Friday, February 20, 2015

December 2014: Traditional Finery

The village belles dressed in traditional finery presented a picture of India that was Young, Beautiful and Traditional. An India seeped in culture. An India proud of her heritage. An India that I thought no longer existed.

How their lives will change once education and technology reach them, I thought. The thought excited me, but I was also apprehensive about how our collective heritage will be lost.

And then she whipped out her mobile phone, and checked her make up using the selfie mode. She was satisfied.

I was too. Technology and tradition do not have to be mutually exclusive.
2014: The Year That Was

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

November 2014: The Village Life

The village life. The rural life. The burst of colours. Scents. And textures. We romanticise everything, from the smell of crowding to the taste of fresh food. Even the poverty, seen through city eyes, is exotic- wood fired stoves never look as good in urban slums. 

Do we look beneath? At farmers depending on the rains; at others depending on the farmers. One bad harvest can wipe out all chances of repaying loans. With the only way to create wealth being dependent on factors beyond their control, is it any wonder the menfolk all migrate to urban slums?
2014: The Year That Was

Monday, February 16, 2015

October 2014 : What Breed is your Dog?

“Which breed is your dog?”

The question used to irritate me, because I thought I was being judged on my choice of pooch, till I realized it is just a question that people ask.

I still didn’t have an answer. ‘Street dog’ is inaccurate, because he’s never lived on one, and a dog with a home cannot be called a ‘stray’. ‘Indie’ and ‘InDOG’ both sound like I am trying to create a false pedigree, and I dislike the word ‘pariah’.

I’ve finally got an answer, “His mother was a stray, we don’t know the father. And he’s all ours!”
2014: The Year That Was

Friday, February 13, 2015

September 2014: Find their own Solutions

The longer I work in the social sector, the less sure I am of what I thought I knew. In fact, the only thing I know for sure is that I do not even come close to having all the answers. 

We speak about economic independence, but how does a woman go out to work, when she has to stay behind to catch water? We all agree that child labour is bad, but banning it only leads to greater exploitation.
On the ground, all we can really do is to act as facilitators to help communities find their own solutions.
2014: The Year That Was

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

August 2014: Those Masks We Wear

All of us lead multiple lives. Who we are is not who we show we are. We may be a teeny bit anxious or scared, but what we project is sheer confidence. We don't want to admit we do not know, for fear of being judged. But often the other person is just as scared too.

And then we get so good at being who we are not, we almost forget who we actually are. The projection starts taking over. 

Those masks we wear; do we really need them? Beautiful though they are, isn't what is beneath the real us?
2014: The Year That Was

Saturday, February 7, 2015

July 2014: Do They Read At All?

“I don’t let my kids read such disgusting stuff”, said a mother about the Captain Underpants books.

“Do they read at all?”, I asked.

She evaded the question. “I have bought them [blah, blah, blah books]”, she said.

Why was I not surprised that her children don’t read? The books she mentioned were good books- books that are morally edifying. But they are not books that engage a child. If you want them to read, you have to give children books they will like. Once they are addicted, they will voluntarily reach for the books you want them to read.
2014: The Year That Was

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

June 2014 : Do Stories go on forever?

A what point does a narrative actually begin? Does it begin where the story starts, or did it start when the trigger that led to the chain of events went off. Did the story exist even before the point you call the trigger?

Where does it end? When the story actually gets over, or when you decide it is over. Can the story ever get over? Doesn't it stretch on, endlessly- affecting other stories that are happening. 

Is there ever a beginning, or an end? Or do stories just go on forever?
2014: The Year That Was

Sunday, February 1, 2015

May 2014: You may succeed, or you may not

You can continue leading your predictable life, where almost everything is planned, and within your control. It is a safe life; a comfortable existence. You don’t have to change it, because there is nothing really wrong with it.
But is that really enough? Sometimes, you need to take a leap of faith. Do something which goes outside your comfort zone. Something that shakes up your controlled life.
You may succeed or you may not. If you do, the new life you lead is your reward. If you don’t, you are richer for the experience, and you can always start afresh.
Against a picturesque sunset, my son took off from the board, during our Summer Break, in May 2014

2014: The Year That Was


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