I’m regularly told that I give a bad image of India (the horror stories and all that). Here is some of the nice stuff that I never write about. Things I like about India.
I’m regularly told that I give a bad image of India (the horror stories and all that). Here is some of the nice stuff that I never write about. Things I like about India:
- the rivers
- riding on the back of Madhav or Shinde’s bikes
- the shopping stalls near Laxmi Rd
- walking in the university campus
- going to the movies
- mad shopping binges
- kathi rolls and kheer kadam from Radhika’s
- the smell of incense and fresh coriander
- people who smile at me or compliment my dress
- rickshaw drivers who go by the meter
- chatting with people on the train
- coloured clothes and cloth
- travelling by train
- changes of plans and surprises when they go the way I want them to
- painted signs and boards
- sari bags
- krack cream
- the dampness of the air on arrival in Bombay airport
- kulfi and gulab jamun
- butter naan and butter chicken
- the warmth
- having all the time in the world to take my bath and eat my breakfast
- glass bangles and silver anklets
- reading for days on end
- children in school uniforms
- eating on the kitchen floor
- the cup of tea offered by the internet café manager because I’m waiting for the end of the power outage
- Hindi and Indian English
- negociating seating arrangements and luggage storage with fellow train-passengers
- sticking 46 large stamps on the 6.5kg book parcel I’m sending home
- the Kal Ho Na Ho ringtone on Anita’s cellphone
- sweet-smelling flowers in the night
- Hindi music in the car
- chay with milk straight out of the goat’s udder at Taramai’s
Où je retrouve avec une vitesse effrayante ma routine suisse.
C’est effrayant de voir à quel vitesse je me réinstalle dans ma vie suisse. Je n’ai été absente qu’un mois, il est vrai, et la vie que je retrouve ressemble dent pour dent à celle d’avant mes vacances. Presque pas désorientée, l’Inde est déjà très loin, et ça m’embête. J’ai juste gardé encore le petit mouvement de tête indien signifiant l’acquiècement, et je sais que je le perdrai bientôt.
C’est tout à fait autre chose qu’un retour après un an d’absence, et mine de rien, c’est mon troisième retour. Je commence presque à avoir l’habitude. Je me réinstalle en Suisse aussi aisément que je me réinstalle en Inde lorsque j’y vais — à la seule différence que je sais toujours quand je rentrerai en Suisse, et que j’ignore quand je retournerai en Inde.
Oui, la Suisse est grise et froide. Mais ce soir, il y a du soleil sur la campagne que traverse le train qui me ramène à Lausanne après ma première journée de travail. Elle est belle, la Suisse, quand elle veut. Mais je serais quand même bien restée là -bas un peu plus longtemps…
Back home in Switzerland. Got the cat back, but not the cellphone.
Switzerland is grey and dark and cold. No colours, no sun.
I’ve got my cat back (with a bit of extra weight, just like his mistress who now feels a little tight in her trousers), my brave little car started at the turn of the key, only one of my plants has died (it was already on the way down before I left), but my cellphone has been blocked.
I feel a bit dazed. The change has been brutal. I feel disconnected, as if my presence here wasn’t completely real — or worse, as if India was just some kind of weird dream, a sensation I sometimes have when I am over there. Something else I need to sort out at some point, I guess.
I’m not too sure what I’m going to do now. There are lot of things to unpack, an extra CD/DVD-rack to buy (!), a few things to type up, and lots of photos and videos to upload and organize. The flat still needs work, too.
I think I’ll take a Lush bath.
L’Inde et la Suisse restent en moi comme deux îlots séparés…
Voilà . A nouveau, je quitte l’Inde. Ces quatre semaines se retrouvent brutalement compressées en un instant qui m’échappe à présent. Ça a filé trop vite, comme on dit.
C’est comme si cette parenthèse restait une bulle séparée du reste de ma vie — peut-être parce que je ne peux véritablement la partager avec personne (mis à part Aleika) lorsque je suis en Suisse, et que la Suisse, je ne peux non plus réellement l’expliquer à qui que ce soit quand je suis en Inde.
Comment recoller les morceaux? Comment garder en moi à la fois ici et là -bas? Ça rendrait probablement les départs moins difficiles…
In Thekkady, a hill-station in Kerala. Been sick, brief description of the place.
Thekkady is a nice hill-station. For the moment, the most I’ve seen of it is my hotel bedroom, thanks to the gastro-entritis that kept me in bed all day and in the bathroom all night. As far as I can see, Thekkady is mainly composed of a street lined with identical shops (with identical men in front of the shops trying to tempt you in by asking you what your name is and where you come from). When the street gets tired of shops, they turn into pretty expensive resorts, all next to each other (Cardamom Country, Spice Village, Taj Garden retreat and our more modest Ambady).
We got here yesterday after an afternoon on the road. We hired a private car, but gave up trying to communicate with the driver after he stopped the car and nearly turned back, obviously in a misguided attempt to try to satisfy an imaginary request of ours, when Anita was simply asking a curious question about the route we were taking.
Cellphones don’t work here, enquiries about paying with VISA are greeted with crispated smiles and a barely audible “no… cash please!”, and broadband internet access seems like science-fiction. You’ll therefore have to wait until I’m back in Mumbai (or at best, Cochin) to see any of the photos and videos Anita and I have been furiously shooting (within the limits of the storage space available on the memory card, of course).
I have quite a lot of backlog to type up, going back to my three weeks in Pune. Watch older entries, you might find new reading!
At every moment we make an unalterable decision. When I wrote to you in the beginning, I made one.
At every moment we make an unalterable decision. When I wrote to you in the beginning, I made one. I made another when I invited you to Tirupet. After you had been and gone, when I gave you that string of answers to your questions, then again I made a decision. I have not altered it. The psychological basis of my behaviour did not come in the way of this. Only I did not get the response I wanted. Had I got it, I would have come anywhere with you, done anythng for you. Every girl, the instant she is born, comes prepared to leave her mother and her father.
You might perhaps say that you too expected a response and that you did not get it. How can I give an answer to this? To tell you the truth, one ought to be able to arrive at these decisions without resorting to the language of appeal and response.
Now, after writing all this, I feel embarrassed. If reading this causes you any sorrow then forget me for all time.
You want love, and I don’t want it? What is it that I have given you these six years
You want love, and I don’t want it? What is it that I have given you these six years? Only I did not get entangled in the nomenclature of what I wanted, of what I still want–that’s all. You ought to have carried me off, dragged me away–yes, I am writing what’s true, what’s absolutely true. Nothing is ever gained by analysing things. We only become strangers to our own selves.
P. S. Rege, Savitri
When we were children, my friend’s brother was once to have come from a far-off place. I saw her weep because he didn’t come. I even teased her.
When we were children, my friend’s brother was once to have come from a far-off place. I saw her weep because he didn’t come. I even teased her. Then I too sat and wept with her. Today I didn’t weep. Why? Because I am beginning to learn that one shouldn’t look too far ahead nor try to reshape what has already taken place. What has happened must be left as it is–far away. By holding on to it, the shades tend to grow faint. That’s all.
P. S. Rege, Savitri
You are a writer, I told myself; yet you readily give a wide berth to raw reality when you encounter it…
You are a writer, I told myself; yet you readily give a wide berth to raw reality when you encounter it, as if living was a thing apart from the truth of existence of that truth was a thing apart from writing–as if living and truth and writing bore no relation to one another: as if each hung like a cold corpse from its own separate gallows.
Nirmal Verma, Deliverance