Thursday, September 17, 2009

After all that happiness, what am I really missing at TISS??

-Bad people. Rude ones in particular.

-Bad teachers. Arrogant and ‘oppressive’ ones in particular.

-Ragging! I got so used to it in engineering.

-Cricket! I hate ‘em for not giving me hostel.

-Ugly girls. All here look decent.

-Long power cuts ending up in long guitar sessions.

-Dirty talks about sex, particularly those that subjugate women. They were so enlightening that they are still helping me for my group research!

-Bad English! I just loved it.

-And especially ‘my mother’! Encroaching on my freedom space! I feel so liberated here. I’ll feel like an inmate when I’ll go home!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Smell. Rediscovered.

What do you expect to smell when you walk out of your place to start your day, my people? Or the question can be asked this way, “what do you smell when you start your day?”

I think I can guess some of the answers.

Flowers? Those ‘divine’ incense sticks? :P Brown bread from the bakery? That lady’s hair in your building’s lift? Desi baghaar from your neighbour’s house?

Every time I start my day on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I go out for my field work, I get myself prepared to smell a few things. I’ll list them in the sequence of events that result in my encounter with them.

1. Walk out of the building. Smell the left over wet waste by the Municipality people.

2. Take an auto to Govandi station. Feel the smell from the slaughter house nearby.

3. Enter the galli to the platform number 2. Smell the stale snacks.

4. Stand on the platform number 1. Smell the eatables at the IRCTC stall ‘dominated’ by Wada pau!

5. ‘Try’ to get on the train to CST. Smell a zillion body odours.

Before mentioning the next event, I must tell you people that I LOVE the Tantra t-shirts for their sarcasm. And I strongly believe them. One of them said, “Indian Railways- Bringing people closer”. I can feel the closeness every time I get on a train to CST in the morning. Now, there are different types of ‘closenesses’ that you can be a part of. You will be enlightened in the following notes.

6. Be a part of “Bringing People Closer” campaign in the train- smell the ‘Navratna tel’ from apne bhai log!

Research statement that is bubbling up for long now:

Navratna tel is the largest selling hair oil among young, skinny and busy men that commute in locals to CST on the harbour line!

7. If it’s your day, have armpits on your face- smell them.

Yeah. I know, I sound yucky at times!

8. Get down at the ‘task station’. You are out of vacuum now. Smell oxygen. Yes, it has a smell.

9. Go to slums for field work. Smell garbage again. Also, hear the tales of people getting numb to those odours. Get shocked.

10. Eat and have tea with budding politicians. Smell food.

11. Come back to the room. Wash your face. Smell some dettol.

Sleep. Smell peace. J

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wow! Never ever felt like this before! I was always into questioning everything but I didn't know that I could be so vocal about it. This place offers me the freedom to cross all the levels of being uncomfortable and making myself and other people think. I have unlearned some of the basics that I considered to be so normal!

I don't form a strong opinion about people anymore.

I don't absolutely hate or love somebody anymore.

I consider violence justified and inevitable.

I speak things like "Every man is a potential rapist" to my research group without hesitating!

I don’t give a fuck what people think about me.

I write things like this on my blog.

I walk away from a conversation with a risk of looking rude.

I speak things on people's face!

I consider that people always have time.

I remain serious continuously for hours!

I think.

I think beyond the full stops of my statements. I don’t just stop at my opinions. I gather the courage to look out of my window where the answers to my questions are.

I love. Yes, I love this place. And I love this phase.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aife hi foch foch ke pareshani fi thi. . .

It’s a cool Sunday afternoon and I’m feeling too sleepy to make sense here. It’s just the love of writing stuff and the fact that I’m not able to recall events for my field work reports that has kept me alive and awake right now!

This one thought just comes into my head that in the last two and a half months of this new life at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which are the events that have had the potential to shake the cells in my brain that compel me for action? If I just 'try' and stress myself, the first one would be watching 'India Untouched', a documentary on the abhorrent caste system of, for and by our country. It moved me to the extent that I realized how hollow and directionless life I’ve led till now. And that there are more dimensions to my ignorance. There are things that I have turned a blind face to. I came to know that what I see and what people in my social circle have tried to present in front of me is exactly what the makers of these abhorrent systems wanted. the happiness and the change we think has arrived is only amongst a certain number of people; the only thing I was glad about is that miraculously, the human inside me has managed to stay alive and keep those 'anaesthetists' away who wanted to kill him with an overdose!

The second would be the interactive lecture by Dr. Ashish on social work and its objectives. It told me how easy and how difficult it is to change things. And also the fact that you shouldn't always try to change them. He asked us to really try and work into our own homes and places and change things if we wanted to change them at all. He called us one of the most powerful people in the country. He said that everybody is powerful. But not all of them know about the fact. This reminds me of a ramanek (my roommate) joke about himself in which he says that, hum hanuman ki tarah hain, apni shakti ka hume andazaa nahin hai!

While writing this note I’m feeling that I should stay away from numbers and mentioning my preferences as much as possible. Numbers help people to develop, to know about how good or bad things are. Our state does the same; it hides all the numbers it fears.

Recently we came to know about an incident when one of our faculty members, Shamim Modi, a tribal activist was brutally attacked at her place by the building's watchman. We had the privilege to listen to her when the college organised a public meeting and a press conference to demand justice for her. She had 118 stitches on her body but her head and heart demonstrated turbulent life as she spoke to us. She spoke about the activism she is involved in and what it demands. I find myself fortunate that I can at least dream of reaching out to people she is reaching because of the course I have chosen.

Though there's a lot of emotion and motivation out here, it raises inside me a fear of getting used to it like I do to everything else.

But I still hope that some of the things will fall in place and this spark will stay alive . . . and there's one thing that I very strongly hope for. That I would get more of such moments to reflect this bit . . . :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fond memories.....

The sound of the breeze passing was in itself cool. In the shade, I watched ants crawling across a warm steps, small black beetles scurrying across a wilderness; soldiers marching up into the hill and warriors fro some heavenly bush paradise descending to protect the roots of a crouton hedge. I remembered the coconut trees of my childhood, the sound of the breeze through the fronds simple, pure ‘deathless’ air.

And then those very still moments when the world would stop and only colours move like the blue breath of dawn lightening the sky, or the darkness of night misting the globe; a clolour, a ray of curved light and nothing else. the water would be unbroken like the mirror.

A perfect peace that seemed eternal even through the jungle might unleash its fury at any moment.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Field work, Day 1. . .

I think if I start writing my daily experience honestly, the start will always sound clichéd. Because the first line will always be, “Like every instance, I reached late!”

The Day 1 of my field work was no different. It’s just that I wasn’t the only one responsible for it! My roommate was the one who searched for his ‘half socks’ and ‘formal shoes’ for ten minutes. But with a cool teacher and a too nice to be angry partner (subject to change, courtesy- my ‘punctuality’), I didn’t face any ‘you-will-never-be-a-successful-man’ looks!

I have a bit inside my head to write about the nexus of corruption I could smell today, but I will write about that someday when I am angry! The only reason is that I don’t want to sound euphemistic.

I saw a lot of things that I saw after a fairly long time. Because of the fact that I’m in the company of highly groomed men and women since the last one and a half month, I loved the company of apni public. It’s funny that I was noting them on the last page of my field work notebook! Without commenting on them much I would just give you the list.

1. Huge red Bindis.
The last time I saw them in such great abundance was in ST buses (aka Laal Dabba) a year back!

2. Green Bangles with a golden one in each hand!
They remind me of my Nani!

3. Trapezoidal moustaches. :P
Go and study some geometry to get the joke!

4. The sudden happiness by just the info that there’s gonna be an event!
People get easily ready to get together if they know they can eat together. The whole tension about the threat to existence of a federation that has 490 CBO’s (community based organisations) working with it was into heaven the very moment every nice uncle and aunty there came to know about the get-together!

5. Men with huge tummies!
A lot of them in just 4000 square foot of space!

Every time I travel in a Mumbai local and I am unable to stop myself from hanging out of the train, I find bringing about a behavioural change into people at a mass level close to impossible. Or maybe I am a human being with very less control over his brain!
I hope that I will enjoy writing my actual reports the way I do writing things like this!
Pray for me, brother!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Love, I have walked down this road before....

So you say that it does not matter. That you are not disillusioned; that life is still a bed of roses. I look back at you and smile. The campus is now all green...dazzling green with golden shafts of light bouncing don't know how to react. After all that has been, all that could have been locked in a moment;lost in time.

The water recedes and washes your feet as you stand on the rock which you are sure will never give away. You watch the light of the day. You hear the sea and wonder how it would be to set out on your own little freight. I look back at you and smile. And suddenly you are not sure anymore. You feel the strains of that little conglomeration of musical notes that had accompanied your hope slip away from your grasp. You look down and the water feels like chains around your ankles.You feel your feet slip from the rock. You step away. You would not want to fall. Or would you?

You return. More lost that you were when you left to find the road. But you still believe. You take a walk towards Diamond Garden. You watch the tree with the low bending bough. You see the two urchins dangle their mud caked feet seated there. You follow their gaze...the rains are coming again. You keep walking. You are sure of your destiny. You pass by the florists shop. You pick up a rose. You do not have anyone to give it to. Or do you? The rain begins. I look back at you and smile. You drop the rose. People run around you for cover. Some shove you aside. You look back frantically looking for the rose. That is all that you want now. You see it trampled, caked in mud. The urchins run by you, laughing out loud, racing after the hidden Sun.

You wonder who am I. I could be anyone. The passing face in the crowd. The familiar face in daily transport. The fleeting glimpse of the unknown which makes your faith in scientific reasoning futile. But love, I have walked down this road before....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And so here I am...

...we take our hopes and faith and leap into the abyss of hopeless dreams. We were told there would be no pain. We feel stings of uncertainty, the fear - what is the fear from? Is it not true that fear is as learned a behavior as writing? We were told that they were burnt alive. They said it had hurt. But then, how does it matter that 'they' were hurt? When our relationships seep in, trickle through the pores we chose to keep open, are there those rivulets we claim?... and so here I am and...we take our hopes and faith and leap into the abyss of hopeless dreams

Saturday, July 11, 2009

contradictory contradictions...

everything in this universe has contradictions.. and this is the greatest contradiction.. nothing can be defined absolutely... i feel sometime that it would be better if there were less contradictions and there could be clear and real distinction between good and evil, yes and no, positive and negative... perhaps by saying this and expecting this to be.. is also a contradiction. is it?... but still there are some people who don't understand many contradictions... are they happy?... they needn't to be happy... they are content... i long to be somehow like them... even what i have written is full of contradictions... don't get confused....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

...Nearly a month......

Time flows like ariver....Sometimes we the individuals who are but a silent and mute spectator to the flowing river do not quite understand it's inherent flow..........We were all new to this place and the Institute when we came here in mid June..........We were hesitant,reluctant as well as little observant to the atmosphere and the people that constituted it....Slowly the momentum was building,over with all sorts of Orientation...............we were ready to be a part of the TISS community.........the first thing that strikes all of us staying away from our home is to find people who are from the same place......It gives u that sense of belonging ...a sense of longingness......but again we meet people fron all over the country.....And gladly enough TISS seemed to be the perfect blend of multiculturalism and multilinguistic identities..........And slowly days passed....With our daily encouunters at the Dining Hall thrice a day..........barriers started dissolving.......and in the backdrop was the Mumbai rains which perhaps blurred that thin line that was still exisiting...thus splashing water....sharing a single umbrella..........having a Cuppa of Coffee......Trekking in Raigarh...Sharing some thoughts over amovie screened.........all led to a new bond.......the flavours of friendship and companionship that will keep us alive in the next two years........................And slowly without realizing we have reached the fourth week at the institute.........Manymore to come...but our initial days at TISS will always be cherished by all of us......In the canvass of torrential downpour,the pictures of confident young individuals get mixed to form a montage of solitude............Cheers.............

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hello friends!

It feels nice to be having a platform where we can reflect ourselves and speak our minds. The kind of diversity that we 'possess', I'm sure that this blog is going to be full of thoughts and reflections. it belongs to everybody on the campus and you are free to write in whatever you like to-your experiences, campus buzz, short stories, articles, poems, anything. . .

To inaugurate the blog(which I'm more than privileged to be doing), I'll leave this post with a 'naive' poem that i had written when i was in the third year of my graduation! अब झेलो!!!

Future से आजकल कुछ ज़्यादा ही डरने लगा हूँ ,
दूसरों से कम ख़ुद से बातें ज़्यादा करने लगा हूँ

cigarrete की आदत होती तो फिक्र को धुए में उड़ा देता,
girlfriend होती तो at least उसे ही बता देता!

ऐसा फंसा हूँ की there's no way out ,
there's no one to listen even when i shout,

optimism has kept me alive,
ऐसीच है अपनी college life!!

Do write friends. . .We are going to be the life of this blog. :)