I had a nice time out in Ann Arbor at the SAAN conference in the midst of all the chaos; met some interesting speakers and was super-impressed by the organizational capabilities of the undergrads running the conference. They did a great job. I particularly enjoyed the performances of hip-hop artist Chee Malabar and comedian Preacher Moss, and had interesting conversations with newspaper reporter Prema Oza, Sepia-Mutiny writer Abhishek Tripathi, documentary photographer Preston Merchant, documentary filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen, sports writer Amar Shah (and his lovely actress wife Tejal) -- just to name a few of the fascinating speakers at the conference.
I think my panel on S. Asian sexuality went reasonably well, though it was such a brief time period that I couldn't really cover all the areas they asked me to (such as sexual customs/practices in S. Asia today, which honestly, I don't know so much about in any case). People who attended seemed to like it for the most part, and we had really vibrant discussion in the small groups afterwards. I asked the participants to reveal something about their sexuality, as a way of kicking off that discussion, and all of them pretty much did, even though I'm sure many found that at least a little scary.
Much of the conversation seemed to center around gender issues and social codes, specifically the ways in which young college-age S. Asian women are classified into 'good girls' and 'bad girls' -- a lot of discussion abut who's doing that classification, and how much it really reflects [male] attitudes towards women. Fascinating.
I got to dress up in my copper sari for the formal, which was fun; there will be pictures eventually on their site.
Got home Sunday late, spent Monday with a lunch meeting for emerging arts leaders at the Chicago Cultural Center, followed by some hours at Filter, talking to Dave Lewis and writing a bit, then coming home to do a fair bit of school prep, which took quite a bit longer than anticipated, such that I missed the DesiLit book club meeting. Ah well. Hopefully the next one...