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October 8th, 2005


6 th October 2005


Today is the first day of Ramzaan. TC and I agreed to meet at Byculla Station after we had finished the evening break of fast. We were to go around the Muslim neighbourhoods of Nagapda, Bhendi Bazaar and Saarvi to chalk out the Urban Buffet Walk which we are organizing jointly on Saturday 15 th October.


I arrived early at Byculla Station. These days, waiting for TC to meet me at Byculla Station is not an odd task. Earlier, waiting for someone at a public place would mean a great deal to me. I would feel watched by everyone around – what do people think I am waiting here for? Do they think I am a call girl? Each glance would pierce me and kill me. But these days, wait at Byculla station is not a big deal. Actually, waiting at any railway station is not a big deal because it is a waiting place – people wait for trains; people wait to meet each other there, it being a common waiting and meeting place and then and lastly, because everyone is in a hurry, there is no one to note you, to mark you, to watch you. Unless of course you happen to be waiting at a time which is not a peak hour at the railway station. And again, not all railway stations are friendly waiting places.


TC arrived in a short while. Usually, he wears his sports cap. Today, he was wearing a skull cap. It made him look different. TC and I know each other for nearly nine months now. He was my research subject. He still is. But now we have a friendship between us. Earlier I used to feel conscious during interactions with him. But he has no hassles of interacting. He doesn’t have tensions and he has the remarkable ability to make me feel comfortable. He is fond of me and I am fond of him too. We talk about everything under the sun – food, films, railways, people, my work, his work, etc.


We boarded a cab from Byculla West and went straight to Bohri Mohalla. But I was too involved in my conversations with him to notice anything around me. We walked around for half an hour. And it was pleasant company on one evening in the city. I feel grateful for the relationship with him – there should be no andheras ; if you can’t get the chaand , better not promise it – he says meaning that let there not be pretensions and darknesses in relationships.


I got back home and excitedly told mom about the walk we were planning to do.


Are you going to go with him alone and walk at night? You think it will look good?


I was irritated with her question. It meant that if people were to see me hanging out with him, what would they think of me?


I explained to mom that I was not going to go alone with him. Rather, we were going to take a group of people on the midnight walk. She seemed alright when I explained this to her. The question lurking in my mind was that of class and social appropriateness – who defines what is ‘appropriate’ and what is not? Does a researcher have to limit his/her interactions with his/her subject to just topics of research? What kinds of relationships are ‘appropriate’ between the researcher and the subject?


P.S. Mom does not even know that I have watched two films with TC in theaters!



  1. October 10th, 2005 at 06:09 | #1

    What will ppl think?

    Important it is, they say, to take into consideration the tongues which will wag. We have to live in the society, don’t we? Yes, we do. In the society which is fuelled by the extra-ordinary. A society for which the unexpected is dope. Make it work to your advantage. You do the unexpected and do it consistently; it becomes the norm and hence, less talked about.