Tag Archives: indian cinema

fellow graduate students: your courage is yours to grow

dear readers,

speak truth to power. the cliche of it doesn’t take away from the need for it. last night a few of us desi students in tisch’s graduate cinema studies program chatted up bollywood over chaat and pizza. i so needed that moment of culturally grounding fellowship.

often i am one of the only people of color in my cinema studies classes. and it can be hard to stay grounded in ones power, ones purpose. sounds cheesy? sounds super 3rd wave? lol, maybe so, but let me tell you, the reality is, sometimes people in positions of power will go out of their way to encourage you or discourage you. but elemental to both words, encourage and discourage, is your very own courage. your courage may take flight or may take blows, but either way you have the option to remain indestructible. let’s be real, if someone is trying to discourage you, that means they are trying to strip you of your courage. and, it follows, that encouragement is geared towards building your courage up. but my core point here is that regardless, your courage is yours to grow, nurture, prune, water. let the flower of your ferocity rise like sunflowers shooting towards the sun. and don’t you ever, ever stop speaking truth to power. including the power of yourself.


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independence day from/this india/i will miss this/india: photos from pune (the national film archive of india and the film and television institute of india) and bombay

dear readers,

i got a letter from the government the other day, opened it and in it, it said they were suckaz. that’s a shout out to public enemy and tricky.

this is a post from bombay/what is independence day/to the u.s. of a. i don’t know. but when there are no words, there are images. there is graffiti on the wall at the film and television insitute of india, it reads: cinema is truth at 24 fps/frames per second.

graffiti mural at the film and tv institute of india in pune

the charter which decreed the creation of the national film archives and the film and tv institute of india was created in the early 1950’s, around the same time india gained independence from the british.

just off film institute road in pune lies the indian film archives

though the decree which planted the seed for the NFAI and FTII wasn’t followed until a decade later, in the early 1960’s, it remains true that india’s post-colonial political sovereignty was imagined in tandem with an explicitly strengthening embrace of our cinematic art, a distinct cultural legacy and continuing gift to the world.

the film and tv institute of india got mad buses peeking out from the banyan tree jungle of the campus acres, formerly the studio grounds of prabhat studios, one of india's most og film studios

here are some images from my independent eyes to yours via bustling bombay and nearly perfect pune. enjoy the ride, because it is yours, after all.

bombay taxi: shot on my way to the club out the vardala train station

proud to be a woman: buying bindi's in pune

the original kinkos: printing press at night with bicycles (pune)

projection booth: national film archive of india (pune)

prabhat studio door: film and tv institute of india (pune)

original prabhat studio lights: film and tv institute of india (pune)

bombay fam: me, my two cousin brothers, their wives and kids

stay tuned for more, which i will send out the next time i have a good internet connect.

the political poet

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valentines post #1: on feeling and sex

dear readers,

i gave this talk on sex and love last night at pace university. and the students there had startlingly relevant questions and answers on the topic. how do you know if you’re cheating (answer: if you’re even asking, you’re probably toeing a slim line)? how do you know when it’s time to move on (answer: take your time deciding, but do move on because theirs more on the other side)

temple facade in india: photo by mbs

but most pressing was the idea of separating emotions from sex. folks wondered if they should use casual sex as a way of getting over an ex. someone else asked why sex feels so much more now that they’ve come out as gay. and i have to wonder. how hard do we work to separate the heart from the body before, during, and after casual sex? and isn’t just as much work to figure out how to stay connected, instead?

look, im not knocking casual sex. but i do think that love and sex are historically connected for a reason. because they enhance each other. complement each other. make each other more juicy, more whole.

here goes some love poems, inspired by a chance encounter with casual sex, based on a true story:

this need for your seed
breeds hot in my soil
makes me hurt
makes me open
my shit
is open


they pulse
around you
i think
i found you
and i don’t worry
i’ll lose you
until i do
and that container too
is my favorite color blue


whatever the lilting
breath baby be
on your way
made love that day
and perhaps it was
all game
but that’s not such a shame
albeit rather lame


screw me
fold in 2, 3
together we
weren’t shit
at least we both hit
and that’s it


you show
will be
steady me
downright levy me
against the flood
of love


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