Monday, October 27, 2003

Waiting for the silence to break, unbearable effort...
Familiar moves, inability of subterfuge makes the task at hand awfully distasteful. I do not understand the rules of the game, but I do acknowledge their function. And play I must...

Sunday, October 26, 2003

This is a great place to be right now. Nothing beyond, nothing before.
A permanent lump of anticipation. A cocky assertion of knowledge. An unflinching certainty of nothingness.
Going nowhere. Coming from nowhere. Just being... right here, right now.

I have a paper to write as usual. And I am slacking off. The mind's wandering places it's been to a hundred thousand times before. And it persists in haunting the same corners, looking for the very same signs. Hoping something new turns up...even while being aware that it's a statistically and logistically impotent, indifferent and impossible situation.

I wish I could package this moment and send a whiff your way. Or even a teaser campaign.
My words are a poor substitute for what I know is sublime kitsch.
But you would find the package familiar. And warm. And beautiful.
It just might make your day. Like it made mine.

Reason is currently in cold storage. Watch this column while it thaws.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

- Ripple, Grateful Dead

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I just discovered a few patterns yesterday...not all good...but value judgements aside, it just hit me that the patterns are always there, defining the directions of the warp and the weft...

Most times, its romanticization that wants to negate the reason and ascribe the act to random probability...and maybe that works too...but the patterns have been formed, 'for this cause or that greed'....and they come around...always...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sometimes, purpose stays circumspect and at other times redundant...if text is only the representation of a thing and can never be a thing, this then is a doubtful rendition of my uncertain mind...does a double negative resemble a positive? Or is it just the idea of plus and minus that is skewed?

The discussion today centred on religion and how it is accounted for within the realm of anthropological interpretation...sometimes mystical and sometimes functional...but as far as I can see, even the mystical is functional because the only people analyzing it are on the outside of absolutism and hence to them, the purpose cannot but be manifest...so do we reason and conclude on the functionality of religion and God only to stay away from them or legitimately participate in them? Why is reason such an exacting master? And why does it seem like we find ways everyday to circumvent this feudal lord?

Friday, October 17, 2003

Every moment seems to border on the contingent of some or the 'other'...
This waking life seems to border on the contingency of sleep...or escape...

Saw this documentary the other day called 'Genghis Blues'...interesting to say the least, but rather disappointing in the same vein..seemed quite hegemonic in its portrayal of a one-sided perspective and possible fetishizing as a friend put it of what could have been an empathetic, layered investigation.
Or maybe I am analyzing too much as I am wont to do...but this is what I do best; unfortunately doesn't seem to be working too well with Paul Ricoeur though...somebody analyze and send me a precis...I'm calling it a day!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Warm light on a dappled corner. Hindi film music in the background and shadows in the wind. Lyrics that are as familiar as the scent of incense in the air. This then is what I am made of. The taste, the smell, the feel and the touch of decades of humidity, heat, wind and ephemerality. How then can I not go back? It is a country of artificial borders, manufactured identity and constructed cultures.....

So am I darling, so am I...

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

It takes me half the week to start moving by which time it is already the end of the week. My week starts Sunday night because I have paper submissions every Monday morning...and I obviously never get around to doing them before I have to, like I really really have to....

Excerpts from a conversation on the bus....

A: I have my Bible right next to my bed and it's in this plain simple modern English that I can read and relate to...it's like the Lawd is curled by right by mah head and talkin' to me (can't reproduce the Texas drawl)
B: Aha...
A: And my most prized possession is my little Green bible that I have put stickers into to make it fun and exciting when I read it...and I keep in it all the cards that mah little boy made me when he was growin' up y'kno..
B:...
A: And why don't you guys believe in make-up?
B: Cause it makes us into something that the Lord never meant us to be...
A: I kin understand that, though I don't agree with it, but I can understand that...

Funny bits of conversations in the air...old people....I see them on buses talking to strangers all the time...about their families and their day and their possessions....and it never fails to strike me how incredibly lonely people in this country are...and is it that when they're young they have the wherewithal to withstand, but it gets worse as they grow older?

But they do talk all the time....to any stranger that would care to listen...life's a bitch sometimes...

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Awesome discussion at the coffee-shop. Ran the gamut from totems, castes, advertising, image mechanisms to nation, symbols and Nazism. All that is left to do is write the ubiquitous paper.I think I'll get round to it tomorrow, but I have to figure out a way to bring it together. Right now, all it is is fragments of erudition floating in ether. Ether's one of my favourite words, a tease if ever there was one. Two steps forward and three backward.

Friday, October 10, 2003

We are what we think we are and that probably is the toughest job of all, to think of ourselves as we want to be.
Digging up old material on ink and parchment...

My grandfather has been my storyteller for as long as I can remember. But I guess it runs in the family and the civilization. The most fascinating story he ever told me was the one about Nachiketa, the boy who asked questions at Death’s door. And I repeated the story and added my own bit. And my father tells me the differences between Hata Yoga and Karma Yoga. And I add my own bit again. The East is the storyteller of the West. The West is bored. And here we are telling the stories they have long forgotten, adding just the right bit of ‘stirred not shaken’. My family once told a Mexican we knew, the story of the three main Gods of the Hindu pantheon; Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. He was aghast that the God of Death is worshipped. In his words, you should keep away from such a God.

That is what the East is to the West, a region of fire-eaters, Death-worshippers and storytellers.But they cannot keep away from us. It is like a balcony view of the Great Eastern Circus. It not only gives you entertainment but a ticket to heaven.And the East laughs backstage. The East earns what the West taught it to revere and the West goes home happy.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

A research proposal that integrates communications, brand management, folklore, anthropology, theater and quantum theory...does that make sense or am I the only one losing it on a muggy Austin evening?...

Hocus pocus, focus focus!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

'...an important difference between games of entertainment and marriage rules: The former are constructed in such a way as to permit each player to extract from statistical regularities maximal differential values, while marriage rules, acting in the opposite direction, aim at establishing statistical regularities in spite of the differential values existing between individuals and generations...each individual tries to play it in the normal way, that is, by maximizing his own advantage at the expense of the others (i.e to get more wives, or better ones, whether from the aesthetic, erotic or economic point of view). The theory of courtship is thus a part of formal sociology.'

- Social Structure, Claude Levi-Strauss

Anthropology truly cracks me up!!!
In complete high stress that I just do not feel equipped to untangle...is a ton of activity with no semblance of sequence, transition or order. The need for structure is a debilitating structure. Need to unravel other ways of tackling this recurring mesh of inanity.

1. Get fellowship opportunities in place
2. Figure out which papers are worth the while
3. Detach detach detach
4. Write this week's paper at least six hours before submission time, basically, try and get some sleep Sunday night
5. Buy the damn bloody laptop! Enough prevarication and consideration!!!
6. Stick to one accent;)
7. Decide if I want to be a cabaret dancer or an anthropologist
8. Add belly dancing as another option
9. Make a concrete research plan for the summer....

And now I need to stop typing and go read some Burmese ethnographies...

Monday, October 06, 2003

You know what? I need to write you this letter. Cause the conversations in my head are just not making any sense. Call it catharsis if you will, but seeing something on paper seems to finally reign it into reality. And you no doubt must have recognized yourself as audience by now. How have you been and what have you been thinking? I must admit I am irreparably curious. Not because I want to pry, but just because I get bored of my life over and over again. It no doubt is an interesting life and I try to keep it on that minimum threshold, but most times I have a low patience quotient and some very few rare times, the effort is godawful draining.

Are you intrigued, surprised, provoked, irritated? Yet? Maybe it's all that talk about me. Let's talk about you instead. I like you. I really do. Your first redeeming feature is of course that you are human. That solves a lot of stuff really, which basically means that you cannot be all bad. And you really have a wonderful smile, When you choose to smile as opposed to smirk. When it reaches your eyes, to use an old cliche. It's sunny and impish and wicked and warm. And it makes me want to laugh with you. And then there's your incredibly unique way of looking at the world of course. In a way that only you can. The way you love the lights and the speeds and the noise and the rubber that screeches on the roads of your sight. And that languid walk that I could make dinner of. I do not much care for the sights and sounds and I walk really fast. Else this could have been a love story you know. As could any other.

And it seems like you do not want to tell me the stuff that you have given away. And I don't even know if what you've given away is what I have inadvertently eavesdropped upon. And hence we live on in terror of the ears in the walls and the eyes in the skies. And shut our mouths when we should sing and bind our feet when we should dance.

This might yet be a story you know...
Perfection comes addended with an 'else'
Someone else...
Somewhere else...

Have I stopped trying or have you stopped marking my papers? I still write them and hold them up for your inspection. But I've forgotten who you are. Either that or they appointed somebody else. Because the faces are blurred. And the lines grainy. And the process undefined. My brains are thoroughly muddled. Reading about class, race, culture and crap. It's making sense though. As does crap.

I do not know why I put that much worth on knowing you! Is it the curiosity, the potential, the desperation or the hunch? That one spark of limbo in memory, that one tantalising, edge-of-the-seat millisecond of juvenile, hormone-driven rush of blood, the single blast of sound that threatens to escape my throat and cut through the night sky...un momento...