Monday, 22 October 2007

A few random thoughts!!!

Much changes and many times these changes are quick, happening in a moment and suddenly the confusion is gone and you reach a decision. It seems like you always knew, only had to put the words to it and to accept it, to give yourself the time to do so. It has a been a weird time - swinging from ecstatic happiness to loneliness to anger and sadness. It has been this way for more reason than one, for try as I may, I cannot deny what has happened.

There are moments that I look forward to, that I want as part of my everyday at MICA; there are then moments that I cringe from, that I wish would go away. Ironically, they both go together. I cannot have one without the other. If I am wishing one away now, I know, given the present circumstances, that the other will go too. Just the way life is I guess. But what I have really come to understand is that it is the little things that make one truly sad or happy. There has to be nothing earth shattering to make one swing with joy or weep with pain.

I wish I could be more forthright. Not talk in riddles for I know that what I write right now will be meaningless to a lot of people to whom it is addressed but then this is the way it is going to be for now.

On a less confusing and much happier note, MICANVAS is around the corner. I am looking forward to my friends coming over, to sharing what this place is. I look forward to recreating some of the magic of last year with friends new and old. To re-explore and rediscover at a time when the campus nearly bursts open with life. At a time when the energy and the verve is so infectious that it is impossible to brood over anything at all. Four days of events, music, movies and much much more. Four days that changed a lot last year and will hopefully do the same this year.

The days since I have come back to campus have been eventful. They've made me think in more directions than one, look at people and things anew. They've also made me realise that this part of the journey is almost over and so I should make the most of it while it lasts. And on that note... Amen! :)

Sunday, 21 October 2007

"Foucault in the House"

About 10 days ago, we had an interesting guest speaker - An ex-MICAn who is now into anthropological research. She spoke to us, apart from other things, about Foucault's concept of identity and how the notion of the individual is itself systemic. To cut a long story short, individuals exist or rather we think in terms of the singular because that is how our system has been built. That is, to look at it conversely, in a society where the concept of the individual did not exist in language and thought, would not see people as distinct entities separate from each other.

Expanding on this she further went on to say that according to Foucault, identity was defined by the interaction and manifestation of the various power dimensions of society - be it family, education, law, community or religion. The point being that the notion of the individual (at least this is how I understood it) is in itself an immensely social one. That it is defined by a shared history and a shared present. Also, that one cannot ever completely escape this system and define oneself outside of it as both dissent and change, as well as ways to co-opt these are built into the system itself.

I found this whole notion of identity very interesting, as notions of self and others have always interested me. However, what I do have trouble with here, and as I was discussing with Aditi shortly after this lecture, was believing that there is nothing called an independent consciousness that perceives itself outside of language and culture. While language is essential to articulation, perception is independent of both language and culture. It is almost involuntary in the sense that if one opens one's eyes, one cannot help but see. Similarly, is there notion of self awareness that does not depend on acknowledgement from others? There has to be for the human body is a tangible physical entity that can see, hear and touch itself.

It is another of those motley things that I would like to explore... and any of you who have read Foucault - please do elaborate on what he said on this while I get my hands on at least one of his major works.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Memories

I read a post on Dipti's blog a few days ago and have been intending to write this post since then. So now that I have gotten over my laziness let me get right down to it.

To cut a long story short, her post was pondering upon how quickly she had fallen into the rhythm of things at Stanford and didn't really feel the void that she was expecting when she left home. Am going to start off by copy pasting my comment to that post.


"Maybe it is the excitement of a new place that eclipses the charm of the old ones for a while. The new discoveries overshadowing that which we already know. The eclipse will pass and you will enjoy both in a little time - the memories of old, the making of new ones.

And then again, memories are just that - remains of a life that was. So we all move on... to create memories that are better than the ones that we already have so that we may idle in a little more pleasure than we did before!!!"

I find this to be rather true for when I moved out of home for the first time last year, the first couple of months just went by in a whirl - seeing the new place, meeting new people, exploring, discovering. I never had time to think of the things that I had left behind and of the friends who were longer at half an hour's distance from me. The new is so exciting in its novelty there simply is no time to think of the old, to miss it, to feel its absence. It still happens to me... When I meet someone new or find something new to do, I get so totally involved in it that I really don't think of family and friends and other people and things.

To come to the second part, we do love making new memories don't we??? Contentment not exactly being inherent to human beings, we are never satisfied with the "quality" of the past, so we keep trying to do more interesting things, so we may tell interesting stories to other people about how interesting we are... my apologies for the sarcasm. I am not advocating contentment. Far from that in fact (considering that I am a restless soul myself!!!). But just something that I think we all do for we all like to have pleasant things to ruminate over in the few luxurious free times that we get during the day!!!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

A little introspection

I've reached a point again where I have run out of words. The happiness, the sadness, the anger... none of it comes out now. It is all there bottled up somewhere inside and I lock and secure the keys every day lest something shows. It is something that I feel I need to do at this point. Put a dam on everyone and everything, hide within. At one level, I don't want to make any doors or windows in that wall. I meant what I said to Dipti today morning - for once I really do want to be like her. To look and not really look. For once I want to keep the promise I made to myself and keep it to the T.

Time to wait life out again... to let things happen... to not let them repeat a third time round... or maybe third time will be lucky... who knows! Life for now is one hell of a vicious circle... I can't express the deja vu enough, can't say it enough times and sometimes I can't believe it myself. The coincidence is too much. Sometimes I think it is because I haven't learnt that particular lesson yet. But then I wonder if I will ever learn it for I am too impatient, in too much of a hurry always and way too restless inside.

This is the first time that I am trying to live like a stranger. I want to but it is so not me. I walked down this path once long time ago, in school. It is as difficult now as it was then. But the thought gives me solace too - If could for three years then I can now too and it is only a question of a few months. It is sad it had to come to this but for once I do say "So be it!!!". I refuse to give even a cent more than I get. Am broke enough as it is and next time may the waves break more softly, more gently and greater fortitude!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Beauty - Unexpected, Unsought

In the land that is perhaps the most stereotypes in this country, we found beauty, serenity and a feast for the eyes (and the stomach!). Muraura, Nalanda, Rajgir, Gaya - across Bihar we went, much to the collective consternation of our parents. History - so much of it - met us at every step - all the way from 5th century BC.

An Overdose of Bricks and Moss ;)

Old construction and cyclonic rains ensured this. Red and green - beware you might slip if they were underneath your feet! They brought the beauty and the lushness alive - trees looked freshly laundered, so green and not a speck of dust. Vitality soothed the eyes and life brimmed with the sounds of our ecstasy and laughter as we frolicked like little children.

A Hot Water Bath

One of the highlights of our "rural" trip was the swim in the hot sulphur springs at Rajgir. With the place to ourselves (the police had cleared out the junta), the seven of us swam with abandon in the pool, the warm water lapping over us, undoing months of stiffness and stress. As we got out of the pool and changes the most wonderful floaty feeling, nothing would have bothered me that day and I wish I could feel that way everyday of my life - the most blissful, dreamless sleep that 2 hours were almost enough for an entire night. It awoke a new hunger (not just for food as sulphur water does) but for life and living and happiness and that bliss of completeness that was that night.

History Came Alive...

... at the Nalanda ruins as we walked through the ancient university. And yet again at Bodh Gaya. I really can't say much here except to wait a couple of days for the pictures for they really do speak a thousand words... far more eloquently than I can write at any rate!

Bihar

We know it for the the lawlessness and the corruption but now I will always remember it for the beauty and the week of absolute fun that we had there. Wish everyone could see what we saw, be where we were in those 6 days - In a Heaven of our own.
 

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