This issue of Fundamatics began the way all issues do – with the germ of an idea for a theme. The process in the middle too is always the same – the editor is akin to a browser with 50+ tabs open, all. the. time. Is it surprising then, that the magazine inevitably ends up buffering interminably?
We wished to do an issue on water as a theme. The fact that Monsoon was just beginning might have had something to do with our choice at that stage. There was renewal and hope in the air. The campus too was at its most sublime. But somewhere along the way, the theme of water could not be kept merely as a topic of intellectual inquiry but took on a more personal, closer-to-home cast.
The issue has seven scholarly water-themed articles that touch upon various aspects of the management of water as a resource. Yet, there is a limit to an anthropocentric discourse on water and we felt that it would be more meaningful to interconnect water with nature and to contextualise it to the campus and the still verdant ecology. After all, if there is a spirit to a place then anyone who has ever called IIT Bombay home would agree that it is inextricably linked to the twin lakes that span it like an exquisite garland. The lead piece of this issue thus is not from one of the water experts but by a campus amateur who writes passionately about the “Lake that Runs Through it” – the Powai lake.
The underpinning thread that ties the theme and this issue together is a concept of polarity and how water forms a part of the larger pattern of all things. A Yin and Yang of the natural order, if you will. It is an attempt to highlight that the issue of water needs to be cast beyond a reductionist science approach with a rational, mechanistic world view, to a more holistic science approach grounded by a nature-centered world view.
Think about it, water carries all life. It is also beyond time; for it carries within its flow not only the seeds of future life but also memories of past life. Yet, the minute we perceive water as a resource that should emerge at your command from a tap, we lose the mystique of water.
We attempt to refocus on this magic through “Of Rain and Other Precipitation” by Kadambari Devarajan which captures the other worldly quality of sitting at a window and hearing the drumbeat of the rains and watching droplets make their own pattern on the windowpane. There is a second piece from her and another from Sivaramakrishnan Sivasubramanian that celebrate the flora and fauna of the Powai campus, particularly its winged denizens.
When I write out my editorial it always comes with a sign – yet another issue is coming to a close. As I write out this piece, apart from the mandatory cup of Darjeeling, my only other companion is a spell of completely out-of-the-blue rain . A fitting closure. To sign out, I leave you with the memory of a beloved fragrance – Pertichor and hope that it serves as your companion while you read through this edition of Fundamatics.