Q for Qualification

   Art by EV Anil I’m thinking about what you were doing now, at this moment, in 1918. When you were teaching at Sydenham College, and students liked your classes but you weren’t allowed to drink water from the same jug as your colleagues. What did you do, Baba? I am haunted by which ofContinue reading “Q for Qualification”

T for Teaching

This one is hard but it’s about love so it’s also easy. I am here somewhere, with my students. Behind us, on a screen is a black & white photo of Joan Didion. It was my idea to have her there. Let’s take a picture & send it to her, I told them. And theyContinue reading “T for Teaching”

Knowing and Unknowing

At some point in 2015, I became very comfortable with the idea that teaching is an autopilot thing. That it was enough if I had read a text/poem/short-story once – no matter how long ago it was – that it would be enough if I remembered it. Teaching was – more than anything else, remembering.Continue reading “Knowing and Unknowing”

I have some answers for you

Why are you writing so many ‘Dalit- Dalit’ things these days? While “I’ll write what I want” is generally a good response to stick with– I’m going to explain this to you with love, (because you seem like you have the potential to be a better person) and also with swalpa sarcasm (because I cannotContinue reading “I have some answers for you”

Some thoughts on Teaching in the age of many Fs

I don’t remember her name and this makes me feel guilty. Because that was one of the first few things I’d learnt as a teacher. AM had told me – Always learn their names. Don’t mark attendance by calling out numbers. In a system that reduces students to numbers, making the effort to learn andContinue reading “Some thoughts on Teaching in the age of many Fs”

What is Rum Lola Rum, ma’am?

This has been a week full of Magic. I’d like to show you some of this but I’m afraid you won’t like it very much. It’s heavy like a tall glass and salty like bloody Mary, and like both, it might tear the corners of your lips. when i’d watched The Prestige long ago, iContinue reading “What is Rum Lola Rum, ma’am?”

Learning to Smile like Mona Lisa

My favourite scene in the film Mona Lisa Smile is Katherine Watson’s second Art class with the girls. It is supposed to be vengeance.  But Miss Watson is able to go beyond it. She was unprepared for her first class with them. She was expecting them to be extra smart, but not unimaginative enough toContinue reading “Learning to Smile like Mona Lisa”

Looking back at The Husband Stitch

I have always been a teller of stories. ~Carmen Maria Machado The first time I read The Husband Stitch, I wished I hadn’t read it. Because I knew that the many times after I’d reread it, I would continue to ask myself what it was like the first time -like asking someone who likes sexContinue reading “Looking back at The Husband Stitch”