September 21, 2008

Posting on Postits

Being back in school has brought a few old friends back in my life- one being coffee. The other being pen and paper. (I maintain Oriental status in class steadfastly refusing to open up a laptop). And yet another, being postits.

Unlike snooty anglophile Bengalis who sport the dowat-kaulome, I am new-age and happy with ball points. Provided the nib is super sharp. And the paper is a bit scratchy. Makes Marxist angst about machines bringing about alienation of labour suddenly come alive. Especially in the vicinity of White Macs grinning away in superiority.

Postit was a close friend from the time of marking important revelations in a legal file as a lawyer, and before that, as a moot courter in law school. The fluorescent colours against smoothened paper made them a yuppy sort of acompaniment for cerebral endeavours. Increasingly, I lost touch with them. But the stationery counters of supermarkets pouring out all shapes and sizes of fluorescent intellectual aides were too much of a temptation for me to resist. Right now, I am tripping on the chrome yellow ones, splashing them across the body of colonial ethnography.

Glossary: dowat- inkpot
                  kaulome- pen

September 14, 2008

Edgerton Musings

Edgerton Park is home to the small travelling theatre company and the offbeat bluegrass group and the political country musician. Bringing to live the dreamlike notion of a happy community that comes along with its picnic baskets, deck chairs and wine bottles. On a lazy Sunday afternoon. It's eco-friendly and uncorporate and romantic. With older folks and children. And no drunken doped out twenty-somethings screeching from their boyfriends' shoulders.

This was the picture of the Other Possible World that we dream of when we wave jhandas at corporate demons. Through the Edgerton performance I found myself fighting a yearning for Coke banners splashing red. Or some music company claiming ownership of the song and the singing. Perhaps, the demons are really our fetishes. If the world were pretty and sensible and ecofriendly, maybe it wouldn't be as much fun. Maybe this fetishised unending battle against wrong and unjust and dirty and cruel gives us our mojo.

September 6, 2008

Desidual Rains

In the security of uniformed police, fast internet, resplendent salad bars and academic shopping baskets, I have settled into New Haven. I think. The wonder of a pay check to think and write about what it feels for the Third World anthropologist to watch her Own People  with voyeur sunglasses still sinks in. 

This is a curious discipline. That is increasingly comfortable in its discomfiture. And apologises for its voyeurism. In the way that many disciplinary frameworks don't. It rains in New Haven. With an alien serenity. Rabbi Shergill sings in nasal Punjabi. Desi sentimentality echoes through yellow blinds.