Saturday, September 22, 2018

Compensating for a Gendered World III - Earn extra

Kaleidoscope doesn't know how many times he is going to see the same genderTarulata and Anna (which literally means not any more), if they don't just click on their names btw, now its time to share with you story of Aloka.
story from different actors. Kaleidoscope believes people remember

Aloka is a new inclusion to care for the peripheral works associated with the newborn in Kaleidoscope's home. Aloke happens to wear elegant saaris, often reads news paper when there is not much workload. In fact, there is plenty of time as after washing the baby's clothes and boiling water etc. there is hardly anything left for her to do. Kaleidoscope was curious about Aloka. She happens to speak less but when she speaks she speaks about the world outside. When she doesn't have work to do, she often goes to the balcony or on the roof to watch outside. Aloka happens to have a lot of phone calls. Mostly regarding orders to be handled by her husband who is a tailor.

What is her story? Kaleidoscope was curious. So here it goes.

Aloka's, husband is a good tailor and used earn  good enough to sustain a family, raise their girl and make arrangement for her marriage. Things started to change with the inception of ready made garments. "Even aged people started wearing the ready made cloths!"

Yes, it was a huge change: "Those of the workers easily switched over and joined some 'pull' or in some shopping plaza, those owing shops and business, (entrepreneur Kaleidoscope thought!) could not switchover easily.

Meanwhile Aloka watched her little daughter managing his not to well off family all by herself. Her affinal kin didn't demand anything but then there was infrastructure 'deficit.' Her daughter needed an alimrah, the newly wedded couple had to sleep on a chawki and lacked a proper bed.

While she urged for those items to be given to her daughter "just to set her free of the obligation that she had to keep everything in her mother-in-law's alimrah, and everytime she needed something she had to ask for the keys" her husband said "you have earn it, I can not give, neither did I have the money for it!"

Aloka felt helpless, meanwhile, there was problem mounting in her daughter's family with everyday access to the the alimrah and the like.

Aloke took up the job of aaya - a helping hand in need. She ended up serving for one of the readymade material suppliers and could give her husband one last opportunity to use his skill and earn. This time the husband agreed. Watching Aloka earning he felt humiliated for not being able to earn enough! So the family, as Kaleidoscope watches is slowing coming back to its original shape.

Meanwhile she could afford an alimrah and a proper bed for her daughter!

Pic: taken from

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Anarchy in the designed Newtown landscapes

Since Kaleidoscope's arrival in his new workplace destination where everything seems to be too perfect. When he first found his college has a landscaping he thought it will soon become anarchic without proper maintenance. He was wrong. It is maintained every once in a while. So does other lawns. Although he has seen lawn being eaten by ghosts of past as cows once in a while come to have crunchy food in lawns (click here). However, the neatly designed place often sees transformation as the past 'infiltrates' within the present build-in neat and clean design of the place.

While the the 'last canal' got a makeover on both of its banks, Kaleidoscope thought it must be one of the last trails of the past (click here). The canal side lanes are getting paved and it might get 'beautified' like it has in some other parts of the city. The convocation center bound canal not only got 'lawned' banks but also have an installation of an artificial boat - quite heterotopic but it remains. However, the canal which passes through Kaleidoscope's college - also one of the only refuge of natural unkempt touch that the college has, remains to be the same. With an exception of the pavement of the lanes beside the canal the rest of the place remains unaltered.

As the lane is paved, Kaleidoscope now avails the lane instead of broad street which passes through the Central shopping plaza decked with flex and late capital consumerist advertisements.

The canal side lane happens to be an interesting contrast to the rest of the designed and neatly bound city.

  • It is a space where he has spotted people quietly sharing a drink or two along with cheap side dish - a makeshift picnic arrangement. Indeed, his species is yet to forget the most coveted space for picnic, as many prehistoric sites are indeed picnic spots for many. 
  • It is also a space for some of the workers (as there are many construction workers continuously building the city) to take some rest taking refuge under shed in scorching midday sun.
  • Usually in the afternoon Kaleidoscope spots a few couples casually walking, holding each other's hands and looking at the trees, shed and the water which passes through the canal. 
  • Casual short-cut takers - yes by those who cannot afford to have a car and walk through. You can understand the lane belongs to the past the organically connected folks.

Kaleidoscope does not wonder when he sees disjuncture between the inhabitants of the builtin apartments in the cityscape and the little past of all that is left. The past belong to the people at the bottom - those of the rooted. No wonder the canal carries waste of the haves and is quietly resourceful for the havenots. Kaleidoscope smiles - no wonder power is situational.

Pic: the paved canal road which Kaleidoscope uses everyday.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

"First generation learners" scoring top - the background story

I remember encountering a couple of guardians in 2012 hot and humid June. They want their daughters to pursue graduations from our college that too in anthropology. The reasons being the same poor marks have made them incapable to pursue honours in other disciplines. Both the daughters however scored well in their secondary examinations.

There are challenges for both of them. Their parents are landless agricultural labourers and hence they are poor. Thanks to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes there is some hike in the wage.

Both the daughters have their mothers work in the field and they too offer help every once  in a while.

There are more challenges, they do not have any option than to stay in the hostel which requires money. Moreover, girls outside the home means a) there is an absence of 'helping hand' at home and absence of an additional labour force for the kitchen garden, b) yes, they are not 'that pure' back home, back in the village, c)  who can afford spending for a girl whom you plan to marry off.

However, it was a pleasure to see their parents throwing challenges to at least at three aspects of everyday society a)  gender stereotypes, b) economic challenges and c) gambling with taking up a not so marketed course.

It was an extreme challenge for the daughters too. They were supposed to study in english - a language much feared. Moreover, anthropology happens to be a subject without available textbooks. One has to do a lot of reference works.

Haldia happened to be an amazing place with teachers willing to take up such challenges.

In fact the same is applicable for at least three more boys. I remember those guardians looking at me the person in charge of the admission and also belonging to the department. 'I cannot afford a private tuition - said one of the guardians.' I smiled and said 'you don't have to! Keep the faith'

I remember giving extra load to my senior colleagues. 'You people have to check whatever they write in english and check them meticulously and help them identify the patterns of mistakes'.  Thankfully all five have been most consistent in attending classes and post class english training sessions. Being from the hostel they could spend evenings in the staff room every once in a while discussing, writing, arguing and watching movies.

With increasing attachments to the department they volunteer in restructuring the department before NAAC visit when i aready left the college for routine transfer.

However they were making wonderful progress in not only perceiving anthropology but also in english and computer skills.

Meanwhile one of them scored highst in the university exam and anotherone stood second. The rest however secured  comfortable first class excepting one of the girls.

I remember the one scored highest told 'dont worry sir she will score better in part iii.'

Yes while others remained consistent the girl scored magic figure 60%.

However, it was beyond my perception that their parents will allow them to continue  a post graduation course. But they did and now we have top five of the university- our beloved first generation learners.

Teachrs' day message carried a photograph of my very last day in th college with the next generation faculties whom we transferred the batton. The message said 'sir please remain happy as you seemed in this photo'.

Yes, this is pleasure even when you are not there.