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When we list Professor Rohit Goel's accomplishments, try not to picture a grey beard, a smoking pipe and a world-weary stoop. Subscribe to these stereotypes and he'll enlist you in a writing workshop at once, but more on that later.

Professor Goel, in fact, is young, strikingly handsome and can often be spotted getting a quick lunch at Kala Ghoda Cafe. The Indian American resident moved to Mumbai five years ago, by which time he'd received a BA from Harvard College, and, as Harvard University’s Paul Williams Fellow to Emmanuel College, an MPhil in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, as well as an MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago, where he is completing his PhD. His current book project, Symptoms of the Contemporary, is also the topic of his ongoing course.

As a professor, Rohit has taught courses in writing style and argument, philosophy, history, and politics at the University of Chicago, Sciences Po Paris and Menton, the American University of Beirut, and Jnanapravaha Mumbai.

Which brings us to BICAR, which Rohit understands, despite his not-so-fluent Hindi, "sounds a little too much like bekaar". But bekaar it is not.

BICAR Gang: Mumbai's New Learning Centre

Set up in an Art Deco space near Colaba Post Office, BICAR or The Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research is where Rohit designs and teaches compelling courses on subjects like writing, art, philosophy, history and even the Arabic language.

Rohit founded BICAR in Beirut five years ago with fellow academics, artists and architects, many of whom he plans to bring to the Bombay chapter as visiting professors. The great thing about BICAR courses, as Rohit explains, "is that students require no pre-requisites, former degrees or credits to be eligible". Which means you, your kids and your parents can sign up for these. Better than family TV time.

Pen State: The Course You Should Sign Up For Next

Spread between December 2019 and April 2020, BICAR will be conducting a series of writing courses - BICAR Write - to improve form and flair, which let's face it, we all need. Registrations are open for course one, Write: Workshop, to be held on December 21-22, where Rohit will work with each participant to ensure they finish the weekend with a written text ready for submission.

Who Can Sign Up

Rohit recommends the course for students writing applications to colleges and graduate schools; researchers applying for scholarships, grants, and fellowships; artists formulating their statements of practice and portfolios; curators preparing catalogues, wall texts, and exhibits; grant-writers applying to fund their institutes and projects; journalists filing stories; PR teams writing press releases; professionals writing cover letters; advertisers writing storyboards; consultants writing strategies.

Each day includes six hours of learning and writing, plus lunch, and you get to take home what Rohit calls a “Writer's Tool Box”, a laminated holy grail check list "to consult right before you hit send."

We know you have plans to spend your December lunch money on champagne and choux pastries, but trust us when we tell you to put away Rs 8,500 for this two-day course. We know someone at BICAR is most likely cross with us about that 'pen state' pun above, so we'll probably be in class as well. See you and your quill soon!

Note: stay tuned to bpb and BICAR's social media handles (links below) for information on their upcoming writing courses, which focus on Style (8 sessions starting January 2020); Argument (8 sessions starting February 19, 2020); and Logic (8 sessions starting April 1, 2020).

Getting there: BICAR, follow them on Instagram and Facebook, Sign up for Write: Workshop here-, email, fee for course one, Write: Workshop is Rs 8,500 for two days from December 21-22, lunch will be provided. 

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