Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Really? Is this happening again to India?

My dear students,

Such a joy to report that my students share my blog: look at my posts and the number written by you. The trend started with sharp questions from Amith Prabhu (SIMC), which I tried to answer in “Working one’s way up and other queries”. Gauri Gharpure (Ranade) then sent me a quote about poetry and on an off-chance I decided to carry it because it had to do with "clarity" an issue that concerns journalists, “The Clarity of Poetry”.

Then came two excellent pieces from Smriti Mudgal (SIMC), who has her own blog, "Ambaree" in Hindi. She sent in a highly personal memoir about her love afair with the people of Mumbai: “Mumbai: a people with a sense of purpose”. Smriti then paid a fond tribute to her favourite school teacher: “To Chitra Ma’am … with love, Smriti”. Such is the stuff my blog is made up of (two prepositions at the end of one sentence!?!?!).

And to carry forward the torch for poetry, Baruk Feddabonn from Bangalore asks, “Should You Read Poetry?”.

My colleague, Abhay Vaidya of DNA, Pune, also replied to Amith with, “No room for gifts in journalism”.

Dr Vivek Pinto, my friend from school in Mumbai, who is currently in Tokyo, has also been emailing provocative and thoughtful links (see “Mumbai attacks: one man’s freedom-fighter is another man’s terrrorist”) faster than I can upload on a section of my blog, “Dr Vivek Pinto - Links”, devoted entirely and separately to his contributions.


Now Baisakhi Roy-Tandon, a 2003 SIMC alumnus, who describes herself as “a home-maker, new mom and an avid knowledge-seeker” has sent in a poem, “Ennui.” I have touched it up, here and there, as usual.

Previously, a reporter with The Indian Express, Baisakhi is “sitting on the sidelines, reading up voraciously on history, past and present.” Check out her blog: “Kissing Kin” (“Be well, good, nice, old-fashioned”)

Let Baisakhi introduce “Ennui” in her own words:


By Baisakhi Roy

‘Ennui’ was inspired by a feeling of hopelessness when the Mumbai attacks happened. I was far away in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, watching my precious city burn, as it had so many times in the past.

I almost laughed, “Really? Is this happening again?” Will we become another conflict zone like the Gaza Strip and Bosnia? Will it take another 50 years, to live in a peaceful India? This is what we have become: a mess of unresolved issues, a mess in which the glorious legacy of India has been lost and forgotten.


This is a time to gloat;
we are such pieces of work.
This is how we go about
our daily ennui.

We bathe in the sun;
We love, eat, and try to gain respect.
We amble,
gnawing into space.

We hate the sound of white noise,
”This is mine. This is yours”.
We croak, until hoarse.
Scratch, until we bleed.

We send our children
into prompt assemblies
to ask for wisdom:
Good thoughts, words and deeds.

We build our castles
and etherise our air.
Then ask for allegiance
to our whimsical gods.

We broker peace,
Sober in solidarity.
But hide our rancor
To light a wayward fire.


Can you see the budding poets lurking among the journalists? Read the journalists who feel and write like poets. Join them. The pages of my blog, “Against the Tide”, shall be open to you, my dear students. For what greater joy is there for a teacher than to see one’s students go ahead, shining bright.

Your support is my strength.
- Joe.

Pune, Wednesday, 28 January 2009.


Joe Pinto said...


Dr. Keval Kumar, who was Director of SIMC during 2003-05; earlier with the Department of Communication and Journalism (1990-2003, left as HoD), University of Pune; currently with the International School of Business and Media (ISBM) sent me this comment on 29 January:

"Congratulations, Joe, on your mavellous blog! There's no better way of sharing your reflections on what's currently going on in Journalism and Current Affairs than the kind of reader-friendly blog you have launched.

"I don't think you should be concerned about poets taking over the blog: if they do, it might do your blog a world of good.

Remember the good old days when there used to be a "Poet's Corner" in the Sunday papers? Bring the poets back, please."

Dr. Keval J. Kumar, Adjunct Faculty,
International School of Business and Media (ISBM),
Nande Village, Pashan, Pune - 411 042.
Mobile: 98228-29085.
Phone (Home): 020-2565-1018.

feddabonn said...

this poem is oddly disturbing. one the one hand, the slightly sardonic ("This is a time to gloat;
we are such pieces of work.") yet almost listless ("We love, eat, and try to gain respect.) tone develops the title very well. there seems to be an undercurrent of anger ("ask for allegiance
to our whimsical gods.) that is never fully expressed.

interesting work, baisakhi!