Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Songs

Yesterday I went to the Alliance Francaise, which was packed with young college students. I went there because my youngest child was singing, and there were a few other proud parents, and the students were quite calm about performing in front of family and friends. The leader was a young woman who had started an organisation called "Becoming I" and they had started some projects including one called Fiza, which had to do with rehabilitation of children sold into prostitution. All the men and women students were very integrated, washed ,brushed and clean, barely out of school, but the amazing thing was the velocity of their music, and the very good lyrics, which they had composed as college bands. I was struck both by their sorrow and accompanying sense of hope, and each one so calm and sane, ambitious, alert, unselfconscious and stage savvy. For me, college students are very real and the sense of calm they provide me is probably a professional virtue that I have carried for these 27 years, as a teacher. They are completely at ease in public, moving around as if they own the world.
At the same time, two Dalit girls got burned by a mob in Murdabad, as my garbage collector calls his native city Moradabad. How does India make sense of the different worlds, its natives inhabit?

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