Yesterday I took a class on Ambedkar’s Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development. Was in a partly sucky mood before beginning prep for class. Reading that essay always puts me in a more sensible, back to who I am kind of mood. I read it every year because I can’t teach this paper on memory. I remember a few things that I am thrilled to mention in class but nothing more. Having to learn the paper every year to be able to teach it well is on a goal list of sorts.
Thought of Ambedkar all the way to class in the PG Block. Thought about the hours he put in at the library to write in Columbia. In Waiting For Visa, I’d read that he was often tempted to join his room mates and floor mates for parties but the thought of what he’d left behind to be where he is made him stuff cotton in his ears and continue studying. Even if the romance of imagining somebody reading in the library seems unreachable, what makes the reality of it all closest to me is the temptation he resisted to stop reading and how well he resisted it. After all, reading is the strongest resistance. Most of all, it is a big resistance to oneself – especially that part of us that we don’t trust.
Watched Area Bois in the afternoon and died giggly deaths. After a long time, I am watching a film that is in equal parts both delightful and relieving for the simple joys it brings as also for the deliberate revisiting of the words area, bois, and area bois. I am going to watch it again today to write about it. It’s not everyday that we get to watch a film that teaches us how much of the city lives in us, how much we don’t notice, and how little we do with the things we notice everyday.
Spent the evening looking at old department videos and laughing till eyes were teary and small. A folder full of odd, mad students reading in the dept corridor since 2013, madder teachers playing kabbadi and badminton after work, launching paper missiles at each other from their tables, willingly accepting dares to put kinetic hondas on centre stands and spraining hands instead. Some of us were still giggling when we locked the department door behind us and headed home. I giggled all the way home.