A Walk of Familiarity | Milaap

A Walk of Familiarity

Well, one of the most interesting parts of those five days of training has been our walk to the office; other than Rish and Shrab (Milaap Fellows) making fun of me, passive smoking, hour-long discussions on the food we are going to eat, severe hangover and of course, waiting for Mouli and Roshni to speak about their field experiences. I just feel my presence is right inside the four walls whenever Mouli and Roshni speak about the field. When they share their field experiences, it gives me a positive aspect of the work.

So, I was talking about those 15-minute walk to the office, surprisingly it has all the ingredients of a classic comparative study. I could look into diverse culture making sense in a small space. Meanwhile, it will also be interesting to capture the food politics or construction/reconstruction of the identity of migrants. I can proudly say that I have tasted almost half of the food stalls with Rish and Shrab, and most of them were migrants. For them coming to a metro city is an opportunity of earning and providing for their families at home. However, there is a melancholic repressed desire of returning home to their families. They are usually grouped and travel with a guide who brings them to Bangalore. This guide is considered as their leader and he is to be paid every month. At present they are paying their leader 1k per month. They consider this payment as repayment of bringing them to the city and allowing them to earn a livelihood. One of the stall owners is just 15-years-old where I stop to indulge myself with paani-poori. The boy told me how happy he is to be able to send money home, regularly. 

A migrant from Allahabad

It felt like I do not have to search for a research intend in this 15 minutes of walk. I can just look up and potential research topics are walking along with me. I could see how such a space can bring out the idea of the sense-making of a given space.

A footpath made sense due to his regular presence

I could see the morning ritual of diverse occupation and at the same time resisting the aroma of morning meals. While returning, I could witness their tired skin through dusk. The everydayness of the residents seems chaotic but singular at the same time. This walks reminded me of Weber’s masterpiece work on the city. It is intriguing how these walks towards the office have such potentials for research discourse.

A man from Uttar Pradesh providing a sense of the pathway through his art-work 

I was missing my ongoing field-work back home, on the very first day. It has been just five days and three and a half hours of flight away but I felt I was afar. However, it got resolved with our walks to the office.