Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Personal/Professional

As my life consistently steers towards the academe, I thought I have forgotten to write the personal. In the same way as I strive to replace my colonial English with American spellings - as colour becomes color, and defence becomes defense, writing the personal has often become words of loss, much like the runny 'u' from 'colour' I was so used to as a child.

But of late, teaching made me realize that the personal and the academe are together after all. I saw sentences born out of lack of confidence congeal into inconclusive excuses of conclusions - a common trait among women, persons of color and the marginalized. It reminded me of my own undergraduate days, when I thought a good conclusion to an essay was in a secure summary, or in hiding behind the quotes of someone established in the field. After all, it's already so tough to find one's voice, let alone assert that in print. But more than that, it is so tough to realize that we have our own voice to assert if we want, and our personal can comfortably, beautifully and almost lovingly get entangled with our professional.

As an undergrad, my desire to segregate the personal from what I studied was intentional. I thought I could not exist in the real world if I let too much of the academe (even as I began to increasingly focus upon power relations in our everyday practices) to bleed into my personal life. Turns out, it is so much more liberating to let them freely converse with each other, and become one. 


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Dear void,

This is all that I use you for, a message into nothingness because I am unable to converse with voids that masquerade as familiarity. The familiarity around one is often too similar, and too similarly unaware of what one does. Everyone has a story, everyone's story is different, but no one really reads anymore.

I hate it when the mass of this void tells me to be motivated. It takes immense motivation each single day, fighting against mortality and imminent end, for our our sheer existence to be. How much more motivation should I have left in me to aim for anything more than survival? It did not take me motivation to work towards a PhD. But how much motivation can it possibly take to feel relevant to anyone at all? How much motivation does it take to justify to the world every single day that you are not a leach on the society for not being in a professional course,  and even if you were it does not matter and everyone has the right to their choice of life? I guess writing to the void is all that I can, because everything else replies, and each of the replies are of echoes I have heard a thousand times over, never to work, never to mean. Ah the perks of polite society.

Yours. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Last night I dreamt of Manderley

"Last night I dreamt of Manderley." No, I dreamt of reading Rebecca through the looking glass of retrospection. I felt the sinking feeling of the ship in which she died in my stomach as I realised how things were are not how things are now. Last night I also dreamt of my big bulky walkman with a cassette that had songs I used to record from the radio. I would play it on loop as I lay on the big bed with the mosquito net at Salt Lake's Srabani Abasan, as foxes howled beneath my window and caterpillars framed the mosquito net that divided our worlds. I dreamt of listening to the radio at night. I dreamt of listening to romantic songs and imagining my multiple crushes get won over by my charm that rested in the silent imaginations of a gawky kid who used sarcasm and humour as self-defence and to parse through life. I dreamt of reading novels in the sun kissed balcony on a jute mat in warm winters of Calcutta in the government quarters apartment where now a famous poet lives. That place deserves poets. I remember talking about philosophies of teenage with friends over the phone. The best philosophies of all. I remember thinking of end of school like the end of all. I now vaguely remember the feeling of belonging to Calcutta once, as I sit with my bulky archival materials and begin to write once again about the city.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Rants. Because rants are important.


Dear men who say pulling up the "gender card" in a debate is bad: I am sorry about all the rape threats and creepy molestation vibes you receive these days. I am sorry that I am being such a pain really for talking like a feminazi. Females talking about basic rights of safety is such a strong tool of distraction, really. I am sorry for hurting your sentiments by constantly reiterating that you as a fairly educated well earning man have certain privileges that every women and those who are dominated do not enjoy. My bad. I forget that you will also force me to tell the world you are a feminist, and you are only enlightening me by disagreeing with my thoughts. Or how I am utterly childish and ignorant to use the word feminism instead of equality. How I shamelessly argue without punctuating my sentences with my love for soldiers dying along the borders. I complain about people's awkward concern with my vagina while soldiers are dying? Such Impunity! My words must be hurting your ideas way more than the air of violence that threaten our bodies and our lives in every breath. Oh my sheer air-headed folly of femininity.

*Faints gracefully into the background, waits to be rescued for enlightenment*

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Homesickness

It's only two weeks in a new country. It's supposed to be Fall, with brown leaves and all, and instead, I am sweating and realizing that the weather is the same as in Delhi.

I miss Delhi. I am homesick to an extent of missing Delhi, instead of my first home. I made irrevocable ties in the city to last a lifetime. A home or two in a heartbeat. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Writing, with sobriety

I am about to submit an MPhil dissertation in a week. The degree is so worthless that it is not even worth the space of a blog post. But futility and existential questions of the depressing sort have always attracted me. For long, I have written in ways where I have let my sentences go beyond the prescribed length for short sentences on MS Word. Long sentences are a thing, I always thought. I mean, why kill that one profound thought I had about that one random girl I stalked on Facebook two days ago with a buzzkill called punctuation? Profound thoughts have no pause. No Full-stop. Sentences flow, tumble, rumble, and always have a shady side affair with the next which it conveniently overflows into. Writings are messy, slimy reflections of characters rather than the prototype of a grand narrative that grammar text books have always asked you to adhere to. So, when Strunk and White dictates your grammar, you, Mr. Obscure-student-who-will-die-depressed-someday have the right to assert, that dear grammar books, Rihanna was better at explaining Capitalism by just saying work, than you and your privileged dictionary ever can.

When you are writing for a profession, you don't have the liberty of suddenly digressing to Rihanna. You digress only on to Hegel or Heidegger, or some white Western dude. You can throw in a Toni Morrison for diversity, but as far as I knew, Alfred Nobel was pretty a blast of a white dude. You bitch the hell about how some data reeks of male privilege, but you just can't ramble on with your hypotheses without being called a mad philosopher. You have to pause, every once in a while, because short sentences are cuter. You maintain sobriety and somberness. Your words are well thought out. You back it up with evidence, and if a word is not footnoted, you are anxious. If you want to crack a joke about your subject, you cannot footnote it. I mean, you can't say Churchill looks like Mad Eye Moody and get away with it. You just can't pull that off. Dissertation writing is a depressingly sobering experience, where you are grilled into the narrow, small sentences of academic privilege, till you lose your mad, unpunctuated, unpunctured, voice to collective edits.

Friday, 27 May 2016

I got to know that Saudi Arabia has banned pictures with fluffy cats, and it saddened me. I mean, when life throws you an incomprehensible dissertation, you look forward to that one day when things will change, education will end, and you will be able to put up a profile photo wildly smiling with a fluffy cat that you just rescued off the pavement. (Who abandons fluffy cats in the first place?).

Dissertation blues are real. It is when you suddenly realize that your argument needs to be spruced up, and from there it's an endless chasm where your thought eventually plummets to questioning your intelligence, tenacity, future, life, and even love for the aforementioned feline things - beings that always inspires me to grow a personality at least, if not strikingly glowing intelligence.

I wish my brain functioned more that it does. My life wouldn't be slow, my decision to do things with life would come earlier, and in times of deep pessimism, the future would not look like just an endless wait for things to happen.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

This is a ghost of a place because I resided elsewhere. There's a haunt of memories of attempting to convey something, I forget what. The book shelves are dusty as its been long since one has pulled out the paperback as it left trails of clean wood. Each book has memories of love laughter and people. Some are nearer to the desks of the school and some are closer to goodbyes in the airport.

Traces and trails. No one will know of our histories without the traces we will choose to leave behind. The hearts shall remain unwritten. There will be ghost of a heart somewhere in the pages that are not dog-eared for remembrance.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Autumns.

When I had first started writing a blog, I would become particularly active during examination seasons. Like earlier rituals, I went through my favorite blogs, un-updated, unsigned, remaining only as smells of autumns gone. Always lingering... of pasts of a teenager, presents of an adult, and wishful forgetting of the futures to come.

And here, in the present, autumn sets in with gushes of cold whiffs of air only reserved for moments of moonlight. The city I have begun to call my home looks enchanting. As I walk through the musty lanes near my residence, foraging for sudden cravings of chocolate, the air caresses with determined welcoming of a new season. I always take autumn as signals of something new. The romantics would chide me for altering meanings of entrenched metaphors. But I guess that's only the Bengali in me. We are known to calculate our years around the axis of the Durga pujo. But however much I shall be away from the first home this time, the essence is, somewhere within, everywhere. As someone said, it's the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. As also of cold caresses, warm embraces in the air, and taking stock of losses and gains.


I wanted to write something, again on the eve of some examination. Life comes full circle, exam to exam, of course. Fifteen was never too different from twenty-five. Should have known.