Feeling roadblocked as an artist?

Lately, I’ve been feeling extremely frustrated and upset. But it isn’t a feeling I am not familiar with. As an artist, I have gone through this phase many times. It never gets easier or better though, and I always end up throwing a tantrum and shedding tears while slumped against the bathroom wall.

I feel roadblocked when, despite having ideas, I cannot find a way to materialize them. I  think about my idea, write about it, talk about it, dream about it – but I can’t make it a reality because there are so many variables that I can’t control. It’s extremely frustrating when you can see your destination, but cannot find the means to wade through the blockages along the path. I struggle with finding the right dancers, fixing a suitable schedule, making sure I have all the equipment for the final product etc. But most of all, I struggle with finding an audience for my work. I simply don’t know where to take my work.

When I get an idea for a project, it’s like a freshly lit fire. The more I dwell on it, the bigger it becomes. My reason for investing all my creative energies in this idea is simple: I am passionate about it and I want to see it materialize. But unfortunately, that alone is not enough for an artist to survive. We need an audience to subscribe to our work and consequently some remuneration. What does an artist do when he/she don’t get that? They quit.

Most of us have come close enough to the point of tipping over before mustering the will power to take a step back. But there’s no denying that it gets tough more often than not. I’ve seen a lot of artists trying to juggle their full-time job and passion, hoping to find a break through in the latter so that they can quit their jobs. But that never really happens. In the times we live in, financial security is an unavoidable need. Our country, unfortunately, cannot provide artists that security. Artists fizzle out without reaching their maximum potential because there is not enough infrastructure, opportunities and revenue to support them. We have reached a stage where artists are doing work for free, just to keep themselves alive in the industry. I don’t think it is possible for us to see a worse time than this for our community. The performing arts are dying.

Performing arts in our country are mostly supported by the Ministry of Culture, that has set up various bodies across the country to support the arts: The sangeet natak academy, Indian council for cultural relations and seven zonal cultural centers to support the arts in their respective zones. But most of their funds go in the upkeep of the existing state infrastructure, which hardly leaves any funds for the promotion and welfare of artists. Their grants and schemes offer meager amounts and are hardly enough to sustain an artist for a few days, leave alone an entire month. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of culture does not even utilize 100% of it’s allocated budget because of it’s refusal to modernize it’s procedures and become more accessible to newer, upcoming artists.

Other avenues such as private corporations, do not feel the need to include promotion of the arts in their CSR programs because of it’s low ROI. Given that the audience for performing arts is shrinking, they have an even lesser incentive to invest in them. Most of the private bigwigs are moving towards cinema because of it’s massive outreach and profits. Even when they do fund festivals, they promote performances by well-known artists to attract audiences and media attention. I personally have gone through a similar experience where my dancers and I went all the way to Bombay to put up our piece – “Earthworm”, with a lot of hopes and expectations. However, the limelight was hogged by a famous performer who was specially called in to give a concluding performance. We ended up being just one of a 15 odd performers on the list. The show belonged to someone else.

There are bilateral agencies, funded by foreign governments and private funds, such as the British council, Goethe institute, Swedish council etc that are slowly gaining momentum across the performing arts landscape. They support and promote cross-cultural exchange of artists, ideas and performances. Some of them even support performances within India, but their outreach is extremely limited and hence their support is availed only by a select few individuals or organizations. The Gati dance forum is one such example of an organization supported by these agencies. Foundations such as Tata trusts have been offering support to the performing arts for the last 15 years, but they too, hardly have any visibility and only a select few artists are even aware that they exist.

Overall, I probably know more about some random app, which is of no use to me that recently released on google play store, than I know about these agencies, trusts and foundations that offer grants for performance making and sharing. Unless one sits down to dig information out of their websites, no one really knows they exist. There is not a single database that covers all the grant providing schemes and/or sponsors in our country, so that an artist can conveniently apply for one. 

Why don’t these agencies, trusts and foundations make themselves well-known and accessible to artists? Why are they repeatedly supporting the same artists/organizations (tata trust has been funding attakkalari for 15 years)? Why is an effort not being made on their part to market their presence more so that more and more upcoming artists can realize their potential?

We have arrived at dismal junction in the history of performing arts in our country where artists have started to refer to themselves as being a part of the “entertainment industry”. Well trained dancers are turning towards ad shoots, corporate shows, weddings and school performances to earn their livelihood. These are platforms where they’re treated like expendable commodities and are not compensated fairly. Nothing is streamlined or well-regulated in the industry, which leads to a lot of abuse and exploitation. Due to lack of work and money, artists don’t bother to follow professional channels of communication and go along with verbal word, which leads people to not take them seriously.

Most of the artists are freelancers as there is hardly any company that can afford to have artists on regular payroll. They survive on a project-to-project basis and more often than not undervalue themselves. There is no body that regulates and ensures the welfare of these freelancers. There is no where they can go in case of exploitation. Subscribers of bollywood dance are increasing both domestically and internationally, leaving no room for other forms like Indian classical, ballet, contemporary and folk. Even ICCR is now sponsoring bollywood extravaganzas to be performed overseas. Experimental artists who want to work on new and original ideas are practically abandoned. Their ideas won’t sell without commercialization.

As I said before, I don’t think the performing arts industry and specifically dance can see a greater low than this. People with new and original ideas are slowly diminishing, and no one cares.

Research: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-creative-arts-in-india/$FILE/ey-creative-arts-in-india.pdf

Nestaway – Stay Away

I had rented an apartment with Nestaway back in February this year, only because of their tall promises about helping bachelors find homes easily. At first, it all seemed perfect because of their swift response and action time. I found a place and was told it would be “fully furnished”, that I would be provided with facilities such as gas cylinder, washing machine etc and that they would get it cleaned up and everything would be bright & shiny before my move-in.

Seemed quite the offer. Reality, however, was quite different.

First of all, the so-called ‘clean up’ included a one time lousy attempt at dusting the place in broad strokes. Even after they had supposedly ‘cleaned-up’, it was horribly dirty. I had to run an extensive cleaning operation of my own to make the place look remotely livable. Despite my efforts, the rotting sofa set, dining table, switchboards, TV table, coffee table, kitchen walls, balconies, kitchen drawers, stove, chimney (literally broken) – all remained the same. Dirty, dusty and not important enough to be given a fuck about by Nestaway. I was promised that there would be a gas cylinder and a washing machine before I moved in, but neither of them was there. I had to order food (including tea and coffee) from outside for days before I went ahead and simply arranged a cylinder myself. I also had to pay the maid extra to wash clothes by hand.

Added to that, was the drain blockage in the kitchen sink, broken toilet seat and a huge bee hive in my room. Suffice to say, I was very comfortable (/not).

I raised lots of service requests from my dashboard. But now it seems they get loads of those from tenants every single day, so they probably make jokes about them over their morning cup of coffee. I followed up as much as I could, and the only thing they really fixed was the toilet seat. Everything else, I had to get done myself and not to mention, pay myself too. And here I thought I wouldn’t have to pay for service requests raised within 7 days of my move in (one of their bogus policies).

After I got everything fixed and functional myself (including the DTH and wifi), fast forward to when other flatmates moved in. Nestaway executives told them that they didn’t have to share the installation fee for DTH and wifi because both these services were provided by them and were included in the rent. Talk about lying through your teeth. Speaking of executives, this company has the most useless, uneducated and uncooperative executives ever. They only respond swiftly until you pay your security amount in full. Post that, all you get to see is a massive middle finger.

When I was discussing the security amount, I asked the executive if it was okay to pay it in two installments over two months, he assured me that it was perfectly fine and it wouldn’t be a problem. So I paid one month’s security and one month’s rent and thought I was good to go (I moved in 5 days before month end). Clearly not.

On 1st of the next month, I got an email from Nestaway saying I needed to pay the rent. I was taken aback and tried to get in touch with their customer support time and again. True to their reputation, they were assholes and didn’t give two farts about my concern. I tried to get in touch with that executive, who told me and I quote – “Pay the rent including the late fee. I will come and return the late fee amount to you in cash because of the inconvenience this confusion has caused”

It would come as no surprise that that cash never came.

Fast forward again to July, when I got an email around the 18th saying that the property was going to be off-boarded so I had to move out. It also said that since it was being off-boarded by Nestaway, the move out charges would be waived off and I would get my security deposit refund within 7 working days. The property was off-boarded on 2nd of August. It has now been one month and 8 days and there is no sign of that refund. I have been diligently following up but their customer support executives always have one thing to say in their robotic voice, “Your refund is with our finance department. You should get it soon”

Now, according to their policy, if you don’t pay rent on time (on or before 5th of every month), a late fee of Rs. 500 will be charged. Post 10th, a late fee of Rs. 200/day will be charged (added to the Rs. 500) until 15th. Post 15th, your booking will be cancelled. So now that you haven’t given me my refund within 7 working days, how much interest will you pay me, Nestaway?

Apparently, they have another bogus program called the ‘3 Days Trial’ program under which, you can decide to cancel your booking within 3 days of your move-in without having to pay the lock-in breach charges, notice period shortfall charges, renovation charges (insert LOL emoji) etc. The ONLY money that you will have to pay is the rent for the number of days since the start of the license date, calculated on a pro-rata basis, move out charges (999 bucks) and cancellation charges (=token amount, which is 25% of the month’s rent. So if your rent is 20k, 25% of that is 5k, which would be your cancellation amount)

Quite an expensive ‘trial’, I must say.

They will deduct this amount from your security deposit and ‘process’ the refund. Rest assured you will never see the face of that money ever again. Ever. It’s gone. Into the chamber of secrets of Nestaway.

If you choose to go ahead with this fraudulent company, you will burn a hole in your pocket paying for things and services they promised to provide. To add to the injury, you will not get your security deposit refund on time, if you get it at all. The only thing you will end up doing is raising endless service tickets, which to all intents and purposes are useless.

I have been reading up on their social media accounts ever since I moved out and all their accounts are full of nothing but complaints and abuses. They have cheated countless people, who are now left with no option but to hound their social media with complaints. But to no avail, obviously.  If there was ever an epitome of not giving a duck – Nestaway would be it. It’s really inspiring how consistent they are in copy/pasting the same response to every person – “Hi [Insert name], we apologize for the inconveniences caused. Please inbox us your registered contact details. We’ll help you”.

They literally say this to every single person who posts a complaint. And then nothing happens. I find it hard to believe that this company is not just still afloat, but is managing to get funding round after round after round. They’re raking in money left right and center and leaving a trail of angry customers behind.

If you’re considering renting a place with Nestaway, DON’T. Kindly read their FAQ before taking any step: https://faq.nestaway.com/docs/faq-center.

If you’re currently a tenant in one of the Nestaway homes, well, good luck.

For people who have moved out – can we plan a class action suit?


Consumer is an abusive king

When the consumer movement came to the shores of India, it brought radical change with it. Businesses were asked to be more accountable and furnish all necessary information, false advertising was discouraged and consumer courts and forums were set up. All this happened to protect the consumer from being fooled by businesses. Slowly, ‘consumer is king’ came to be the byline for the market and the scenario slowly changed from being business oriented to consumer oriented. A business could no longer do whatever the hell they wanted.

Now, the concept has gotten stronger than ever with all businesses catering to needs of the customer/client at any cost. The abuse has now flipped and customers are the ones throwing their weight around. They have too many options and industries ready to kiss their feet.

The one industry that suffers the most because of this is the small businesses within the service industry – everyone from small cafes, restaurants, tour guides, teachers, salons, beauticians, designers, editors to carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, cleaning services etc. Owning a business in one of these fields automatically makes you liable to greet the client with your head bowed and voice fearful. If you so much as disagree with the client, you are screwed. They will either shout at you or not pay your money or both. Because most of these people work as freelancers, there is simply nothing they can do.

I had recently called a beautician home through urbanclap. She was a sweet young girl who was very careful about what she said, how she behaved, where she kept her equipment etc. She did not dare step out of line for even a minute, else she would be risking a bad review or a complaint. I asked her if she enjoyed working in this field and if urbanclap treated her well – her answer to both was no. She said there was simply no respect in this field and people treated her like shit all the time. She said that once she had gone to a lady’s home for a pedicure. After she was done, that lady refused to let her throw the dirty water in her bathroom. She asked her to go and drain it down the pipe from the terrace. So this girl had to carry the equipment all the way to the terrace to drain the water down the pipe.

Listening to her story infuriated every muscle in my body. This was outright abuse. But the question here is – who has enable people like that lady to treat service providers like this? Let us take urbanclap’s platform in consideration – they make their money from the service providers, not the customers. It is free for the customer to raise a request for a service, but the service providers have to pay to send in their proposal to that customer. You either have to purchase credits to apply or you need to pay them their cut before you go to a customers house to provide them the service (lest you vanish). And YET, it is only the customer who can review the service provider. What kind of nonsense is that?!?

So the customer can behave in whatever way he/she may please, but the service provider has to be respectful and accommodating of their wishes all the time, because if you are not – you will end up getting slammed with a horrible review and consequently less business.

One more category that suffers a lot in our country is Artists. As a dancer, I am aware of how much my fellow artists struggle to make a living. I have spoken to a lot of dancers about the existing abuse within and outside the industry and surprisingly a lot of them have had the same concerns – pay the artists what they deserve, treat them and their time with respect, don’t expect them to always dance to your tunes. But despite so many of us having the same concerns, nothing really is changing. I hear so many incidents of artists being abused every single day – most of them involving lack of payment. They are also taken for quite a ride with lots of promises but then are harassed or let down or refused at the last moment. They are always told that they are ‘replaceable’ and ‘disposable’ and that the client will just find someone else if it doesn’t work out.

Platforms like urbanclap only serve to enable this behavior as there is simply no way service providers can broadcast their concerns and experiences on the platform. So they lower their prices and try to be as tolerant of the client’s bullshit as possible. And it’s getting worse day by day. Artists are doing 12 hours shoots for a meager amount of Rs. 2000. They are taking up huge choreography projects for peanuts. Designers are designing for 500 bucks. Writers are writing for 200 bucks. Editors are editing for free.

Is there any end to this? At this rate, a day will come when we literally will be washing the client’s feet with nothing in return.

I am trying to run my own studio and I have listed it on different platforms. Let me just say this loud and clear – most of the leads I get from these platforms are useless. These people are assholes. They are A grade assholes. They shell out all kinds bullshit and expect you to take it in. From the lady who expected classes everyday for 20 days at her home, to the guy who thought 2.4K was too much for 12 sessions, to the girl who said she raised a request by ‘mistake’ – you are all assholes.

I think its time that we collectively as an industry, and I mean all small business owners within the service industry, start saying no to such people until their options dry out. Refuse to dance to their tunes. Refuse to take their bullshit. If someone doesn’t let you throw THEIR dirty water in their washroom, throw it in their room and walk out. If someone expects you to perform everyday at an hourly rate of 200 bucks, show them the middle finger and leave. Start saying no.

It is the responsibility of platforms like urbanclap to ensure that the professionals working with them are treated justly. You are making money off us. Have some courtesy. It is high time that the tables are turned and WE start demanding some accountability. We are not puppets and we will not be pushed around by the customers. We demand respect as professionals and expect to be treated fairly within the professional capacity.

Start saying NO.

Dear Indian Parents, why so entitled?

Now this is something I feel I need to talk about, especially in the context of our society. I haven’t written in a while and my writing skill has become quite rusty, but I have been feeling extremely confused, hurt and misguided lately and I needed to vent. So, coming to the question I am trying to pose – Dear Indian parents, why are you so entitled? Why do you think that you are entitled to your kid’s love, respect, obedience, compliance and support? Why do you think that your kid, in some way, is obligated to make you happy?

Because you went through pain to have them? Because you invested time, money, emotions and energy into raising them? Because you made sacrifices and compromises? Because you fought with others to keep them happy and safe? Because you put their well-being above your own? So now that they’re a little grown up and have a mind of their own, you expect something in return for everything you did? Wait. Was this arrangement supposed to work in this investment-ROI like fashion? Why wasn’t I told?

Before addressing the core issue here (which is extremely unhealthy and screwed up) I would like to pose another question – Why do people decide to have kids? Is it because you are already in a happy place in life, and feel emotionally, mentally and financially secure and strong enough to be able to share love with another human being without expecting anything in return or is it because you’re extremely unhappy with your life and feel that a kid will make it better? or because you’re lonely? or because you’re too bored in life and want a ‘project’ to work on? or because you can’t stand your spouse and want a reason to stay in the marriage? or because you are concerned about your old-age? or because you want someone else to fulfill your incomplete dreams? or because you want to fill a void in your life?

What is it?

I truly feel that people don’t decide to become ‘parents’ for the right reasons, especially in our country. Even if we exclude the people who are pressurized into having a child, the remaining percentage don’t have very healthy reasons either. That is where the dysfunction begins and keeps spiraling out of control. If you decide to have kids for any reason other than unconditionally sharing love and raising a healthy human being who will be (and should be) independent enough to make his/her own choices, then you my friend, have a problem. You are invariably going to download all your problems, issues and sorrows onto your kid and expect him/her to somehow a) either give you a solution or b) be the solution.

There are so many parents who tell themselves – we will not end up being like our parents. Well, bullshit. You are your parents plus more issues. It is so difficult to dissociate ourselves from our parents’ identity and personality in our culture – it takes a lot of awareness and almost an entire lifetime’s work to achieve that. Why? Because most of us are brought up within enmeshed relationships. Boundaries? What are those? Our parents have a right to know and interfere in everything. Free will? What’s that? I can only go out with friends that my parents like and marry the love of my life as long as my parents approve. Questioning parents’ decisions, opinions and beliefs? Prepare for a crash landing, kids. That’s never going to fly.

We’re never taught to be individuals with our own separate set of beliefs, opinions and principles. We’re always an extension of our parents. Any form of disagreement is seen as disrespect. (Because ‘respect’ is gulping down your opinion and putting your parents’ happiness above your own) Respect is a concept that only works one way, because parents will never respect our choices and decisions. And if those choices fall way beyond their radar of “what’s ok” – then you’re officially a rotten kid and have given them so much pain you should die in a pool of guilt. In short, the term ‘Indian parents’ should officially be synonymous with ‘insecure’. They’re so insecure about themselves that they cannot stand their kid being too different, or else – a question is raised on everything they did based on their belief system so far in their life, and they cannot be in that uncomfortable position of accepting that they might have been wrong at some point. (The horror)

You see, part of being a secure and mature human being is the ability to empathize and accept your mistakes when you make them (everyone does). In my understanding, Indian parents are neither. But the blame isn’t just theirs, it’s a dysfunction that has been passed down generations.

Coming to the core issue – if you think your kids owe you anything in return for your love and care, then you have issues that need to be dealt with before assuming that you deserve to be parents. Love, respect and care are mutual emotions that should be given unconditionally without expecting anything in return. If you are going to guilt trip your kids about your sacrifices and financial investments – Don’t be a parent. If you’re going to use the victim card to get what you want – Don’t be a parent. If you’re going to expect your kid to support you emotionally – Don’t be a parent. If you’re going to shove your beliefs and opinions down his/her throat – Don’t be a parent. If you have a problem accepting your kid as a separate individual who will have different opinions – Don’t be a parent. If you cannot accept the fact that your kid will not always agree with you – Don’t be a parent. When you bring a child into this world, he/she needs you and depends on you for physical, mental and emotional well being and continues to need you until he/she becomes an adult. You do not, and should not, need or depend upon your kid for any of those.

You don’t have the emotional bandwidth or maturity to be a parent. Please deal with your issues first. Also, if you do your parenting right – your kid will shower you with unconditional love and support, without you having to ask for it. A child’s first impression of the world is his/her parents. If you have truly loved your child without emotionally fucking him/her up – he/she will always stand with you and before you. Try it.

A kid’s love is a precious gift. It’s not your right. You chose to have a child and bring another human being into this world. If you’re putting your best foot forward to take care of him/her, it’s not a favor or a debt the kid has to repay later. If you have problems, they’re your responsibility, not your kids’. In US, if you put undue pressure on your kids or raise them in unhealthy households, the social security services will come and take your kid away. They have an accountability system in place. Raise your kid in a healthy environment or lose your right to be parents. Unfortunately in India, just having given birth to a child is enough criteria to qualify to be a parent. You can do whatever the fuck you want with that child. Because maa ke charnon mein swarg hota hai.

If a kid is being abused emotionally and physically in a house, there is absolutely nowhere he/she can go to seek safety and protection. We just have to wing it. And the number of kids being raised in abusive and unhealthy homes in our country is shocking. What is even more shocking is that most of them don’t even know they’re being abused.

I may not be a human child’s parent, but I am a pet parent to a wonderful and amazing dog called Brownie, who I adopted out of my own free will. It is my responsibility to make sure that she receives care, love and a safe environment. I didn’t do it because I wanted a watch dog or because I was lonely. I did it because her being there truly made me happy. Sometimes I have to put up with messy situations, she poops and pees anywhere, she tears everything apart, she whines for no reason and doesn’t listen to a single command, she demands too much attention, interrupts work and hardly shows any affection in return – I get annoyed sometimes. But I have to remind myself that I signed up for this. If I wanted a picture perfect dog who would sit when I asked her to sit, stand when I asked her to stand, mingled only with the dogs I liked and showed affection to me all the time – I would just sit and watch Scooby Doo on TV.

Even after 4 or 5 years, if I give her too much stress or take away her sense of safety, she will either show me aggression (biting) or simply run away, and I wouldn’t be able to do a single thing. She felt threatened and left to preserve herself. Is she obligated to stick with me despite the stress and abuse, just because I took care of her for so long?


I am just glad that I have a dog who will bite me if I cross her boundaries, as compared to a human child who will continue to suffer in silence thinking it’s okay just because I’m a parent. Nothing scares me more.


Found a gem!

So I was watching Sultan the other day and one thing that really stuck with me, other than some truly heartfelt scenes, was this song:

First thing that I thought of, immediately afterwards was – I hope this is an actual song in the album and not just background score. It is such a beautifully composed and an even more beautifully written song. Vishal Shekhar deliver these silent gems and unfortunately they are forgotten amidst the crowd pleasers. Even though I like Jag ghoomeya as well from this album, this song is by far and without any doubt the best song I’ve heard in ages. It’s bittersweet in a melancholic way and the way it has been placed in the movie can bring tears to anybody’s eyes.

Compared to Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s Bulleya, which is great in it’s own right (especially the lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya) this one is no doubt better. It is more subtle and hits all the right chords in terms of emotions. And Papon’s voice is magic. I have no idea why Arijit Singh is such a hot property with singers like Papon around. Remember Moh Moh Ke Dhaage?

Wish songs like these got their due!

Granted l Dance Film

I had been toying with the idea of this piece for a while, ever since I saw a poster of a short dance film contest. Inspiration to create something always hits me like a running train. Then I just have to do something about it. I’m so happy to have managed to finish this film in 15 days and for it to have come out the way it did. I truly believe dance films is a virtually limitless form of expression. You can reach out globally and present your work to n number of people.

Kiss dat ass!

No one is free of bias. It is one of those traits that makes us humane. To say that x person is “unbiased” is nothing but a personal opinion and someone else might not look at it that way. Parents have a favorite child. Children have a favorite parent, a favorite teacher, friend, sibling, relative. A boss has a favorite employee. An employee has a favorite colleague. Its endless. Our minds are equipped to make opinions about people very quickly in this rapidly changing world that has no time for anything. A look, a word, a small gesture, a reaction – is all it takes for us to form an opinion and develop a bias. Sometimes we don’t even realize its there.

We can never really live in a world without biases. What we can do, however, is recognize that they exist within us and try not to act out on them. Especially if we happen to be in a position of authority where the smallest of our actions can lead to the downfall of someone’s self esteem. Educational institutes are perfect examples of bias and how it impacts people. Every teacher/professor is biased. Some are better at hiding it. If you happen to be one of the “favorites” then hakuna matata for you, my friend. If you’re not, then you’re in for ride that offers greater resentment at every turn.

I recently decided to go back to college for my training in dance. When someone like me looks at a prospect like that, I simply zoom my focus in on the training part. I need training. For that, I need to find a good school and enroll. Boom. End of story. What I forget is that school means an environment where other students also exist and there will be a teacher who will invariably display preferential behavior. No institution is an exception to that. Suffice to say, I have encountered a couple of outwardly biased teachers already. They continually praise their favorite student in class, point him/her out with words like “Now look at her..this is what we’re looking for”, hardly seem to find anything wrong with them and even give them the power and liberty to go correct other people. While I have no problem with a teacher pointing out something good about a student; I do have a problem when it comes from a place of bias rather than actual appreciation. There are other students in class who sometimes display better skill, but then I doubt if some teachers even know all our names.

So, why are teachers biased? All of us have certain comfort zones, and when certain people fit into those comfort zones, we want to keep them there. For example, when you walk into a party/event/gathering that consists of people you don’t know very well, but then hit it off with person and stick to that person for an eternity. After that, no matter what that person says or does you will not openly disagree with him/her because you don’t want to lose your comfort zone. Similarly teachers, who find their comfort zones with a few students – maybe because they agree with them, or they suck up to them and kiss their ass, or simply because the teacher finds them pretty – try not to breath down their necks. They will point out others’ mistakes, missteps and errors to make a point. Like I said before, developing a bias or a comfort zone is quite natural; however acting out on them can be damaging, especially if you’re a teacher. Not to mention this constant process of putting a select few up on a pedestal makes their heads bloat bigger and faster than Aunt Marge’s entire body in Harry Potter and they throw their weight around everywhere.

One of the things that I mentioned above – kissing ass – is a rather overused term. But despite what people might say, it does actually work. It may not be sufficient enough to land you a dream job, but sufficient enough to help you glide through the mundane hiccups of daily student life – you don’t have to deal with too much hostility, you get praised all the time (as I said before), you constantly feel validated, other students look up to you and suck up to you (what a vicious cycle) and you might even sometimes get directly picked for some projects. While these may not be huge things in hindsight, but when you’re a full time student, they seem like the biggest achievements.

Personally, I despise ass kissing and ass kissers more than a lot  of other abominable things. It’s a proof of lack of faith in your own talent and skill. You would rather be a hypocrite and be admired than be hated but actually learn something. You would rather get off at power tripping than focus on yourself. You would rather get a good grade and a good comment from your beloved teacher than question him/her because you didn’t understand something, or because you didn’t agree with something. I am officially convinced of the fact that ass kissing is a religion that transcends boundaries more than anything else. It’s prevalent everyfuckingwhere. Both the ass kisser and the ass that is being kissed gain infinite validation and ego massage in the process. The ass that is being kissed feels special and powerful, and the ass kisser feels privileged and “superior” too. Exceptionally profitable bargain.

Being good at what you do and being a good teacher are two completely different things. You can be brilliant at what you do but still suck at teaching. Teaching requires the ability to keep a lot of personal judgement at bay, the ability to understand each and every student’s needs, the ability to divide attention, appreciation and criticism equally among all students and most importantly the ability to display faith in all students. Unfortunately not too many teachers have passion for teaching to have faith in someone else. They have passion for their fields, but not for teaching. And that is very, very unfortunate.

Favoritism, bias and partiality – I’m not new to these concepts. I have never been at the receiving end of any of these, in fact have mostly been at the other extreme where most teachers despise me. I’m just not a likable student. But I would choose hostility over bias any day, because I have faith in my skill and am not dying for a good grade. This choice gives me the freedom to not give a fuck when I don’t want to. And most of the times, I don’t.

Chapter: New

Adjusting in Singapore hasn’t been as much of a hassle as adjusting in Europe was. Indians do occupy 9.2% of the population after all.  We have an entire community called “Little India” dedicated to us. If being in a foreign land ever bugged us we could just catch a bus and go there to be […]