i was sleeping in the night, and a pineapple crawled in to me. it kept on hurting me from the insides. i shook, i wiggled, i coughed, sneezed and spat. but the pineapple didn’t exit. so i jumped up and down and yelled. i yelled so much that the ears next to me tore and the hearts went sore. i yelled so much that the glass castles shattered and the light came through. i yelled so much until all i could hear was myself. i yelled so much and jumped up and down, until my head squashed in to my toes. and then out came the pineapple, squished and mushy, and ran for its life.
Last week, at ACJ they had organized an evening interaction with Sudeep Chakravarti, the author of Red Sun: Travels in a Naxalite Country and Highway 39: Journeys through a Fractured Land. In early romance, when Sudha was traveling day and night in the Bombay trains, a few years ago, Red Sun kept him company and found him strange friends who shared the bogey. When on holidays or short escapades when my pockets are full enough for a pitcher of beer every week, I’d be in Bombay or Goa with him. Bits of the book, that’s all I have managed to read in five years. It’s expansive. What I knew of the Northeast states, Tibet, Kashmir, or Sri Lanka was from mainly from my friends from these places at college, parent’s friends, or work friends. The idea what is a home gets invariably altered. The AFSPA; the Assamese going ‘home’; Operation Bluebird; Liberalization, Privatization, and Corporatisation; the corruption; the Media; the history textbooks; they all say a very grim story. But from her own confusions that reflects a generation from Nagaland, Vibi spoke before the discussion. As soon as she had finished, I hurriedly jotted down, ‘must speak to her at the end of the evening’. I knew it was something Chaikadai could definitely create the space for. But, we are not a newspaper, magazine, or anything so concrete. After maintaining Koodankulam Speaks, this became a small editorial project for me. With the help of Sudeep Chakravarti, Vibi Yhokha and Nityanand Jayaraman, I have compiled a small set of reading and links that will help further the discussion. Though, the small nooks and corners of this as in Tamil I might call it is ‘nachu vela’ (courtesy Sukumar, Aakur, referring to sitting and cutting glass pieces one by one by hand for the kattaikuthu kreedam decorations).
Linking things. Changing it blue. Making sure everything opens in a new window. But, everything put aside, it has been a very good process for me to spend the week reading and collating. Now, that we know this is possible and have learnt many more keyboard shortcuts, we should be able to publish good comprehensive posts.
by Vibi Yhokha
“The single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete, they make one story become the only story….Stories matter, many stories matter, stories have been used to dispossess and to malign but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize, stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that broken dignity…..”
– Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi, The Danger of a Single Story
People, especially mainland Indians, have only a single story of Nagaland. No, in fact they have different single stories. They associate the Nagas with headhunting, Hornbill festival, Rock music, fashion and yes, Conflict. Nagaland the land of myths, where life is one long festival but is also a place where life is one long, long war….
But there is so much more to Nagaland than just conflict, music…
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half way through the essay. too many parts of my body are ill for the moment. cleaned one loft. the new house still alien and jatax pink. one more week to go there. i will only miss the lotus on the ceiling here, such quirks are rare. but feel like i really have no control about anything in that house, he he. we’ll all have to set it up together. ha. ill – so going and finishing reading for the essay. *cough* *cough* *cough*. he he he….
house-shifting. taking this time to do some study. collate notes. construct thought-lines. piling premises. sketching images. will have in a day or two some good comprehensive summaries and extensions from my pile of notebooks and books. will share here. library cleaning. 🙂 making essential reading lists.
At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning towards his rock, in that slight pivoting, he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory’s eye and soon sealed by his death. Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see, who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling.
I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burdens again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He, too, concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
ALBERT CAMUS The Myth of Sisyphus.
brought back from a note, because Shuba Desikan shared –
Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
– Isaac Asimov
Once again, I met disbelief when I talked about micro-nations. Here’s a conversation I had with Eric Lis, Emperor of Aerican Empire.
something I wrote a long time back:
The end of a year, the start of another one, comes with a sense of celebration all over the world. It’s just celebrated on different calendar days in various cultures with their most unique festivities. Crackers in some towns. Grand feasts in others. We decided to break away from our regular routines and travel to Goa this New Year. We reached on the morning of the eve and took a drive down to the beach where we chose to stay. On our way, we were called out to from the road where a large gathering of children were jumping up and down. Next to them on a plastic chair, sat slouched a man made of hay, pots, old clothes, and sticks. The taxi driver later told us that it is a custom for them to burn this dummy made in the image of a human on New Year’s Eve to…
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