Saturday, June 16, 2007

Euphoric

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. I did something I had not in my wildest imagination thought I would ever do. I played football. I represented a team in a tournament. I played.

When I joined adidas I was sure I was going to make it work. I just didn't know how. Here was a sports company that was world revered and I was getting a chance to be a part of the bigger picture. The only problem was that the last time I had played was in high school.

Its not as if I never enjoyed playing games, outdoor games, just that I could never figure out why I stopped.

I used to captain the junior school netball team when we stayed in England. I have certificates that prove that I could swim like a fish and even dive from a springboard. And, last year, I entered the pool like a novice...forget diving, I couldn't even put my head under water.

However, enough regrets of the lost potential of the past, the future is young and I find it everyday.

It rained in the afternoon. I should have taken that as a sign. I love the rains. Its like an energy drink for me. I got drenched in the rain for a good one hour before the match, helping organize stuff on the ground. And, after that I played football for more than an hour yesterday.I didn't just stand there but helped my team bring its strategy alive on the field. I could hear everyone cheer and it felt so bloody good. Just to have so many friends and even people you don't know break into applause makes me believe and trust in myself again.

Don't get me wrong. I am by no means under confident or low in self esteem. Over the last decade and a half , I let myself go physically. I don't know why. I try to come up with complex justifications but I think the only one that is true is that it was never critical enough. The way I looked never mattered in the beginning coz I looked fine and when I didn't, I just had a hundred people telling me I didn't need it.

I still don't care much about my looks but,i do want to look pretty in someone's eyes
I want to go out with my family and not think I'm embarassing them
I want to play football
I want to try my hand at squash
I want to swim
I want to take up dancing

And, I'm ticking them off, one by one......

I sit here with a broad grin on my face....i just can't get over hitting the ball and saving a goal man...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Youth, Again

Yesterday a friend showed me the Amnesty International ad I have posted and, I was unable to live with myself for hours after seeing it. Apart from the fact that its an unusual and most powerful piece of communication it hit me that in this whole rigmarole of making a life for myself I had forgotten how to live…

I did my graduation from Delhi, from a place called LSR (Lady Shri Ram College for Women). People who are familiar with this name know that it’s a hotbed of elite political activism and social consciousness. And, that sounds appropriately LSRish…

No, kidding aside, LSR was a learning experience in how to learn political theory and take stands on issues of national and international politics and culture without getting your hands dirty. The intention was always genuine, the maneuvers elite. We wanted to help the world by being more aware, more conscious and hence more empowered. The fact that we were women who thought so in an organized, concerted manner made us the initiators of feminism in the university and often the butt of many sexist jokes.

I majored in Political Science. It feels so good just writing that.

There were a host of brilliant teachers on the subject and LSR was known for its radical Political Sc. Faculty. So we had a tradition of radical thought to live upto and we appropriated tradition with open arms.

I remember the first day in class distinctly. I remember being asked who built the Taj Mahal and replying Shah Jahan. I remember the look on the lecturer’s face, one which reeked of self satisfaction at getting the answer she desired and expected.
I remember her playing around with her very fab india sari, looking up at me and saying, “No millions of laborers built the Taj Mahal.”
Boy was I bewitched!!

That became the pattern of things and years to come.

LSR had a distinct red thread running through its vein.
So we used to sit at the CafĂ© or the Gazebo (we didn’t call it the canteen or the corridor) and talk about Marx and Machiavelli and the various ways in which they could be interpreted (by the way these two were my heroes back then). Oblivious to the politics raging outside our campus.
We were not like other politically active students from other colleges who dabbled in student unions and mass elections and populist slogans. No, we were not affiliated to a political party but we knew our political theory. We could hold our own in any debate and possibly solve world problems through mere application on paper.

Hey am not being critical of the way we were. I think it was great to be so aware and yet display a sense of perspective which did not reek of self absorption. And, because all of us were like that, it had become the way to be. So we were safely seconded in bourgeoisie reality and still, were able to grapple with proletarian world issues. Very real-time if u ask me, and look at the history of communism in general. The philosophy suffered because the ultimate wish of every proletarian became to evolve into a bourgeoisie.

By the third year of graduation, Marx’s magic was waning and we all became Gandhians. I always was very non violent in my approach and Gandhi suited me superbly. I discovered Gandhi and I still value him over others. There was a slum right behind LSR and I with afew others adopted it and started teaching the women of the basti. I was not as western in my looks and demeanor as I was in my thoughts and the women found it easy to relate to me. I discovered I could talk people out of their angst. I also discovered that that was not the end of their problems.

I became a prominent member of the street theatre group. And, we used to take the bus to various places in West and North Delhi, do our “nautanki” as the audience used to call it then and amble back into our cozy existence. But I was happy. I was doing something I was good at and which, hopefully, had some value.

So today when I saw the ad, it hit me that the last time I had read about Amnesty in detail and not just as a passing reference was some 13 years back. I logged onto to wikipedia and found myself and my age for some time again. Wikipedia describes Amnesty as a pressure group. A pressure Group…. We used to have so many discussions on pressure groups and the nature of such groups. Street theatre by itself was an attempt to create a momentary pressure group. It made me go back into time, something I rarely have the time to do. And, it was more than a nostalgic journey…

Today I sit here with a resolve to get back to my aware if not socio politically active self.
I called up various developmental centers yesterday seeking out relevant info.
I want to help distressed teenagers. People find it easy to relate to me and I want to use this for a bigger purpose. So if anyone knows of any NGO, organization that can use my skills, I would love it if you’d help me out.
I promise to kill the cynicism that has crept in me and sign every plea that comes my way in the hope that it will save, restore some lives.
I want to bridge the gap between my youth and now by doing something that enriches me….

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Amnesty Signature

Today I saw an ad which took me so back into time that I had difficulty recognizing my present.
More on the same coming up soon. Right now am stuck in dealing with the handicaps of the present….

Till then, I'm floored...

The Haka

On the 7th of May this year I wrote, 5 Down, 35 To Go.

On the 5th of June, today, I write, 10 Down, 30 To Go...