Errors of Optimism : My lessons From Being Queer

This could be inexhaustible but I need to write this one down. Coming out is a long never ending process, for the assumption of heteronormativity dictates that every single time I meet a new person I declare my sexuality that every time I want to make friends I need to make it obvious I’m gay and well sometimes I wonder, what gave it away, was it the mascara, was it the stole, was it my walk, what was it? Sometimes you give it away and sometimes you need to declare but this process is never ending and that’s something one has to come to terms with if you’re not heterosexual; that the most private part of human existence, that something that happens in my bedroom needs to publicly declared and told and for due reason. The due reason is that we do not live in utopia and that I am scared and I would hate to befriend someone who does not respect my identity or someone who claims himself to be homophobic. In an unfair world it becomes imperative on my part to make this declaration in the interest of sharing information that forms the premise of social interactions.

Recently at a party, I met a few people and I was the first gay person they claimed to have ever met. I was the first gay person they knew, but I have been the first for several countless others. A boy had the audacity to tell me that well he does not like homosexual people, he does not like people in general and that he might have even punched me because my hugs are not the “straight-dude-45-degree-slant-hug” and are rather closer to natural platonic and loving hugs, and well he didn’t do it because he knew me. I never know what it means. “I used to be homophobic but then I met you and I know you so now I’m cool” I’m glad that I could change and alter your life in a meaningful way but I am fairly frustrated at doing so time and again day in and day out with people I could not give a fuck about.

Tonight I do not want to rant about everything that is miserably wrong in and around us and tonight I am writing this to celebrate my identity albeit it is a continuum of a lifelong crisis but who doesn’t have an identity crisis. I want to overtly put it out there that I am so glad I am queer, that what I’ve learnt from being queer is so priceless that I can never thank my stars enough and that if I were to ever be born again I would much rather be queer, be vibrant.

At an awfully late introduction I would also include in my disclaimer the errors in this post, grammatical errors, errors of judgment, errors of optimism, errors of hope, errors of generalization, errors of utopia, errors of dystopia and errors that just make me more human. I do not wish to be critical tonight of everything that is wrong but much rather appreciate millions of individuals across the world who have stood through thick and thin true to their identities, true to defining and finding themselves true to the phrase “I don’t give a fuck about society” true to living and true to being. Thank you! You give me hope, you give me strength.  And if you’re reading this and happen to be queer, I reach out to you and offer you a free hug; in an era of social media virtual hugs count and we should get used to them.

What have I learnt and observed as a queer person. My lessons so far.

  1. Coming out does not mean a public speech, not even a lecture, not an award not a book. Coming out is a long process and the premise of coming out is acceptance. Not the acceptance that we expect from society but the blissful acceptance that comes from within yourself because you have truly accepted the most vulnerable parts of being human, the most secret parts of being alive, you have stopped existing and started living, the light of the day, the darkness of the night, the coolness of the breeze, the smell of the rain, the quiet of the winters, it all feels real and you feel it, you are no longer suffocated. Millions of people in this world spend their lives underneath the burden of expectations. Expectations from society, from friends, from parents, partners, bosses but coming out is that moment of breaking free because you have set the bar. You have told yourself that you will be true to yourself and you will live your life the way you want to even if it is at the risk of losing people, losing opportunities, losing friends, losing a lot, and a lot of times unfortunately a lot is at stake, and well if you have come thus far, you should be proud because you have lived and known your purpose, you don’t spend your entire life trying to find yourself in monotonous mundane daily conundrums, you’ve found yourself, your voice amidst all the chaos and all the noise, and within there is peace.

 

  1. Some stereotypes might be true some stereotypes might be false but stereotypes are a bad thing. You do not need to fit in, you don’t need to defy either. You don’t have to conform and you don’t have to try being unique. You are you and that nobody can take it away from you, not even you can deny it to yourself. Wear a mascara, don’t wear it, be a drag, a queen, a lesbian, bisexual, a girl, a boy, agender, trans, classify yourself or don’t classiry yourself, label or un-label yourself, be a diva, be a fashionista, be someone, don’t be someone, be that person, that individual, be this or that, or be a hamster. But, remember to be. Don’t forget being.

 

  1. You will always be someone’s first gay boy, lesbian girl, trans person, or cis person or non hetero person, and unfortunately someone’s first person. Get used to it.

 

  1. Don’t believe them when they say, it’s easy being queer. No it’s not, they have not lost a childhood, they have not gone through silently through everything that we’ve gone through and they cannot remotely understand the plight.

 

  1. People will always try to empathize by drawing misplaced analogies. Oh, you know it’s the same as me not having the right to eat ice cream. They will speak in your favor but these analogies do more harm than good. It’s the same as Palestinians not getting rights. Please do not undermine my pain or the plight of Palestinians, or the sufferings of the victims of several other evils of the world. They’re all not the same.

 

  1. Get used to attention. Oh my god, you’re queer you’re this that- you’re so awesome, you’re so stupid and such a faggot. Either way, love or hate you, will receive both of it in extreme unwarranted amounts. Stand your ground. And no, just because I’m queer I will not be happy to receive that overtly friendly kiss from you. But well, it’s okay to bow wow sometimes for the pretty ones there. It’s your call and nobody else’s.

 

  1. Sex is easy they will say, remember to play it safe. Always. You don’t want to end up with something you never signed up for. Consent is as important as protection and sharing information about health and hygiene. Sex may be easy may, not be easy but I don’t ask someone I meet for the first time about the size of their assets and the toll they’re responsible for.

 

  1. Thank your community! It has taken the painstaking and lifelong contribution of several  thousands who protested for us and stood up for our rights long back in time, and it has taken millions of silent sacrifices for us to rise from oblivion. Thank your context. I come from a country that currently stands on the brink of electing a homophobic political party into power. I belong to the world’s largest democracy where approximately 50 to 100 million people are “criminal” and “unnatural” just because they were born this way! Uganda and few other countries award death penalty for acts of homosexuality, Russia and several other places have state sponsored acts of homophobia, let’s stand in solidarity because if we don’t stand together, for each other no one else will

 

  1. Have a dream- It’s legit to dream of that day, no matter how far in times you might see it. That day of equality, justice, freedom, liberty and all things bright and beautiful. Someone dared to dream centuries back and we’ve come a long way since then. In our history of evolution as human beings we’re constantly struggling to uphold human rights and treat each other fairly and if we keep trying one day we shall overcome. Don’t believe them or give in when they say “india is not ready for it” “our society/culture does not accept it” “we’re far from it” “this is going to take years” Don’t keep waiting, start with yourself, people around you for if you don’t it will always be far from reality. They will try to hurt you where it hurts the most, but don’t let them enter this holy space, don’t let them steal your dreams away.

 

  1. Love and Respect-  Since we’re hardly a “community” and just a bunch of non-conformists in our own rights we give in to societal labels. Upstate- trans river, south delhi, north delhi, west delhi, east delhi, rich, poor, western, European, middle eastern, Asian, American, Russian, Latin, geek, creepy, nerdy, trans, sissy, top, bottom, versatile, gay, not gay, queer, not queer, leftist, liberal capitalist, blah bluh bleh bah. The bottom line is you are a part of a movement that is fighting the shackles of society, all these boxes and aims at a better fairer world, where we’re able to love and respect each other outside of these boxes and labels. If you don’t want to be ‘box-ed’ don’t unfairly label someone else. Be true to the spirit of love and equality and freedom. We’re not truly equal if we cannot treat others with the same kind of love and respect we expect from them.
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By discreteidentity

Obituary For Love

The beauty of nothingness and enforced isolation is surreal and the silence of absolute quiet withdrawal into recluse is deafening. The remarkable strength that emerges from the ashes of unrequited love is also sometimes not enough to write the script of the most painful stories ever known. The sheer failure of the self, the devastation of the ordeal, the bizarre scarred and distorted soul, the falling, the relentless and helpless falling deep, deep and deeper into that self destructive vicious cycle where the light of hope does not reach, all of this is not enough to describe the suffering. This is not an ordeal of survival but an ordeal of loss. There is no survival here, there is the sheer and ultimate loss of the mad soul and the only winner here is death.

The death of love is mourned and with the demise of love there is only numbness and that alone does justice to the departure of love. The greatest sonnets, the finest rhymes, the most profound prose put together fail miserably to write the obituary for love. Love cannot rest in peace.

Amidst the tranquility, serenity and the numbness of the beyond realm, love does not rest in peace. The chaos, the unsettling, unnerving, the undone, the unfinished business, the failure of love, the death of love engulfs with it all calm and all noise and the mourning is an everlasting phenomenon, the grievers have only one cause. The survivors’ only chance at survival, only purpose of survival is to grieve the demise of love. The strongest have lost and the only beauty in this loss is the magnanimity of hopelessness and despair. With love, departs will and desire. Love leaves behind numbness, silence, eerie silence.

Love beholds in itself great power and the death of love leaves behind a cripples fast deteriorating illusion whose impermanence and volatile effervescence continually deforms its transient form. Love does not leave behind scars. It leaves behind a black hole and slowly everything around near and far draws itself closer to this darkness of infinity of unknown, of hopelessness.

The state of no expectations albeit impermanent and illusionary itself, is a relief from the state of hope because hope brings disappointment and the infinity of darkness has no space in it but for infinity. It engulfs everything into the void, everything becomes a void, and everything goes missing. The demise of love is the ulterior surrender of reality and the inevitable victory of love’s Loss.

There is glorious victory in the loss of love and on the brink of the end of the era stands a remarkable opportunity to realize, sink in and flow in the ocean of Lost and never be found. There is only so much one can lose but the assassination of love was a failed attempt and love for its own pride won’t die alone. The warriors up against love did not realize the force they were up against. Love’s victory lay not in its survival but in its death, in the supreme sacrifice. Love had to die. The sacrifice was quintessential for impermanence to catch up to its own pace. For what its worth, there won’t be anyone to write the obituary for love.

By discreteidentity

Pahaadon ki woh adhoori dastan

 

Pahadon par chalte chalte yeh kadam apne aap hei tham gaye,
Aadat shayad choot si gayi thi inki,
Pahadon ke khilaaf ek gadar chedi thi,
Aur jalne se pahle hei mere daastan ki woh law bujh gayi
Yeh kadam zara door chale gaye the
Ragistaan se samundar ke kinare tak  par sambhal gaye the,
Lahron se guftgoo kar
Aaj jab waapas aaye hain,
Toh shayad pahadon par chalna bhool gaye hain,
Yahan aaj gairon ke saath holi kheli hai
Parayon ki khushi mai apni khoyi muskaan dhund li
Ek dastan aaj dubara shuru ki hai
Ja raha hun in pahadon se door ek bar phir,
Khud ki tailaash mai, ek baar dubara khone ja raha hun,
Wapas aaunga toh yeh pahad yahin thame milieingey,
Aur yeh kadam inh par shayad tab bhi dagmaga jayeingey,
Is adhoori dastan ki dagmagati dor ko
Koi rah chalta musafir sahara de dey
Is aas mai yeh kadam bhatakte raheingey,
Yeh dastan adhoori hei rah jayegi,
Aur yeh pahad apne mai hei sama jaeyingey.

By discreteidentity

Khamosh Alfaaz

Baith kar bas tumhe dekhta rahta hun,
Zara tum chu lo
Zara tum mujhe dekh muskura do
Zara tumhari aankhein meri aankhon se khuch batiya lein
Zara tum puchkaar do
Zara tum haath badha mujhe seene se lipta lo
Zara tum apni khamoshi se meri pareshaani ko dur kar do
Aur zara tumhari khamoshi mere alfaaz ban jayein
Tum na jaane kahan ho
Ho bhi ki nahi,
Nahi maloom aur shayad kabhi thay bhi ya nahi
Aaj ek gustaakhi hui hai
Aaj ek dil ki awaaaz suni hai
Aaj mahfil mai roshni kam hai
ek chingaari jo bujhi hai

By discreteidentity

Maya, the bitch

 

Sitting by the river I was venting out to the hills; like a red flower amidst yellow ones I was glowing with prÍde. At once I wasn’t lonely anymore. All of it seemed worth being worthless. I will be leaving behind a soul to rest in peace. He was a martyr. She will come walking in the woods to find him. He will be with her, all the time, he will never leave her alone. She decided to move forward, beat the river at her pace in her own valley. She would be a loser in all of this. She would run like a mad woman, waiting for him to come. When she’s walking through the hills, she’ll realize at once he is with her, she wouldn’t be lonely anymore.

His martyrdom would give rise to a few mutanies, to a few battles. It wouldn’t matter if they’re won or lost, as long to she finds him in the woods with her, as long as he is there to hold her hands. She would follow him to the valley, to only find herself as lost as he was. Not lonely though.

She is very mysterious. Her eyes, her smile tell you something while her heart confides in her head. Running to the valley down, she was running against the flow of the river. She wanted her unsung hero to rest in peace where he belonged. She was not content. There was a missing link. There always is. It did not seem complete. She had to leave him be. She had to let go. She had to take that bus to the city, she must lest he lured her into staying in the woods. She must move forward, away and farther away from the river and yet in the same direction as her’s.

He was left behind, forever to rest in peace. She was as lost as found she was. She was she. He was in the woods, sitting by the river, venting out to the hills. The clouds were eavesdropping. There would soon be nothing but rain and snow, he’d be gone, long gone, lost and forgotten. Two decades and a half worth a story, no laila and no majnu, no heer and no ranjha, no taj mahal and no shah jahan, no romeo no juliet.

Maya, the bitch, would still be there, waiting and walking behind strangers wagging her tale for some attention and some love.Maya lives where she belongs the most, a proud mother she has a life of her own, she is as free, as a free bitch could ever be.

She was in the city. She was not alone. She was as lonely as he was in the city. Maya was waiting. She had to go back to the woods but she kept waiting for her man. Maya kept waiting for her to come back to the martyr. He was long lost and forgotten but Maya kept waiting.

By discreteidentity

Change and it’s concubines

I think I owe this to the hills. Dehradun is more or less the same. There have been some minor and some major changes and yet the soul remains the same. The hills are there, they still contain in them stories unheard and unexplored. I am not sure if I was coming back to where I belong or leaving where I belong behind me. Today once again am en route Doon and it feels like going home.

There is something genuinely charismatic about the hills. They have an aura of their own. They are huge and magnificent, haunting and yet so welcoming, so tall and quiet. A part of me loves journeys. Journeys give you so much time to think and so much time with yourself. It’s funny how a rather cramped up space with a hundred people around me can give me the space that my two BHK flat, that the national capital mostly fails to.

The bitch is that I realized the comforts of a happy married life. Somewhere maybe I wouldn’t mind a family set up. Stability wise. It’s so cozy to come back home to someone. But then again, it’s never going to happen that I marry a boy. So that’s a slight heartbreak. Nonetheless, I’m eagerly looking forward to settling in a stable relationship soon. Haven’t found anyone and I’m not really looking, am I ? The weather around this time is great though in Delhi. And maybe all that I have is the weather and for my own insecurities I think I’ll cuddle up with myself in the warmth of loneliness for all I know maybe amidst the randomness and madness that governs this universe there is only so much space I have.

Tonight when nostalgia suffocates me as I reminisce old friendships, old times and when there’s a lot to look forward to and a lot to hold back to, I write about random thoughts and about change and its concubines. I write when I am troubled, it brings the best out of me.

People tell me that my blog is just about me. Well of course, it’s like telling me I eat my own food. Although I think I should write about world peace, international relations and the millions of women and kids denied their human rights. I should write about things that make sense, about things that sound rational and intellectual and hope it brings some change somewhere randomly because I’m that kind of a blogger. Not yet. I shall ergo write about me. My world view has been tainted, I see the world through a rainbow colored prism, a prism I never chose or did I ?

Tonight at the stroke of midnight while I stand at a break even point, I’m constantly pushing myself to believe in the goodness of humanity and for good reason and I’m constantly believing that I believe in the goodness of humanity and then I happened to reflect on my pilgrimage to the Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2012 .

At this hour my body is in denial but I need to get this out of my system before I crash. At this hour, ungodly for a teacher, I am looking for my rainbow amidst dark clouds, perhaps I am looking in all the wrong places, perhaps that’s all I’ve got. Delhi Queer Pride amidst all hope offered a reality check and an astonishing one, which is why it’s imperative I write about it before I either forget or it drives me crazy.

Making a rough estimate given my recent fetish for data analysis, half a billion individuals across the world are constitutionally denied their sexual and civil rights, and roughly 20 million are susceptible to immediate capital punishment just by declaration of their desires. Tonight I AM writing about the hopes and aspirations of millions across the world and tonight I hope to make a change. Tonight, I speak to you as a spokesperson of humanity, as a spokesperson of love, of care, courtesy, dignity and respect. Tonight I write to you on behalf of the millions of voices crushed day in and day out, every moment and have no option but to accept differential treatment. Their hopes are not hopes, and I’d say do hell with such majoritarian-ism, democracies, and other -isms and pseudo democracies that have the potential to push more than 50 million individuals into feeling horrid about their existence and much to the fault of biology? The world and its horrors!

Today, as I stand on the brink of making a solemn oath to myself, I am not questioning the applicability of the norm to me but am accepting the demarcation. I am a little different and that will change me, because the only honest part about me is my sexuality currently and I am not here to either argue in favor of some sexual revolution but I stay grounded in hard realities of life and people around me.

I have legally entered the post transition phase. I have made a lot of decisions or rather a few substantial decisions. I am driven by my own madness mostly; madness about coffee, about weather and about people. I think it was time to take a leap back, and reflect upon the scars that this last transition phase has left upon me, and it makes me believe I am no longer the same person, but then again I am not the same as I was just a day back. Change is so rapid that it is hard to notice. Change is so random that it’s impossible to not despise it. A huge chunk of the world population aims towards a marriage which is an epitome of a social construct that represents human desire for stability even at the cost of stagnancy. Permanency is a rare virtue and family life does play out to be a huge support. Some choose not to marry for their own free will and some leave their marriage behind because compromises are too much to ask for after a point. And all I wish was if I could hope for a day when I could have the option to make a choice to marry or not to marry.

In my confrontation with my own self I realized all the things I have deprived myself of. I have left myself somewhere far behind in my attempts of surviving in this ugly world. The scars from the last transition phase still haunt me, and this time of my life seems no less than a quarter-life crisis.

 Image

I was begging myself to dream a little this time and when I did I could not hate myself more. There was nothing to dream about. I was oblivious to the certainty of my own loss. I was going with the flow, but maybe there was no flow to go with. I did not realize and no one else did. I could not understand and I don’t blame anyone else for not issuing a cautionary warning.

 

 In the last three years I learnt carefully to not expect much out of people. This was a conscious result of the defense mechanism being all pretentious. It had to be. I had to become confident in my identity and not let people hurt me. While trying to be just another guy, who is not different from anyone else, I was becoming just another guy. I left my poetry far behind. I left my writings far behind. I left my love songs far behind. I left my secret desires far behind. Some people think I am a narcissist. Well, I consciously chose to be one. The locus of my being and of my identity could either be an external point from where garnering acceptance was implausible or the locus of my identity could be absolutely interior to me. I chose it to be the latter. Or I believed it to be so. I am not sure, if it was a brave step to have accepted myself but it was the first step in growing up.

 

Amidst massive discontent with the state of affairs in this country, we had Amir Khan’s satyamev Jayate trying to magically instill a sense of common identity amongst the sheep like Indian people who’d follow anyone from Ramdev to Modi. Modi’s role in the Gujarat genocide is unquestionable, Ramdev’s imagination of world order and governance is lethal and does nothing but turn massive populations suicidal for obviously breathing in and breathing out heavily a gazillion times will cure them of everything and because homosexuality is a disease, and his hunger strike will make him no less than Gandhi and Anna will take cue from that to only fail to transform an electoral democracy to one of a lokpal run autocracy, and as temporarily as these idiosyncrasies may appear in the public domain, I have erstwhile come to terms with my own identity that termed me a criminal for seventeen years while the country was led  by scavengers and of course it’s easy to shout slogans that appeal to people so that they forget about the scarcity of water in their homes but re-elect twice a man who killed thousands more than the ‘disease’ I have borne ever since I was born could ever aim to take to the grave.

 

Amidst all of this the Delhi Queer Pride Parade once again restored my belief in humanity and in hope. It gives me hope that one day closets will only be for clothes, it gives me hope that one day I, or children from future generations will be able to marry at their free will and I dare to hope this while Khap Panchayats in this country still commit extra judicial killings and several heterosexual couples who dared to love are hanged and while child marriage and polygamy is still the norm in several parts of this country; I am amazed with our diversity and I can only hope that the rainbow flag of the Delhi Queer Pride Parade can be the beacon of hope for not only the ones who came out of their closet on the stage at its closing ceremony but also for everyone who dares to dream a little, and that Siddhant’s family attends his marriage and that his boyfriend can come out to his family despite being in a government job and the 10 million ignored and marginalized non heterosexuals in this country are allowed to live, breathe, love and prosper at their own free will and that the world’s largest democracy stands true to its principles, that all the –isms and- icies give half a billion million people the recognition they deserve and that millions of identities are not pushed into oblivion, that one day there will be light and millions of rainbows lost in this dark ugly real world will shine upon us with joy and with pride. 

 

 

By discreteidentity

Two Boobs and a Vagina

 

I have left my gay gene somewhere far far behind in my transition from being an undergraduate to being a working professional in my own right. I think it was time I revisited the gay gene. I think it was time I revisited my conscience and it astonishes me how often we are driven by not what is present around us but by the lack of something we’d like to have and today morning while I travel to Seelampur early in the morning I think its time to think, to think about love, the act of love, the simplicity of love and its unknown variables and to write about the purest of emotions love elicits. In a stark realization that never crossed the secret towns of my head while I have felt restricted merely because of biological inabilities of a heterosexual man to reciprocate to a gay boy’s feelings I have also at the same time been incredibly fascinated at the sheer redundancy of such a dream and hope for it has in my observations had zilch impact of the person being loved. This was once upon a time, and today at a forbidden but godly hour I revisit the incident in retrospect.

Today I question the value of silence and the horrors of blatant ignorance. It took a gay boy a month to realize what he’d fallen into without making any effort and the hopelessness of such a situation baffles me mostly. When a girl or a guy is in love with someone from the opposite gender in a heterosexual establishment it is indeed sound reasoning that the person being loved either reciprocates, respects or at the very least responds and expresses his feelings of compassion or sheer disgust to the one in love and this serves as a subtle understanding and more than that it is a given that at least once the one being loved would have thought about the possibility of such an adventure. In my set up, in this part of Cupid’s world it is uni directional, it is natural and as much a part of life as that necessary vaccination that one requires in early childhood but when it strikes it strikes hard. Today my amusement with respect to the general inability of heterosexuals to either comprehend and to blissfully ignore their gay friends struggling to surpass the blugeoning rainbow colored trauma of being in Love with a heterosexual boy because the futility of this is similar to being in love with a wall. The other part of the world does not know how to reciprocate and I have reasons to believe that this is a circular argument in most heads. He is gay, I am ‘straight’ and its okay to fall in love but he is gay and I am straight. They assume that it is indeed a given, it is indeed obvious and that the fact that one entity in this conflict of emotions and personalities is homosexual is reason enough for them to not be obligated to follow conventional or rather context based expected means of communication or comply to unsaid expectations of showing care and  courtesy towards either the emotions or towards having a general ability to talk about it in a not so confrontational sense but in ways that comes across as supportive and in this regard a conversation can do wonders and the lack of one is a void that needs closure. I am also here looking at the incident in retrospect where the given proximity between two individuals with conflicting sexual orientations has ample scope and value for providing and even denying any such vent. In the sheer lack of hope and understanding it has always amused me that whenever I have told people about such legendary sagas of gay boys falling for their ‘straight friends’ I have at least a million times heard the statement ‘but he’s not gay’ as a simple answer to a rather complicated situation. The hopelessness is not a factor or variable constructed by societal framework but by mere set ups and biology that is mostly tricky and then it seems a struggle against forces beyond your control and this is where the lack of the venting point and the constant reminder of being gay being the reason and motivation to ‘move on’ all boils down to suppression of the fun frolic rainbow colored gay gene which finds itself somewhere far far away from the edge. Today I think I have not merely forgotten it but I think I have raised the walls of my defense mechanism even higher, and higher than ever and there is no denial in acceptance that this one time I did find it slightly hard to resisit sheer lustful drooling at the sight of the boy, but then I took it as sheer lust and the way it’d mean nothing for the hottie sitting opposite to me in the metro it meant nothing then. But what’s interesting to note is that while right now I make no conscious effort to stop drooling I did in the former instance. Its amazing how much effort it takes to believe that you are stable and secure and that you consciously lead yourself to believe that you have ‘moved on’ and I am wondering if the same process creates the illusion of being in love. The silence from one end can be devastating while a response could be crushing. In retrospect while I think it has definitely avoided making things awkward closure is somewhere impending. We all need closure, its like the farewell party that is a social custom, and sometimes the feeling of being incomplete can be injected by virtue of a genuine inclusive effort of acceptance and sheer respect can transcend into disrespect because of the silence and this is more than appropriate in not merely such ‘set ups’

Today while my metro goes underground, I think I have put most of my conflicting unstable emotions to rest, and they are far beneath the surface level not because they need to hide, but because I’m done with them. Acceptance always comes from within. I accept and respect the silence and also the turmoil I have put to rest in my head and I accept and adore the beauty of platonic relationships and the honesty and simplicity of such relationships in this set up, how could I not once at least wonder ‘Had it not been for the genes, so much for two boobs and a vagina’.

By discreteidentity

Dream A Little Campaign.

 

I am currently a Fellow with Teach For India and have committed the next two years of my life to full time teaching 30 kids from low income households in an under-resourced school in Seelampur New Delhi.

As an individual I come to you as a spokesperson for 30 individuals of tomorrow of this nation as I try my best to provide them an excellent education over the next two years. At Teach For India we believe that every child deserves an excellent education and we work towards providing equal opportunities to children from under-privileged communities across 5 cities in India.

Share a little joy, a little dream, share some hope and a little belief. Donate now to bring a change in the lives of the children of India. I Teach For India, Support me in a movement against educational inequity in this country. 

As a fellow, I am striving to provide my children of 2A at Gangotri Public School, Seelampur a better life path. 

I have always believed in the power and strength of dreaming and conviction. As children we always had dreams to become someone big and successful and I remember dreaming to be an astronaut when I was in grade 4. When I started working with children from under-resourced communities I realized that the ability to dream is also a luxury that only a few educated individuals can afford because for most of these children their communities are their world and they do not know at all about the world that lies outside their restricted environment and this curtails their ability to hope, dream or aspire.

With Dream A Little CampaignI am deeply invested and working towards imparting my students the ability to dream, and to dream big and towards imparting requisite skills necessary to fulfill their dreams.

I present to you an opportunity to help and support me in my initiative to bring excellent education to these kids.

 

How to help?

  1. Come Volunteer in my classroom at Seelampur. If the distance is an issue for you let me know about your whereabouts and I’ll let you know about the nearest classroom you could volunteer in and will get you in touch with a Teach For India Fellow working near you.

 

  1. Donate money– You can donate in both cash and cheque. You can write a cheque in favor of Teach To Lead. Please note that you will be given requisite receipts for your donation money.  This money will be used in purchase of books for children and to improve classroom and school infrastructure. If you want to donate money for a specific purpose, please specify it and I shall comply to your request. Details of expenditure will also be provided upon request. Any amount is welcome and the smallest of contributions can help pave the way for an excellent education for these kids.

 

  1. Donate Books  – Donate children books or books that you think can add value to a Child’s education. You can also donate magazines, Readers digest, Comic Books, Science magazines,  News Magazines,  etc are all welcome.

 

 

  1. Donate Board Games– The school has just one swing and Board games bring not only joy to the classroom but also are great for learning. Ludo can help understand numbers and helps learn quick addition and subtraction and monopoly requires math skills too. So donate a Board Game.

 

  1. Donate Stationery – Any and every kind of stationery is very useful in a classroom. Feel free to drop in anything from pens to crayons to notebooks etc.

 

  1. 6.     If you have any other idea, please feel free to share it. I would love to hear from you !

 

Please note that while I am directly responsible for 30 kids at Gangotri school, there are 6 Teach For India Fellows in the same school, and given that these resources will be shared among all Teach For India Classrooms, YOU have the potential to impact 180 Children and that is a pretty good feeling.

 

Teach For India’s note on India’s Educational Crisis

  •   8 millionchildren never go to school
  • Of those that do, only 58% complete primary school
  • At Teach For India, the fact that only 10% of our children go on to college both saddens and angers us.

 

Teach For India exists because of a deep belief that every child can and must attain an excellent education. Teach For India exists to prove that no child’s demographics should determine their destiny. To us, the end of educational inequity is the freedom for all children to have the opportunity to reach their potential. And the day that all children reach their potential is the day that India reaches her potential.

Teach For India believes that that day will come in our lifetime.

Teach For India believes that it will take a movement of leaders with the idealism, belief, skills and commitment to actualize this vision. We are committed to finding, developing and supporting India’s brightest, most promising leaders for this to happen.

 

Impact and Academic Growth observed in Teach For India Classrooms

Teach For India currently employs 516 fellows and impacts 16,216 children across the country and is aiming towards increasing this impact.

We structure our program around the rigorous curriculum developed by Educational Initiatives, in addition to teaching the SSC curriculum. Most of our students have skill-levels 2-4 years behind their current grade level and we aim for a minimum of 1.5 years, on average, of skills-growth from their incoming skill level for each student in Reading Comprehension, Reading Fluency, Math, Grammar and Writing.

 In 2010-2011 academic year students in Teach For India classrooms achieved an average of:

1.7 years of skill growth in Grammar
1.4 years in Writing
1.2 years in Speaking and Listening
1.1 years in Reading Fluency
1.0 years in Reading Comprehension
60% of Teach For India classrooms made over 1.2 years of growth in Math

 

 

Contact Details :

If you want to know more about Teach For India please visit www.teachforindia.org

 

If you have any queries about Dream A Little Campaign please feel free to reach out to me at mayank.vashistha2012@teachforindia.org or mayankisv@gmail.com

I would love to hear from you if you have anything to share !

Thank you for your time and patience.

 

Mayank Vashistha

Fellow, Teach For India.

 

By discreteidentity

Dream to dream

 

Cynicism has the power to own us. Skepticism has the potency to be destructive and often the over-thinking that follows leaves a lot to answer than possibly resolve anything. Overtime I have questioned and questioned more relentlessly and answered some questions for myself pushing myself into a cocoon that comforted me and most of us legitimately do so, have done so, and continue to do so. The reason I choose to write about cynicism and skepticism tonight is because tonight I stand by my convictions reaffirmed by my observations and yet I refuse to draw any conclusion. I infer, but I try not to tag it possibly because of my inability to tag it as anything and partly because the beauty of this lies in not tagging it.

On the last day of summer school I put meaning to my belief in the strength of conviction and in the power of dreaming and I was driven by just my belief. I have always believed that the moment a child has a dream  the purpose of education becomes evident to him; it seems real and meaningful. In my dreamer activity, when I willfully exposed my students at summer school to various life paths they could choose for themselves I realized I touched their lives in more meaningful ways than I could have imagined. I left the cynicism behind me today; I left the skepticism behind me today. I realized that I do, and so do you, hold the ability of creating a lifelong impact on someone’s life in the most simplest of ways. If today I could give a dream to these children, I know I could give several other children and their families in Delhi things meaningful in their own ways and this is when it struck me. Inequity is not merely the inability to avail opportunities, it is also the inability to dream. I had hitherto always thought of this as a plausible abstract notion in my head but today I saw its reality and it struck me hard. When I was in grade four I wanted to be an astronaut and today two of my students envisioned to be a ‘spaceman’ and I think that is one of my biggest take away from the last four weeks. I have always believed in holding myself close to the staunch realities of our existence, and upon acting and attempting to change status quo in ways that I can, pushing myself constantly I realized that it’s as real as it could ever be and that four weeks or one days does not matter, but it’s about the intent that lies underneath those actions and it’s about the vision and the extent to which you are willing to push yourself to see it actualize.

I see a lot more meaning in what I do each day. Each day I have added value not only to the academic achievements of my students but also to myself and it’s incredible how much I could learn from the kids. Their honesty befuddled me. Being told on my face that they could not care less about my lesson plan irrespective and ignorant of the amount of effort I put in preparing that lesson, that they curse me in bits for they have to miss their ‘play time’ to attend summer school, I questioned myself if they were being guinea pigs in my attempt to become a better teacher till I saw them dream. I always knew that this dot was missing ever since I decided to join this movement. When I was a child, education meant to me a means of achieving something I genuinely wanted while to most of these students education is a futile and redundant process because they extract no skills out of it, they get no joy out of it while we did enjoy learning or at least saw a reason behind it. Children and adults are not different when it comes to the need for finding reasons behind actions. The nature of these reasons differs as we grow up but dreams are constant. The inability to dream is to me the most striking feature of inequity; the inability to envisage the something better for themselves which has been key to human progress overtime shakes me to the core. There have been innumerous examples of individuals who dared to dream amidst such inequity and they were successful because they believed in their dream and worked towards it. Maybe they had someone who believed in their dreams. Often we are driven by pragmatism and assumptions of feasibility restraints the ability to dream irrespective of our conditioning and status, the inability to dream becomes a striking feature amidst the gloomy alleys of inequity because it takes away to see reason in striking for something better because they don’t see the something better and education therefore comes across as a merely redundant process. In Rajasthan a mother once said to me “what’s the point to education when my kid has to come back to work in the farm” That is when I realized the value of having a dream and today I gave this theory closure in my head. I saw it for real and can only hope these kids live up their dreams, dream more and dream big and believe in their dreams. It’s a dream to dream and to dream is a dream come true. 

By discreteidentity

Madness

I am far away from Delhi and its madness, not to say that Pune does not have a madness of its own. Madness prevails everywhere. There is a unique madness about everything, about everyone. I haven’t yet discovered mine, I don’t claim to. I sit and I observe but do I judge? There is a thin line of difference between opinions and judgments and a thinner line of difference between conviction and madness. The madness of determination may descend into the madness of living a cult. I despise cult-ism, a recent trend in human survival I have observed, I respect it, I just chose to despise it, and wish to stay pristine even in the midst of such conundrums. I have dissented in various degrees in various contexts, we all might have been, conformism is not quite conformist itself, I just come to peace with madness, and it’s an art to stay apart from madness despite being a part of it. I have probably not perfected this art, maybe am not even close. I don’t live in an illusion, but for all I know this belief in itself maybe an illusion.

Madness does not need a definition. It’s not about rationality or morality either. It’s about uniqueness. It’s not randomness and it’s not erratic, but it’s not always evident and it’s not always pretty. I am not sure where I am going with this, and that’s the beauty of madness, it unfolds itself slowly, packed with surprises, madness is maddening and is sporadic in its revelations, it’s like the dolphin that surfaces on water to let you catch a glimpse of it, and soon vanishes to reappear again, but the time lag does not have anything finite associated with it when it comes to madness. Then again, is anything finite, and can anything progress into infinity? I don’t have an answer for it. I don’t have to have one. You don’t have to have one either.

Conscience is a bitch, a beautiful one. Different things give us joy and happiness, and it stops being about price tags but about perfection defined by a certain form of idealism. I think idealism is underrated, or at least its potential is. Madness is abstract, and so is imagination. Idealism is abstract too. We dream about perfect evenings, we dream, we work towards their fulfillment, we imagine, imagination may draw upon from existence, existence may shape up imagination but does not curtail it. My madness is about the strength of human imagination and the strength of conviction. I imagine, I dream, I dream more relentlessly about things beyond me, about things beyond us.

The point lies in standing by your madness. From the plethora of multifaceted and unique prisms your madness may not seem sane, reliable or may come across ludicrous. But then madness needs no approval. Madness within legitimate domains of decrees is moral and righteous. Madness is a virtue, and amidst the larger schema of multiple madness-es, your madness still exists. You may be a part of any higher form of madness but your madness is yours and should never be lost. I have often come to points where my madness has existed in conflict with the higher madness. At such points I have always, and will always stick true to my madness. It’s the best. It’s the politest way of denial, of conflict. Amidst lives of us ordinary, extraordinary people, we often leave our madness behind us and succumb to the larger madness philosophy that prevails. We don’t make our choices despite the ability to. That’s when madness is looked down upon. Madness of a society as a whole is called democracy, madness of an individual called dissent, or art. Nothing is less of an art. Nothing is less of a madness. Find yours, and it shall be the best thing you’d do to yourself. I am still finding mine. Maybe I have found it, maybe I live it, maybe, but who knows and who should. I am off to cater to another madness of a parallel universe. Let’s find our madness and get addicted to it. Let’s fall in love with it. Let’s hate it a little. Let’s dance to its tune a little. My madness beckons me. Be a little mad, for all things bright and beautiful? 

By discreteidentity