After 2 weeks in Mumbai for the first time in ten years, I'm back in blighty with mixed emotions. This has been the longest I've been off work for ages, and Mumbai presented a whole world I had forgotten existed. The Mumbai of today is still as chaotic and an attack on the senses as it ever was, but this was the first time I realised how quickly India is shaping it's game. The city oozes wealth at every corner - there is money to be made in the city, I'm just not sure how.
On a personal level, sitting on the gay india internet chat rooms, I've been forced to re-examine how I feel about being a foreigner in Britain. Inspite of the fact that I have been here for coming on 18 years, I realised that whether I like it or not, the colour of my skin will always make me the 'other'. It is not uncommon to see comments such as 'no asians' on gay profiles in the UK, whereas in India, for the first time in ages, I felt like I actually belonged rather than being an outsider.
Musically, I reignited a love of indian music that had been gently simmering on the back burner for a few years - India & Pakistan have a thriving music scene - and I made a few fanstastic discoveries, I'll be sharing over the next few weeks as I work my way through them.
First off, although a couple of years old, my favourite discovery is Rabbi Shergill; mixing elements of sufi, folks, pop, rock and bhangra, his self-titled debut offering hasn't left my playlist for the past couple of weeks.
Rabbi's father was a Sikh preacher and his mother, a college principal, loved Gurbani kirtan. Rabbi was "very, very influenced by Sikh literature. In an interview a few years ago, he said; "I grew up reading Gyani Gyan Singh, Kabir's dohas, Shiv Bata... We would have long discussions on poetry. I was listening to rock music and Punjabi spiritual music. It all combusts man. It's the great reality of urban India."
If you want to know what the word actually mean, check out this site dedicated to the man.
MP3: Rabbi Shergill - Bulla Ki Jana (expired)
MP3: Rabbi Shergill - Tere Bin (expired)
MP3: Rabbi Shergill - Ajj Nachna (expired)