Sunday, Oct 02, 2022
Outlook.com
Write Turn

Amitabha Bagchi

Amitabha Bagchi
Getty Images (From Outlook 04 November 2013)
Amitabha Bagchi
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Even the least rebellious teenager loves the taste of freedom and like so many others, I first tasted it at eighteen when I went to college and moved into the hostel. In the college I went to we didn’t have many girls (the ratio of men to women was approximately 23.1:1), but we did have advanced maths that was exciting, more physics than we knew what to do with, chemistry that was apparently a more serious matter than the school syllabus had let on and programming that was revelatory and beautiful for anyone who enjoyed the notion of structure. Plus, in each hostel we had a carrom board and, in my hostel, a room whose centrepiece was a table with the aforementioned carrom board on it. At eighteen, sitting around that carrom board for hours, I learned many things. I learned, for example, that if the coin is stuck against the side of the board, then knocking it hard at just the right point will make it slide along the side into the pocket. I also learned that if a resource is to be shared with a lot of people—one board, many players—then a clear set of fair rules—first-come first-served, winners continue, losers move away—not only reduces conflict, but builds mutual respect and a sense of community. And I learned that outside the small cosseted world of Delhi public school life that I had led until that point, there were people with names that weren’t Rohit or Rahul or Gaurav, people who came from villages and didn’t speak English, people who thought that caste was important because they weren’t from a high caste and could legitimately expect to be treated as equals. At 18, I was given the opportunity to escape the small set of concepts that had circumscribed my life until then, and that opportunity tasted like freedom.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.