Wednesday, December 29, 2010

22 and resolutions

I can't believe I'm already 22. I feel extremely old. Graeme Smith was already captain at twenty three and Rahul Dravid was 22 when he played his match at Lords and me? I haven't done anything exceedingly significant yet. And then, while I was trying to wallow in self-pity and think about how useless everything is, I didn't find a single reason to complain about the past year. Has it been perfect? No, far from it. But would I go back and change anything if I could? Probably not. Even the most excruciating moments have been bitter-sweet and yesterday, I spent it with some very lovely people that I love very much.

2010 has been a year of so many firsts and I've learnt so much this past year. The beginning o the year was all about hard work and reflection, the middle was preparing for transition and cynicism and the end was absolutely fantastic- optimism combined with healthy skepticism.

Here's wishing that 2011 is as eventful and even more fun-filled than 2010 has been. 

A very Happy New Year to all of you and hopefully, this one brings you a lot of happiness, success and keeps your family and loved ones healthy and happy.




 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Not so old photo


An eighteen year old me animatedly interviewing Tanushree Shankar. This was right after our ISC exams and before first year of college.

Another old photo

I can't wait to come home, but...

It's been two days since I left my room. And I need to get out soon. It's snowing like crazy. If you've been following the news, you know that the U.K has been hit by blizzards and snowstorms and flights are being cancelled left, right and centre.Yesterday was absolutely awful. I could not get out of my room because I'd injured my leg and guess what I survived on? One bar of chocolate. Yes, you read that right. I was supposed to go out and get some food, but I could not because a. I've injured my foot and b. there was just waay too much snow.

I can't even begin to describe to you the feeling of being stuck inside. Day before, A friend and I went to see an art exhibition at Tate, drank mulled wine afterwards and wistfully stared at the river Thames.However, the injured leg got even worse, so I was stuck at home.

However, having eaten nothing today, I have made the steely resolve to go out and get something to eat and also, do laundry.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My uncle sent me this in the mail today- it's a picture of his dog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I finished reading Maus today, after having read July's People earlier this week.

Spiegelman, at one point in Maus actually quotes Beckett who had said, " Every word is a strain on silence and nothingness". This really resonated with me and can act as a reminder of how powerful and powerless words can be, given a specific situation.

Reading about the holocaust and the apartheid back to back made me quite depressed, but made me want to know more. I've always been interested in the history of Eastern Europe and Southern Africa, so I would like to do more reading.  I'm also looking to write my Masters thesis on violence and conflict.


 Recommendations are welcome- they could be films, textbooks, books, artwork, pamphlets, a website- anything that I can look up and learn more about these two historical periods.

**
I feel quite useless. I was supposed to clean my room, do laundry, organise papers required for travelling and finish writing a last minute article ( I swear I took on no additional work!) and updating my CV. None of this is optional. I also need to sort out which books I'm taking with me to Kolkata. Get this, I have a 3,000 word essay to finish during my vacations. If I was more organised, I'd try and finish up before coming home, but that's not going to happen.

All I've been doing is going out and having fun. I did manage to sneak in some Christmas shopping though ( Thank you to-do list!). I've also realised how bad my memory is about random things to get done. I have good memory for obscure things , but I never ever remember iconic incidents from even my own life. My classmates think I'm nuts because I have a planner where I write EVERYTHING, but it's only because I'd get nothing done otherwise. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inspiration

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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The return of the Puff

This one is by yours truly, inspired by Puff the Magic Dragon. Was rummaging through old folders and this is what I found.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The food may be bad for dogs, but I adore this ad

Just three weeks before I go home :D

Yesterday, I was supposed to head to the Library ( I have an essay due tomorrow), but I decided to take the day off and go to this bookstore called SKOOB. Skoob has the most amazing collection of secondhand books and I am finally the proud owner of the book The Diving Bell and The Butterfly and an Asterix which is called Obelix and Co.

I haven't read in ages and I live right opposite the British Library ( someone throw a stone at me). This is a good time as ever to turn over a new leaf, and I'll tell you why.

It's been snowing almost every day for the past five days. The streets are covered with snow and in the mornings, the juxtaposition of the white snow and such a big city, is quite bizarre. At night though, it's beautiful- with the maple leaves strewn everywhere and Christmas trees which are lit up with neon lights and decorated with golden glitter.

Also, in the spirit of Christmas, most places are having Christmas parties. Our own department is having one next week and I've actually tasted the most amazing mince pies ever!

I've also tasted churros and Nigerian food for the first time in my life. 

I don't know whether it's just because I'm in a different country, far away from home or it's because I can almost feel certain things that I felt were definitive about me changing.

 I've always thought that I knew what I wanted from life and it always freaked me out to think that I didn't. And now I really don't and I honestly don't think I care. My decisions have always been restrictive and have had too many self-imposed boundaries that are frankly unnecessary. And it took being treated very badly multiple times to actually recognise it, and well, better late than never :) I do know however, that music and performing makes me happy. Really, really happy. Happier than most things.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Article

This article was written during my first week here. I haven't had a chance to write anything else and have been focusing mostly on academic writing.

However, as is true with everything, things are slightly different now- I have friends, for starters :D

And, believe it or not, I've learnt to relax and not get hyper.

I'll definitely want to be published next year, but I hope to publish about five excellent pieces the entire year rather than 20 average ones. Also, my focus will be on literary  print magazines in the U.K. Print magazines are extremely difficult to break into, but I've been dreaming of seeing my name in print in a magazine I absolutely adore. Next year, I just want to write beautifully and have a good life, generally.

These last two months have been fabulous and I will gush about it as soon as I can.