1 Oct

Friends, Romans, Countrymen (and all the little people in my head)…I received my first grade today and I scored an A+!:D I am pleased. Even though I honestly don’t care about grades and marks (stopped caring since 2008-my first M.A. exam) and in fact I was pretty unmoved when I found out the grades were in. A couple of friends went to check, and that’s how I know mine.

Anyhow, the reason I am pleased is because my grade helps me know that I can be competent at the M.Phil level. The last 2.5 months have shown me that I am really not as stupid as I used to think. My learning style is different: I don’t know ideas of famous names like the back of my hand and I cannot write and talk like an academic. I used to think this makes me lesser somehow. I felt inadequate and unsure of my place as a student of higher education. I guess I was operating with a particular idea of what an intelligent student must look like post a Bachelors degree. I’m not sure I have entirely erased those assumptions (I’m pretty sure I can still feel intimidated by those students who fit my image of one and consequently feel inadequate for not being able to quote Foucault), but I’m doing much better at accepting that my style is as valid as any. It’s good to know I can handle ideas, juggle them and innovate with them, even if I cannot remember all the ideas by, for instance, Foucault. Ok, I have some sort of a Foucault-fobia going on. And a Derrida phobia too. I will have to deal with them for a paper next semester, but now I’m pretty sure I can, in my own way.

Learning for me is very problem oriented: which makes me less thorough as a theoretician. What I mean by that is that I don’t take a thinker and her ideas and go to the very end with them. I take an idea, and see what different people have contributed to that idea, without necessarily seeing all the contributions that they have all made to it. I have engaged with some ideas of Marx and Engels, but I haven’t (not by far!) read all their work. I feel that were I to do so, I would need a LOT more time than I currently want to give to it, because then I wouldn’t be able to engage with the other ideas in the fields of politics and development, for beginners, that I want to also devote time to. Atleast not without having ten years of doing nothing else but that.

This can be a problem if a couple of years down the line I decide I want to be an academic. Currently I do not; I see myself working with the trade union movement. Oh well. I will not worry about that now because that will be silly and jumping the gun and dishonest to the learning style I value.

I don’t mean to use this to justify my lack of mastery of ‘pure’ theory, but I have noticed that a lot of people who spout theory and theoreticians and appear to be at home in this world do not live in this world. They don’t try to match their lived lives with what they engage their minds with. Not everybody who has sound theory is like this, ofcourse. But I’d rather stick to my style than morph into one of them accidentally.

Which is why I have a lot of respect for two of my profs (one of who is also distractingly hot :D)- they are not afraid to be moderate. I’m not going to elaborate on this, I will just leave it at that.

I go home now, to Delhi. Re-charge my batteries, fix the holes that I kicked in my system by gradually abandoning yoga, pranic healing and meditation. I can feel how I have degenerated along the way: I am less in control of my reactions to the world, less joyful and more tired. I liked the me in April-August a lot more than the me I see more frequently these days πŸ™‚ I want to surrender control of my life to God. And really feel it. Because nothing feels better.

I’m going to leave you, my dear some-day reader, with some photos from the North Kolkata walk that a prof took us on last week. Durga Puja is charged with a whole different energy here in Kolkata than in Delhi. It just feels like there is so much more at stake than in places like Delhi πŸ™‚ The frenzy is perhaps not for me, but I’m happy to be the interested tourist by-stander, absorbing and clicking away πŸ™‚ On my way back home today (my last night at my Grandmother’s before I move out) I saw a Durga protima being transferred from the back of a truck to a pandal. I stayed back to watch: it was kind of cool. There were a lot of men and boys also standing around and observing. I’m yet to see women hanging around half-made pandals, chilling. It made me remember Ganesh Chaturthi in Bombay and Pune- the streets are full of men, as if Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja are only for all men and married women. That makes me sad because I LOVE Puja!:D




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