As the lockdown in India continues for another few weeks, we’ve curated a list of things to read, watch and listen to that look at different facets of care and what that means. From DIY ways to set in motion different strategies to care for yourself, to books and films that examine what social justice and care means in the context of larger structures, we’ve got you covered.
1. Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair: Anne Lamott
What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one other and to what’s sustaining, when evil and catastrophe seem inescapable?
In her characteristic style, Lamott looks at how to recapture wholeness after loss, how to find meaning and peace and where to start again after personal and public devastation. She explores this with her usual wit and warmth in Stitches. Listen to an excerpt from her book here: https://soundcloud.com/penguin-audio/stitches-by-anne-lamott-read
2. Turn This World Inside Out: The Emergence of Nurturance Culture: Nora Samaran
Speaking to one of the most pressing issues of our time, Samaran writes of Nurturance Culture as the opposite of rape culture. It’s a book that looks at alternative models of care and community and how to invert systems of oppression like patriarchy, race and white supremacy. She does this through personal writings and a series of interviews with others.
3. Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
For everyone who wants to build radically resilient communities where no one is left behind, this book is a must-read. In it, award-winning writer and disability justice activist, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice and how to build community.
4. The Little Book of Life Hacks: How to Make Your Life Happier, Healthier, and More Beautiful: Yumi Sakugawa
If you’re looking for fun, DIY ways to lighten and brighten your life and easy-to-set-in-motion strategies to care for yourself, this is a great book. It’s also a beautifully illustrated resource, both playful and practical. It comes with thoughtful advice intaking those small steps towards a life you envision and makes you dig a little deeper while you’re at it.
5. The Ammuchi Puchi: Sharanya Manivannan
Aditya and Anjali love listening to their grandmother’s stories, particularly the scary one about the ghost in the tree. But the night their grandmother passes away, all her stories seem to lose their meaning. This is a beautifully illustrated book and a moving story about bereavement and healing.
1. Crip Camp
A Netflix documentary, it follows several young people who attended Camp Jened, a New York campground for people with disabilities, and what happens when a group of teens who are otherwise set aside by society, find a place where they are treated as whole people. Directed by Directed by Nicole Newnham and Jim Lebrecht, it’s an incredible story of compassion and change told with warmth and ebullience that’s tremendously inspiring. What’s powerful is how it catalysed an activist movement.
Directed by Ken Loach, the film follows Daniel Blake, a 59 year old skilled craftsman who struggles with the benefits system and is left out in the cold after he has a heart attack. It offers a close-up view of a system and bureaucracy that dehumanises, alienates, and shows little empathy to people who fall through the cracks.
As we witness the reverse migration that Covid-19 has prompted in India and the lack of planning and response of the state, this film is even more poignant and powerful. Watch it on Netflix.
Directed by Deepa Dhanraj, this documentary takes a close and hard look at India’s coercive family planning program from the point of view of the women who were its primary targets. The reproductive rights of women, population control, the differences between social classes, the endless corruption: all of it is exposed in this documentary.
1. TED Connects: How to create meaningful connections while apart
Author Priya Parker shares tools for creating meaningful connections with friends, family and coworkers during the coronavirus pandemic — and shows how we can take advantage of gatherings that are unique to this moment of social distancing. “We don’t necessarily need to gather more,” she says. “We need to gather better.”
2. On Being: The Courage to be Vulnerable
As we live in times of deep uncertainty, this conversation between On Being host Krista Tippett and Brene Brown on vulnerability and finding strength in it, is a powerful reminder to lean into it because that’s where courage lies.