Month: March 2015

Bricolage

Of cobbled streets and express flyovers, congested living and starry houses, beautiful beaches and the heaps of garbage piled upon them, and of high rises which surround Asia’s largest slum. Of the beauty of the rains and the clogging of the roads, of the people with dreams and striving to make ends meet, the people who sleep in corridors because they never got a permanent place to live in the entirety of their life, the City of Dreams, they call it. There is film in the air. Selling bindis in the local, and sabzi mandis under the flyovers.

For a long time, I had been searching for a word that would at least attempt to adequately describe Bombay- and what a task I had taken on! Millions and millions of hearts, over the years, trying to find a spot for their dream, in the City of Dreams. And in class one day, I found the word.

A bricolage is a creation made out of whatever is available at hand, something created from diverse resources. In cultural studies, it refers to ‘the processes by which people acquire objects from across social divisions to create new cultural identities’. A little bit of this and and a little more of that, collected and pressed and woven together, churning out layers and layers of novelty every day- Bombay is a bricolage.

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The truth of Truth

The simple truth of Truth is that it is simply unavailable. There is no transcendental, ubiquitous, truth ‘out there’, waiting to be found, something towards which we are supposed to strive, something credible, something ideal. There is nothing universal about how it is, or how it is supposed to be. Moreover, there is nothing eternal about any truth.

So when somebody attempts to relate an opinion as a fact, or a way of life, or as this is how it is, you can be certain that it is not the truth. It may be true for one person, or a few people, or most people, or a majority of people but it is not the universal, eternal truth.

Moreover, I am increasingly convinced that it is not the thing itself, but one’s memory of the thing, which would include everything right from sensation and perception to reflection, that informs one’s knowledge, and a subsequent opinion. Food eaten in a good mood always tastes better, and songs tend to associate themselves with people because our memory enables so.

Hence, it is never what it is with a period at the end- it is forever dependent at our perception and our memory. Our perception and memory functions through a series of lived experiences that make us inclined and disinclined towards specific characteristics.

And hence, objectivity does not and can not exist. For we may strive towards neutrality and seek to be free from biases, it can never happen, and hence true objectivity, would lie in acknowledging your own subjectivity.

Any good piece of writing will not claim to have looked at all sides- it will attempt to put together the best possible while being limited by the constraints of subjectivity.