Amer- Blog post 3

This past month, I mostly devoted my time to writing out my paper, finding further resources and beginning the redraft process. I am quite happy with the body of the paper, both in terms of its length and primary arguments and am relieved that I was able to get the first draft out of the way. It is rough, but it gives me something to work with. Usually, I am someone who does not write multiple drafts, and therefore submission deadlines end up being quite stressful right up till ‘go time’ but this time round I feel relaxed simply because reworking an existing piece does not seem as laborious, or daunting. In my final meeting with Rae, I will bring up some questions about the submission process, and the presentations, that still remain unresolved but otherwise I am certainly on track!

Two of the biggest learnings for me from this research process have been these: one, there are no simple answers. I went into this process thinking that I would be able to develop some sort of narrative that draws out the ‘core’ of this Punjabi music story, but through my findings I have come to realise that despite its social relevancy and underrepresentation, mine too is a one-sided narrative. I have attempted to be as objective as possible, and include previously ‘unheard’ voices, yes, but that does take away from the fact that any narrative requires ‘construction’ of some sort, and is reductive to a certain extent. This realisation is something that would’ve troubled me initially, but now I almost embrace it. I embrace it because doing so does not take away from its power as an attempt at knowledge creation, and historicisation, in a way. In fact, to me, it adds to it. Second, I learnt the power of listening. This one sounds cheesy, I admit, but listening carefully is something that I, as an aspiring musician, took for granted. However, after conducting the interviews that I did, and attuning my ears to the sounds on the streets of Punjab, I came to realise that listening extends beyond paying attention to any interviewee. It is about a measured, attuned outlook to the process of research itself. It is about stepping outside one’s head and achieving a sort of stillness that allows a successful transformation into an observer, a fly on the wall. This, I think, is a truly valuable skill that I will cherish for a long, long time.