Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Of old photos and the lines behind them...

i have been going through old photo albums for the past few days.one of the few things my mother brought from her father's house is an old battered photo album with small square black and white photographs.the ones that you paste onto the black pages of the album.
ma's album has many photos of very beautiful women-they were all her friends in college.i figure,it was almost a custom to give your friends a pic of yours before leaving college.some of them even wrote a few lines behind the picture.my mother almost had tears in her eyes when i fished out this album and showed it to her.
one reason behind this sort of an attachment with these pictures is,probably, the fact that a photo wasnt a very common thing then.it involved an entire ritual of wearing a pretty sari,visiting a studio/calling a photographer home (not many had personal cameras back then)and holding a smile till the box camera agreed to click.
today we have photos of our friends everywhere-on our phones,in our computers and even ipods.and maybe that's why we dont attach an emotional tag to photographs.
but picture this,twenty years from now...your child fetches out a photograph and comes running to you and that happens to be the only memory of your college best friend that you can touch,see and feel.there's absolutely nothing else that you own that will remind you of her or the last few lines she wrote to you.
the picture above is of a woman called Shakuntala who was my mother's room mate.she doesnt know where her friend is or where she did her masters from...for my mother,her room mate's memory are the few fading handwritten lines written with a blue inked fountain pen behind the photo:
"Tobu mone rekho jodi dure jai chole,
Jodi puraton prem dhaka porey jay nobo premojaale...
Jodi poriya mone,chholo-chholo jol nai dekha daye noyonkone,
Tobu mone rekho..."

(Remember me if I go faraway,
If new found loves take over old ties...
Even if tears dont gather in your eyes when I'm gone,
Remember me...)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

i have always associated a particular smell with hospitals-a weird combination of antiseptics,phenyles,medicines and room fresheners...makes me want to throw up each time.
hospitals are places of both death and birth,but it's always the former that i have associated with these places.
they even smell of death.even the swankiest ones.
green cloth,stretchers,dark rooms,white uniforms...and that smell.
nothing has helped me get that smell out of my system.
i hope a blog post helps this time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


someone i knew very well recently told me,"i dont know what time does...i dont know if its a good thing or a bad thing"
she was right.
i dont know if what time does is good or bad...it's strange how time benumbs us.something that affected me a lot a few months back has become just another memory for me,now.and like this person,i dont know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
i went to my school's reunion yesterday.
there were these girls who had given me a tough time in school-you know the usual bitching,mud slinging and all that.but something in me made me talk to them and take super giggly pictures with them.
i guess time had forced me to move on beyond those days...
and on the other hand,none of the people i was closest to in school turned up.today,they're just memories of good times i've had.i want them to remain that way.
now,is that a good thing?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

La Femme

I was thinking the other day if I’m a feminist only to realize that like most ideologies, feminism too has different brands to it.
I went to a girls’ school and I don’t remember one instance when we discussed feminism- be it among friends or with teachers. I guess all my school taught me was I had the right to enjoy what I liked and to do what I enjoyed doing.
Now that I’m in a college which is believed to be a breeding ground for feminists, I have come to be aware of the various perspectives one attaches to the ideology. People have different views- some say it’s about being treated equally with men, while some claim to be even better. There are some who believe men to be the bane of a woman’s existence while some think it’s about not wearing a bra.
The past few days in my college have been a tumultuous experience. We did things that no one thought could happen in L.S.R...girls sloganeering, carrying banners and sitting down-refusing to budge. There seemed to be a certain spell that held them all, that made them get over their own problems and made them shout out in unison. It wasn’t about the “geek”, the “intellectual types” or the “babe” anymore…it became a ground where a few hundred girls found out what’s common between each one of them, something that couldn’t be given a name. I realized that there’s a certain power Estrogen has that allows one to defy. It has this innate way of letting us know that no matter who we are, we don’t need to take shit, and we don’t need to silently listen… and it’s okay to shout. Coming together sometimes helps you conserve the voice that you would’ve lost had you shouted alone.
Ofcourse we need to shout. All of us- Men, Women, Children. Everyone needs to shout when people decide to go deaf on them. Feminism for me lies in that decision I make to shout, irrespective of who else is shouting or who else has shouted before me, and it lies in the widening of the space that allows me to shout. It is important for voices to be heard- be that of men or women. There has to be neutral ears that do not engender the voices they listen to;there has to be a complete absence of biases.
That is my brand of feminism.