Friday, October 30, 2009

international summer school pune july 2005

15th July 2005
It’s been two days since I came back from the international summer school, Pune. It was really really cool.
Actually I guess I’ll write later about it –the weather the food the sessions, the movies, the jokes, the people, the learning, and also about Bhaja caves. I guess I’ll write about all that sometime. Anyway my uncle and aunt (Mangal and Neena) came. It was real nice. Mangal mama gave me a digital camera –a really cool fundoo one. YES ME of all people….Must read up some of those handouts I so greedily got from the summer school from Jaya. It was really nice and yesterday when I was bored and all, I did miss it. It was always so packed –breakfast, theme workshops, voices, lunch, skill workshop, presentations movies dinner and some cultural stuff like Dandya, rock, open nite, where participants performed. That closed around 12 midnight and people sat and chatted in their common rooms all night. I used to escape the cultural stuff .sometimes I sat thru it for awhile and then Akku and I’d go off to sleep though Renu kept telling us to stay a while longer. I loved the library at the Mahindra college –and what a view from the ‘mountain’ as Akku and I called it. So NICE!

16th July 2005
Never, never should I lose my little people of Warli. Already my recollection of them is vague. This new found 400year old art tradition seems to have overpowered them. I CANT LET THIS HAPPEN TO THEM. For it’s really happening to me.
The thought of the future depresses me . It angers me, irritates me. Why cant I be a happy kid living in a jungle doing as I please? Why must I go to college, do a PG, do whatever else higher studies, get a job, get married, have children, become older ,work, work work, work, act mature, be social, ,like people, act, act, think so much, live live and go on with a routine grow old lose my job, relations, get bored, lose my health and die? WHY? I don’t want any of it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

on birthday events

I have pulled out her notings on oct 21 her birthday whenever they were available. its become longer than usual -but o know that will be ok with the readers!

October 22nd 2001
Yesterday was my birthday. Amma came back yesterday morning. Akku and I made stuffed tomato yesterday-was good. We kept kolu yesterday- it was fun. Keerthi (amma’s friend Vara aunties daughter) and I made a park for the kolu the whole morning…and for my b-day lots of people called Pati, Thatha, Divya, Neha, Seva,Melody etc.

October 21st 2002
Have completed 16 years. Early in the morning amma woke me up with a happy b-day and Akku who was sleeping also wishes me. Then got ready for the tuition and Akku gave me this t-shirt on which she had painted : me sleeping, me brushing my teeth, me having a LARGE cup of tea, and there or for pictures of me lying down and reading a story book with Timetable written next to it.
Seva said she’d forgotten to get my gift and Suma acted like she forgot it was my birthday. Then surprise.Suma got me a bracelet and Seva a bracelet and a clip. Suma’d made this lovely greeting card so painstakingly.
During bio pracs we had to dissect a cockroach which was disgusting. Some people couldn’t believe I was just sixteen. They would be 18 soon!
Many phone calls-pati thatha from Dubai, mangal mama from Singapore, vidarshana, Aarti.
After Amma came we went tot eh Sarawati temple in the University. Was pleasant. We were the last people to go there . Nice .no crowd. Pleasant. Good we went there (and not Skandagiri)

(and I can’t resist adding this.. seems to have been triggered by 21st)October 24th 2002
Gosh! Guess what ? I have a fan club…called the Gowri Iyer fan club. Formed by Fareena, Jaideep and the great self. Fareena president, Jaideep vice president, and the great self chairperson-cum- object.
The whole thing was so dumb. Couple of days ago Fareena started calling me cute and all. It was weird and embarrassing coz I know that I’m as far away from being cute as anybody. Even yesterday when we were walking to art class, Fareena called me cute again and I said that people probably called others they found really dumb ‘cute’. Jaideep who was listening joined in and said I wasn’t dumb I was innocent. This stunned me. I still dunno why I was innocent. The conversation went on with everybody praising me (except Amina). At first I was too stunned to speak and then said “basically Gowri is a very nice person” and Jaideep added “who likes being praised”. We all more or less agreed on this –but Fareena went on to say how she’d form the fan club and J added he’d be VP … this was so strange and funny I wanted to write about it yesterday itself. But today there was more of it. Jaideep publicised the fact hat he was VP of Gowri Iyer Fan Club and Meghna and Tanya joined and they are now lady Tanya and Lady Meghna.!! Must be Fareena’s idea of a joke.

October 22nd 2003
Been waiting to write in you for a….ges! Hardly get a private moment. Bunked college because of rain. Most of the day I was lying upstairs and reading “In an antique land” –Akku gave it to me yesterday for my birthday.

October 20th 2004
Gosh! I hate this goddam fuss everyone is making about my bloody birthday. Everyone’s born. Everyone turns 18. Why don’t they at least fuss secretly….I HATE IT. Where is the element of surprise in the whole thing? Why so much whispering about the clothes and so much openness about the rest. It’s enervating.
In a day I’ll be an adult-hardworking enthusiastic and responsible –determining my own destiny and that of others-always in the right, intelligent, courteous, sociable, friendly, yet superior, and amazing in all respects with out any confusions or dilemmas whatsoever.
Or WILL I ? I dunno-I don’t think so.
This is my last day as an adolescent . guess I never had adolescence. I haven’t really rebelled or been a make up/shopping /disco freak. I haven’t had nay crushes or guys in life. So have I had adolescence? I don’t seem to have done what adolescents are supposed to do. But when I look at it I have changed. HPS changed me and so did Nizams….guess that’s it. When, I’m starting to try and turn adolescent, its time for me to become an adult. Frankly life is difficult.

October 23rd 2005 just mentions her birthday in passing. No details of it.

October 18th 2006
There’s this weirdo sense of elation. It’s pure joy. It’s diluting itself as I try to analyse it. It just feels so nice to be packing to go home. And there’s nothing like a good argument amicably settled. It gives me so much pleasure-like the one I had with Poo just now or the one I had with Judith this morning.

No entries around 21st October 2007!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


please see the website corrections suggestions for changes are welcome

Saturday, October 17, 2009


2ND June 2008
During my stay at Kothra and Kunda, I got to observe and internalize for the first time extreme forms of discrimination based on caste, religion and gender. I interacted with people who had internalized such forms of discrimination so completely that they thought it was the only way, that it was the right way (dharma) or they were resigned to it and thought it was destiny (karma).
I saw ‘tribal’ people who were staunch believers in and advocates of the hindu dharma, so much so that there were some who were actively involved in the activities of the VHP and were proud of having chased away a muslim family from their village. These believers in Hinduism, known as Bhagats, consider themselves superior to non-bhagats and do not eat or drink in non-bhagat households unless the ritually purify the water and give it to them in copper utensils. It brought to light the fact that casteism is practiced to a great extent in these supposedly ‘tribal’ villages. It destroyed my preconceived notions of ‘tribe’ as harmonious, integrated, egalitarian groups who shared a special relationship with nature.
Perhaps these ‘tribalisms’ are mere colonial constructs as Stuart Corbridge and other scholars suggest. Or perhaps these tribals have been so influenced by mainstream hindu ideology and ways of life, that they have lost much of their ‘tribalism’.
I also got to see man-animal relationships and adult-children relationships, that I didn’t expect. People in these villages did not attribute a very special place to forests, nature and animals as I had expected. They said the forests were too degraded and that they hardly got anything from the forests. The relationship with animals seemed more commercial (for their livelihoods) than emotional. Children were not fussed over and were left to their own devices, to take care of themselves. They also help in household work and other labour.
I learnt of the way in which people need to use a multiplicity of livelihoods in order to sustain themselves atleast to susbsist. I also learnt of the hard physical labour that is an inevitable part of their lives.
My experience in these villages was really amazing. I enjoyed the clean air, the tasty food made from garden fresh vegetables and the experience of sleeping under the stars.


‘The legend of Ramulamma’ (by Prof Vithal Rajan)is one of the best works I have ever read- possibly the best.
It is a work of pure brilliance about Ramulamma, an old Dalit dai (mid-wife) who has her own ingenious, quiet and subtle ways of dealing with the social realities of caste, untouchability, oppression and exploitation that so characterize rural India.
It brings out a refreshingly new way of looking at exploitation and oppression. It is neither the remedial perspective of a sympathetic, charitable outsider from above who believes in uplifting ‘harijans’ by providing them with a few facilities and civilizing (or cleaning) ‘them’ to render them touchable, or a radical, revolutionary ‘dalit’ perspective that believes in violently opposing and annihilating caste.
It is the perspective from below, where the person below does not see herself as down-trodden, but uses her intelligence and her wits to bring justice to her people in her own small, simple ways without making a show of it.
Besides being a brilliant read, capturing one’s attention and interest from cover to cover, it leaves one with a sense of hope, assuring one that situations are never hopeless and need not always be battled head on, but can be dealt with, with subtlety and finesse.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

post 13-art and aesthetics

Feb 08, 2005
I was really surprised to find that EVERYONE unknowingly liked my card the best. It felt good. Got my marks (very good marks) but some how felt no joy of glory.

July 02, 2005
In French
I’m not such a bad artist as I imagine.
Today I found some of my old pieces; scraps that I’d practiced before my class 12 exam. They are not too bad. I like my compositions which reflect what is typically on the road. It’s very realistic, but for some people who are much exaggerated-their idiosyncrasies and their appearances. I like them too.
But at that time…why did I consider my art so bad, so ugly? I do not know-- my marks perhaps. Also the attitude in that school? That my art was very different from others’, I never had the confidence to accept it.
No, some I loved. I liked my ideas, but the effects were never as I had imagined. It was never perfect and I found it difficult to accept such imperfection-the difference between my imagination and the output.
Perhaps it was also the great admiration I had for the other artists- those I considered better than me. No ‘perhaps’. It is certain.
I adored whatever Akku or Tanya drew. And I wished to paint or draw or shade exactly like at least one of them. But I could never do that. That's a pity. It was the end of art for me till my famous poster “La Terre Est Peu Belle, Si On N’utilise Pas La Poubelle”. And after that there was no longer any art in my life. It’s finished, over!

June 22 2005
There are so many things I need to write about! About the AIR meeting, about how repulsive I found the girls and the teachers from another college, with their fake foreign accents! How good I feel that I do not have a mother like A and am therefore not like him. About another friend’s talk in the bus about her family and the war with the rest of their clan-those petty politics –a different socio-economic class! The thought doesn’t escape me but I feel guilty that I’m discriminating-like a capitalist. Then the long conversation I had with S-does she have psychic powers? Do spiritualism and psychic powers exist-or is it all her imagination?

…have to write about the trip too. Aihole was simply MAARVELLOUS. The amazing staircase and the rooftop and the ceiling carving and the side seat in Lad Khan were too good. Badami was also really cool. Those life size beautiful statues and the Agasthya story and tank and cave. I liked Pttadakal stories about how it was called Rakthapuri. It was truly RED. I felt it in Aihole itself, but the redness of the stone seemed to reach its Zenith in Badami/Vatapi. The red mud the red rock reminded me of TARA in Gone with the Wind. Stupid comparison I know. But it did at that time. Silly Americans with so little history and barely any culture –how they have managed to influence us….I’ve lost my own language my thoughts and writings are in a foreign tongue which has overpowered my own. I am a helpless subject. Our heritage is brought down to a low level by such demeaning comparisons-if demeaning is the word I’m looking for. Anyways I know what I mean!

2001 (post it inside her diary back cover)
My first poem (complete lies)
I oft did try
to write poetry
and failure did I meet.
But gave not up my hope
I continue to grope
But I know that one day
I shall have a poem to say
& though this be a great feat I think it will only meet
To keep trying till I succeed
In this human world of greed.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

post 12- rain and self analysis!

25th January 2005

Its pouring like mad and there’s so much wind-water on my glasses. The trees are swaying as hell –and you should hear the noise and feel the wind to know what i mean. It’s beautiful and I love it. I love such weather when im at home. But there’s probably a cyclone somewhere to add to the Tsunamis power. Probably places are getting flooded and people are getting killed. But heck1 its nice here to say the least!....Somehow don’t feel like reading what others write today. Maybe I should write. But I’ll have to get rid of my evergreen lethargy… evergreen in many ways-it’s always present and it is accompanied with envy when others prosper…the rain has subsided .Everything is washed out and clean-but the leaves don’t look as lively as when they are actually getting washed.
It’s a strange fact how the amount of stiffness, the amount of ‘virtue’/ ‘narrow mindedness’ the amount of social propriety and self consciousness has decreased tremendously from my early childhood. In my early childhood these notions and values were extremely strong and powerful. I was always very shy and even frightened of strangers. I was always HIGHLY self conscious and was constantly worried about what who would think and whether what I did was, good or bad, right or wrong, which of my classmates were good and which ones bad and even what their religions castes and languages were at times. My tendency to want to be in everyone’s good book continues but to a lesser extent. And the focus has shifted –it is no longer Maami, Appa or Amma who all have similar notions of right and wrong-but people as in individuals. Right and wrong are no longer so clearly separated. I am considerably freer. But is this freedom also a pretence to maintain the impression of being a ‘child’ as children are believed to be ‘free’ in general. Happy souls with no responsibility.

Of course children have responsibilities. At least I did as a child. May be I have become much more desensitised and can therefore bear dislikes and criticism better and can therefore be more ‘myself’ and less self conscious and more ‘free’ ‘irresponsible’ and childlike... Which again suits me and the impression I want to make.

3 February 2005
I’ve very difficult to accept that I have a solid ego problem. The fact remains that I do and that I have almost as long as I remember. But somehow the feeling is strong I do not like to accept help and hence inferiority from others-especially those close to me –especially Amma. I am glad my friend pointed it out and brought it into the open. Though I know it was only from my side. Of course that made me angry hurt and depressed at the time and it is still HORRID. And it is not just that. It really troubles me how other people misinterpreted the basic idea (eco stall) and also about how they all take prominence. I was very jealous and I showed it. I showed how I wanted to be noticed and appreciated for coming up with such a brilliant idea rather than attempting to carry it out. I frankly don’t value other peoples conceptions .Why can’t I just accept them? Why should it be MY thing? Why can’t it be OUR thing? Because I want it to be MY thing! I want their help but not their contributions.

I have to deal with it. How do I change it? Heck! Why should I? I think that feeling with some people such as Amma is so strong it can’t be changed. It was deep rooted-may be it began with the 8th class math? Am I blaming her joining school for it? Was the very opposition to her joining school because of it? I do not know for how long it existed or when it first began. Was I born with an ego problem? Even so can I not rid myself of it? I must thank my friend tomorrow. She helped me recognise this consciously. When I want so much appreciation should I not give so much appreciation to others too. I must think about a different approach to the environment issue.