Saturday, September 11, 2010


(New Series No. 151, January 2001)
We get out of the factory after the shift ended. We got in the auto that we've hired on a monthly basis. We would talk every day. And talk and talk. The auto stopped at the red light. A car hit the auto and sped by. The auto overturned. Everyone became unconscious but since the auto had stopped, it was not fatal. As soon as they came to consciousness, those who were less hurt, one-by-one took other autos and went to their homes. Even after reaching home, they did not inform the family members of the girls who stayed in their neighborhood. Those who had suffered the major injuries and were unconscious were taken to the hospital by autodrivers.

We talk a lot yet we are not saying anything. This is merely an example of how we are just killing time.

-22 year old working girl: We seven, eight girls sit together. We talk a lot. About our girlfriends, about our families, about our guy friends. We tell lots of jokes. We recite couplets. We talk about fashion. Sometimes, we also back-bite. Sometimes, whne the discussion is about films, we talk about this or that film. Sometimes, when the conversation is about eve-teasing (harassing females), then we all curse men. There are conversations about the world. What kinds of people exist in the world. Seeing the poor and sad. Oh, we if we had something, we would give it to them. We talk about companies. We curse management and nickname managers and supervisors. Problems of the family and the problems with the neighbors. Difficulties in collecting water. Bickering about getting the gutter cleaned and the quarrels about the garbage in the alleys. Anecdotes about children. Our own childhood enjoyment. and mischeivousness of student days. We talk a lot amongst ourselves.

-12 class boy: When we were in 10th class, we used to get fed up sitting the whole day in the school and used to talk about not studying further but rather doing some course for employment. Now in 12th class, we talk about the future. We talk about food and games and laugh a lot. Till the final examination, the conversations are about books in the syllabus. We talk about girls merely to pass the time. We hardly talk about marriage or dating, In fact, people talk little. They hide their concerns because of jealousy towards one another. We do not talk openly to one another. Most of the discussions revolve around showing off. Discussions about material goods. T.v., fridge, house...So big...talks about jobs, fat salaries, big companies, deskjob, clean work...In conversations about neighbors and neighborhood, mostly it's about putting one another down. Discussing the household affairs of others in the neighboorhood. Between one another, there is tension. Fights break out even while collecting water.

-50 year old man: People talk only in their own circles. You don't talk to everyone. One evaluates and then talks. It seems as though lines have been drawn that one has to so much with this person and not about this with that person. Some of it is due to upbringing and some due to the fear of a fault of being found and then rebuked. Even with one's own brother, one's problems are hidden from him or to extract something out of him, they are inflated. It's a ritual to say that things are 'okay.' It has also become a tradition to present one's condition as better than another's. No one reveals one's own shortcomings. It happened because of this or that reason; it wasn't a failing on my part. One never talks about one's misdeeds. And if a mention does take place then by giving a presentation of the conditions, one tries to justify one's misdeeds. However much one may hide, still most conversations begin with personal discussions and then maybe move on to social discussions. Leader-type people never converse about themselves or their concerns. They straight-off talk about society, politics. Concerns about the family, about the neighborhood come in what's deemed as personal. Old people start their conversations about families with discussions about son, daughter, daughter in-law. Most people in the 50-6o year old age group are tired of family. They talk badly about their children.

30 year old man: Casting aspersions is widespread, downplaying the other is rampant. Not talking straight, hiding camaflouging. To down play others and to raise one's self up is dominant in conversations. Show-off and phony display amongst relations have become too pervasive. Back-biting has become a normal practice. This process of regurgitating whatever is on the radio, on t.v., in newspapers, throughout the day has unfolded.

-Around 50 years old man: According to me, people don't talk among themselves because people usually only talk to one another who serve a purpose and where that isn't there, they don't talk. Relations founded on love and respect are not existant today. This is because of the age we live in. People think only of their interest. People have become too clever from listening to the radio, watching television and films and talking on the telephone. We pick up the scum that is going on in the world.

-Around 40 years old: Superfluous discussions have become a problem. So much is spoken that is difficult to say anything. If we don't sift and select then we'll get bogged down in the marsh of conversations that feed the present system. If we don't, we'll sink into these discussions.

Listening to and telling one another's sadness, pain, problems, and difficulties is the point to begin from. The point of departure seems to be to focus discussions on what all we can do to lessen our difficulties.

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