Thursday, January 26, 2006

Africa, I Love you !

Just finished reading Chinua Achebe's classic "Things Fall Apart" which speaks of the vibrant culture in a village Umuofia in (Probably Western) Africa and how the life of fun loving people around here is affected by Christianity. It showcases how amazingly colorful and in depth the African culture was before the whiteman and his all savoring religion branded it as the "Dark Continent".

Achebe fiercely resents the stereotype of Africa as an undifferentiated "primitive" land, the "heart of darkness," as Conrad calls it. Throughout the novel he shows how African cultures vary among themselves and how they change over time.
It is the white missionary's inability to recognize that the Africans did not wish to change which leads to the breaking up of the villages in this region. The missionaries represent the ruthlessness of the white man in Africa. The villagers were asked to be obsequious to the white man and his religion or suffer the consequences. The way they force their world view on the natives clearly shows how forecful impingement of religious/cultural dogmas can ruin lives and ways of living. Most of the "developments" that the christians were trying to bring forth could be classified as "modernisation and routing evil" from the African society if we define the ways of west as "modern and eminently acceptable for humanity".

Keeping aside any of these larger issues the beauty of Achebe lies in anecdotes, songs and adages prevalent among the natives. COuple of which comes quickly to my mind is - one a lyric and nother a story about mosquito and ear !
Once a mosquito wanted to marry an ear. Ear said," How can I marry someone like you who has such an ephimeral life?. I dont know in how many hours u would be dead or be killed?". Thus rejected by the ear mosquito took a vow that whenever it shall meet the ear, it shall hum around it to make it acknowledge its vibrant life ! An to this day it stays !!!
And the lyric was (with my own naughty modifications;))

When I hold her hand, she says,"Dont Touch".
When I hold her feet, she says,"Dont Touch"
But when I hold her full grown breasts,She pretends not to know !!

Achebe's is "hold her waist beads, she pretends not to know - which is though equally naughty would be lost on readers who might not know the connection between waist beads and making love in Africa. Hence this destruction by yours truly !!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Its bliss at A !!

Chaos, our cult fest starts tomorrow. College is ready for 4 days of fun with Jal, Strings, Indian Ocean, Shivamani etc. Sidin has left consulting to become a full time writer. The last time we met (couple of weeks back) he had hinted it but we never thought it would be so soon !! Am sure he is gonna be a successful writer. So we have now someone along the Rashmi Bansal lines from our college. In another news, another friend of mine got into a software firm for a humungous 16 L per annum salary !! Two incidents at two different levels of leaving a 10+ L job for writing which would be a highly unstable but inspiring profession (which shall keep him "happy"!) and another one taking a high paying job in an industry which I would at best say too stable and boring for my liking !! That also leaves me with a sense of "What is to be done in the next 2 months?" when I too shall have to take a call on my career ! I do have an offer from a consulting firm so that I can take a few risky calls given that my downside is limited ! But at the end of the day I know I dont have the guts of Sidin to take up a job as a wildlife guard or a cricket administrator (two jobs which would closely come to what I would call dream!!). I would mostly take a very conventional job atleast out of campus and see where it takes me. But for sure I want to spend couple of years in forests either in India itself or going back to Africa. The day I left Tanzania & Kenya I had decided that I would go back to spend some time associated with forest conservation and eco tourism. Kerala itself would present me with some opportunities. So all in all I'm inspired enough by Sidin to think of these alternatives but not enough to get into these presently. I'd rather have one more brand in my CV (sic) before I do that !! Life is definitely worth living to its fullest. Thats what we would be doing for the next 4 days atleast !!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Going home !!

I am going to Kerala. Taking a week break before starting the preparations for the Final Placements which would mark the last fight at A !! Since I have only 2 classes over the next 9 days and that too law (which is as interesting as a fully clothed Mallika Sherawat) I thought I'd rather spend it with my family - having hot dosas and watching India Pak series. It was a sudden decision when day before yesterday I looked at my time table and discovered that there are only Law classes left for the next 2 weeks !!
Chaos, IIMA's cultural fest will start on 27th. Check out our pseude looking website. I'm sure it was not designed inhouse ;) Cuz it looks good !!