Friday, October 12, 2007

From my old diary... on Narration...

Hi Friends,

I just want to share my experience which made me to trust the ability of narration in identity building.

During the break that we had for self reflection I happened to travel for a long distance. I had been to Himachal Pradesh, a northern state of India. As I was having no reservation for my upward journey, I had to travel in an unreserved compartment upto Delhi. It is 43 hours journey from my home town to reach Delhi. The compartment was crowded with people of different kinds and languages. There were lot of people in the initial stages of the journey, who speak Tamil and I was quite comfortable as I am familiar with that language.

When the train entered into Andhra Pradesh, a nearby state of Tamilnadu (I started my journey from Tamilnadu), the compartment was filled with majority of Telugu speaking people, which is an unfamiliar language for me. I was in a position which was restricting me from talking with other persons as the language was a barrier. I was sitting silently in a window seat. Nobody was much bothered about me and I too could not make them bothered. There was a lot of sharing happening between other passengers as they speak same language. I was really thrown out of their circle. When the train was moving out of Andhra Pradesh, all the Telugu speaking people have disappeared and this time it was Hindi speaking people to fill the compartment. Again, it is a language which I can only understand (that too 50%) and can not speak fluently. I continued to be silent in my window seat.

There were a lot of people to observe and liveliness to feel inside the compartment. But still I felt a kind of Identity losing in that situation as no one was keen to know about me. Neither a single person conversed with me nor could I start a conversation of my own. The only instance in which a fellow traveler related with me was also too short. The person who was sitting opposite to me purchased something in a station and offered also me a packet. It was a Gutka packet (an intoxicant) and the way I refused it surprised him. He withdrew with a smile. That was it… Even thinking about myself and dreaming about the life were also meaningless beyond a point. I was full of emptiness, without anybody to tell the story of mine. I myself was also not ready to listen to me.

When I reached Delhi I immediately called my mother, “Ma! It’s me” and she responded, “Yes dear where are you now?”. I was regaining myself, “I’m in Delhi now, next I need to catch a bus to Mandi (Himachal). The bus is at 6.45. I still have one more hour to spend here”. She continued to tell about some other important matters that I needed to address and also told me to contact a few persons. When I put down the receiver, I felt completely recharged as I have restored myself by a few minutes of narration. It was a great experience when I could speak about myself after some 44 hours gap.

After reaching Himachal it was a completely different experience. I stayed with one of MA classmates who treats me as her younger brother. She is working there in a Voluntary organization. In that small town called Mandi, I know only her and whenever she introduced me to somebody I had to share about myself with them. Everybody wanted to know about my place, work, life, etc,. I could feel a kind of identity construction during the instances I narrated about myself. I was attempting to bring different parts together to create the whole. Those moments I was really looking at myself and was putting different selection criteria in projecting myself. I felt myself moving a step forward in the life.

While coming back to home, some of my juniours (of MA) joined me from Delhi. They were three in total, but in different compartments. They paid visit to me once in a while, individually. One boy among them, during one of his visit asked me to explain him about my work. He knows the basics of our project as he had attended the August introductory session. It was a challenge before me to make him understand the function of our project in its right sense. The act of explaining also made me clear about my role in the whole project. I was surprised with the clarity I acquired by narrating the concept and context of the project to him. He then introduced me to his brother, a person who has a vision to become an IAS officer and does hard work for that. He was an intellect and when I introduced myself as working in a research project, he wanted to know more. When I started explaining him the basics, he had many critical opinions to tell about and also asked me several questions. I was again made to think about my work in its entirety and finally could succeed in answering him in a convincing way (for both).

My act of narrating in these occasions has surely constructed an identity for myself with which I was not familiar before. I also feel that the narration need not be oral always. It can be of thoughts, oral or written. But, once if the narration takes place, we can surely say that there is a kind of identity construction.

1 comment:

Abik said...

hi maniji,
ur diary is really interesting..
the way you have narrated ur journey and all is very good..
ur observation is excellent and ur blog is inspiring me to start my own blog spot. i believe for effective narration an active listener is needed... isnt it.. if u r not getting someone to hear u write it like u did.. dont talk to you, it will lead to madness...
reply me...