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Life at TISS: Reflections

My laptop is down. It seems to have caught a cold. It refuses to come on. The battery is fully charged, I checked, but it still doesn't come on. In the foothills of the BARC hills where I spend most of my day it rains incessantly, much to our delight and disappointment. Delight because the TISS campus and the surroundings have turned resplendent in green so peculiar of the monsoons. And disappointment because our underwear doesn't dry. If the humble loincloth can take two days to dry under a fan, one can imagine the state of our clothes. The laundry service on campus is kind enough to wash a bucket full of clothes for a sum of Rs. 20 per bucket but the damn sun doesn't appear. It is on a paid leave that we at the HR Department don't approve of.



From the highest floor of the library building #LifeAtTiss #BombayRainsA photo posted by Rushikesh Kulkarni (@rushikeshgk) on Jul 13, 2016 at 12:05pm PDT This is a interesting phase in my life. I am being reflective about it be…

Reimagining Futures - Journey Begins at TISS

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When I was in school I remember seeing print ads of Childline. The number was 1098 and a child holding a phone was the logo. What a great idea it had seemed to me back then, I could simply call up a number if I was beaten up at school, I thought. Several years later, sitting at the Convention Centre of the TISS, Bombay campus I found out that it all began there. What was meant to be a personal project of Jeroo Billimoria has now transformed into a global movement, along with the Ministry of Women and Child Development adopting the programme as its own
The occasion was the Director's Address as part of our Orientation for the academic year 16-18. Dr. Parasuraman was to speak about the various Field Action Projects that are undertaken at TISS by various faculty members and students belonging to the myriad centres that call this campus their home. It was amazing how candid, sensitive and witty the talk was. Apart from the fact that many of the programmes which began here were then lat…

Scalding Hot Water

"Burn in hell"

What does that even mean? Have you wondered? It sounds painful, of course. But there may not be anything such as hell. However, the said thing to do in hell is a real life, actual thing. But why not drown in hell or why is hell full of fire and not simply a gas chamber? Because fire hurts. Immensely. It is worse than a deep cut. And infinitely worse than a bruise. My tryst with fire has been very limited. Never played with the red flower, you see.

Your skin is a wonderful organ, the biggest organ overall and also externally. Internally that position is occupied by the liver which for many of you, I am sure bears the brunt of your life's ups and downs. Coming back to the skin, it is made of many layers primarily to protect your inner machinery from any damage. It has plenty of other responsibilities but it is the first line of defence for any external attacks. Such as boiling hot water. Or Scalding Hot Water.

As I was to discover one Sunday morning of Janu…

The Story Of Santacruz

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A little while ago, I found myself on the SV Road stretch near Santacruz. It was rush hour and I didn't want to negotiate my way through the vendors, shoppers and commuters thronging on all the approach roads to the station. So on a whim, I turned right into a quiet lane that seemed going towards the station. One of the address boards of a shop read - Chapel Lane. Fifty meters later, I knew why it was called so.

A small cross encased in glass stood high in one corner. Below, I noticed a marble plaque. This site was significant. After all this is what lent the entire neighbourhood its name.


Here's what the plaque read

This site is sacred & historic to the suburb of Santa Cruz. 

The words Santa Cruz translate as Holy Cross in Portuguese. Legend has it that the East Indian natives of the village Khulbowree erected a crudely made cross on a hillock which became a landmark because it could be sighted for miles amidst vast paddy fields. The original inhabitants, who were cultivat…

A Chapter from a Dog's Life

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Stray dogs are amazing beings. They are happy to live off the leftovers found in the garbage dumps or on scraps thrown at them. They find shelter under a parked truck in the day or curl up like a ball in a corner at night. Rain, sunshine, disease and hunger don't deter them. They aren't owned or cared for by anyone but they fiercely defend the territory that they live in. It is not hard to imagine how the idiom - it is a dog's life came into existence. Pet dogs lead a far comfortable life, irrespective of the breed.



As much as I'd like, I have not had a pet dog except for this one short time when I was 13 (Suzie died within 6 months). To make up for it, I have always forged friendship with all the stray dogs I come across on a daily basis. Feeding them occasionally, playing with them and picking their ticks off their hide means time well spent. Sometimes we have even helped secure a corner for their new born puppies and cared for the minor injuries. But when Whitey, t…

The Portrait of a Photographer

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Early January of 2015.

It had been a good day. A meeting with a friend had helped clear out a lot of things in my head. The way forward from there on, seemed a bit clearer to me. The Starbucks where we had met was a new one, located not very far the chowk. I wandered back to the bus stop to catch the 266 back to the station. But the sun had not set and it had been a while since I had visited the lake.




The lake, for most, simply cannot exist. For Lokhandwala can't have a lake. A lake in Lokhandwala? Lol. Just too many cross roads and shopping streets they say. But walk down on the Backroad as it is known, towards the jogger's park but don't enter it. Keep walking straight and within a few meters, look to your right. A small clearing opens up into what looks like a small pond but a healthy one. The Lokhandwala lake has over 70 species of birds, 50 % of which are winter migrants. It was a late January evening and I was very happy to see many ducks, a few raptors and also what s…

कॉल्ड्प्ले in Bombay

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कॉल्ड्प्ले केम टू बॉम्बे टू शुट थेइर लेटेस्ट विडीयो.

थे टूक अ कॅब अंड वेंट टो प्ले होळी इन वरळी अन्द सेंट सोनम कपूर टू वसई फोर्ट.

बेयोन्से बेकेम अ हिंदी मूवी आयटम गर्ल कॉलअड राणी.

व्हाट ईस व्रोंग विथ इत?

I saw the video only to see if I could spot the locations. Yes, there is Bassein Fort (How did they get the white peacock there! CGI like Beyonce climbing the stairs of the fort?) shot in the monsoon months with the foliage glorious and overtaking the ruins of the past, there are bylanes of Worli, the fort and the small harbour, Banganga, random streets and yes of course, the Gateway.

But there are some great visuals and some really made up ones. Sadhus doing yoga, kaleidoscope man, outdated tv sets but hey, this is a music video not a documentary on India on Discovery Channel. All I am thinking is how much fun those b-boying boys must have had and how proud their parents must be. I hope someone tracks down the group and does a story on them.



Then of course, there are the fishermen f…

Sun, Sand and Safety

The death of 13 college students off the coast of Murud beach comes as a shock. The relatively cleaner stretch of sand, with a narrow road running parallel to it is a great place for an evening stroll. I remember spending a leisurely afternoon there. I know how tempting it must have been to enter the waters and maybe splash around for sometime. I am sure the professors accompanying the students would have thought it to be a harmless activity.

Had it been any other beach with a slight gradient and low undertow; it would have been a perfect beach holiday with an excursion to the nearby Murud Janjira fort. Was there lack of oversight among the teachers? Perhaps. Were students so naive; maybe. But were they warned? Was there anyway of them knowing that the beach is known to be dangerous for swimming?

During the afternoon when the incident took place, the locals and tourists don't frequent the beach. It is quite isolated. Naturally, with nobody to turn them around the big group must h…

"From Shadows to the Stars"

Much is being written, said and debated.
About Rohith Vemula.
Of course, but for how long.
26 days? He was 26.

Born in Guntur, dead in Hyderabad.
His birth his fatal accident.
His ambition to become a writer.
His work - his first final note.

His mother sewed clothes
Father guarded a hospital.
He wrote, he fought, he was expelled.
From the University and the world.

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An original voice was extinguished. It is pathetic. Is this what a death of a writer feels like? Perhaps. Whose poignant note remains his best work. It makes one think, reflect and retch at what we have become. A newspaper carried it in the Op-Ed section with a smiling picture of him. I read it once. And once more. I couldn't read it again. But I did. You must read it too. Several times.

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I have always defended reservations. In colleges, in universities and in jobs. Urban readers, if from the upper castes, upper class, ignorant of the problems and iss…