Drag Queen HARISH: The Rajasthani Maharani of the Desert

When her majesty Queen Harish graced ROTD with her presence in an earlier comment…we felt compelled to invite her to dance…I give you Queen Harish “the whirling dancing desert drag queen”:

Queen Harish is my alter ego – drag is in my blood, and while I am dressed as her I can let loose all my greatest passions, flirtations and wild behavior! I come from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, the Indian desert, land of colorful men with beautiful moustaches, women with traditional jewelery and children with mystical eyes. I am a professional dancer and performer. Since 1997, i have been touring, dancing in thousands of shows, performances, parties, dance workshops and acting in films worldwide and at home in Rajasthan. I master Rajasthani traditional dances and Bollywood , i also workout bellydancing, flamenco and pantomime. I used to tour with Rajasthani music groups Musafir, Maharaja and you can see me in the film called “Gypsy Caravan”. Since 2003 i freelance as a solo performer and joined several stage projects. I am currently developing a show based on Moghul courtisanship and the traditions of Mujra. Visit my blog : www.queen-harish.blogspot.com

p.s. here are Queen Harish’s tour dates for this year if you happen to be in the area:

Here is my US tour schedule

i have also noted the available dates when someone can invite me

June 20 – 21 – 22 : New Jersey – Indian Weddings – Private

June 25 : NYC – JeBon – guest of http://www.bellyqueen.com/kaeshi_bio.html

June 26 : NYC – Drom – http://www.dromnyc.com

June 27, 28 : Available

June 29 : NYC – Desilicious – postParade event , http://www.sholayevents.com/

June 30 : Available

July 1, 2, 3 : Available

July 5 – 6 : Portales NM – show and workshop http://www.myspace.com/gypsyalanar

July 7, 8, 9 : Available

July 10 – 11 : San Diego – show and workshop with http://www.nomadartz.com and guest of Danyavaad http://www.myspace.com/danyavaad

July 12 : LA – Getty Center – guest dancer of Cheb i Sabbah

July 13 : LA – workshop with http://www.beyondbellydance.com/

July 14 < 19 : Available

July 20 : Seattle – Colombia City Theater – http://www.myspace.com/i_heart_shiva

July 21 : Seattle – workshop with http://colleenashakti.com/

July 23 : San Francisco – Bollyhood – guest dancer of DJ Amar http://www.myspace.com/bansuri

July 24 : Available

July 25 : Available

July 26 : San Francisco – Bollywood workshop at Clandestine

July 26 evening : Available

July 27 : San Francisco – Fat Chance Belly dance Studio, Rajasthani workshop with http://colleenashakti.com/

July 27 evening : Available

July 28 < August 1 : Available

August 2 : Dunedin FL – workshop & show with http://www.myspace.com/beledibay

Tis the Season to get Wasted… Sanjay Dutt, Saaki Saaki, Musafir… (hic)

Tis the Season to get Wasted…tra la la la la la la la la
Pour a drink you haven’t tasted….tra la la la la la la la
Old Monk Rum, Bacardi, Brandy… tra la la la la la la
grab whichever bottle’s handy….tra la la la la la la la la

This original composition is coming to you direct from your very own yuletide alcoholic ROTD with compliments from the cyber bar. (a note on interpreting this classic work: the song improves vastly when you sing it after five or six drinks)

and on the subject of sharabis….

Here’s Sanjay Dutt singing “saaki saaki” from Musafir…

for all you drunkards out there: much love! Oh Sharabi! Kya Sharabi!


and an old soul stepped out of the desert lands…and he brought with him a small forked metal instrument that was the whole of the desert…and time got distracted by his playing and made the universe stand still for a moment…and it sounded something like this… (only obviously much much cooler in person)


the fadereu:

Darbar Morchang Party: Rajasthan Desert Festival Evora 2007:

Sir Richard Bishop- Guitar Raga Blues

Listen to this guy- it combines the high subtle notes of a frenetic sitar raga and the heavy riffs of a Jimmy Page guitar solo. He’s quite a trippy guy actually and appears to be a tantrik Kali devotee. Do check out his website.

Ahmadabad’s Restaurant of Death…

image from pirategirl

AHMADABAD, India (AP) — In India, death is a part of life – and, at one restaurant in western India, a part of lunch. The bustling New Lucky Restaurant in Ahmadabad is famous for its milky tea, its buttery rolls, and the graves between the tables.

It’s a spot where old men page through newspapers and argue politics in the morning while young couples share candlelit meals and hold hands at night. That the candles sit atop graves only adds to the ambiance.

Krishan Kutti Nair has helped run the restaurant built over a centuries-old Muslim cemetery for close to four decades, but he doesn’t know who is buried in the cafe floor. Customers seem to like the graves, which resemble small cement coffins, and that’s enough for him.

“The graveyard is good luck,” Nair said one recent afternoon after the lunch rush. “Our business is better because of the graveyard.”

The graves are painted green, stand about shin high, and every day the manager decorates each of them with a single dried flower. They’re scattered randomly across the restaurant – one up front next to the cash register, three in the middle next to a table for two, four along the wall near the kitchen.

The waiters know the floor plan like a bus driver knows his route, and they’ve mastered the delicate dance of shimmying between graves with a tray of hot tea in each hand.

“We’re used to it,” said waiter Kayyum Sheikh. “There’s nothing odd about it.”

The graves probably belong to the family or associates of a 16th-century Sufi saint whose tomb is nearby, according to Varis Alvi, a retired professor in Ahmadabad.

The restaurant dates to the 1950s – before honking traffic and tall buildings surrounded the site – when K.H. Mohammed opened a tea stall outside the cemetery, said Nair, who helped run the place and became Mohammed’s partner. Business was good, and the stall kept expanding until its tin walls encircled the graves. Mohammed died in 1996.

In India, where three times the population of the United States is packed into an area one-third the size, it’s common for cemeteries to serve multiple purposes, said Alvi. Newcomers to cities set up tents inside graveyards, and businesses set up stalls next to graves.

Besides, the Hindu notion of death as merely an opportunity for rebirth makes the prospect less frightening than it is in the West, Alvi said. Although the tea shop cemetery is Muslim – Hindus cremate their dead – most Indians would feel comfortable relaxing in a cemetery, he said.

“Graveyards in India are never scary places,” Alvi said. “We don’t have a nice literature of horror stories so we don’t have much fear of ghosts.”

Most customers said they don’t mind sitting next to graves.

“We spend all day here,” Mohammed Tafir said between cups of tea. “The graves are holy, they’re good luck. They bring us good luck too.”

Some, though, say the restaurant is disrespectful.

“They should maintain the decorum of the graveyard,” said a history professor who asked that his name be withheld. When asked why he didn’t want to be identified, he smiled and said, “Because I have tea there.”

story from link

Naga mandala..woman marries snake…

If you haven’t heard of the mythic tale of Nagamandala…the tale of a snake who falls in love with a woman and seduces her in the form of a her husband…then you probably weren’t as surprised as I was to read of an actual woman, Bimbala Das, who fell in love with a snake, and who ultimately married the nagaraj in a public ceremony, which everyone in the village believed would also remove a curse on her family…perhaps the veil between myth and our daily mundanes is far thinner than it would seem…


Mischa Berlinski visited Bimbala and has written a book on the subject which may be worth a read…

A woman who fell in love with a snake has married the reptile at a traditional Hindu wedding celebrated by 2,000 guests in India. Bimbala Das wore a silk saree for the ceremony at Atala village near the Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar. Priests chanted mantras to seal the union, but the snake failed to come out of a nearby ant hill where it lives. A brass replica snake stood in for the hesitant groom. “Though snakes cannot speak nor understand, we communicate in a peculiar way,” Das, 30.

from link

Sweet Taste of India- Stephen Tyler gets Laid

This is one of those songs that’s been playing over and over in my head-just somehow crept inside… I looked up the lyrics and found the soul power hard rock orientalism rather cute- seems like when Stephen Tyler came to India he ate some vidaloo and then some New Age Desi chick shagged his bones off…naturally he turns this conquest into some kind of homage to the mystic East where he gets to “dance with his shadow” while he reminisces about his “sweet tantrik princess” and inserts a few lewd lyrics about what she smells and tastes like…hmm…anyway, in the video he sort of tries out what I think is meant to be sufi spinning and then he starts doing some kind of “I cast a spell on you” exotic “Indian” hand gestures……call me crazy but I find this kind of spiritual tourism kind of adorable…so what if he doesn’t get blasted with the ulginess of class dynamics, soul-crushing prudery and the threat of racial genocide always lurking around the corner…..he ate some vindaloo and he got laid. Wrote a nice song about it. Good for him.

Taste of India Lyrics:

God I love the sweet taste of India – Lingers on the tip of my tongue
Gotta love the sweet taste of India – Blame it on the beat of the drum
God I love the sweet taste of India – Lingers on the tip of my tongue
Gotta know that what’s gotten into ya – Any cat man do when it’s done

Oh yeah she’s got that kind of love incense That lives in her back room
And when it mixes with the funk my friend It turns into perfume

When you are born you’re afraid of the darkness And then you’re afraid of the light
But I’m not afraid when I dance with my shadow – This time I’m gonna get it right
To think of what I’ll get tonight Just lookin’ for a little taste, taste of India
She’ll steal the smile right off your face

Her yin and yang Is just the thing
She’s unpredictable my friend

God I love the sweet taste of India- Lingers on the tip of my tongue
Gotta know that what’s gotten into ya -Any cat man do when it’s done
It’s like your first taste love of vindaloo That sets your heart on fire
And if you let her stuff get into you It will be all that you desire

When you make love to the sweet tantric priestess You drink in the bliss of delight
But I’m not afraid when I dance with her shadow
This time I’m gonna get it right – She’s gonna whet my appetite
Just lookin’ for a little taste, taste of India
She’ll steal the smile right off your face

She a friend of mine
She a concubine
The sweetest wine
I gotta make her mine