Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For old times' sake

This is something that Munchkin came up with nearly 2 years ago, when we got elected into the Union. She'd come up with this to add a humourous touch to all the rules that formed part of Stella's famous dress code, which we were supposed to re-relate (yes, that's not really a word but what do you call the action of relating rules that are restated at every year's GBM by every Union, so much so, that by the end of 3 years, the average Stella Marian would have heard it at least- and NOT on an average- 10 times over!) to the student body at our first GBM. When I first received this limerick-of-sorts as a message, I thought it was absolutely brilliant and another indication of Manisha's literary genius (the genius lies in the very simplicity and obviousness of it all!). Since, then the message has been permanently saved up on my cell phone, but lately I've been going on a cleaning spree to clear up memory space and since I was reluctant to delete this particular message, I figured I could save it up on the blog instead.

Mancha's Dress Code for Stella Marians

Tight is not right
Sleeveless is needless
Short is not hot
Lingerie are not for display

Don't know how many people in that batch would remember this, but this is one of my many remembrances of the times we had dealing with strict, set in stone rules and trying to justify them in the face of arguments that we, (the 6 of us in the Union) ourselves, would have put forth had we been on the other side.

Munchkin, if you ever read this... You were the best!!! Of all of us! And now I hope I don't get pulled up for such proclamations from the other 4! *cheeky grin*

And if any of you who ever read this, happen to have passed through "the hallowed portals of our alma mater", I'm sure this should bring back lots of memories of it's rules and our ways of skirting them! For those who haven't, but are from Chennai colleges, you'd still know the feeling! *beatific smile*

Monday, December 10, 2007

Parallel Realities

Have been meaning to write a post on my first impressions of Ahmedabad and whether it fit this whole image of a communally riddled Gujarat that we're made to believe. However as usual, I’ve been procrastinating. Now that the introduction is done, I might as well get down to jotting down some of my first impressions of this place…

The very first time I went around the city, I found myself thinking that maybe it was true that this place/state was a very Hindutva led state. After all, what else can one infer when one sees little temples sprouting up all over (they’ve even built a replica of Vaishno Devi’s Mandir, complete with a little- or rather, a miniature- hillock) and mammoth idols representing Shiva and other members of the Hindu pantheon as road decoration or at street intersections? In fact, one of my lasting impressions of this place would probably be seeing an armed man standing on the middle of a street, in broad daylight (12 p.m. to be more precise) , while VHP party workers put up party flags at a traffic crossing in the midst of a street market. Seeing armed men and undercurrents of violence is not new to me (thanks to my stay at Bihar), but in an ‘urban’, ‘cosmopolitan’ context, I must admit that it did get my attention.

Other things that I noticed about the place are how the Muslim areas and Hindu areas are so starkingly separated. The city consists of two parts- the old city and the new city. The old city is primarily occupied by Muslims while the new one sees a primarily Hindu population. The difference in the lay and feel of the two parts is quite striking. The new part is full of glitzy malls and broad roads, modern architecture and high rises. On the other hand, the old city consists of older architecture; broken down, ramshackled houses; small shops; narrow roads and a general feeling of neglect and a dull pallor. It’s almost like two parallel cities growing together but at a different pace. In that sense, a parallel may be drawn to Hyderabad.

To end this, the point here is the dynamics and the way a specific portion of the city is chosen to grow at a faster rate to promote the image of a progressing state while another seems to be shelved for the moment, to be pulled out later. But the question is when does this later become a now? Maybe I just wanted to notice signs to show that one section of the society was marginalized or maybe my inferences were a reality, but I’m not about to sit judgement on that.