Monday, April 28, 2008

Today, I listen to...

Things that keep me sane --

(1) Chores -- taking out the trash, mopping, washing the dishes, ironing, rubbing lime on the cutting board to take away the smell of garlic (Jhumpa Lahiri talks about this I think -- is it in the Namesake or the Interpreter of Maladies? And there it was about the smell of garlic on somebody's hands), wiping clean tomato paste off the stove, straightening the rug...the carefully ordered objects of my relentlessly disordered life.

(2) Text messages -- random words, orchestrated sentences, solitary thoughts, lives shared, distances travelled, careless touching, careful questions, words and more words.

(3) Playing -- racketball, frisbee, running, headstands, my pilates ball, swimming, dancing

(4) Reading -- just reading

(5) Dogs and cats (for all of those I have loved before; Y and S and M and B and L and V and my A)

(6) Nostalgia and melancholia and schizophrenia and madness.

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

-- Lewis Carroll

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ah to be flattered....
What does one do with what is obviously false, yet not quite?
With what has an agenda but is yet not entirely out of sync with yours?
With what is sly, yet articulate....

Flattery, falsity, frivolity.

Tonight, I will quietly get to bed.
Thanks for all the fish though.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Monthly round-up --

In the month of April, I

(1) Was awarded a fellowship
(2) Wrote a dissertation chapter
(3) Played racketball (and beat N hollow)
(4) Played pool (and beat S hollow)
(5) Was propositioned by a UT bus driver
(6) Was not propositioned by the hot professor in sociology
(7) Was told I'd make a great stand up comic if not a stellar academician
(8) Re-discovered Bakhtin
(9) Found a new home
(10) Was invited to do a book review
(11) Was a terrible teacher
(12) Thought up a movie project
(13) Swam
(14) Ran
(15) Attempted in vain to find my centre of gravity

Also, (16) watched the rain....

Much as I realize that this blog post is what my friend 'Goliath and the bunny' would call preening, I am still re-asserting my right to preen. Selectively. And for a more nuanced understanding of my state of mind, refer numbers 11, 14 and 15.

Q.E.D

Monday, April 21, 2008

Every day the urge grows stronger to get hold of an object at very close range by way of its likeness, its reproduction.

-- Walter Benjamin, 1936

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I will forget this day and then you will go away.
And I will forget this day.
Its minutiae. Its little pleasures. Its many discoveries.
Perhaps I will forget.
Perhaps I should remember that you might not want to know all this.
And forget all of it anyway.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lives are not works of fiction. Meetings full of promise do not always ripen into friendship, and ideas rich in potential sometimes lead nowhere. Important people and concerns enter our lives and thought early and late, for various lengths of time, and then depart, never to return. Although in retrospect we may trace causal lines between events and see direct linkages between thoughts, in doing so, we may misinterpret the connections between them. The work we do to make events cohere in a sequence is easily underestimated....Memory and biographies tend to be obsessive in excluding accident and insisting on patterns, but lives and intellectual careers, as Bakhtin maintained, are not. Rather, they are wasteful, producing not only diverse achievements, but also unrealized or only partially realized potential. (Morson and Emerson 1990: 3)

1990. Morson, Gary Saul and Emerson, Caryl. Mikhail Bakhtin. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It is difficult to say something new.
Language marks identity; hence its ability to reveal and its proximity to the truth. Language is also used to mark what one wants to be and wants to be recognized as; hence its inherent tendency to duplicity. An atmosphere or site where language is taught, modified, changed and employed is thus rife with ambiguity.
It can go any way you see?

So here then lies the quandary of representation, of writing.
Do I classify this site as inauthentic and mimick-y? (The risk of seeking an originary truth, a discover-able facticity)
Do I celebrate all as constructed and do away with the question of the truth/ untruth? (The risk of rendering agency unneccessary and un-noteworthy)
Do I attempt to rage against the frame that is unimaginative and banal? (where is my alternative?)

Questions, questions, at one in the morning.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

There are no signs to be seen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I waited at the bus-stop this afternoon.
And was too restless to sit still.
So I went round and round the poles at the ends of the shelter.
And imagined they were the ends of the altar.
Spaces of divinity around which humanity prowls.
In endless wait.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

There will come a time when life will be apprehended purely as an accumulation of the senses, a coalescence of matter and the names of colors, learned when young and impressionable.

The colors on the rug. Orange, green, red and again orange.
I watch in the mirror as my hands move. Seemingly of my own accord.
I watch in amazement at the familarity of my own form. As I seem to be perched somewhere on the edges of the world.

The mirror slants.
I may fall off.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

.......................................................

Prologomenon

...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Frameworks of the past are being prised apart.

In grateful memory of the person who taught me how to perform.

A figure. Now gone.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The senility of form, the vagaries of content.
Today, I have been unusually productive. Written a book review, advised students and cooked. Not particularly noteworthy, but it hints at the possibility of routine and for this, I am grateful. Routine is safe, albeit boring.

On an unrelated note, I also wasted an hour of this uber productive day attending a talk hosted by the Department of Comparative Literature. A talk which was too long, was about a book written on a series of books by somebody else (well, it is comp lit, so well) and used the words 'omnipotence', 'image' and 'explosion' far too many times for me to comprehend in what order they made sense. Or if they did.

I have a talk to do end of the month. Pray to God it's not as sleep-inducing. A woman walked with me to the elevator at the end of the talk and remarked that it was one of the most depressing talks she had attended. I agreed, perhaps for other reasons I must admit. Ah, how easy it is to escape the differences within sameness.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cleaning up my mailbox, I found this, courtesy the mad hatter of Mumbai:)

(On 9th April 2007, when I resigned from work, I wrote:)

A good emotional ploy is a good one because it nudges and canoodles around the truth. It makes one rethink what one has thought over and over again. As if one's words were but material to redeploy in the service of some other truth.
And larger truths there are. Depends on whose path one is beholden to.

Am I making the right decisions? Is this what my life wants? I wish I knew, I'm not sure I even know what country I want to live in.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A new quiet day.
I moved. And I have new furniture. A couch, a table, a dinette and a futon. I feel quite content. Except it's a cold sort of content. A planned, pre-meditated, expected, called for content.

What I would like is to be surprised, to have to think beyond what I already know. To be completely, utterly, bewildered and stand rooted wondering at worlds I never knew existed. Hasn't happened in a while.

I am bewildered. But I am lost. And I am moving. Constantly.
But that's another story. And not quite happy at that.