Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sumthing of JNU


It’s not everyday that a book comes, about an institution that has fed people’s fantasy for as long as they remember. It’s about an institution, which enjoys a near sacrosanct status, like an impenetrable fort; its disciples shrouded with a bizarre aura, painting them almost like mythological characters, placing them higher then ordinary mortals.

And then, this audacious book that reveals the ages old hidden secret - that the institution is just like any other, with its share of ingenious philosophy, its glorious and not so glorious history, upside down geography, multi-hued sociology, melting pot of a culture etc. That its disciples are like any others, with their share of weaknesses and strengths.

That this institution too isn’t really different from others.

But the book also narrates about the temperament of this institution, about the undying spirit, which doesn’t kneel down, no matter what – the positivity remains intact.

That’s the reason why the institution and its disciples enjoyed almost mythical status in the minds of ordinary mortals.

And coming from an insider, we tend to believe every word of it, despite being author’s frivolous natured writing.

JNU is the institution in question and the audacious book I referred above is Soma Das’ Sumthing of a mocktale – At JNU where Kurta fell in love with jeans. The misspelt words are neither printer’s mistake nor poor proofreader’s. They are intended – first to conjure up a frivolous atmosphere before the reader flips pages and secondly to dissuade eruption of serious thoughts, while reading the book. But in fact, the misspelt words say a lot, even before you read acknowledgements.

Soma Das, being a research scholar, got to spend a lot of time in JNU, one of the premier institutes in India, often hailed as Harvard of the third world. The book unfolds like a chronicle of her life in this august institute. She picks tit-bits from around her and weaves a story, about a bunch of students from JNU. She has friends, no best friends; foes, no temporary foes; philosophers and guides, literally. She presents JNU, as transparent as possible; in black and white. She narrates situations that are as real as the can get and as fictional as they may appear.

Life at JNU looks funny and serious at the same time. It is about abundance of joyousness and unfathomable grief simultaneously. It is about witnessing a few winners and a bunch of martyrs. It is about JNU as we know, and JNU as it is.

The book may not be a page turner but is an interesting read at times; gets little dragging at times but survives the mid-book hiccups and turns out to be quite a fair affair for a 206 pages long book.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Delhi changes the way it relieves

Thanks to commonwealth games, the dingy, kiosk type, shabby and stinking public urinals are now in for a facelift. If you've been noticing the change - which is quite noticeable by now, as we all use the public urinal at one point or another - you'd realize that swanky and well kept toilets are replacing their older counterparts, all most all over the city.

If we were waiting for the commonwealth games to happen, for our city to prim and deck-up, I'd wish the games happen every 2 year at least.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Delhi Blogs

So you live in New Delhi, soon to be a world city or they have already tagged it so. Now that the city is beaming with infrastructural growth and social change, boasts of its cultural heritage and tradition at one side and metrosexual suburbia’s uber cool attitude on the other, its time we air our voice; its dilliwaalas take on Delhi’s social, cultural, traditional changes. So you came across a new food joint lately or just want to vent your views about these flyovers; discovered a shopper’s paradise hidden in a corner or want to tell a tale about road rage on Delhi roads, anything and everything about Delhi is accepted and expected here. It’s a community that is still alive and sensitive about its surroundings and doesn’t hesitate rating it, good or bad.

It’s about a phenomenon called Delhi.