Archive for August, 2009

August 27, 2009

Song Book: Kraanti Geet

Have I mentioned how important music was in our InSPIRE experience? The coordinators even put together a song book for us with songs related to what we were seeing, feeling, and experiencing. Singing, humming, snapping, whistling, ukelele-ing, and flute-ing made our world go round. So, I uploaded 2 “mix tapes” – one with versions of songs in our songbook that I found online and one with recordings of us singing some of these songs. I wanted to highlight some of the songs in the song book and explain their meaning and relevance so I will start with the first section called “Kraanti Geet”. More to come later.

Kraanti Geet (Revolutionary Songs) – In the rich ground of the classical, semi-classical and folk music of India; from the strong spirit of song that permeates this country; are born words and melodies to express revolutionary ideas and to spur movements: for equality, for human rights, for women, for change, for democracy…

One song which we sang a lot was called “Mandir-Masjid” and the meaning really struck me. The song was written by Vinay Mahajan as a response to the communal violence occuring in Ahemdabad in 1985. (Source: AID website)

See below for the lyrics, translation, and video: 

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August 6, 2009

“How can you explain a feeling in one word”

A wise woman (aka Jignasha = 1 of our amazing coordinators) once said “How can you explain a feeling in one word” in response to me asking her if she could describe how she was feeling about InSPIRE in one word…. (in my defense it was for presentation purposes – finished product is pending)

Anyway, I was just reminded of that when we were preparing for our closing ceremony in Delhi and we each had to share something in response to the question “What have you learned from InSPIRE? ” . I quickly jotted mine down so I wouldn’t trip over my words like I usually do. Here is what came out:

This trip has taught me two things that I will definitely carry with me forever – to care and not to care. I have learned to care so deeply about issues that I barely devoted any of  my brain power to before. I am constantly questioning myself to make sure my passion is not just on the surface and not just motivated by my immediate to reaction to things and I can assure myself (because in the end, who else really needs to be assured) that it is not. I have learned, seen, and discussed topics that will remain close to my heart and will hopefully guide my future thoughts and actions.

So…now for the not caring part. I don’t mean apathy or blissful ignorance but fearlessness. Starting with very basic things which have made an impact on me despite their simplicity. I have learned to play frisbee in the rain and mud and not cared about getting dirty; I have learned to bathe in a freezing cold stream after hiking a leech infested path….at 5am;  I have learned to sing loudly to myself for myself.

This trip, this experience, and these people mean more to me than I can express in words.  Yes,  I do realize that a lot of what I say sounds a bit drastic and driven by emotion and maybe even a little “cheesy” but…I feel it. And that is validation enough for me right now. I don’t think I even realize yet how I have changed but I look forward to finding out.