Sunday, December 12, 2010


Beanbags again. Everyone is sitting on them.
I, beanbag-less, am sitting with the laptop propped open against my journal, actually contemplating everything that M said in his final lecture today. It got me thinking, really. What prompts people to do what they do, take specific decisions, make certain choices. M added that he hopes all of us use our anthropological knowledge to inform our decisions in social and political settings which we will inevitably find ourselves in. The idea is not to disavow dominant discourses, but to know that that is only one way of looking at the world, something that, he hopes, as students of anthropology we choose never to disregard. I endorse this view completely. It is very easy to block your train of thought and not allow for differing opinions just because you think that it is a convenient way of thinking. Anyway,the fact that one of my favourite courses is drawing to a close made me quite sad and I thought about teachers who have inspired me as an undergrad and as a tiny speck in school.
I think teachers can really make or break you. I know I wouldn't have ever wanted to be a writer had it not been for my eighth grade English teacher Mrs S. Bhattacharya and my elocution teacher , Mrs I.Bhattacharya.  

The elocution class was structured in a rather innovative way.Every girl would have to write out a poem or piece of prose and read it out ( with expressions) in front of the entire class. Even though the experience was horrifying and nerve-wracking in the beginning, I think that's one of the reasons I never get scared or intimidated when asked to take on a leadership role. As a nine year old or even an eleven year old, reading poems in front of peers who can potentially be quite cruel and often downright malicious actually ensures that you develop a strong backbone.**
I remember my best friend Shreya and I collaborating on a short story once. Shreya told me a story about her neighbour and how for every single day for three years or so, he pretended like he had a job when he didn't because he was ashamed of the way society would perceive him. We even wrote skits and plays ( some very bad ones) and I remember directing one of them for Teacher's Day in class five. It was really scary, because we all thought the play wasn't perfect, but we went ahead and did it anyway.
Only yesterday, Rudrani and I delayed a National Express coach because we so badly wanted to go to Cambridge. After much drama and all co-passengers laughing at our antics, we were allowed to get on the coach. I'm not saying that what we did was heroic. I'm not even saying that it is the best way to go about things. All I'm saying is that therein lies the thrill of life- in the small triumphs of everyday. I remember rappelling down a mountain because I was scared of heights. And asking someone out because I knew it would scare the hell out of me to be turned down. And when I was turned down, I felt upset nevertheless, but also relieved that I hadn't cowered under the pressure.  We constantly live in fear of being ridiculed, of being laughed at, of feeling isolated.  I'm not going to be self-righteous enough to say that this is the way to lead one's life or propagate a manichean  kind of existence- the "good" way of leading life versus the "bad" way of leading it, is according to me, downright reductionist.
 The important thing, though, is to be ok with being laughed at, because it's all worth it, really. 

** For a lot of kids, the reverse is true and being subjected to bullying can really break their spirits. I will never endorse bullying, or powerplay or having kids witness favouritism, having seen it firsthand.


Monidipa said...

Here after a long time and just wanted to say that I loved this post. :)

Reeti said...

Thanks Mandy :)

Vagabond said...

Reeti, this post is wonderful. Just today I did something that I wouldn't normally do, and I read this post and felt better because even if what I did might have adverse consequences, I know I haven't let myself down. :)

Reeti said...

@ Deya : I'm glad this post helped :) Have a good Christmas and lots of fun with your friends.