The year which ended on a note of dismalness and uncertainty certainly hadn’t started out that way. It was like any other, its routine flow of lectures, assignments and presentations punctuated by creative engagements, festival gala and, this year, even a Two-Day Conference.

The guests who came to address our students did so on a variety of topics. In June, team Thespo presented before us their rich scope for those who choose to make a career in theatre. Likewise, in September, Ms. Aishwarya Singh took our students on a tour of how they could enrich themselves and others by joining the Teach for India programme.

In July was hosted yet another memorial meeting in honour of our beloved Dr. Eunice de Souza. In August, there were lectures by Dr. Craig Brandist of the University of Sheffield, who spoke on postcolonial literature. Dr. Rochelle Almeida, a Fulbright-Nehru scholar had made her home in the Department for over two years while she researched on the Contribution of the Indian Minorities to Drama and the Performing Arts. She made before us an interesting study of Anglo-Indian fiction and films based on some well-loved classics in that genre. In September, Colonel Ajay Singh spoke on Partition Literature and read from his historical novel, Through Orphaned Eyes.

In December, Ithaka ran as usual, a full repertoire with workshops, events, skits and literary games. The grand plays included Sneha Aunty’s Mystery Man, The Utopia?, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Black Coffee (adapted from Agatha Christie)

January 8 and 9, were the days of the RUSA supported two-day National Conference ‘Celebrating Indigenous Literature(s)’. It certainly lived up to its name as a celebration of literature and the arts. The Summer School on Creative Writing was held on May 6 and 8, 2020 and will be continued in the coming semester. The Honours Program this year featured a course on Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Savitri’ and a two-part workshop on Women Pioneers in the History of Early World Cinema.

The Mumbai counterpart of our Annual Stuttgart Program took place in early February. We barely had time to wind up the term’s activities when the titter about corona become a murmur. Before we knew it, that turned into a rumble and finally thundered in upon us, an unwelcome reality.

At the end of the year, not one of the final exams had been conducted for us, as corona had taken us by storm. Like seeds lying in wait for a fresh arrival, lie our plans. We  are reminded of the poet Shelley’s words to the west wind, “the winged seeds…lie cold and low, until thine azure sister of the spring shall blow her clarion over the dreaming earth, and fill…with living hues and odours plain and hill.”

‘Importance of Being Earnest’ performed at Ithaka 2019


Dr. Pearl Pastakia
Head, Department of English

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