I have been thinking a lot about trust this week.

I am thinking about the group of people who bared some of their rawest parts of their hearts in an exercise we did about values and our thresholds of tolerance for being challenged. About the peers who are processing some major life events as they figure out solutions to shared issues. I am thinking also about some really honest candid conversations about hurt with a couple of friends. And also friends who have rallied fiercely for my work and stretched me far outside my comfort zone.

I have been thinking about trust because there is something powerful about being trusted.


This is Part 4 of a 4 part series exploring the concept of “privilege” in our lives. (Read the introduction, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

By Aprajita Pandey and Jayati Doshi

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At this point, we want to come back to the existential questions for a moment and offer a different lens to think of them. …


This is Part 3 of a 4 part series exploring the concept of “privilege” in our lives. (Read the introduction, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.)

By Aprajita Pandey and Jayati Doshi

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When we first began to ask these questions, the voice of cynicism first took over: “It’s unfortunate, this unfairness, but this is what it is. Shouldn’t we be figuring out how to navigate this unfair world rather than questioning everything”.

Which opened up the question we were extremely uncomfortable to ask: why does dismantling systemic privilege matter in the first place? …


This is Part 2 of a 4 part series exploring the concept of “privilege” in our lives. (Read the introduction, Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4.)

By Aprajita Pandey and Jayati Doshi

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To summarise the previous parts, if we understand privilege as discussed until now, it highlights:

  1. That our world has engendered habits and ways of being that are valued more in society.
  2. What is valued is arbitrary, determined by privileged people.
  3. Our upbringing prepared us to take on a position of relative power and be successful in the world, and
  4. While that is not enough to get us where we are, it did give us an extra boost that was unearned and we don’t know how to fit that into our “hero” story. …


This is Part 1 of a 4 part series exploring the concept of “privilege” in our lives. (Read the introduction, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.)

By Aprajita Pandey and Jayati Doshi

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We usually speak about “privilege” in the context of identity groups such as caste, class, gender, religion, race, sexuality, or characteristics such as able-bodiedness, mental and physical health, educational status, etc. There may be many other kinds of privileges, but we are more interested in understanding “privilege” as a concept.

Most simply put, privileges are a set of circumstances and unearned benefits one gets as a part of certain groups that gives them certain advantages that people from other groups did not have.


What our personal exploration about the privilege conversation taught us — understanding, making sense and learning about “privilege” as a larger concept — and some ideas on what to do about it.

By Aprajita Pandey and Jayati Doshi

Introduction

If our lives were a movie, these last few months would be like a montage of frames in slow motion — where all the heartbreaking realities that we often could push aside in our pace as just a sort of a blur are suddenly distinctly, painfully visible. The images of people nestled safely in their homes with a relative security about basic necessities suddenly make stark the plight of the migrant workers walking miles on foot to reach their homes with no savings, food or even water. While some of us look up tips to be more productive while working remotely and process the worrying state of the economy from within the security of our homes, a whole chunk of population is now rendered unemployed, and a whole other lot of garbage collectors and sanitation workers continue to uphold the basic dignity of the country while receiving none of that for themselves. As parents across the world design the greatest homeschool experiences for their children, kids who already are lagging far behind in their education are pushed further behind. …


Lessons I learnt about vulnerability from consciously choosing to be as vulnerable as I could for some time. With a little activity in the end if you feel like experimenting.

Late 2015. I had spent a few months now speaking to people about love. The word “vulnerability”, not surprisingly, had shown up often in my conversations. “For me, love is when I can be vulnerable with someone”, several of the people I spoke to would tell me. So, while I was reading up on it, I had started asking questions about vulnerability, trying to define it — what does it feel like? When do you feel vulnerable — why do you call that vulnerability? We had made vulnerability scales and plotted our intimacies on them (I wrote about this here). I had done my homework. I had read up on it. I knew what vulnerability meant. …


One of the questions I get asked most commonly when I tell people about the time I spent talking to strangers about love is “how do you get people to tell you all these intimate stories of their lives?”. Umm… I generally love talking to people and have been doing this for really long, so I hadn’t really formally thought about it. Until recently though, when for a project I not only started watching and reading a lot about conversations and interactions, but also began to talk to a lot of people about it.

Now, I am by no means an expert, but I did realise that over the years I have developed some of these skills and they have been immensely useful — the conversations I have had have inspired me, brought me jobs, taught me so much of what I know, and given me a strange kind of robust support system, one that involves intimate friendships that I can count on as also a whole world full of strangers to learn from; conversations have seen me through my worst times and humbled me through my best. I have found belonging in the world through these conversations. Which is why, I thought I would put down some notes of what I learnt about meaningful conversations while interacting with strangers as my day job. …


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Part 1: Understanding vulnerability (DO try this at home)

It’s kind of hard to talk about love without discussing vulnerability. Or so I realised when I interviewed strangers about love. For most people I spoke with, not surprisingly, vulnerability was something that was reserved for their intimate/ close relationships. For anyone who has ever been vulnerable, that seems like an only obvious thing to do.

In the mood to question everything though, I began to question the notions of vulnerability we held and why it was something that was considered so sacred/ personal/ private. …


My friend arrived for dinner visibly agitated. In one of his leadership classes, one of his classmates had shared an example of sexism at work — as an intern in a fancy firm, she was apparently kept out of the conversation in her first week by all the men she was working for. “That’s not a gender thing. Every intern goes through that”, he had protested, and had subsequently been, in his words, attacked by the other women in the class. …

About

Jayati Doshi

Story-curator. Facilitator. Wondering about collective sensemaking, stories, love, belonging & questions that have no complete answers. https://jayatidoshi.com/

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