The Appropriation of Bihar

Heartranjan's Blog

The recently concluded Bihar elections was the most interest in Bihar I have ever seen.

Till a few weeks back, Bihar was the joker in the pack. The easiest to ridicule, get laughs out of. When someone says they’re from Bihar, a silence follows, since nobody wants to say anything.

Behind their backs, jokes about rickshawalas, uneducated paan-chewing brutes are cracked, and consumed. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was the bloody Prime Minister of the country, was ridiculed for being, afterall, a ‘Bihari’.

But he’s Vajpayee, and he’s a poet and stuff, so you can’t fuck with him. He quickly replied that he is ‘Bihari’, yes. But he is also ‘Atal’ (firm).

The point is, till last week, Bihar didn’t figure in the serious landscape of the regular Scroll-consuming Facebooker.

Now suddenly, everybody wants to talk about Bihar.

People who haven’t been to the state even once, have no idea…

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Snippets

“So what’s been up?”

“Well, for four months now I’ve been working everyday. Loving it mostly, but it’s tiring.”

“Oh, so you’re still teaching?”

*cringe* “Yes, why?”

“You are so intelligent, why waste time teaching? I could make a few calls if you’re looking for a job…”

“Ah… See I’m teaching because I want to. I quite like it. It’s not an accident. Me teaching, you know?”

“Obviously, obviously. Quite a noble profession at that. So, how’s your health.”

“It’s much better, thank you.”

“Do you get time to rest with the teaching hours and prep?”

“Not really. But it’s okay, I don’t think I’d have rested even if I were unemployed.”

“Hmm… That’s the problem. Take care, Masterni!”

**********

“Hey! Heard you’re a teacher now!”

“Yes. Though not full time, I don’t have the experience. Still learning how to teach effectively and get them to be interested”

“Oh! So abhi Diwali vacation?”

“No. At the institute I teach, we have two long breaks at the end of semesters and two short ones in the middle.”

“Oh! So… what’s the point of being a teacher? Vacations are your benefits no?”

*cringe* “Mmm.. Not really.”

********

“Hey! Mummy said you’re teaching!”

“Yes aunty. It’s been a very short while actually.”

“That’s good that’s good. Teachers make good housewives. Plus you already have experience of dealing with children!”

*Cringe* “……..”

********

“Ma’am, why did you start teaching?”

“I always wanted to. Thought I’d be a journalist first and then look for teaching in that field, but then, this isn’t consolation prize really.”

“But you’re still young. Are you sure you want to do this all your life?”

“For now, yes. I enjoy it.”

“Why? Teachers always say how we’re not a nice batch but they love teaching anyway.”

“You send WhatsApp forwards on silly stuff you don’t mean all the time, correct? When we’re really exasperated, we say stuff to discipline you.”

“I guess what I mean is, you know so much… You’ll leave teaching if you get something better?”

“I’m sure I’ll leave it only if I can’t teach and do what I like together. Otherwise I’ll be here I think.”

********

“Why did you decide to teach?”

“I’ve been fond of lecturing people for a while now. I think if I can get paid for it, why not.”

“Mmm.. You’ve no experience. You’ll think of it differently soon. I’ve been teaching for long enough to know that.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Do you mind me teaching? I’ve no experience.”

“You like it, right? So why not. You’re young, the students will connect better with you.”

“I hope they see me as a teacher. Any advice?”

“Naah. You’ll figure it out.”

*******

“Sooooo… It’s been a while. I hear your students hate English!”

“Oh well, not a core subject. I think literature would’ve been preferable to grammar. The gender kids kinda seem happy to listen to me.”

“Oh, it was your calling always.”

“I’m glad you think that way, ma’am.”

“Yes. Just don’t make it your only source of living. You can’t be poor all your life.”

******

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Disclaimer: I don't teach Hindi!

Let’s Work!

It’s not that I don’t like to write anymore. My problem is that I cannot handle who sees my content.

Writing on a public platform or even being on a social network presumes that you are making your life public. Facets of your life that you would like people to see and some that you wouldn’t.

I think I Overthink Stat 3

If you’re reading me from South Africa, you need to say “Aye” in the comments section. I’d really really like to get to know you!

When the time came to pen my musings, silly stories, and random tall-tales, the blog was the best medium to me. First, because well, it’s a diary. A diary I can share with people and a repository for me to get back to later in life. When I first started blogging, I was around 18, and this was my main aim.

Then I grew up, and my reason for blogging was to indulge in a different kind of network, the one of blogger friends. A lot of my friends blog much more successfully than I do; the point of this network is to encourage each other and write.

In my very honest opinion, the value of the written word, though always on the wane, has never been lower than now. In the words of my dad “Who reads your blog? Your friends? Family? What value do your train stories add to someone’s life?” SO honestly, why on earth will anyone in their right minds want to read what I have to say about  nonsensical events. Who am I?

This is when the real questions started being asked. Do I want to be ‘someone’? Someone who is read and followed? Someone with an interesting life that people with “lives” would want to read. Did I want to be the person whose personal life would interest people? Can there, realistically, be a division between the private and the public life? The answer, unfortunately for me, was a BIG FAT NO.

So at this crossroad, last year, I decided to de-personalise (not a word, I know. Thank you). My blogging was mainly about books and songs; activities I went overboard with over bored myself. Couldn’t resist.

However, my blog stats were at an all time high, people were talking, I was having fun… well sort of. Most importantly, I set an achievable target for someone who was even a little more motivated and disciplined than I. That’s where I failed.

Blog stats now.

Blog stats now.

I started experimenting with teaching early this year. It’s been a bumpy ride. More so thanks to social media and the multiple ways to peep into people’s lives.

After my first week, I had 25 new hits on my blog. This was something I had resigned to. Everyone wants to know what kind of a teacher they’re being dished out. What I did not expect were the hits that were bringing these people to my blog. Questions I knew were coming from my students because they were related to the little personal details I gave out in class.

I could either reconcile myself to the fact that this is where the dual personality had to be shed off or, like any sane person, I would turn my blog private. I chose to stop blogging.

I am not the first person with privacy concerns. I know that, believe me, I do. But my problems don’t seem smaller because everyone faces them. They’re just as terrifying and bothersome.

I decided that I could be “true” to my blog only when I was myself, and not the persona I was putting out in class. Like a dear student told me the other day, I am a youngish-short-woman in a field where your personality is the biggest driving force. How could I be a teacher when my students saw me as one of them?

I had to end the silly-person-with-a-lot-of-tangents-in-her-head image. Probably the truest I would be in public. Truer than my intellectual-reader-with-a-goofy-side image from facebook and more than my holier-than-thou-extremely-organised-teacher image. I am not those people.

Oh well.

Oh well.

Slowly, the key-words getting people to my blog started to change. It’s silly now, but less personal. I’d like to think it’s mostly because I have a more balanced approach to my class now, but it’s not true. It’s probably the lack of interest in a blog that has been discarded for a full year.

I didn’t do my year-end note last year. Something everyone near and dear to me asked about. Something I absolutely love doing. All because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add to this space anymore. Because I have no clue where to draw the line.

I’ve decided to blog anyway.

I think I Overthink MailI’ve decided to blog because the number of people reading my posts hasn’t diminished. I’ve decided to blog because a man took the pains to write to me from Pakistan saying he liked what I wrote as a teenager. I’ve decided to blog because well, I miss writing.

Hope you find the will to come back to me and work with me!

An English teacher’s ode to Bollywood

…….and I rest my case.

mommygolightly

I am just back from a class excursion with 50 adolescents. We went rappelling, rock-climbing, jungle cooking, bird watching, star-gazing, zip lining, trust-walking, obstacle clearing, bonfire singing and dancing, tree-climbing and strawberry picking, among other things. It was my first excursion as a teacher. The kids’ hormones were on overdrive, their responses to everything was hugely exaggerated and their ability to talk endlessly often tired me out. But what was interesting is despite our age gap, we had plenty of common ground.

On the onward bus journey which lasted five hours, there were the usually medley of jokes, knock- knocks and smart one liners doing the rounds. I watched, curious, not knowing how entertainment in today’s generation would unfold. Eventually they began singing, and in a few minutes, the verdict was clear. Bollywood won. They were singing my songs, although they were singing the remix versions. I was warned about…

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WHAT DO DOGS DO ON DIWALI ?

Nicely sums up the Great Indian Facebook Debate on Diwali! 🙂

Heartranjan's Blog

Riding a bike on Diwali night is like being in a video game. You’re riding on your bike on dark roads. There are psychedelic sounds and lights around you, changing with every turn on the road.

There are assholic children flinging crackers and you have to evade them. You have one life and limited health (with or without insurance).

Come Diwali, a certain type of moralistic messages creep up on your wall. Don’t pollute nature, think of the environment, etc etc. But what most people don’t realise is that it is really kids who do it. After a certain age, you outgrow it. You sit back and notice people, and write blogs about it.

I think it is a little hypocritical that after celebrating Diwali in the way we did, we suddenly turn all Baba Jogeshwar on kids and ask them to save the environment. I mean, how often have you…

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I need a favour…

Having studied literature and then liking to write and read isn’t an easy job, it isn’t the easy way out from the multitude of tougher careers out there as people might think it is. I not only do my work but I am obliged to a number of people to write/rewrite their essays, SOP, letters, speeches and help in all things related to language. It’s okay till the time I do not have work and wouldn’t mind “looking” at your work and approve of it; but more often than not I end up doing a Hermione Granger and write multiple versions of the same thing for people.

After having taken up writing/translation and whatever it is that I call “work” these days, it’s too cumbersome to do work for free for friends/family in the time I’d otherwise be charging for. It’s a curse to have a skill that others don’t appreciate as a profession. Tera toh English acha hain na, mere bete ko zara essay writing mein tips de. -_-

From avmarchitect.blogspot.in

From avmarchitect.blogspot.in

In a conversation with a CA friend I realised how wrong I was. He gets asked by people to look over his money matters, while an MBBS friend gets calls from neighbours when they have the sniffles. The law graduate friend constantly turns down requests from chaddi buddies to accompany them on trips to “scare” people and the engineer friend is required to fix mixer-grinders in the houses of all and sundry. My singer friend recounts how he was once asked to sing at the mourning/chautha for a friend’s father while the chef is constantly invited to potlucks where no one cooks anything.

Sportsmen/women have it the best though. At least they’re not asked to run from point A to B by acquaintances to showcase their skills at a birthday party or to box the host of a party to display that signature jab or hook. But I’m very sure there’s an aunty lurking somewhere who says field pe toh itna daudta hain, jaa sabji leke aa 10 minute mein.

…12 weeks later…

It’s a strange feeling when you make your hobby a habit and it gets to your nerves after a while. I guess that’s what I did when I decided to take on the 100DaysofBollywood challenge for myself – I turned my Bollywood trivia love overtake my common sense. After years of being brainwashed on why you should keep work and hobbies different, I made the same mistake!

Never mind, this is just an update: I am done with my Bollywood challenge, there are 44 posts in my drafts folder that I had very meticulously planned and written throughout the time I was supposed to do the challenge, now, I will simply post one song a day from my drafts folder. Maybe later next month I might even find the energy to update on the past two months.

The book challenge? I am pleased to inform you that it is still working on schedule. 🙂 I have been reading a book a week, the only thing I haven’t done -posting about the books! Before this challenge ends (at the end of this year), I am pretty sure I’d catch up. Or this is just me being too optimistic as usual.

My blog now feels like my own again. After a while, my Bollywood posts took off in a way I never anticipated them to. It made me want to play to the gallery – bring in more nostalgia – more obscure facts and scrounge more. What started as a daily exercise to wind off soon turned into a test of will and patience.

The views graph has almost flat-lined with a few v-tachs here and there – yup, we almost lost the blog! But here I am again, hopefully, with a better grip on where we are going.

So if you’re still reading me, still hoping you might show find a gem or two here – I will try and not disappoint you! Here’s me, after 12 weeks of solid rejuvenation! 😀