I am so proud and honored to be part of the Editorial Collective of Antipode: A Journal of Radical Geography. See the Collective's editorial statement https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/anti.12599
Jun 22, 2019
Jun 6, 2019
The grief of losing my mother and writing-->
The struggles of academic writing have a new shape this summer. My mother, Veena Asher, was neither a formal scholar nor was she formally educated. Yet she was my guru, my teacher. It’s been a year and 3 months since her passing. But the grief is still raw and I miss her acutely every day. Almost everything I touch– clothes, jewelry, pots and pans, utensils, spices, flours, flowers—has her marks on them. I have her mark on me—my features, body type, the way I speak, the way I engage the world. And yet the grief. Every day I think about all the things I learnt from her and what I did not.
I was aware of her mortality. We spoke about death since my grandfather’s death in the 1970s. We spoke about her death and yet nothing prepared. We spoke about the impermanence of life, discussed the teachings of old texts and their relevance to living our daily life with dignity and care. It takes all the strength of my will to hear these things from my yoga teacher as she reads from the Yoga Sutras. With my mother there was space for skepticism and debate even about traditional wisdom. Possible respect but no romance. I learnt my philosophy and theory from her. Long before I read Marx, I engaged in the ruthless criticism of everything with her. With her I learned nature-cultures, and understood what Donna Haraway was writing. I wasn’t learning to do just be – strong and brave to face any situation, anywhere. To hold failures lightly. To celebrate successes but not fetish them. We never spoke of love, and yet her love of life and for the world upheld me. Without her I have to build my scaffolding anew, not quite alone but without the material guidance of our weekly conversations.
As I write this I realize something odd: I don’t associate my books with her, and yet she made me a scholar. That insight must be her gift to me today. Tomorrow I will follow up on it to guide me to a path to articulate and engage the contradictions and aporias of struggles for social and environmental justice.