“I’m Gautam.” The mix of low voice, Singaporean and Indian accents (with a touch of the American), and the relative strangeness of my name, means I almost inevitably get a blank look or a request to repeat my name again. I have learnt to add “like [Batman’s] Gotham City, but not quite…” over the years. I suspect my persistence with this cheesy line may have something to do with ‘The Dark Knight’ being among the guilty pleasures on my all-time favorites list. Having gotten this far, must I stop short of claiming as my twin superpowers, political science and economics? They are my majors.
On why all this talk about Batman may be related to my project: I like to think every good superhero story, has its moments of deep introspection when the protagonist must come to terms with his or her superpower. When he or she must take stock, look deep into herself to find meaning, ask why she must help, and what it means to help, especially when his or her own flaws and limitations are far too evident. I suspect the questions are similar for those who wish to make a cause and career out of helping others. My own aspirations of pursuing careers related to human rights and international development mean that I must face up to these questions. Continue reading