Archive | Gottingen RSS feed for this section

Bye, 2015. And Season’s Greetings!

31 Dec

I’m glad to have made your acquaintance. In many ways you were like 2013: you walked me through quite a journey. In no specific order, some of my favourite things from this year:

*The share autos at Noida City Centre metro station. Because:

1)UPiites (Uttar Pradesh iites) really are polite, even if they burn their women and mutton eaters occasionally. And,

2) In order to extract the crazily parked and inevitably hemmed-in auto you are sitting in (or sitting behind) (filled with a minimum of 10 passengers) the driver will move backwards and forwards, going thud-thud into the autos in front and behind, like dodge’em cars, until there is space to manoeuvre out onto the main road.

*That twice daily meditations did not happen, but routinely longer ones did.

* The Cafe Coffee Day on Barakhamba road. After many misses, I’ve found ‘my’ coffee shop in the city.

* Days that begin at 5.30AM on winter mornings, finish by 3, leaving me the rest of the afternoon and evening for Noida visits and meditation.

* Who’d a thought I’d enjoy being out of the house by 5.30 AM? That I LIKE less sleep when forced into it?

* Goettingen. Lucking out on wonderful people there, both friends and strangers. Especially strangers.

* Uncle Chips. Many, many packets of it.

* Beginning, meaningfully, on field research for the second part of my PhD. I don’t care whether I actually finish or not: the journey thus far has far exceeded my expectations of learning when I began. But I will finish, because the ICSSR has kindly paid me a fellowship thus far.

* Noida, Nurnberg, Dakshineshwar.

Happy New Year, all. Because whyever not?

Bitte Warten…

27 May

Hey Prabhu

Aaj maine ek murti dekha

Ek urti hui aurat ki kaanch ki murti

Sapne mein dekha toh saat Euro

Lekin gaya toh bola teen saw

Aisa nainsafi kyun?

Phir sapna kyun dikhaya?

I see you looking at her, lower shelf, left. That figure in ceramic with the metal chain hanging off her neck. Oh come, come. Don’t be shy. She is indeed special. If you enter the door by the pig, you’ll see her again, smaller this time. She’s too big, they said; don’t make her so big. And so she was shrunk to size, the urti hui kaanch ki aurat. But what to do, the bigger one was already made, so let us put her in the window.

Did you know there is another window? Yes, yes, in the allee by that street. They put a little sewing machine on a wooden bench and waited for him to come. Who? Oh, you know, that little Gepetto. No, no, I did not name him, his mother did. He came, and they jumped out from behind the furniture and stared and stared at him. Imagine! Five grown humans, six feet tall, they came out and trained their eyeballs on Gepetto until he slowly froze in shock. And then they put him in the window.

Beta, I came here when you were in your diapers. I know this city, even which dustbins are most likely to have almost-whole food. Yes,yes, I know, social security…but I fell through the cracks, plop! Down there I found him, and her and her and him. And it. Before Gepetto froze, he made us some instruments. Him, and him and him got violins, I got a harmonica but poor Pedro- there was no more wood left, so he got a plumbing pipe.

If you want, you can come hear us play, in front of the Ganseliesel. We take turns, Pedro also. Well, some of them do. They buy their ice-cream cones, and sit and sit, and listen. Some only with half a ear. One or two smile a lot and leave two Euros. But mostly, we play to her, the Ganseliesel. She was frozen much, much before Gepetto. Oh, no, she hates it. She would much rather have Gepetto’s quiet life. They come and kiss her and kiss her and kiss her and never even ask. And then they cover her when boats of immigrants sink in the Mediterranean Sea. Ofcourse she’s a statue, but so what?

You know what happens at mid-night, don’t you? Come, take a guess. It’s called the _____ midnight hour. Yes, I know you have walked around at midnight and not seen anything remotely witching, but that’s because you were not following the right clock. Even your smartphone does not know the correct time sometimes-and you have to do a manual override. Us people have a separate clock that you folk know nothing about. Nein, I will not tell you about it because Gepetto is tired of sitting with a surprised face for twenty four hours of your time anyway. The last thing he needs is more hours of sitting still, looking stupid.

Khair, aaj ke liye yeh kaafi hai. I’m going to bed now. If you see Collector Cama, tell him I said hallo.