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the cafe

The india & me cafe has 10 tables, each has a name and activities to do while on the table. We start at table 1, then move to table 2 until we reach table 10. We do this over 3 days:

  • day 1: tables 1-6

  • day 2: tables 7-9

  • day 3 (after 2-3 weeks): table 10


We then leave the cafe together for continuing our unlearning journeys, both on our own and together, ever building the india & me community 

getting to know each other

On this table, we introduce ourselves with an ice-breaker activity about India. We agree how to make the cafe a safe and brave space, and then we move to the next table.

who's the me in india & me?

Here we discuss how our identity is really many identities and "relational". That is, at any moment in time, our identity depends on where we are and whom we are with. We do an activity to explore how this relational aspect of identity might afford us privilege or disadvantage. 

relationships and me

Here we focus on what often gets left out of conversations around "gender": for example, how our caste background or our age affects our experience of gender. We participate in a virtual play to see how these different aspects overlap ("intersect") in our daily lives -- how they affect our relations with other people in our family, community and society as a whole.

WhatsApp and me

Many of us use social media and are being forwarded all kinds of posts. We might also do this ourselves. A huge amount of knowledge is being shared in this way today. On this table, we'll use some WhatsApp forwards to see how much of the stories we see/hear/read is mainly told from the perspective of people with power or status. Using some common Indian stories, we see the unseen consequences of these stories -- the benefits/harms for us as individuals, as members of our communities and larger society.

water and me

On this table we play a game based on a popular board game to see how the quality and quantity of water that we have access to, depends on many things: for example, which part of a city or village we're living in. We also attempt a quiz around water usage. We discuss how our access to water reveals some unseen aspects of India that we might not have thought about before.

pausing to reflect

At this table, as we near the cafe's closing time, we share reflections about the first day together. We then leave the cafe temporarily.

merit and me

Merit and reservations have long been viewed as "contentious" in India. They impact on the daily lives of all Indians, and anyone who comes from India today. We consider it crucial to India's future that merit and reservations are de-mystified for a better society for us all. So we here address this through another virtual play in which everyone on the table has a part to play.

authority and me

All societies have some forms of authority. Here we explore how authority functions in families and our communities and how it intersects with ideas of caring for each other. We see how in daily life, control is often masked in a language of care and authoritarianism can be masked through ideas about security and stability. We discuss how all this keeps the hierarchies in our societies intact, and privileges remain reserved for a few. We use comic strips and videos in this part of our cafe.

roots and me

Here we enact our third play to make us think about how we see India as a country, as a nation, as a state. We also think about borders at various "levels": around family, around community, around the nation. The borders of the present and the borders of the past. Our discussion following the play will bring this part of our cafe to a close, until we again.

towards india and we

Here we start by recognising that everything we do in our personal lives is political and that choosing to ignore injustice, however small or large, is itself a political choice. We discuss how our rights and freedoms are interconnected, and what we need to do to work in solidarity as opposed to saviourism. We remind ourselves that the freedoms we enjoy today are due to the resistance of marginalised people against destruction of our environments and freedoms. We talk about the pushback that often happens when we discuss these things within our families, social circles, and workplaces. We end with how we can build a healing community around us to continue the journey as “india and we”.

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