Productivity

I haven’t written in five whole months.

Going by the amount of productive work that I have done, you’d probably say I’d had a hell lot of time to write. But what indeed is productive work? As a student, is it academics? Is it the maintenance of my accommodation? Or the pathetic breakfast that I make? Let us assume, for the moment, that it is indeed academics. Fine, I’ve attended classes, done some assignments. But I have also had weekday evenings and weekends, watched movies, hung out with my classmates. That can’t count as productive, right?

Wrong.

You see, the best thing about my course is that it doesn’t stop within the walls of the book. It escapes those yellow, pink and blue hued covers and enters my thought process. It seeps into my mind, haunts me day in and day out. The mind is the last and most effective place to conquer. Except in this case, I believe it is for liberation. Liberation from unsaid assumptions about the world, from a conscious self, and from an ill-formed moral compass.

We are all political beings, and by political I don’t mean only voting for our political representative at any of the three levels of the government. The feminist slogan of The personal is political” would help a lot in deconstructing the mainstream notions of what is political. If I refuse to stick to traditional notions of gender and caste, I am being political. If you register your protest at the differential treatment of people due to their primordial identities, you are being political. If someone doesn’t enjoy a joke or a movie because it shows a group of people in undue bad light, they are making a political statement. Yes, people are going to call you rebels and party poopers, they are going to say that you’re taking everything seriously, but that’s the point. We are supposed to look at things in the light of universal moral values, and if things aren’t compatible with our value-set, do something about it, albeit in our own small way. That, as far as I’m concerned, is being political, and political in this sense begins from our own selves.

Some of you may feel being political is just about disagreeing with everyone. Let me beg to differ and give you an example. I had thought a lot about whether to wear my bindi anymore, which has been a constant presence on my forehead since I was born. I still wear it everyday. Not because my mother tells me to, but because I believe it suits my face and dressing style. I wear it not as a mark of tradition, but as an accessory. The difference between obeying and agreeing with someone is that of power relations. And politics is all about power relations.

During my evenings and weekends and hangouts, I’ve been constantly engaged in such thoughts and counter thoughts, discussions and debates about my beliefs. So I’ve been political, however imperfectly so, all this time. And I believe it has been a productive time.

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