animesh kumar

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Archive for January 17th, 2006

A dream school

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How does someone leap upon a path un-traveled, ignored, often condemned? How does someone take up a challenge against unreasonableness? How does it happen to him to educate people who don’t even know what education is all about? How? How does it come to the mind? Through anticipation of possible publicity and possible recognition, or through visions and dreams?

Imagine a second year bachelor student of engineering, in a premier school, who has seemingly bright future, going into slums in vicinity of his college campus and teaching deprived children who otherwise would have gone to serving food in messes, or washing dishes in nearby small eateries, or perhaps, would have hidden under the shed of drugs!

What might have driven him?

Namita Chourasia, a correspondent with The Telegraph, endeavors to unfold the history that began in 1999 in the locality of Emerald Hostel of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad with a singular vision of a man. Amresh Mishra, the man behind the movement, was quite perseverant in taking such an unconventional step, especially when he had to convince slum-dwellers about the importance of education. But, he was adamant. Soon, the colors darkened and an evening school in the nearby temple began to be convened.

With time the school had flourished and recently the body inaugurated a primary education center in Lahbani village behind Emerald hostel.

Students of the campus are excited about the progress and the enthusiasm of locals who want their kids to study.

“We provide the children with textbooks and exercise copies. Fifty of us take classes in the evening. Students associated with Kartavya have to take classes once a week. We have hired a three-room building at a monthly rent of Rs 500,” explained a present third year student of petroleum engineering at ISM, Radha Raman Mishra.

What had started with a small drift has taken shape of a mass movement today. Once again, an old adage seems to come true: Histories are altered by single hands.

Amresh is undergoing training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad. The seed that he had sown is becoming a gigantic tree.

I remember – when I was in the same hostel during my final year in 2003/04 – how we used to go to the small temple in evenings and would gather students and urge them on until twilight. It was fun. There I had seen few best talents and few best teachers of the country. One of them was Parmendra Pratap (commonly known as PP). He had little interest in academics but was a voracious reader and a visionary. We used to talk a lot about the then education scenario, its problems and possible solutions, about philosophy, psychology, about Sigmund Freud, about Gazals, Jagjit Singh ji, movies, and everything. That time, palmistry used to be my fascination and we both used to sit hours discussing Chinese and Chiero’s dictates and methods.

He had a vision too, like Amresh. He used to talk vociferously about the importance of education and how it can be achieved. I, however, couldn’t go along very far.

Then, there was Manohar Shivam. He was shy and had a lot of interest in nano-electronics. Presently, he is in Netherlands, researching in his niche domain. He too was very particular about the need of education, and role of youth in it.

These men were never hungry of publicity; they worked because they had to work, not for others to appreciate or to recognize, but to keep their inner self at peace with themselves.

This is our obligation to keep them from oblivion.

It’s a rise of one man that drives the society to acclivity. We must not forget how much a single man can achieve, only if he wills to achieve. We must not forget the puissance of individuality. We must not forget the importance of visions.

Written by Animesh

January 17, 2006 at 12:30 am

Posted in Candid

Tagged with ,

Something more…

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I returned home in late mid night. Hastily rushing up the stairs, all I was thinking of was ‘she’. Whether she had retired to bed, or still wandered among the stars searching for moon, her moon, the one who lived so remotely far away, so distant, yet so near, so connected that I hated him. The real as well as the symbolic one. It wasn’t right, I knew, but how could I have not-hated him, after all, it was he she always sought after. I was near, in terms of physical distance, but he was more near, so damn near, in terms of connection – attachment. I remembered what the “quote of the day” had dropped: Love is the history of woman’s life; it’s an episode in man’s – Germaine De Stael.

As soon as I came to bed, I called her. There was a method we had employed. I would give her a missed call, and if, she were awake, free, and interested, would revert back another. She replied back. When I called her, slight tipsy although, I could sense her rudeness. She wasn’t she. Perhaps, because I wasn’t I. I thought of Hindi film songs. How easily they put out with everything. If they were in love, they would go to some park and dance around the trees; if they were lost, they would go to some bar, or to some friend, or to some secluded place and would drink like hell venting out everything over wine; but what about my situation? I thought and thought. But nothing came to my head. There wasn’t any such movie. I wondered if I was misbehaving. But then, she said she had a severe headache and needed to sleep. I was instantly out of the plot as if I was never there. Like a lost patriarch I had to go, out of the scene, out of her thoughts. Was I ever there? Perhaps, yes! At her sympathetic end.

Next day, I woke up late. The hangover retained till noon. I glanced at my phone. There wasn’t any call, or message. So, that separating headache, the villain of my story, was still reigning. I left her a missed call, in pretence that I had not minded yesterday’s (mal)conversations and was ready to resume things as if nothing had happened.

In the newspaper, there was an article discussing “how to live happily?”. It asserted that the chief reason of unhappiness was ‘self-guilt’. I leafed through it. It had a story of a house-wife in her mid-twenties. One afternoon, a man came to check the sewage of her house; she opened the door; he looked conspicuously normal; she ushered him to the bathroom. As soon as she winded backwards, he grabbed her, and there, she was raped. Same thing could incite different feelings in different brains. In her case, she started blaming herself. She thought, she wouldn’t have been raped, had she not opened the door. There was a tinge of self-guilt that people generally harbor out of anything, just as in the Hindu religion they, the pantheons, ask penance for everything – no matter right, no matter wrong – we did. If right, you were blessed; if wrong, it was your fault. How dubious was this unfair treatment of man, as if he didn’t have any role and was merely enacting something. Even in dramas, actors knew the next scene. What sort of drama is life then? If she had known that she was to be raped, would she ever have opened the door at the first place?

After an hour, she called me. And then we talked normally.

“I am sorry. I was …” She said and paused. I couldn’t decide how to react. But, then, a man is expect to be chivalrous and not to mind such trivial affairs, especially when it is related to someone especially special.

“Come on, there is no need of any sorry. You know it ruins me like anything.” I stopped her from going any further.

“But, I feel guilty for such a misbehavior. Let me at least say what I was saying.”

I could say nothing more then, neither could I protest. It was out of context.

I sensed the same guilt in her that the house-wife had in the newspaper article. I insisted upon the reason.

Around 4 o’clock, she called me up again. She had to go to her fashion designer aunt. She was helping her in something that I couldn’t exactly figure out – jargons of fashion industry, something that I had nothing to do with. But suddenly the plan was changed. Now the appointment was at six. It happened as if the life had changed its opinion about me. Suddenly, I became all important.

“So, if you want to meet, I can come now. At CCD.” Her tone had a dilution of superiority, and nonetheless I liked that. It was like she had owned me, and would command me to do things she would desire. I was finally relieved. I felt desired. Belonged to her. Strangely enough, my super-human ego never lurked there, her presence was sufficient to oust everything with her tricky innocent smile. Sometimes, only she matters, nothing else.

“Bye the way, were you busy?” she added. And the entire chill enfeebled. Often when you feel at the top, you are dragged all the way to the bottom; drained of your elation, dry of your enthusiasm. Life takes that back as soon as you are endowed with it. It doesn’t let the joy last. Although with pain it endured. Indifferent. Each moment was fleeting, but the happiness lasted a little earlier.

Her cursory concern spoiled everything that could have been better, out of the world. Now I had to make up. “Nah!” I said curtly, then added: “I feel closer to god while sleeping.” I paused a little and then resumed, “Moreover, I was just thinking of you, nothing would be nicer than to see your smile.” I quipped and we both burst out in laughter. I added further, as if in vengeance, “If you want to do, do it. Nothing should come to stop you.”

We were meeting after almost two weeks. A long time of separation. And just an hour to fill the gulf. How unfair? We negotiated over the time. She promised she would try to make it early. I believed her as I always did. What was wrong with men? Women need time; they need to polish their suave look so as to last its impact, its touch; they can’t rugged like men. They are the soft creatures; their weapons are smooth look and killing smile. I looked at my watch; it allowed me enough time for shaving. I went off immediately to the barber shop, shaved single, and returned back almost as hurriedly as I had gone. By the time I reached to the parking, she was busy getting her bike parked there. I mounted my bike on the main stand and moved towards her. She hadn’t yet seen me; busy adjusting her kohl lines while looking in the side mirror. I approached her and said “Hi”.

CCD was better; at least it had a good music. And it had a television that you can look onto, if your companion is searching for some ET (eye tonic).

She was extraordinarily normal.

We talked a little and then, gauging her normalcy, I asked her why she had such a severe headache yesterday night.

“It was hard as if someone had pierced something sharp into my head and would tear me apart.” She said. I wondered if she was putting forth an alibi for her rudeness. Traditionally, men were forbidden of emotions; perhaps that’s why they are more prone to it. But then, it might have been true. Now I was more curious to know ‘why’. I insisted. Then more. She held her mysterious silence. I knew it was difficult to persuade her.

Her face reflected all the vicissitudes of her emotions. It revealed everything sub-rosa. Starting from her ludicrous laugh, past the strain to the artificially implied smile, all gestures were traceable. She tattled with a shrug. “Nothing yaar. Just, you know…” she paused, as if weighing her own words, stared at her fingers, knotted them together, and then winked at me. She looked hollow. I knew she would continue. She needed some time to recover. I gazed at her. This would probably help; the delusive sense of support. Eyes were the window of our soul. I opened one for her.

I patiently conveyed my concern through the silence. It smothered her. “I had no talks with him for few days, and today had a face-off with my mom…” She unburdened herself.

I didn’t know what to say. How to comfort her? I maintained my silence. This time, though, searching solace for myself. She seemed to read it. We looked at each-other. Each had his compulsion, his particularities, and his love.

Last night, it ended with grief. Today night, it came with additional flavor. Why was the night not ephemeral? I wished it could end in pleasure, with her assuring me ‘good-night’.

Written by Animesh

January 17, 2006 at 12:27 am

Posted in Diary

Tumult

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Today when I was coming back from the “Treasure Island“, I felt that I missed something. Though, I couldn’t precisely understand what. But I felt the presence of something that was probably absent. I groped for words and thoughts to fill that blank, but nothing could I avail myself. It hung in empty space, with blurred boundaries, choking to extinction. I flailed in that emptiness.

The new mall, recently opened in the city, has been a major attraction since its first day. I remember, when I first went there, I returned back from the entrance, I didn’t bother myself to brave the rush that prevailed inside.

And today when I went there, same rush welcomed me. I wondered if it waited for me to come in all these days.

However, once inside, I didn’t find any kinship with the rush inside, which had looked like it was meant for me, waited for me, made for me, which had looked so personal from outside as if I owned it; which now looked so distant as if I didn’t exist at all. From outside, it attracted me with a fascinating sense of individuality, promising to spare its enormity for me, assuring me of my place, my identity; but from inside, it acted as if I was no-one, nothing but a lost version of once known individuality. It absorbed me. Completely. Thoroughly. It tried to make me feel at home. It acted as if I were a part of it, its family member; and therefore I must not seek for my own self, I must absolve my selfishness for its selflessness. It haunted me. It left me blank. And while returning I was torn between losing something and saving something – both at the same time.

I was not able to understand what I lost or what I saved. But once out, I felt safer. I felt at home. I gained my individuality.

I looked back to it, and it again attracted me with same promises, same assurances, and same kinship. I wondered if it was natural, or a deliberate effort. However, I smiled, and it smiled back – a beguiling smile, a covetous quip. I moved forward.

On the way back home, I mulled over my own thoughts. Astonishingly, my thoughts were wandering, and eventually pulled me towards my New Year resolutions.

On the eve of New Year night, I had discovered a new theory. That: this world is a channel – in essence. I don’t know what was there before life, or what would be there after it, but certainly, life is a channel. A channel that shapes you, and teaches you and helps you become what you actually should become. That: you are essentially the greatest, the supreme most, beyond everything, and above everything. This channel, life, is only to make you realize this pristine theory.

That day, I had resolved to achieve that greatest height that is destined for me. And I would not yield to anything. Ellsworth Monkton Toohey had said: some people are to enjoy, and some to rule. I would not succumb to any enjoyment since I am made to rule.

Perhaps, this was why I could survive losing her.

Or, have I really survived?

She was very much like this new mall: near from far, far from near. Ah! She was so much mysterious. She could stir me into deep turmoil; she could calm me into oceanic peace; all with just her looks. She was so puissant, so powerful. But, why am I writing she was; she is, she is still mysterious, still powerful. So much so that when yesterday I asked her why, she equivocally retorted in a chintzy, sad, poignant poem, and I forgot all about my tumult as her pain took over me, my existence.

Exactly as the mall had taken me.

So many things in life are similar, aren’t they?

Written by Animesh

January 17, 2006 at 12:26 am

Posted in Diary