Skip to main content

Posts

Parasport in India

Being Indian means a lot of different things for different people, but one thing that is standard is the sometimes overwhelming feeling of being almost weighed down by thousands of years of culture. So when I started thinking about writing this article on the journey and development of parasport in India, I decided to begin at the begining – by looking at the two major Sanksrit epics on ancient India: The Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Historians may not agree on whether this is history or mythology, and the exact dates of origin are unknown, but some scholars have managed to agree on a date of about 5561 B.C. Whether the specific events actually took place or not, these works serve as a study of the evolution of species, and it is said that every emotion concievable to humankind has been outlined and dealt with by the complex characters in these stories. So what better place to start looking at India’s view towards the differently abled?
There are a few major references to disabilitie…
Recent posts

The Pool Asi

Asi, my current favourite German slang, comes from the word Asozial, literally translating to “asocial.” A site named Fluentu (yes, that’s the name!) explains, “this is a word used to describe someone who is rude or annoying and doesn’t take into account the effects of their actions on other people”.
In other words, an asshole. Thus translated, it loses its pungency, so I am going to stick to Asi for this post. I’ve been reading this book called Assholes, which defines, categorises and then puts forward a theory of why assholes exist and supposedly tips on how to deal with them (I haven’t got that far yet). But I have realised that a very important category of assholes has been left out of the book – the swimming pool Asi.
The swimming pool Asi is unique in his infuriation value, since there’s generally no peaceful escape unless you chose to end your swim and leave. This special type of Asi is either unwilling or unable to utilise their sense of sight or decency to follow the basicall…

The Nomad Life

I struggled with the idea of home. 
Home is where the heart is? My heart is scattered across 3 continents – with the people I love, the places that helped me grow into the person I am. Home is where your bed is? I have moved 10 houses and beds in the last 6 years. Home is where the wifi connects automatically. Don’t even get me started on that one! 
For 2 years Kölle is where I lived. For the last 1 year it felt truly like home. Whether it was sitting by the freely flowing Rhein and sipping wine, waiting for the Dom to be lit up or afternoons spent lazing on the field overlooking the Stadion and listening to the roar of the 1 FC fans; cheering the Haie onto thrilling last minute goals in the Lanxass Arena or waking up at 7 am to dress up and start drinking for Karneval; walking the streets of the Altstadt alone or sitting huddled in a dorm room drinking homemade alcohol out of mugs with friends from all over – it has been a spectacular year, filled to the brim with memories that I wi…

Volunteering (and my bachhas)

I agreed to be a volunteer at a conference today, as I had some time on my hands and I got the conference tickets for free. I awoke at 5 am on a cold winter morning, to travel from Cologne to Duesseldorf to be there at 7.30 at the welcome desk. I was surprised to see that there was no organiser to greet or brief me, nor did I see one for the next hour or so. Now I didn’t really mind, and I asked the others what to do and just fell in. However, after nearly 3 hours of standing and handing out registration batches, I decided that no one was coming to release us from our duties, so we gave up our “posts” and joined the conference. I was annoyed to find that I had to buy myself a coffee, received zero thanks from any organiser. Sadly, this isn’t very rare at all. I fail to understand why event organisers take the work of volunteers for granted.
My very first job was as a Volunteer Manager for the Games in Delhi. My boss was not overbearingly bossy, but he insisted on certain ways of manag…

0 medals and counting

The report on how each medal won by UK cost 5.5 million pounds is doing the rounds on the internet. Of course our newspapers pick up Abhinav Bindra’s tweet about it and set off to write their own theories about it. Reporting and writing from ignorance seem to have become so inherent in Indian press that I no longer let myself be angered by the things I read. I let it go when ‘insightful reports’ surfaced discussing BCCI’s release about the huge economic impact that the IPL creates. Not a single article did I come across, that even mentioned the flaws on this method, that is regarded by economists the world over as unreliable. If only investing (pouring money) into a few athletes and finding a few numbers to describe the success of a single league was enough to paint an accurate picture of the sports scene in India. But just this once, I'm not letting it go without adding my own 2 bit opinions on the subject.
A few months ago I started wondering about why the Indian hockey team sudd…

The Alma Mater

Continuing on the theme from my last post on fitting in – takes me back to school – to the source of that feeling of being an outsider.
My parents had always said to me, “No one can demand your respect, they have to earn it”. And that applied for everyone, from elders to teachers. Now this is shocking and the exact anti-thesis of good Indian upbringing, but I heard it often enough at home, and I believed in it.
The problem wasn’t the believing, it was the execution and the repercussions. I remember the first ever incident I faced in school, when the disillusionment of a perfect kindergarten experience shattered before my (back-then) innocent eyes. After my first day in Grade 1, I came home cribbing to my dad that the desk I was assigned in class was unsteady. It shook when I wrote, effectively making an already difficult task for a 5 year old almost impossible. My dad suggested that I tell the teacher about it, like any normal parent might do. Unfortunately, I still remember the vicio…

Crossroads

Integration.  That thing on everyone’s mind when they move to a new country. It’s even more important when you move to Europe, with its deep cultural roots and the language barrier. You either decide to integrate, or you take your world with you, wherever you go. And if you decide for the former, well, its definitely not a one-step process, or a wall you have to climb, after which its over. And lo and behold! You fit in. No, its more like walking across a minefield, where every step is measured and every averted disaster fills you with relief. You are regularly pleasantly surprised, sometimes you are grateful, sometimes frustrated and very often you doubt yourself. Every now and then it makes you want to give up. Give up and go home to where everything is familiar, where everyone can say your name and understand you. Where every time you meet an asshole, you don’t have to wonder if they are just an asshole, or whether its because You. Are. Different.
Sometimes home comes to you. My fam…