Friday, December 20

India III

A few days ago, a team from a local news magazine came over to talk to me and another writer about an upcoming literary festival where we'll be reading. It was giddy seeing the writer-photographer tandem, mostly because they reminded me so much of, well, me.

Selfish remembrances aside, the past three weeks (unreported, my apologies) had passed with something that resembles calm and regularity. Another trip to the city (where I got myself a kurta), to our beloved bar at Hessaraghatta, a reading, another performance by the dancers, and the usual blur of people coming and going. I've been here for five weeks, and while I could be (rightly) chastised for not doing enough work, there is no way to adequately ascertain the impact of my stay so far on the way I have come to appreciate the depth and profundity of this civilization.

Weeks ago, the dancers performed for a group of tourists, and we were allowed to watch. The sheer beauty of the choreography; the ancient, divine origin; and the devotion of the dancers to their craft--I cannot help but be reminded of the common narratives of India and the Philippines. The thriving "indigenous" way of life, the colonial interruption, the confusion and the struggle in the aftermath. When one of the dancers were explaining to the (white) crowd that the movements of the dance were based on 2,000-year-old scriptures, in my mind I hastened to add, and this is what your forefathers had dismissed and endeavoured to erase.

Perhaps more work is needed on the serenity front. Elsewhere, progress: (1) a new story, (2) two finished overhauls, and (3) reinvigorated drive thanks to offer by a literary agent to take a look at the manuscript once it's done. "Don't show it to anyone else before me," she had said, quite needlessly.

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