Skip to main content

A "THOUGHTFUL" AUTOBIOGRAPHY

A “THOUGHTFUL” AUTOBIOGRAPHY
(Literature, life and me)

“You don’t always like to be the taker. Sometimes you want to give something in return”, said the professor. This was not the first time that Niralee thought that what was being done in class had a great correspondence with her personal life. But today, after this statement, she was forced to think from where it all started? Her twentieth birthday, she figured out!

This year, along with her dearest buddies Niki, Renu, Mon and Henna, she was celebrating it with some of her newly made friends, Rajiv, Ruby, Satish and Alpana. Little did she know, that this new year and these new contacts were going to bring a completely new perspective to her life.

Niralee was already through with a week in her new job in a school and was thoroughly excited about this dual role of teacher and student that she was going to play. Although a fan of Indian literature, English literature had always scared her a bit. But she had a great fascination for French literature. Actually, what she did not know at this point was that Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Hamidou Kane were not going to be as passive as Molière and Beaumarchais!

Niralee loved chatting with Rajiv. At first, she thought of him as an ABCD: American Born Confused Desi. But it took only a couple of discussions with him to realize that he was anything but confused! Are Indians patriotic? : The first discussion that almost touched the point where it could be called an argument. After that, there were plenty that followed. Every now and then he would very easily throw her in a situation where she would desperately try to prove her point but ultimately end up believing that even if her point was not completely wrong; his was definitely more valid than hers! She started enjoying these discussions that stimulated her to think beyond the point she had always restricted herself to.

In class, Simone de Beauvoir was putting forth hundreds of existentialist questions at her and making her head spin! “On ne nait pas femme, on le devient!” Now how does one explain that? Isn’t one a biologically a woman at all? What percentage of her was a result of her upbringing? Was it alright to live alone, unmarried in a country like hers which was in some ways still more backward than 20th century France? Was India, her India, that she loved so much, really so backward? If yes, what was SHE doing for its betterment? Wasn’t she, in a way, doing harm to her country by breeding a whole new generation who had chosen French over Sanskrit? Or was she preparing the new generation with a tool to overcome communication barriers in a new age world? Did one, directly or indirectly, really become less Indian by learning a foreign language? Had she become any less of it?

In prof. Sirdeshpande’s class, they were studying Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s “l’Aventure Ambiguë”. “L’Aventure Ambiguë”- what an intriguing title! So was the book! It was the story of this young boy Samba Diallo who leaves his motherland Africa and goes to France for pursuing a career in Philosophy and about how he suffers a gradual loss of identity. Comes a point where he feels so alienated from himself, that he chooses death over the life of a hybrid being. As a writer, Kane does a brilliant job by describing a step-by-step, systematic change in the thinking of Samba Diallo. At every point, the reader is forced to hold himself back for a second and think if he is sailing in the same boat as Samba? If what he has taken from the other cultures was worth what he loses in the process? If he knows the way back home when he is on this ambiguous adventure that today’s world of globalization is in itself? This book was a major subject to reflect upon. Sirdeshpande Ma’am would add her own experiences to make it crystal clear to the students. Niralee was planning to apply for an Assistanat in France to teach English. The book rang the warning bell for her! It was a book she wanted to hold on to and go back to from time to time. Were her values a strong anchor that would prevent her from being another Samba? But was it so bad to adapt to the new culture? How much could one change in a new country like France? How much could one afford to open up? Is the other culture always so perfect that so many people happily let them get carried away by it? Are they always right in what they do? Does that mean we have been doin everything the wrong way till now? “Il faut savoir vaincre sans avoir raison”. Is it possible to win over someone without being right? Do we know to win without being right? Is it possible to just accept change as it comes without thinking if our stand is right? “You don’t always like to be the taker. Sometimes you want to give something in return”. What is essential thus is to make ourselves capable of thinking and being able to firmly believe in what we do and say before trying to win over someone with one’s ideas. Let’s hope Niralee finds her way to do this!  What did Niralee think about this? She was worried for sometime, but then gently smiled and told herself, “Whatever it is, it’s going to be a worthwhile experience! Let’s enjoy it!”

Comments

  1. This is really amazing... everytime i read it..! d 1st time i read, it actually inspired n pushed me towards writing..!! its.. no words!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. cool!!!!!!
    ur words speak out ur thoughts.
    so dont let it stop...
    just go ahead n apply 4wat ur mind tells u...AN ASSISTANAT IN FRANCE.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The 20 lakh package

In the corner of a room Clustered only with a
rusty stove And an old bed, A tattered book he read to his sister Trying to put her to bed.
The day had been long He had to cook with Baba And clean and dust, The woman of the house Had lads she could trust
At night Baba watched over the neighborhood And him, over their humble abode For his earnest parents This was his gentle ode
Finally came home Mommy Who was playing nanny To another little angel Whose parents took turns too Earning their hefty packages

कविता

कविता लिखना किसी इंसान के बस की बात नहीं है
कविता ख़ुद ही अपने आप को लिखती है
इक ज़रिया है बस हम तो
कविता ख़ुद ही ख़ुद को आईना में दिखती है

यह ख़ुद अपनी ज़ुबां चुनती है
लफ्ज़ अपने ख़ुद ही ढूँढ़ती है
कोशिश कर लेना तुम कभी
झूठ लिखते ही ये टूटती है

देर रात यह सपने में आती
मन के दरवाज़े पर दस्तक देती
लिफ़ाफ़े में बंद चिट्ठी में
अपने आप को तुम्हें दे जाती
लिखावट काग़ज़ पर तुम्हारी है बेशक़
पर कलम में सियाही तो वो ही भर जाती

कभी यूँ ही शाम को मिलने आती
खिड़की के पास बैठ चाय की चुस्कियाँ लगाती
रोम रोम में इक महक सी भर जाती है
दिल की धड़कनें कानों तक गूँज जाती है
बाहर की खिड़की खोलते खोलते
यह रूह के दरवाज़े खोल जाती है

एक बार कविता हर किसी को छूने आती है
जब टुटा हो दिल प्यार में, तो यह कुछ ज़्यादा जी लुभाती है
जब हाथ बढ़ाए तुम्हारी ओर, झट से थाम लेना, साहीर
यह बार बार गले नहीं लगती है।

L’Amour Courtois: Really a phenomenon of just the Middle Ages?

After the “epopee” or epic that greatly valorizes the honor of a chevalier who dies in the battle field, literature took on a new dimension, with love playing an essential role. The chevalier was now more eager to prove his worth to his mistress than to his land. It was not just important to love but win his love over the others.
Almost ten centuries later, the concept of love, for men, does not seem to have changed much. This is especially true for Indian men (am not commenting on others as I hardly know any). L’amour courtois rejects all kinds of indiscretion and also any hasty confession of love, everything has to be done as per a “code of conduct”: friendship --> courtship (the most important and probably also the longest lasting stage) --> love.
Is it related to the masculinity of men and their perpetual need to prove it to themselves and to others? Even in today’s age, men prefer a woman who plays the role of the Dame courtoise, or of the Indian “devi” in the Indian context…