
It seems that a considerable number of guys from the community stay independently, or in some cases with a room-mate/ house-mate. The dynamics of sharing a rented apartment with a straight vs. gay guy were debated upon with most guys giving positive insights abt how everyone today is more accepting of homosexuality and that as long as u make it clear to ur str8 room mate that he is not ur type, u shudnt really have any problems.
We also had a senior member from TRIKONE (www.trikone.org.au) attend the GB Bandra meet. TRIKONE it seems is a gay support group located in Sydney, Australia that actively participates in the Sydney Pride, called Mardi Gras, held annually every Febuary. He also mentioned how just like our GB Bandra meets, they had similar meets in Sydney called, Talks By The Moonlight, where guys who wanna share their stories meet in a public park in the evening and talk, just like us…. 🙂
We also had a young n dynamic guy from G.A.L.V.A. (Gay And Lesbian Vaishnav Association) who spoke abt how he started a branch of this initially U.S based gay support group in Mumbai and how his group organises activities to help acheive more religious tolerance for homosexuality. He also mentioned that the last event that G.A.L.V.A had organised at I.S.K.C.O.N (International Society for Krishna CONscience), was attended by almost 2500 people of which 250 were G.A.L.V.A members…
We also had a cute lovebird couple at the meet, who have been committed to one another since 5 yrs. They discussed their future plans and gave hope to the many singles present that having a fulfilling relationship is within everyone’s reach right here right now 🙂
A few more random topics were discussed accompanied by small talk and a bit of fraternising eventually. Thru the course of the meet, our hosts, Harpreet & Anand, had us served lovely samosas and absolutely warm masala chai.
The evening was a perfect mix of just about everything …, fun, frolic, laughter, … suggestions, insights, discussions, debates, awareness, and a lot of fraternising and samosa eating.
A lot of thanks to GB, Harpreet & Anand, Bala, Dee, both Puas, and the cook who served us everything and ofcourse to everyone who could make it, especially the first timers. If i forgot to mention someone here in the closing credits, it is purely unintentional. Also, If u feel i’ve missed out anything, feel free to add it in the comments below.
Hugs to all.