Some questions about
india & me
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1. About the india and me cafe
What is the goal of the india & me cafe?
india & me is a digital meetup ("cafe"). We meet here to un-learn our routine ways of thinking about the social and cultural in India, and our role in it - in the past, in the present and in the future.
As in any conversation in a cafe, learning is through discussions and sharing of information. We do this by collectively engaging in activities that challenge our everyday comforts and discomforts around gender, caste, religion and more.
What should do I hope to achieve at the end of the programme?
Is this programme online only or also offered offline?
The india & me cafe is currently being launched in an online format only. However, we do have plans to run select offline cafes through some colleges / universities. Please refer to our website for relevant updates.
Who will be speaking?
The india & me cafe is designed as a space for conversations. Our cafe is highly participatory, with a series of activities and resources and discussions at every stage, to ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak. However, since someone has to steer the conversation, each cafe is “run” by india & me facilitators. But, as we understand no one can ever know everything, our facilitators also simultaneously participate as co-unlearners in the cafe.
Will this programme be an emotional experience?
We encourage you to prepare yourself emotionally before joining the cafe. India is hugely diverse, and as we explore the social mores of India deeper, you may question some long-standing beliefs. It is possible that some references and conversations may be heated, so we request that you come prepared for some reflecting. The discussions in our cafes, among other things, touch on different forms of violence including suicide, which some might find disturbing. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk about this beforehand.
Does the india & me cafe have any political affiliations?
The india & me cafe is not affiliated to any political party. However, we stand against majoritarianism and any form of oppression / discrimination.
Does the cafe require any prep work?
Yes, there is some prep for the cafe, which you will receive along with the Zoom link. The prep is simple and shouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes, and it will help set the foundation for exploration in the cafe. Also, we suggest that you use the name you want to be addressed by as your Zoom name.
What if I disagree with something being said in the cafe?
See our safe and brave space guidelines, which lay some ground rules for the cafe. We expect that everyone engages in an open and respectful discussion with other co-unlearners and understand different perspectives even if you disagree. At the same time, we stand against majoritarianism and any form of oppression / discrimination. It may be possible for a one-on-one in-depth discussion after the cafe with some of our working committee members.
How do you tackle with any disruption, considering these are virtual sessions?
We request co-unlearners to discuss but not be disruptive. As cafe time is limited our facilitators will request the disruptive members to ease up, and offer them the option of continuing the conversation in another forum. However, if a co-unlearner continues to disrupt the cafe and does not allow it to proceed as scheduled, the facilitators are free to (a) mute the participant or (b) remove them from the call/ cafe.
Is there an app about the cafe that I can download?
No, we don’t have an app. Our cafe happens over Zoom (see next question) and the rest of the information and resources are all here on this website.
How do I attend the cafes?
For most part india & me cafe is organised virtually. Hopefully we have a cafe in a time zone that suits you. Currently, we hold the cafe on Zoom, so all you need is a desktop / laptop / ipad / tablet, and a decent internet connection (speeds of at least 100 Mbps). We may hold some cafes offline in the future.
Note: We will be at least 10 people in a cafe, and learning is through conversations. Hence, you may not have a great experience if you access the cafe on a mobile.
Will I be given a certificate for attending?
Our cafe is about deepening people’s interest in India. It isn’t a formal educational course, and so no certificate will be issued.
When does the cafe open?
We open the Zoom room half an hour before each cafe. We encourage co-unlearners to join 10 minutes before the start time, to give you time to resolve any technical issues. Please note we can't provide you any technical support for audio/video issues at your end.
A facilitator will be there to welcome you when you log in. The cafe will start exactly on time.
Would what I say remain confidential?
Our cafes are designed as safe spaces, where you can say whatever you want, with no judgement. The cafe is not recorded, and any reference to any comments at a future stage will be anonymised. At the start of each day, all participants take a pledge to honour the confidentiality of what is said in the cafe. Please see our safe and brave space statement that is agreed on at the start of each cafe.
We also run a safe virtual meeting place outside the cafe, where interested co-unlearners can share ideas and experiences in a non-judgemental space. Again, there is no recording of these sessions.
Can I join the india & me working group?
We have several roles for which we can always use additional help. For more details, see how to work with us.
2. Who can participate in the india & me cafe?
Who can participate in this cafe?
We welcome anyone who is over 16 years of age, based anywhere in the world. Our cafe will be interesting for anyone with some exposure to India and who wish to understand the social construct of India better.
This cafe could also be an eye-opener for young adults of India or of Indian origin living outside India with regard to some aspects of the country they might not have thought about before.
Is there an age limit for registration?
You should be at least 16 years. We believe that anyone aged 16 and over would find the discussions in our cafes useful.
Is there any ID requirement for registration?
We work on a trust basis, and confidentiality is important to us. So, you don’t need any ID when you register, other than a valid ID. An email ID is necessary, however, because we send the joining link as well as the prep details by email.
3. Reserving a spot, cancellations and refunds
How do I register for the cafe?
To participate in our cafes please click on the registration link on the "cafe schedule and registration" page.
Can I attend the cafe in parts?
It is important to attend the entire cafe to understand many of the interlinked nuances. Also, by attending the cafe with the same group of co-unlearners, people develop greater trust and openness. If you walk into a cafe mid-way, you might not experience this trust and freedom to participate. Hence, we do not offer the option to attend the programme in parts as of now.
How do I cancel my registration?
Our activities are planned around the number of attendees -- therefore a cancellation does mess with our plans. That is why we request that you don’t cancel once you have registered. But if you must cancel, please let us know by email of your unavailability at least three days before the start of the cafe, so we can offer your spot to someone else. Unf
I managed to attend only 1 day of the cafe. Can I get a part refund?
4. Other operational questions
When will I receive the Zoom link?
You’ll receive the Zoom link by email approximately 48 hours before the start of the cafe. Kindly do not share the link as we are only able to accommodate those who have registered for cafe.
Will there be a waiting room when I log into Zoom?
Yes, there will be a waiting room. Before entering the cafe, kindly name yourself on Zoom with the name you registered with for the cafe, for reasons of our safe space. Once you've done this, you will be able to enter the cafe.
Do I need to keep anything handy when I attend the cafe?
Yes, there are 1-2 requirements that we will email you about as "prep" for the cafe. Also, please keep pen and paper handy for the activities during the cafe or for any notes you might want to make.
Can I eat or drink when the cafe is in progress?
Yes, sure, it is a cafe after all! But we request that you don’t let the food or drink distract you from the discussions in the cafe.
Will there be a break in between?
Yes, we’ll have a few 5-10-minute “refresh” breaks while you're in the cafe.
What should I wear?
In line with a cafe ambience, casual is good. We don’t have a particular dress code — we would just like everyone to be comfortable.
5. About the organisers
Who are the people who've developed this india & me cafe?
Many people have helped "build" the india & me cafe. You can read about some of us in the "our people" section. You will also meet some of us in the cafe. However, as you will appreciate, this cafe has taken many, many months to develop.
Along the way, several people have been giving us time from their busy schedules to help, guide and frame this cafe.
6. Accessibility of the india & me cafe
Are there any special arrangements to make the india & me cafe accessible to differently abled people?
The india & me cafe currently operates virtually. Therefore at present, for people with a sight, hearing or speech impairment it is not conveniently accessible. We're committed to developing a fully accessible cafe in the future and we welcome any suggestions on how we can improve accessibility for the cafe in this format.
For participants with a hearing or speech impairment, we will attempt to provide an ASL interpreter for specific cafes at a later stage. Please email us (email@example.com) if you have any such requirement.
In case of restricted access to a computer or internet, we would encourage you to go to a private reading room at your local university for improved access. If you still face a problem, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try our best to arrive at a solution.
Why is the cafe in English?
We recognise the privilege of the English-speaking world and we are committed to introducing nuances of the diverse languages of India where possible within the cafe. But we are a self-funded, non-profit collective and are hence constrained to making the most optimum use of our funds. Also, many people amongst our target audience speak English as their first or second language. Hence it made the most sense to roll out the cafe in English first, although we encourage use of words and phrases in other Indian languages in the activities.