All entries for November 2005

November 29, 2005

Race

Warwick generally has this air of racial harmony with most races existing quite peacefully with another. There are no so- called ethnic issues that dominate either the student life, politics or campus talk here. Or at least at this point.

Dig a little deeper, and you do realise, that there do exist divisions within different races and nationalities. It is rare to find groups of people where members are of different races. Most informal groups within classes and outside it are based on ethnic or regional lines.

There is a lot said about it as well. Some feel that some races need to mix more with others. And that people need to be less insular. But it is very easy to make statements like this especially if these are not reflexive. The big question as always is on who makes the first move. And until someone does, different ethnic nationalities sit in their own glass houses and throw stones at each other.

Our own historical origins limit ourselves to the points to which we can go to meet the other person. While some people do not like a pub due to cultural or other reasons, it is central to the interactions that others have. Therefore,
where is halfway for these people? For them to meet and interact?

Recently stated was also the generalisation in a meeting that I attended about one particular race being the cause of all the ´filth´ in a kitchen. While it is convenient to say that this race was the cause of that filth, the same person in the meeting repeatedly mentioned ´I do not know who really causes all the mess´. Was it then fair to say that this race that could be easily identified and seperated was responsible?

The same race in different contexts (including in my own kitchen and other kitchens that I have seen) are actually quite clean making sure that they even clean up all the surfaces after use… And the race of the person who made the statement are the ones making a mess in many kitchens… Is it then fair to identify one race as being ´clean´ and another as being dirty? But its convenient.

Even Christians have their own groups with the most famous ´break-out´ being the Chinese Christian Society created as a result of the inadequacy of the earlier Christian groups to address their specific needs. It seems that even God has different races, even within the same faith of Christianity!


November 21, 2005

Weddings, meetings

The weekend was a whirlwind of activity as I attended a wedding… the first among uni friends… That I could attend. Technically it was the second. Coz the first was Prash who got married in Nepal. But we could not attend it! In fact, like Pet said a long time ago, Prash would just go to Nepal one day, get married and come back. And that's precisely what happened!

It was tiring. Not just coz I wasn't having the best of days. Tired and grumpy with a headache. But also meeting sooo many people after sooooo long took its toll on me… Should not. But unfortunately it did!

Then, spent the rest of the time at Gauri's, had breakfast at Mona's, picked up the bike from Bethnal Green before going off to Priya's for rava dosa, sambar, molaga podi, peanut chutney, chicken curry… wow! it was quite a spread! and i really loved it i say! was quite amazing! Nice :-) Must try the peanut chutney with borrowed blender from someone.

Helped Huong with her presentation and now just plodding through the reading for the civil society and activism course that I have to go through before two tomorrow. Good reading so far. And I do intend to make good starts to readings and actually do them this time much more systemmatically… Tho the beginning has not been auspicious! Welll… but it has been much better for sure!

Awright… Thats it for the night at one a.m. Till laterz!

JJ


November 18, 2005

Lead Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me

This was one of the great Mahatma´s favourite hymns. And its just beautiful and more meaningful every single time I listen to it in my head. It´s so easy to get distracted with the big picture with the big plans in your life. But what is most important is the next step. The one step for now!! Its not even for today.

What better message than that for a community and a society constantly in the rat race to get ahead… Get ahead where? Don´t quite know. Just need to move forward partly because everyone else is moving forward.

Its also easy to see this as a ´cop out´, but if you look at Gandhi´s life, you can hardly say it was a cop out… That he was not practical. That he did not work in the real world!! He led the largest political mobilisation in the history of humankind against a colonial power that he felt was unjust and unfair to a country that was capable of ruling itself!

Did he have to make compromises? Yes… certainly and the most painful and documented one was the partition of India into two countries. However, this message that he carried with him still stays relevant.

Lead kindly light. Just a single step and thats more than enough for me!

Amen


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