Thursday, May 1, 2008

Introducing myself

May 01, 2008

This is my first blog. On May Day. Very interesting, isn't it? That I start a new thing in my life on May Day. How does it feel to start something new in life? Oh my, ask me? You feel the thrill. But how do you characterize it? In what words would you describe it? I dunno...

I am 36 years old. Salman Rushdie wrote a novel, Midnight's Children, where Saleem Sinai was born in 1947, on August 15, 1947, the exact second when India was getting its freedom. I was born in 1971, just around the time, Bangladesh was being born. But I never wrote a novel about it.

Perhaps, I should. What do you think?

My job: I am an English Professor--the exact nomenclature is Lecturer in India [and UK] and the American equivalent is Assistant Professor. I have seen hierarchies in the academic space and I recollect joking with my peers that thank god, in our University, we never had the 'Assistant Professor' thing and that we were called 'lecturers'--at least, that way, we had an image, a presence. If we were called Assistant Professors and if a foreign scholar came, you never know, you might be introduced as 'Hello, I am Professor so-and-so, and he's Mr./Dr. Roomy Naqvy, my Assistant!'

I am sure the Americans never thought of this possibility when they went about naming everybody as professors.

So, that's my name--Roomy.

I'll go into the intricacies of my name some other time.

I am not just an English professor. I used to write poems--published 3 of them and wrote 3 unpublished stories and never completed two unfinished novels. Had aspirations to be a novelist. But I am also a professional translator. You can always check out

I teach a variety of professional courses as well.

We'll go further into more things later on.

Ciao for now.

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mr.x said...

Dear Mr.Roomy,
its was very interesting reading about your life.
but i have one little question that i would just have to ask,since there is a great chance given. who would you say is your best student or if i may put it this way, who shall you always remember from the English honors students, that are in the second year right now?
Best regards Mr. X :)

Roomy Naqvy said...

From a true guru's perspective, [and you would be astonished to know this] all students are the same. I'm like a railway platform--and some platforms belong to metros, whereas some belong to smaller stations--and you folks, the students, are like trains. So, some are like Eurostars [thats the best that they have in the EU--where I was once in 2001] and some are freight trains run by Indian Railways.

All students are the same, whether the ones run by EU or the Indian Railways because they come and go, 'talking of Michelangelo' [remember that poem, Prufrock?]. Interestingly, some contact you after ten years and fondly keep in touch. It's really very funny...the world is.

I also have a very good thing that you will see less in this malice-filled world--> I remember anyone would like to remember me. Isn't that a nice motto in one's life, pal?

Werner Patels said...

Welcome to the world of blogging -- about five years after everyone else (just kidding).

Good to have you in the blogosphere.

mr.x said...

thank you for comparing the students to trains,i think that will boost up their self respect :)

Roomy Naqvy said...

Wouldn't you thank me for comparing teachers to railway platforms?--some of them belonging to smaller stations:)

mr.x said...

Mr. Roomy i wouldn't compare a teacher to a railway station, but some of them in J.M.I. can be easily called amateurs(i dont think that you are in that list of names). wouldn't you agree ? :)

Roomy Naqvy said...

There are two or three things, my dear friend-->

1. I have a personal rule:--> I never indulge in self-praise and if you ask me a very deeply personal question:--> "What do you think about yourself? --> I would probably tell you that I don't think anything about myself. So, if you sought a very personal opinion [and not the *official* / 'professional' one], I would tell you that I am not even a small speck in this world.

1.1 Yes, there are people who do see my CV and tell me things.

2. Now, when I teach students. I am sure I am not there to showcase my intellectual abilities or the lack of them. I should simply a good communicator and those students of mine, who would like to find out, are always welcome to google me.

3. The problem that I see with Indian academics, and I have seen quite a few by now, is that they seem to be on a power trip. They seem to think that they must exhibit some sort of power over their students in the classroom.

3.1 When I was a student of MPhil and I passed out in 1996, there were eight girls in my class and we were all friendly with our juniors. I was the first to get a job--the others got it a year later. The moment they got their jobs, they became so formal... so stiff with the same set of people with whom they were friendly. I found that shocking.

3.2 I started teaching where I did my MA and MPhil--I wouldn't suggest that to anyone else. My seniors, who were my teachers, --> and I'm not into attacking people [only principles, so, I wouldn't name anyone and you shouldn't guess publicly]--> told me, "You used to be friendly with students. Roomy, now, you are a teacher. If students smile at you on the campus or if they wish you, don't wish them back!"

My God! That was crazy. I was a kid in 1995 when I taught my first class. At that time, I was 24 yrs old-- In October 1995, I was 23 yrs and 11 months old--> I tried doing this for the first 3 months and felt it was a very very stupid thing to do. So, I couldn't do it--scare people into submission. That's not my nature.

So, slowly and gradually, I developed a style, where I was communicative...and as a rule, I don't tell anyone about the projects that I work on--because I learnt earlier on that it is best to seek less publicity if you want a comfortable life from your peers.

So, I am not at all into trying to impress my students--and imagine the age difference--> I am bloody old--> 36, and you folks are just 18 or 19--and it would be so abominable and dirty of me to try and impress you folks. Rather, you would be impressed automatically by me and I should try to dispel such notions!

If at all, I should impress people in my life, I should impress my seniors or my peers in my University or abroad or in other parts of the country.

So, my dear friend, it all depends on your personal principles, how high or low you set them and that's exactly the way you behave.

There's one last thing here--in terms of being a professional. Most people that I see in my life are unable to differentiate between their personal as well as their professional lives.

If I don't end now, you would probably think this is going to be another 45 minute lecture!

mr.x said...

Sir... i asked only one question :))) why are you going all off topic ? as i got the point none of us will be given s straight answer no matter what may ask. but still thanks for everything, it was always a pleasure to be present during your lectures. take care

Roomy Naqvy said...

Well, I guess I loved Coleridge's Kubla Khan, James Joyce.. I thought going off-topic was the fun of being literary!--> because that's exactly when you learn how to decipher.

If you never went off-topic, how would you teach how to decipher? And in literature, if you can't even teach or learn how it is to decipher, well well, we might as well talk mathematics or the stock markets!

I love the stock markets too! There, I wouldn't speak in riddles.

Sheeba Naaz said...

Sir ur blog is really informative... the topline u have given to ur blog is too cool.
I really liked the way u have introduced urself.

keep inspiring us sir. Hope to learn a lot from you in the future.

Roomy Naqvy said...

Thanks! Like all artists [and would-be artists], I love compliments. :)