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Number 01

An Introduction within an Introduction

(A look into the workings of the editorial board of Scripts)

Dear readers, we felt that it was necessary to introduce who we were and what we were planning to do in this newsletter. Two of us decided (or would FORCED be the right word?) to interview the others – henceforth known as B, R, and S (one of whom remained undecided as to whether she wanted to be “interviewer” or “interviewee”) not unlike the Star Wars robots and present it to you. Before we move to the editorial boards’ working, let us first assure you that Scripts is being produced very professionally (Ha! Ha!) with a full fledged editorial board (with its quota of learning observer members, contributing dyke “daards”, the honorary women members to provide coffee and sandwiches and so on.)

The Setting

Pensive silence in the room. The editorial board is busy trying to dig up Scriptures and Poetry and Stories and Scriptoons and formats and styles... from various available and unavailable sources for Scripts the first issue of the indigenously produced, Bombay dykes’, edited, supposedly “written” mostly “lifted” occasional newsletter. With all this “lifting” atmosphere, interspersed with discussions about bras with intelligent fibres that not only lift breasts but also feel them up, we the officially appointed interviewers are also tempted to “lift” Foucault’s style of writing long sentences that force you to read them at least eight times before you can begin to understand what the h*** he is trying to say. There, we have set the context of the interview and our styles.

The Interview

We prepared our questions and approached the other three for the interview. They were of course verrry busy. (Refer box on Tasks of the Editorial Board  to find out exactly what they were doing.) we hoped to keep the interview short and sweet But, as you probably know, We do not always get what we hope for.

Cut into a heated debate. The subject – Need for a Tape Recorder. The reason – The interviewees want to ensure that the interviewers do not misquote them. As if we would do such a thing. But what to do Yaar! To use a favourite line of one of the interviewees, these people are like this only. Apne ko to koi bhaav hi nahin hai. Even in the face of this blatant mistrust and scorn, we carried forth with full sincerity. The issue of the Tape Recorder  was finally resolved not because the Goddess inspired faith for us in them but because of mundane materialistic reasons – no tape and no cells, and THEY were toooo lazy to get them. And we launched ourselves into the interview.

Q 1. Why the idea of a newsletter?

To network becoz it is fun.

Of course our editorial board could not be content with such a brief comment in reply to the first question of their first interview. So they went on to propound more.

There are lots of women out there who do not have access to written material about women who love women. Also there is nothing like this written by les-bi-ans for les-bi-ans in India. There are magazines like Shamakami and Samiyoni outside the country for NRI women, or like Bombay Dost for men by men.

Well, it is not over, the answer continues.

Many women write to us but we are not able to remain connected. We write back to them once, twice, thrice, but then lose touch.

“Aside: B: Have you written at least once in reply to the letters received?

S: I write at least two letters I get.

B: (with an expression of great surprise and disbelief) REALLY! You write twice, do you? That’s NICE.”

As you can see, we DO believe in networking.

We also hope that it will spread and reach out to more women.

Q 2. Who are these women?

All women who written in to Stree Sangam and all those who have written over the years to Sakhi.

(“B: We have Sakhi’s mailing list also, so watch out.”)

These are women from all over the country, from Hyderabad, from Orissa, from Valsad in Gujarat, from Delhi, from Calcutta. FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!

My! My! In case you missed the first time around.

Q 3. How do you select the Material?

By now, our interviewees were shifting restlessly around on their b***, apprehensive of our intentions, and having intermittent wishes for tape recorders that would report verbatim their words or, shall we say, pearls of wisdom?

The material in the newsletter is contributions from readers, from members of Stree Sangam and outside, but only from lesbians and bisexual women.

Aside: S: Can we say we do not want writing about men?

B: No! No! We are not man-hating lesbians, we are women-eating ones.

By now they are bored and are forced to give interesting answers and they get better at it as you shall see. Dear reader, your confidence in us is not misplaced, this is a deliberate TRICK OF THE INTERVIEWING TRADE, USED WITH DISCRETION.

S: Why are you asking us this question now? Ask us after ten issues. Every woman we are in touch with will be inspired to write at least a hundred pieces. (Remember we said use the trick with DISCRETION. It might elicit madness.) Then we shall have a room full of poems, stories, articles, cartoons, in ten different languages. Then we shall select and then alone shall we able to tell you how we select.

Aren’t we beginning with a really small vision – hey all you readers help us realise it. The effect of the trick is still on.

Meanwhile we will use our favourite method – LIFTING.

Aside: R: Let’s give it to them on a platter. That is after all what they want Yaar...

We of course stoically ignored these asides and carried on.

Q 4. How do you decide which article is to be lifted?

Personal Preference mainly. Will not end there, will it?

No! No! this is our first issue and so we are also putting what we think the readers would like. We have lifted three pieces for this issue. One from Audre Lorde, because of the way she says things, (We kind of condensed that reply, this was the only time WE felt the need for the Tape), the cartoons on the basis of personal preference and some relevant, interesting writing, from what we have in Hindi.

(S and B smirking at us – “SO THERE, THAT IS HOW WE SELECT OUR ARTICLES.” Dear reader, why do we feel like we have gone back to Kindergarten?)

Last Question (Hip Hip Hurray – self inflicted you say, but someone had to do it.)

Q 5. What is the constitution of the editorial board?

Two interviewers and three interviewees.

(We seemed to have inspired the same sense of humour as ours in the whole editorial board. A pat on the back, or if you will, a kick on our b****)

As of now the editorial board is open to Stree Sangam members only. (Not that women are falling over themselves to join us.) This issue is edited/lifted by Shalini, Rachel, Gomathy, Chayanika and Bina (with Ashwini physically absent and hovering spiritierally in hyper space around us.)

Not yet over!

Would you like to give any other comments?

(We did not anticipate the kinds of results such a question would elicit. Skip the next part if you do not want to ne nauseated by advice.)

S: (to be read in an irritating fembot font) Dear Country Women! Embrace Lesbians. Happiness will be yours. I am saying this because I have a spiritual bend of mind.

She seemed to be a little confused between Spiritual and Sexual.

B: Do the Write thing!

The interviewers: Have a Laugh! We did when we wrote this up.

Tasks of the Editorial Board

1.      Digging

2.      Exploring

3.      Tracing Stree Sangam books across the length and breadth of the city

4.      Lifting

5.      Pretending to be seriously selecting cartoons while actually wasting time reading all of them and giggling together

6.      Bossing over the poor appointed interviewers who are busy doing their jobs with obsolete technology (pen and paper)

7.      Casting aspersions on the characters of other dykes in the community

8.      Agreeing with each other with fervent nods

9.      And then immediately bossing over each other

10.  Hashing what other people write

11.  Censoring out bits that are unflattering to themselves