Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mapping Melbourne

Remember when as grad students in the field you got members of the community to draw 'neighbourhood maps' for you and at some stage you would tut tut and shake your head in dismay as how all the men were marking out the way to the liquour store/tea stall, local bank, shops et al and how women drew water wells, where they were getting wood from, hospitals, their children's school ....I realised that if someone were to ask me to map my city lately I should have a more circuitous route than drawing a straight line from 'ass print on couch' to 'tram stop' to 'uni' avoiding sites of PPP (Pigeons, Public Displays of Affection, Puppyjhappi Punjabis).
PPP killed the travel star.


  1. Hi Aneela,

    Nice blog. Just curious, but what's ur research topic? How did you get to travel through India? What did u think of it and of Indian brand secularism? I would love to hear an HONEST opinion.

    By the way, my roommate Shailesh is not at all Shiv Sena-ite. He is one of the most rational/humanist guys ever. We just like to tease him and call him Shiv Sena's Shakha Pramukh (division head) in LA because he is Marathi.


  2. 1)I am doing a post-doc on Pashtun communities in have to go to my first post ever on this blog for more on it.
    2) How did I travel through India...Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Earlier for work/research purposes (for my postgrad thesis) but this last purab pachim uttar dakhshan trip was a treat I had promised myself for submitting my Phd thesis. And Ive always loved it, some places more than others.
    3)Asking me to comment on secularism..Indian or otherwise would be a pretty "loaded" statement on my part wouldnt it...but its no amar akbar anthony movie is it?
    4)I figured out about shailesh ..not that I was planning to subscribe him (or myself) to the orkut community

  3. Hi,

    I am glad u liked it.I thought your travel in India was work-related because I was wondering how you got to travel so easily without any Visa problems or official harassment etc.

    As for the secularism bit,it's never a part of 'polite' conversation. As if expressing one's views would surely offend others.

    But I think on the whole, Indian secularism has held together fairly well since Independence. I know many Indians( and surely Pakistanis) would not agree with me but on the whole I think it's more positive than negative. And also, I am very sure that with development and equitable development, it will only get better.

    Anyway, I'll avoid that discussion for now. Best of luck with your work.


  4. If you are really really nice to your mother you can avoid the visa/official harassment route.
    And you have to learn to be a bit thick skinned when it comes to the characters hanging outside the gates of the High Comm in Islamabad and Delhi, but really you have to understand that these are actors who are lowest on the bureaucracy rungs...under paid ...and its pretty boring after a while to quiz people on why they were inside the HComm.Actually if you have the will and the means its not that difficult but most Indians dont think of Pakistan when it comes to tourism does it?

    Indian secularism is pretty class based and its OK if its in Pali Hill and Dharavi (and it survives on the silver screen)..its the attitude of middle classes that antagonizes me...for many secularism translates as being intellectually lazy.


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