We Will Wade in the Shine of the Ever

Last night, with the power out and the insomnia I have battled since puberty ruining whatever chance I had of making it to church on time, I resumed a familiar, loathsome dialog with the gatekeeper to the Land of Nod. He is very bored with his work and I am loquacious, so he uses me for his own amusement, claiming it helps make his job less tedious, even as I wish he would just let me in so I can finally rest.

He is he, because I am a she, and I refuse to believe that this sadist is female. I wear too much pink for that.

Me: 5am. 5am of the last day of this life.

He: Bit dramatic, innit?

Me: Not at all.

He: ’tis.

Me: No!

He: Your last day has long passed. You forsook that life exactly four years ago, when you chose an actual life over a virtual one.

Me: But I was coming back.

He: You always say that.

Me: But I was. Not in the way people expect, but I was. I have schemes. Schemes!

He: Annabel. How long have you been writing that one post?

Me: I am unaware of to what you might be referring.

He: Not ending a sentence with a preposition is a bit of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.

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As One Mutiny Stands Down, Others Rise

I first stumbled onto Sepia Mutiny as a college student, a confused but curious 2nd genner who had never had brown friends, fresh from my first trip ever to the desh and desperate to find more out more information about the a CD I had bought by some “Rabbi” with a guitar. This was the first result, and after a few more inquisitive clicks around the site, I was addicted and would never be the same again. This was IT, the in I had been looking for but had been denied for so long. Though it seem silly now, my first real desi friends would be those I met online. I was a Mutineer, and I had a mission.

Fast forward to March 2012.

Despite admitting to have shot and killed a 17 year-old armed with Skittles and a hoodie, George Zimmerman remains a free man today. The story struck a chord and has become a worldwide sensation. Just as thousands of ordinary folks of all stripes have taken to the streets to peacefully protest the outrageous impunity, a similar scene is happening right now in Punjab; the difference is that the “criminal” is slated to die for attempting to stop the targeting of his community for extrajudicial torture and killings. Here is the breakdown on Balwant Rajaona and why he was to be hanged from The Langar Hall.

On March 31st, Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana [was] set to be executed in Punjab for his involvement in the assassination of former chief minister of Punjab, Beant Singh. Chief minister Beant Singh was involved with carrying out brutal and mass killings of Sikhs in Punjab.  He is widely held responsible by many Sikhs for ordering the kidnap, torture and death of many young Sikh men.  A report by Amnesty International can be found here.

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Thank you, Sepia Mutiny

Dear Sepia Mutiny,

You’ve been a pal. No, seriously, you’re the best yaar a Pakistani-American girl could conjure. That’s why I dedicate Kishore Kumar’s soundtrack, “Chalte, Chalte” to you. The lyrics, “Kabhi alvida na kahna” translate to, “Never say goodbye.” SM, you challenged me. You educated me. You delighted me. You enraged me. And so, I thank you. All of you.

Thank you, Amardeep, my fellow Philadelphian. When I first stumbled across Sepia Mutiny years ago, yours were the first posts I followed closely.  I still go back and reference your eloquent, lyrical writings on music, authors and more. And as I go forward, I hope to keep your last post in mind. Especially this line: “[T]here really is value in spelling out an idea or a perspective at some length, and then giving readers as much space as they want or need to discuss it with you.” Longform writing, ftw! Continue reading

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Ahem. (tap tap tap. Is this thing on?)

Hi, everyone. For the last few years I’ve been pretty much fulltime over at our twitter franchise, one of a few people trying to make sure you get all your savory brownness in an 140 character packet. As a result, I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty at this longer-form blogging.

But the truth is, as my exes can attest, I’ve never been any good at final goodbyes. I even skipped the funeral of a close friend because I couldn’t stand the finality involved in watching him get cremated, even though I knew he was already gone. But I’m afraid there’s no way to skip your own wake, and once you’re there, you might as well try to deliver a eulogy, awkward as it is.

Part of the problem is that Sepia was never just one thing, it was many. There were the blog posts, but that was just the tip of the iceberg, the part you could see. There was also everything that happened out of view, so many stories that I don’t think any one of us knows them all.

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Last SF Meetup – Sat Mar 31, 2:30pm-6:30pm (& thanks!)

Hello Mutineers. Long time no chat. ;-)

But before the sentimentality, some important business – the last ever San Francisco Bay Area Meetup is tomorrow

  • Where: UPDATED LOCATION: The Liberties in the Mission/Dolores area — 998 Guerrero & 22nd (we outgrew Udupi Palace)
  • When: UPDATED TIME – 2:30 – 6:30pm — we’ll be lounging for a while so feel free to drop in, share a pint or 2 and listen/tell stories
  • Who: friends past & present, old bloggers, current bloggers, guest bloggers, grizzled comments flame war vets, lurkers, and riff raff of various stripes

The Facebook event is here.

So what can I say that hasn’t already been (quite ably) said by my fellow bloggers? Continue reading

The (r)Evolving Kominas

A belated Christmas present for all y’all for this #MusicMonday – our oft written about friends The Kominas have released an (almost) self-titled album called “Kominas.” If you thought the previous albums were too punk/too political/too “taqwacore” for you – then it is time to give the band a second chance – this album might just be for you. With a more Desi-rock sound, gritty riffs, lo-fi vocals and lyrics taking a back seat, the band’s path has turned and taken on a new sound. Gone are the sing-along playfully raunchy hooks, this album is all about the bass line and dirty drum beats.

The band members of The Kominas have shifted to not only to now include the duo from Sunny Ali and the Kid, but also in instrumental roles – three of the four bandmates take a turn on the mic for this album. With multiple talents acting as the driving force between music and lyrics, the album is eclectic and completely different sounding from anything previously released by The Kominas. People have been saying that their sound has “matured” but instead, I feel the new album better reflects the skills and sounds of the new band members trying collaborate and create a new cohesive sound (Basim Usmani is the only original band member that remains from 2005).

Don’t just take my word for it. Follow the link here to the megaupload site to download the album. And if you are too chicken to download the album before listening to a song – here’s the demo to Ren, a song off of the new album.

Frankly put, it sounds like our punks have evolved – they just may be growing up.

White House Recognizes Vijaya Emani

Yesterday the President presented 13 Americans with the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor which may be granted to any United States citizen who has performed “exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens.” Vijaya Emani of Strongsville, Ohio, a single mom involved in so many different ways in her community, was one of the honorees. Emani, who passed away in 2009, was recognized for speaking out against domestic violence.

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Take Action In Elk Grove

The murderer(s) of the suspected hate crime against Surinder Singh and Gurmej Singh Atwal are still at large. Both elderly men were walking on their daily afternoon walk in Sacramento, when they were shot in a drive by shooting on March 4th, 2011. Seven months later and they are still looking for clues.

If in the Sacramento area, please join the Jakara Movement and the local community as they blanket the neighborhood talking to the community and posting reward bulletins. For more information and to RSVP, please visit the facebook page.

To Thine Own Self Be True

A memorial to Gaurav Gopalan via Washington City Paper

In the early morning hours of September 10th, the Desi community of D.C. was rocked when a local aeronautical engineer and theatermaker Gaurav Gopalan was found near death only two blocks away from his home. He died soon after. He was only 35. There had been confusion over if had been a hate crime (he was wearing women clothing at the time as an alter persona named “Gigi”) but there had been no visible signs of trauma. Today it was confirmed to be a homicide.

Gopalan, who was found unconscious near his Columbia Heights home in the early hours of Sept. 10, died after suffering sub-arachnoid hemorrhage—bleeding in the space between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it—”due to blunt-impact head trauma,” according to Beverly Fields, chief of staff of the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. “The manner of death is homicide.” … The news comes in the wake of initial confusion about the case, and amid a string of shootings involving transgender women in the District. (Gopalan was wearing women’s clothes when he was found by a passerby on the 2600 block of 11th Street NW.) [citypaper]
 

Losing someone suddenly is tragic but for it to be a potential hate crime just highlights the incredible injustices in this world. Khush DC sent out a release this week:

This tragedy comes during an especially troubling time for Washington D.C.’s LGBTQQIA community.  A number of incidents involving sexual and gender minority individuals, particularly those affiliated with the transgender community, have occurred during recent months.  We stand in solidarity with all of our communities at this time, and ask everyone to exercise personal safety measures.  We also urge the MPD to fully and thoroughly investigate the incidents that have occurred. [khushdc]  

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How Will We Remember?

On this day I woke up to images of the twin towers falling on TV, eerily similar to what happened ten years ago at the same time. Deliberately, I’ve avoided the videos over the years, quickly changing the channel, images of people jumping from the building permanently embedded in my memory already. But today, I watched. I needed to be reminded, I guess. Where will we be in 300 years of remembering? This is Chee Malabar & Tanuj Chopra’s interpretation.

The video was created as a DVD insert to the Asian American Literature Review Tenth Anniversary of September 11th issue.

So many of our communities have borne witness to so much over the past 10 years; it behooves us to critically consider the moment and its aftermath—the various political, legal, and civil rights repercussions, particularly for the communities most directly affected, South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim American. But how can we do so, when so many of the voices of affected communities remain unheard? [AALR]

 

You can order your copy of the AALR special issue online here now.