Monday, June 30, 2008

Pat, We're Not in Bangalore Anymore

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

On June 30th -- Last Year -- We Were There

A year ago, by noon, India time, our friend Dearg met us at the Windsor Bengaluru ITC Hotel lobby and led us by foot to a tea house on Cunningham Road. It was my second trip to India and Pat's first time anywhere in Asia.

The trees were tropical, the sidewalks craggy and the thick traffic headed toward us the opposite way. Dearg wore a white, Indian shirt that day, which it turned out he had bought at Banana Republic before he ever imagined he'd be an expat in India.

I still remember the photos Pat took of us that afternoon and how new everything felt.

A Different Sort of June 30th

This morning, I received e-mail from Dearg:

Thought about you a lot yesterday - We had the first ever Gay Pride parade here in Bangalore - 650 or so people took to the streets to march here in Bangalore to repeal Section 377. Their were smaller parades in Delhi and Calcutta.

It was a real colourful spectacle with a lot of great media coverage both before and after the event. Some of the participants wore masks to cover their identity , others covered their faces in make up. Along the route several bewildered by passers looked on, half in amusement, half in shock. (We had a police escort of over 200 so all passed off peacefully). Best of all we had 4 IBMers march though not [yet] with the company logo....

Here is a related article -

When I got to the part about the police escort, I choked up with tears -- sad that we needed one, but grateful that we were being protected by the police and by extension, the government of Bangalore.

Tonight, I was driving through the Lincoln Tunnel with Pat, on our way to see our friend and colleague, Joy Howard's, brother Arliss, interview his wife Debra Winger on the book she just wrote. I said, "After this fall semester, by spring 2009, I'll be just about half-way through the credits I need to earn to complete this Masters, but 2011 feels so far away."

"Sarah, remember what a substantial time six months seemed at first in India, and how after the first three months, it flew by? The same will happen once you reach the mid-way point in your program; just keep chipping away at it."

Debra Winger on Self-expression

On a bulletin board at school this weekend, I saw a flyer, advertising "Introduction to Painting" and no prior experience was necessary. How fun that would be, I thought. Maybe I have a couple of electives left, and that could be among them next summer if it's offered again, I thought.

Meanwhile, I aspired to devote every Monday night to consuming or producing art of any kind. Tonight, it was a pleasure to consume the interview of Debra Winger. She was so appealing, sexy. It was her clean-featured face, athletic body, and great voice, but above all, her brain that delighted Pat and me.

Someone in the audience asked her, "How did you break into show business?"

She responded that acting has to be something, "...where you have to do it -- like you're going to die if you don't." I loved that and related to it; this weekend, as an icebreaker during the basic practicum on conflict resolution, we had to introduce ourselves, including our passion. I said, "Blogging."

Blogging for me is a less threatening word than "writing," and I do feel like I'm dead when I'm not writing, even though, typically, I don't make the time to spend, polishing the writing.

Debra Winger also said that while she believed in "...qualitative passion," she also felt that passion was "...mortal and quantitative," too, and that for her, she needed to do this and only this right now, whatever this was, so, for example, acting was one art and then writing the book another, and some years ago, even teaching; Professor Robert Coles invited her to be a teaching fellow of "The Literature of Social Reflection" at Harvard.

It was 9:45 pm when the program ended and we were ready to leave, but waited so that we could say hi to Joy's brother, who came out from behind the stage and was standing against the wall while his wife sat at a table, signing her books.

"Hi. I'm a friend of Joy. My name's Sarah Siegel and this is my partner Pat Hewitt." I held out my hand to shake his.

"Nice to meet you," he said, shaking our hands. We drove home uplifted -- just what I was looking for from a Monday Culture Night.


Joy Howard said...

Sarah, I'm so glad you got to go to the event last night. I would have loved to have been there. They are so funny and engaging, both as a couple and as individuals, so they're a good fit with you and Pat! Thankfully, due to a family wedding in Colorado, I just got to spend more time with them in the past 2 weeks than in the past several years combined. What a cool, and different, way to connect with you.

Sarah Siegel said...

As I just posted in our internal IBM online GLBT community, I felt like I was at the dinner table with you and Pam, except that you're cuter than you brother...and I think I have a renewed crush on your sister-in-law -- harmless, I assure you.