Yesterday was Aarshi: Mirroring Perspectives. Music, Dance, Recitations, Performances, and love…. No entry fee.
Being part of KRPF (Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival), the organizing entity, I knew I had to be there (of course, I WANTED to be there, but increasingly these days want is just not enough to be able to do things). So, I left the institute early, travelled 2 and a half hours, and got to Gyan Manch at 6.
The program was amazing. Having not been a particularly active part of the planning and execution of this program, I came to it with a viewer’s eyes, and I was impressed.
Mitali Sengupta and her classical/semi-classical renditions (including one of my all time favourite bandishes and another much liked one) were soothing and pleasing at once.
Buddhi Edirisinghe opened a whole new world of Sri-Lankan dance forms to the audience.
Our very own thespian and star Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee soaked everyone in emotions with a solid poetic performance.
And the KRPF quartet of Jaydip Jana, Souvik Som, Dipankar Chanda, and Anjan Ghosh came up with a fantastic performance of poetry, narration, Rabindrasangeet, and Ghazals.
We wound up the evening with the customary bear hugs and “keorami” (flaming, over the top behavior). All in all, it was a spectacular evening.
However, it left me disillusioned and depressed.
The low turnout was quite depression inducing. And it just reinforced in my mind why I am increasingly pissed off and cynical about “the movement” in this city. Forget general public, forget allies and friends, if even the core community cannot be expected to show any support then what really is the point? All that expense, effort, energy, time, thought, and hard work…. Of so many people… and community members could not even be bothered to turn up and watch? For free? What would this do except demoralize the people making so much of an effort to showcase talents and arts within the queer community?
I keep seeing posts in various queer groups and forums lamenting about why queer people are not building a close community, about gay men only looking for “fun” and not love, about the lack of alternative support structures, about our talents not being recognized. If this was a party, I am sure the turnout would have been at least 20 times greater. So what does that show? The very people who are crying so incessantly about all the “lacks” are not ready to support an effort to make a change. The very people who say they want more “depth” in queer people and spaces are not willing to spend a few hours supporting an effort to create that depth. The people who go on and on about solidarity, equality, and “protests” cannot be bothered to make the minimal effort to actually show that solidarity when it is requested of them.