Tuesday, December 3

India II

The initial euphoria gone, have settled into routines, always the life jacket to which we cling on when flung toward uncharted waters. Here, it is waking up at around 9 or 10 (depending on previous night's alcohol intake), breakfast of either toast or scrambled eggs (as can't cook anything fancier), lunch with the dancers at 2 (if Anand isn't cooking), and dinner at 9 or so (plus rhum and a beedi with Venkat). In between, lots of tea and long walks, watching downloaded shows and looking out the window for hours.

I still think it is a gift--all this time to write, the (largely unfounded) belief that the project is worth investing on--but the faces are now familiar; the cold, tolerable; the silence, no longer an oppression. The profound exhilaration that I had felt at the prospect of being away from Things, I had been constantly revisting it. Had it been an exaggeration? Overcompensation? The facile way to put this turnaround is simple homesickness, which is not wholly untrue, although it ignores the additional isolation of being so far away from the city, with its noise and energy, the comforting warmth of multitudes.

Am I getting a lot of writing done? I am inclined to think that that is beside the point (cover your ears, dear sponsors). The conversations with the other residents--on caste, on regionalism, on popular literature, on this absurd thing we all love called writing--there is no ascertaining its value. The primacy of experience: how can it be so simple but also so multifarious? The heartbreaking thing about a tragedy like Yolanda, on whose heels I left the Philippines, is that the cold, hungry victims in her aftermath watch the same noontime show as me, laugh at the same crude jokes, and go to an SM mall to eat the same Jolly Spaghetti. Is it a paltry claim at solidarity? Perhaps. But such is never more clear to me as when you interact with foreigners.

Which is not to say I am not taking advantage of it. From my little desk, I can see an ampitheatre and, every now and then, passing tourists and goats and sheep. Progress, then, apart from the growing comfort: (1) further revisions on a really complicated story, (2) learning how to make masala chai, and (3) a confirmed lunch date in Delhi two months from now with the author of this little book called The God of Small Things.

1 comment:

  1. On point # 3: you lucky bitch!

    Coffee and chika when you get back.