Thursday, December 21, 2017

From someone who has never made any New Year resolutions (which is why I'm now allowed up to 10)

I've never been one for resolutions, New Year or otherwise. Perhaps the post-modernist in me rebels against their reductiveness  - something that delimits the endless probability any 'new' year or beginning promises -  and doesn't enjoy the confining mono-narrative a resolution would force upon me. I reserve for myself the right to change my capricious mind because (prepare yourself for the ultimate clich√©), I genuinely don't know what tomorrow will bring.

However, since we've been asked to this month write about what we hope and wish for, and resolve to achieve in, the new year that is soon going to be upon us, I asked myself if there was anything I did - or have been meaning to do - that I think is worth holding on to in 2018. And there is. I resolve to keep trying to check my privilege every day as I live and breathe. I resolve to give until - and even when; especially when - it hurts: whether it is of myself as an educator, or in my capacity as someone with the means to contribute to , say, a young Dalit activist's fledgling political campaign, or rehabilitation programmes for Assam flood victims, or the UNHCR's mission to provide Syrian refugees with blankets to combat a long, cold winter.  

One of these many privileges I've acquired is this: people no longer try to mansplain[1] things to me. It's actually gotten to the point where the very thought of this is, to me, laughable - I pity the poor fool who wants to burn himself trying. Checking this privilege - acknowledging every moment that despite the fact that I've worked to make this state of being come to pass, it is one - means that I have to work my ass off from this moment on to ensure I'm not inadvertently perpetuating this ridiculous status quo by not encouraging as many of my more hesitant female students to find their voices as I possibly can.

I also resolve - possibly to the chagrin of anyone who follows or reads me on social media platforms or has the misfortune of finding themselves in my classroom - to keep railing and ranting and agitating and organising against inequity and totalitarianism, wherever I see it, and in whatever form it takes: race-caste-class-gender-religion-ethnicity - I resolve to persist with my commitment towards reading/decoding structures of oppression in all their intersectional dimensions.  
Finally, I realise I'm very much a work-in-progress (aside: we all are - if you're done 'becoming', then what proof have you that you're alive at all?), and part of what I need to work on is making sure I remember to be 't/here' more for the people around me, instead of having my nose (long; once broken) stuck in an article somewhere, telling me about some fresh hell in some new part of the world. I resolve in 2018, so, to try and start doing just that. Maybe I'll stop mewing when Ma asks me to. Maybe I'll stop working on my falsetto (a la Vitus) when dad has had enough. Maybe I'll stop ranting about how stupid weddings are to Melo, or actually use headphones when Manik asks me to. Who knows? Hope floats, right? 

2018 will probably turn out to consist of the same old shit we insist on inflicting, as a species, upon ourselves. But I resolve to smile (occasionally), and remember to be grateful for beauty in both, the most quotidian forms I can find it (a traffic-free ride; new birdsong!), as well as when the majesty of a landscape reminds me of my own insignificance in the cosmic scheme of things (in the face of the Himalayas or the Andes or wherever the year wants to take me). This much I can do. This much I will do. Thank you for all you've taught me, 2017. I'm excited to see what happens when the world eats another year.                

[1] Check out this gorgeous piece for more: