Rest In Peace, Anitha

I have never met Rajani S. Anand, but I am indebted to her. The year was 2004 and it was the second year of my college. I had spent the previous academic year waiting in the lobbies of various banks hoping to tear down the wall that was shielding from me the future I was hoping for myself and my family. From nationalized banks to private banks, from M.L.A’s office to college management, I had knocked almost on all the doors to secure an education loan to pursue my education. But for an entire year, I only heard the doors slammed hard on my face. After a couple of months, I was not allowed to attend my classes until I paid the course fee in full. I was sent to come home from college. I spent two weeks at home watching my dreams fade into the distance. Continue reading “Rest In Peace, Anitha”

Being Humane

Memory is a weird thing. It seems to make you forget the most important things of life and ensure that you remember the least significant of things that happened around you. I either completely forget the birthdays of friends I have known for a long time or embarrass myself by wishing them a month in advance. The craziest part is I clearly remember the birthdays of some long-lost acquaintances whose faces I can barely recollect. My mother had the habit of keeping things safely, only she forgets where she had kept them. She usually brings the entire house down every time she starts looking for something that she had kept safely.Did I mention that memories are weird? Well, they always take you on a detour and you almost forget what you wanted to say in the first place. I wasn’t planning to talk about my mother. In fact, I wanted to talk about one of my English teachers from school. Continue reading “Being Humane”

NEET and the needless pain

I was skimming through my news feed and for no reason, I was reminded of Carl Sagan. I repeated his words in my head – “We will know which stars to visit. Our descendants will then skim the light years, the children of Thales and Aristarchus, Leonardo and Einstein”. I glanced again at the piece of news I was reading and I was overcome by a sickening pain. The news was all about the NEET fiasco. Continue reading “NEET and the needless pain”

A Trip to the Central Prison

I delighted myself with the joy of spending an entire day in front of the gates of the Central Jail in Bengaluru along with a friend. On retrospection, it sounds like a stupid idea to wait in front of the gates of a prison for whatever reason. However even the stupidest of ideas leave you with an experience worthy of writing. So here is my recollection of how the day unfolded. Continue reading “A Trip to the Central Prison”

Yard of the Bards – Orwell and the language of politics

It was only the beginning of summer and the day was 2nd April, 2017. Having already experienced a hot March we had to forego our usual meeting spot in Cubbon Park to find a better venue and a better time. Freedom Park, we thought would fit our needs apart from being the metaphorically appropriate venue for the subject we had chosen for discussion – “George Orwell and the language of politics”.  As the sun went down, they walked in one after the other eventually turning into a diverse group of interesting minds.

George Orwell had been a lot of things in his life from imperial police to teacher, but he is remembered the best as a writer, novelist and an essayist. Although Orwell did not live past 1950, his works have continued to influence not only his readers and other writers, but also the political culture of all these years. His creations rendered a new adjective to the language – Orwellian indicating a totalitarian regime and a set of whole new terms which continue to be relevant even in the modern societal and political discourses.

Introductions done and the ice molten, the group began with the reading of an excerpt from Orwell’s 1940 essay – “My Country Right or Left”. The excerpt was about Orwell’s memory of the First World War. That set the context for the first round of discussion which began with a question of “Are we living in an Orwellian world? “.  While some opined we probably are living in a post-Orwellian world which is worse than the Orwellian, there were also others who agreed it could be a reverse Orwellian effect. The discussion took off from there touching on the political scenario in India, in the USA; Gandhi, Hitler and the rewriting of history to suit the narrative of the rulers. The group also quoted examples of Standing Rock of North Dakota and delved a little deeper into the Aadhar scheme in India,

The group then went on to talk about doublethink, thought police, the concept of unpersoning with examples from the story of Nikolai Yezhov and the power of the ruling system as seen in the Tiananmen square massacre. The non-existence of privacy, the idea of alternate truths, winnability vs representation, corruption vs efficiency etc. were discussed too and out came some interesting questions which also drove the discussion. Some of these probably did not have a conclusive answer at the end, nevertheless we want to leave them here for our readers to ponder over.

How much of Orwell has come true today?

Is there a collective “We” who can be represented? Can this collective “Us” be represented at all? If yes, what would be the quality of that representation?

How powerful is the system? Is our view of the system a reductionist view?

Do we have constitution for the people or people for the constitution? Or is it what me make of it?

p.s: Our next event will be held on April 29, 2017 and the title is “Munshi Prem Chand and his Social Realism” . Follow our Facebook page for more updates on the event.

Bara – A Commoner’s Review

It was during the Bangalore literature Festival that I first heard of Bara. This book of U.R. AnanthaMurthy was discussed by a panel moderated by Chandan Gowda. Chandan Gowda indeed has translated this super short novella into English from Kannada. I had no idea what Bara was about during the panel discussion but what got me interested in it was the mention of a string of thoughts as experienced by the protagonist, an IAS officer of a drought stricken district. Continue reading “Bara – A Commoner’s Review”

Happy Women’s Day, Babe!

A couple of days back, I woke up to a text message that said “Celebrate Women’s day with Levi’s!  Buy any women’s jeans and get FLAT Rs.750 OFF on your next Levi’s apparel. Only in exclusive Levi’s apparel”. I instinctively reminded myself to look out for offers in home decors. Later in the day as I walked into my office, I noticed a lot of women clad beautifully in sari and I could hear the men wishing them a “Happy women’s day”. My social media timelines were filled with greetings from men of all sorts – men who can’t crack a joke without mentioning their wife or marriage, men who believe women can’t be intelligent, men whose daughter is a princess, mother is a goddess and wife is a maid, men who believe women ought to dress appropriately to avoid being raped and more. Continue reading “Happy Women’s Day, Babe!”

The Rights & Wrongs around Jallikattu

The protest for Jallikattu is reaching new heights. It has grown louder in the last few days that even the National media which conveniently ignores the affairs down south has finally taken cognizance. But alas, wrong representatives, frivolous arguments and there has been a lot of misconceptions. This is going to be long read and this is only for those who are ready for a really open-minded discussion. If you are too weak to handle few hard truths, then I must warn that this is not for you.

Continue reading “The Rights & Wrongs around Jallikattu”

The Tamasha of Women Empowerment in India

I don’t remember when was the last time I walked out of a movie feeling so content yet wanting to run back into the hall and experience it all over again. Despite the inconveniences of poor health and a bad choice of seats, the cheers from the audience, the hilarious narration and the inspiring story only left me wanting for more. As the end credit rolled and I walked out with a new found sense of optimism, there indeed were questions lingering all over my head. And I believe the questions that the movie leaves us with are more important than the movie itself.

Continue reading “The Tamasha of Women Empowerment in India”

Illusion or Disillusion

Haven’t we all wished to rewrite the fate of a certain fictional character because we thought they deserved better? Haven’t we all wanted to know what were our favourite characters thinking during the toughest of their times ?  While some of us create an alternate destiny  and let them live happily ever after in our heads, there also a few of us who write a fan fiction as an ode to our favourite characters. But then there are others who feel strongly about them that they can go on to write a full-fledged novel based on those emotions.  Continue reading “Illusion or Disillusion”