the art of the possible

22/09/2013

The problem of the dialogue between the individual and society, which has come up in connection with the question of intelligence and instinct. . . is nothing other than this capacity human beings have of distancing themselves from their environment, both external and internal. This detachment, which expresses itself in the separation between tool and hand and between word and object, is also reflected in the distance society creates between itself and the zoological group…

The most striking material fact is certainly the “freeing” of tools, but the fundamental fact is really the freeing of the word and our unique ability to transfer our memory to a social organism outside ourselves.

— André Leroi-Gourhan(1911-1986) in Gesture and Speech / MIT Press / 1993

As usual,  the end of the term saw to it that complete exhaustion  started creeping in – and one longs to get a decent 6 hours sleep, during most of the nights – at least during the holidays…

But then, we were able to do a significant number of things with our children in this term – have started working with our TinkerLab & a basic electronics lab and stuff.There is a fine chap (one of my junior boys from my good ol’ almamater) who has landed up with whom lot of things have suddenly become possible – especially, math, oh the lovely mathemagics and ah the la la land of puzzles…

Our community kitchen got a proper sprucing up with a couple of fresh-mint buildings to boot. A whole lot of erstwhile classmates of mine are rallying and supporting us by various means –  and we managed to get a good bit of ‘help’ from a couple of readers of this, rather polemic and incendiary web log. Thanks, fine fellows – peace be upon you.

We had fun with tangrams, binary arithmetic, polyhedrons and certain aspects of Rieman Geometry and basics of Topology – and lots of Botany; we did some startling ‘science’ experiments; we learnt greek mythology; we sang songs and chanted hymns.  With the senior lads and young ladies – we had sessions on current affairs – and discussed in detail about the politicization of the Vanniar-Dalit relationships; we had a workshop on how ‘rumours’ spread and cameup with excellent strategies on how to nip, the useless rumours in the bud and how to respond to them otherwise; we discussed the ‘student protest’ and had a hearty laugh – many children came up with some very good suggestions & meaningful actions, that would have made our ‘penthouse vacant’ student-protestwallahs rooting for that mythical beast called ‘tamil’ eelam,  turn crimson; we discussed about the nuclear power and the abysmally unclear  protestwallahs; we dealt with in detail, the issue of water governance – and took a few concrete steps.

We wanted to do a protest march about this veritable scourge called ‘liquor’ – but did not, because it would antagonize the ‘cordial relationship’ that we would like to have with the villages populated ONLY by drunkards in our area.

We viewed quite a few fine documentaries (most of them were NOT in english and were NOT made by Discovery / NatGeo / BBC and the likes, am sorry)  and reflected on them. We managed to do a bit of gardening, and a significant clean-up of the village area just outside our School.

There were quite a few theatre performances and recitations of poems and stuff. There were a few rather long cycle trips – including a circa 40 km one today, ohmygawd, am still aching even as I type this  — & visits to a few nearby places of historical / botanical interest. (Of course we also worked along and around  the ‘samachcheer kalvi’ soup dished out by the Tamilnadu Government – a rather sad legacy of the previous gross mis-governance of Sri M Karunanidhi. my bete noire)

But, a lot more meaningful things were done at one level and zillion  more things that we could do (and should have done) were not done at other levels – which is really sad.

I really resonate with Swami Vivekananda when he said:  “Give me 100 energetic young men and I shall transform India.” – only thing is that, now, even for our Alcohol crazed Villupuram District, we will need 1000 (non drinking, but ‘thinking’) young men, to shake us out of our alcoholic stupor. :-(

Most of us are taking a week off and, during the holiday-break, some of us are:

taking a break
planning to go broke
breaking even
breaking apart
going to be heart broken
breaking down
breaking away
breaking a new ground
getting a break
breaking ourselves in…

ha ha! gotta apply brakes, NOW!

Of course, I am not taking a break,  because there are so many unfinished ‘maintenance’ tasks. No, I am not a martyr to any damned cause – far from it, I am a bloody hedonist. Am also going to rererereread my Asokamithran, Marcel Proust, Pudumai-p-piththan and Sundara Ramaswamy, among others – for the next one week.

… But, as one of my dear friends and altered  egos  – Sainath Radhakrishnan reminded me today among other things, I have to restart working on my pet obsession – Bapukuti. Yeah. He also asked me to pipe down on the acidic content of the weblog and to go easy on the lumpen. But he does not know that, as a living being – my defence (+offence) mechanism happens to be this vitriol and that I am a thorough and unapologetic political animal – and, of course my favorite hallucinogen is acid. QED.

Thanks for putting up with this ramble in Angrezi – because this is the language that many of my friends — not that there are many  left, what do you expect ;-) know and are comfortable with – even them folks of Tamil  origin! Baloney!! :-(

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