August 25, 2008

Notes from The West

I write from the Western Hemisphere. Feeling small and brown. And exalted for having jumped continents and conversed in English. Still taking in the euphoria of walking around in shorts and sitting alone at cafe's. For this is The West!

The excessive pisturesqueness of New England sinks in still. Quiet greens and gothic towers and bicycling modernities make the memories of the daily jostle for air, water, space, food, money, job, ideas, download speeds, movie tickets sharper. And prove the curiousness of the world in general. All the more. I marvel at the power of a fourteen floor library. And state-of-the-art buildings made to look Gothic. The cosmopolitan American marvels at small brown women speaking wordy English.

And then tea in the afternoon and good-old-feminist-bonding tells me that people are pretty much the same. Wherever you go.

August 12, 2008

God of Small Beings

This was a strange religious trip. Where a long and fancy car pulled over in the narrow alleys of Brahminical neighbourhood of Bangalore tucked into Anonymity. Jolted out of reverie for the affluent Bengali women of three generations that emerged from this long automobile had emerged in search of the goddess of their homeland. Who is nurtured in this alien land by alien people.

This was different from the quintessential Kali Baris of Calcutta- the Lake Kali Bari, the one in Kali Ghat, various others. The Safdarjung and Gol Market Kali Bari in Delhi. This one was unnerving in its dry, non-sticky floors, quietness, absence of chaotic maddening crowds. Austere Veshti and shawl-ed priests spoke softly. The mother goddess dressed in bold red and zari and diamonds sticking a tongue out and hopping over Shiva was familiar, but not quite.

The garland of red hibiscus was missing. Some strange Bong brand of energy too. To add to that, the knowledge of no-possibility-of-slaughtered-goat made this worship ground more worship-worthy, less accessible. More godly, less friendly.

The women of my family were content though, to come somewhat close to their familiar deity, this far from home. 

August 2, 2008

Self: New and Improved

So this preparing to be hotshot grad student is proving increasingly trying. One feels floosie and ahem-less-cerebral induging in activities like Facebook-stalking, watching Love Story 2050, pulp-on-the-telly, reruns of Desperate Housewives. One feels the constant need to purge one's head of all unworthy thought- consisting of hot men, lack of hot men, avergely hot men, giggly phonecalls, possibility of hot men. One finds the relentless godly admonition of a winged voice ringing through one's head saying- You're not one of them. You are going to read cool books and write cool papers. You must think, read, talk, dream very important things.

Chastised. I find myself feverishly trying to fathom the Nuclear Treaty debates, mugging Parliament anecdotes off newspapers, grimacing at page three neckline-photo-essays, trying to make my hair look more dishevelled than usual, cultivating a kind of poststructuralist air, appearing supernuanced about bombs as well as bombshells.

It's tough building character. Building academic persona surely is way tougher. But I brace myself undaunted by the forces of floosedom that threaten like temptresses.