By Sumangal Haldar
Podcast by Anshika Nigam
One fine morning you find yourself, fondly become the Founding Editor of a webzine which you founded fondly as a magazine. This was years ago and finally you get to see the new earned terminology of ‘webzine’…a magazine that is on web is a webzine. That is how I explain to anyone who questions “why webzine?”
But that magazine, which was once started more than a decade ago, was so different from this one- in form and format. Genesis was a college magazine with many admirers outside the college too. In its inception it was a yearly publication- hard copy where we could feel the fresh printed pages of content. Weeks and months would go in shortlisting the received articles and giving them a final shape along with designed aspects. There were students, professors alike, who would yearn to get their works published with us, as the magazine had a tradition of eminent personalities of the region and inviting guest columns from some prominent writers. And, sharing space with such delegates was an honour in itself. Yes, we had many received submissions to choose from and finally derive at the annual edition of Genesis- A Caravan Magazine.
Genesis Webzine born in pandemic is different from its predecessor. It is published online, it is not limited to a college, it is not run by a college; it is run by professionals out of college excelling in their own domains. As we mention in our team’s page “We are a group of nearly 40 professionals spread all across the globe into different work domains”. I think that is enough as an introduction, let me come to the point as to why I am telling you all this thing. You are the editor…meaning I am the editor the fondly called Founding Editor of Genesis Webzine. And one fine day, the managing editor of the Webzine writes to me and conveys – ‘we lack a contribution for the coming month slot’… She certainly wants me to fill that, and as a responsible Founding Editor I will have to comply.
As most of our community contributors reply when approached for an article, citing how busy they are, (well yes I totally agree they are), how dry they are in terms of creativity (I sometimes agree) etc, I could not give the same reply to myself. So, I thought about writing something; mostly while conceptualizing a write-up I let my mind go loose, as at some point of time in my life I had learnt about stream of consciousness technique in writing. So I thought of implementing the same. I started looking around searching for a topic, in the corner of the room there was a tiny commotion. The youngest amongst the three was giving a discourse, wearing a short pant and a vest, standing in the corner of a bed, in full flow. Using the art of kinesics and proxemics as much as he could, his speech was focussed. In the audience were his two elder brothers attentively listening to what he has to say, one sucking his lower lip, as he usually does when he is lost in something. While, the other one sat scratching his small bulging tummy. In this natural interplay was the creativity of life unfolding in all its grandeur.
I wondered what all has this young boy of 7 has to say, with all the ability of a professional orator (as much as it was visible), which most of us crave to imbibe and learn. We take professional trainings for the same, and I earn my living by giving such trainings. Few months back one of my students, the first to celebrate motherhood, shared some beautiful videos of her daughter. I could see how articulate and expressive that young lady is where through her article she had reminisced upon the pristine moments of raising her daughter right after giving birth to her. In a moment of flashback, I could remember that girl as a student attending the professional communication classes taken by me. In yet another instance, a student had written her relationship with her mother; and I could visualize her in my class speaking on some topic. Likewise, many such instances with particular students back when they attended the college could make me firmly give a judgement that they would win all the accolades, not only because of their age, but their ability to express that was par excellence.
The pondering has led me do a labyrinth of questions like… with age do we lose this ability to express? Where does it go? If a child does it, it is natural to him? As it is no learnt skill, but naturally acquired skill, maybe from parents. In all these cases definitely the orator has not been trained to do so; but has built on this aspect eventually. So why does a more sensible, learned, knowledgeable, mature, wise individual lose this very power to express? He craves to do it, and as trainers we do tell them techniques so as to hide the traits that show that we are in want of expressing skills. But frankly speaking those skills that are natural come by their own, regardless of the fact how much one tries to ace the flair of persuasive speech.
Meanwhile, the hazy view of the interplay in the background was turning into a turmoil, where something in a childlike manner had gone awry. I was required to put on the mantle of a referee; and relieve myself from the garb of an editor.
The author is an educationist and trainer involved at various levels of teaching and educating students