In the Middle of Nowhere

Unfortunately, unlike what the title suggests this aint a travel blog! I didn’t go to the tropical forests of Africa or got lost in the desert winds, I didn’t as much take any significant trip unless you count travelling in a local after 10 pm at night a big deal, but still somehow I have managed to transport my mind to the middle of nowhere.

We talk about child development, debate about different learning theories given by Western psychologists (since almost all the research takes place where people don’t have to think once of the hassels in travelling 12 kms in a crowded city, where day to day life is so well-settled and driven peacefully by useful appliances and material tools, as a result where manual labor is respected and dreaded less). We talk everyday about cognitive models for 2 hours, 6 days a week, 3 weeks in a sem. 36 hours of understanding a child’s mind and its learning processes. A lot of teaching-learning. 20 minutes of a train journey, sitting besides a tired helpless woman who is carrying two girls 1-3 yrs old in her arms, who had to hit the older child again and again in order to keep her near her, so that she doesn’t rush off in the crowd; the child howling with pain and emotion. Ofcourse, this lady could never even think of affording a double pram which could carry both her children, issues of child development would be a joke to her. A 30 hours tutored graduate sitting beside her also helpless as to what to do. She wants to reach out and take the child in her arms to comfort both the baby and the mother, but something from within stops her. She has never done something like this before. Its too much of a quarrel inside to be able to enact. Wishes she was also taught how to handle such tormenting situations.

(Ofcourse, I am not pointing out the already existing debate on practical and intellectual activity dualism. I am just wondering whether this dualism would ever get dissolved. I am probabaly just writing about the differences scenes from the wonderland Alice has found herself in, yet again.)

While sipping special expresso with creme and choco-chips on top in a sea facing 5 star with my friends from the other extreme spectrum of my world, I heard about a theory on growing economy and utilization of all resources in the world. How the capitalist society is moving towards that growth where potential of every human, every resource would be used to the maximum and that would be utopia? Because, common sensely, that would be the end of any inequality, any discrimination, any domination, all the evils in short, else the maximum potential won’t be reached. Hence all the talks of communists are the real evils right now.

Anu, why weren’t you in the lecture today? You weren’t there yesterday either. Lecture on Gendering Caste by Uma Chakroborty (UC). She give some nice new perspectives on looking at things. 

I had gone to the auditorium, I did hear 10 mins to that same activist tone, I felt the same urge to shut my ears from hearing any further and left the room. Lets take it to be an accepted fact that women are dominated by men, that they are in a pathetic situation, and that one way of undoing this injustice is by women going out of their homes. Just like what UC did perhaps. But then who would do the household chores? Who would take care of kids? Who else, ofcourse the maids from lower strata who are also in turn coming out of their houses, but unfortnately who can’t afford day care for their kids. They are fit for doing cooking, cleaning and all such labour work which the highly educated woman is too good for doing herself. The feminists all over the world support her.

So am I implying that the traditional model of division of labour was the best? My capitalist friends would say the debate is irrelevant. As long as a woman is being effecient, productive at home and man outside or vice-versa there is no problem. Doesn’t that sound a fair statement by all means? Probably that is how it was started thousands of years ago. But didn’t remain so, which means there is an inherent fault somewhere here. That is the problem with philosophising and implementing.

My other friends following Gandhian philosophy believe all the work should be shared. All drudgery has to be done by oneself. Hence, to do away with the division of labour at the individual day-to-day chores level. That is the way one can extract most out of oneself, and get most pleasure. The manual and mental work has to maintain a hormony. And this is the only way you don’t mistreat anyone. But it is a very difficult exercise. For instance, had I been a Gandhian, I couldn’t have managed to look around the middle of nowhere and rest my anxieties a bit by writing a blog, for I would have been busy cooking. Right now, I don’t care whether I have eaten or not. A very indisciplined life.

I hear activists shout all the time : The loads of money spent on so much technology, nuclear weapon is of what use when we can’t even solve problems of poverty? Similarly I wonder how attending 36 hrs lecture on child development would help me when I can’t even stop tears of a crying child of a stranger on the train?!

(Boss!! class bunk karne ke liye pehli baar maine itna bada argument banaya hoga! It was so much easier in IIT, when I was tagged insincere! Losing one’s reputation is the only way to freedom!)

5 thoughts on “In the Middle of Nowhere

  1. @Bro
    I’m glad that is how you find the post on some of things which probably matter a lot to me… coz then the lack of communication wouldn’t make much difference. Oops, touchy!


  2. I endorse your views and agree with you. We people,talk of big big things but if you really want to know abt child development then go to any big construction site or near brick kiln or to slums. the condition is pathetic.
    Majority of the ppl r aware of this fact but either do not want to improve the things or can’t .


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