The official launch of The Gaysi Zine happened in Mumbai, four days ago. As it happens, I co-hosted it with the boss, Chicklet. An onset of acute anxiety was stalled by the other boss, MJ. And the game, which was to me the risque bit of the evening, was hosted by the third boss, Sherlock. And boy are there many bosses at Gaysi! Note to self: Discuss possibilities of some kind of oligarchy which has me bossing over the other Editor.
We enjoyed sharing our love for storytelling using art forms and the spoken word. We set out looking for threads of commonality in all the stories that were contained in the zine; textual and visual. What we found was that almost every story recounts in some form memories, desire, love and the sense of discovery. We enjoyed sharing those elements with a really intimate audience of around 50 folks.
To deliver the sense of desire and devotion, we had a dance performance by the Kathak dancer Saurabh; who has such and from the way we spoke for a bit before his performance, seems like an extremely insightful and devoted artist. This was followed by a mime performance by the fantastic duo of Heena and theater actor Vaibhav, which had the audience in splits. Their story was one of discovery with regards to how people tend to hide bits of themselves away from people they desire, and how discovering those hidden bits need not result in drama and tragic consequences. After that, we had our detective Sherlock ji host a game we called, “Eternal Sunshine of the Queer Mind”, where everyone in the audience wrote down one of their most embarrassing or painful memories which they wanted to forget. All of that went into a glass jar and we had people from the audience read out a few from the jar. Result? Risque indeed, we found out! It was the theme of memories that brought us to the irreverently humorous Vivek Tejuja, who read out portions of his piece “You left. Books stayed.”, from the Zine. I think what hit home was a teeny sense of that unrequited love or love that didn’t last. Befitting then, that the last performance for the day was a Punjabi folk song that is a cautionary tale for young women who may fall in love, which was performed by Kamakshi Rai, who is a songwriter and recording artist. While my delivery was hopefully only semi- awkward, I think the performers were effing flawless!
Through the zine, we aimed to create a mature space for queer literature, and we are hoping that this effort will reach different parts of India. It goes without saying that there are many supporters who helped us bring out this edition. Wishberry donors, people who helped us make and release two videos, the contributors, people who helped us sell our magazines at several places, and the media which has reviewed our baby.
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