…The Musings of a Strange Guy

Just random, I guess…

…or perhaps not.

Feeling slightly awed by Joyce’s Ulysses (which I’ve begun, by the way), I decided, O great miracle, to take out the battered TV set from under the table, where it’d been slowly accummulating dust like my hair does dandruff.

I don’t think Joyce was made for week-ends, especially Saturdays when I ought to be OUT.

Anyway, to my surprise, tonight was Indian Night. I happened to tune in just before East is East was starting; and I’d been wanting to watch this since several weeks now! It has been my resolution to watch all the ‘good’ British Asian Films (or Filim) that have come out. I’d like to see My Son the Fanatic next.

Very good film; Om Puri’s acting quite conveyed the tensions being played upon the protagonist of this film. Also, the problems and consequences linked to an interracial marriage; the problem of generation gap (an alienated second generation rebelling against an overconservative first gen.); the issue of acceptance within mainstream Brit. society and culture; that of marriage and alliances; community, sense of belonging and identity; the proper ways of serving fish and chips (just joking) and so on…

One day, seriously, I’ll write a sound and critical review. I want to see other films as well to make a sound comparative study. The British Asian experience (as well as other Asian experience in various countries) fascinates me. Postcolonialism is, truly, one of the most fascinating (and usually also the one which attracts more students) domains of study. It’s a shame I’m not doing it.

East is East was followed by Kama Sutra, upon which I have certain views that should not grace the blank (web) pages of this journal. Not that it wasn’t good. Very good, in fact. I like Nair.

Somehow, i managed to miss the ending of the film. I turned the TV off to go and make some tea in the kitchen. When I came back, I completely forgot about the film and continued with reading Joyce. Oh yes…this is how bad my memory can be. And today was one of the good days…

I’ve been thinking a bit about space and its impact on people. This thought comes out of having stayed for quite some time within these four walls. No wonder my aunt had warned me about depression; this also explains why pubs are so popular around here… Somehow, I can feel the impact of space upon my vision of things more clearly than when I was back home; back there, there was family, and I could move about easily with eyes closed. Space was rarely an issue. Here I find myself paying more attention to the various spaces I find myself into… This may explain why my dissertation is going to deal, in part, with the problematics of space and the self…

I have been trying to write the outline of the main chapters of my dissertation, but so far, nada, niet, kuch bhi nahin.

I find myself humming the title-song of that hindi serial, Koraa Kaagaz (which means, “blank sheet of paper”, or, as I once explained to my blissfully ignorant sibling, tabula rasa!)

Although there’s no actual hurry, I feel the need to get at least a decent portion of my work done. Call it caution; call it zeal; whatever.. I am now besieged by several books I’ve taken from the library; and I certainly hope to read them very soon. I don’t seem to have a very good sense of time management. Not very good that!

But ideas are forming in my mind. I find myself thinking about my work at odd moments and places; why, 2 days ago, I woke up with the thought of what arguments I could have added to my last submitted assignment! Strange… I need to sleep earlier, I guess.

I’ve been around the city again today: Saturday, I feel, is the best day, if you want to see people around. I went to the market and roamed about the city centre and its avenues; then I took off to explore some of the lesser known and more obscure (to me, that is) roads and streets.

I am almost certain that while I was in the crowd in the city, someone called me paki. I turned around but could not pinpoint an actual face. Nor could I decide if I was the target of this (erroneous) appellation. But the word was stated; and it was said in a very special tone, dripping with contempt and topped with loathing.

I’d like someone to express his/her disapproval of me to my face, but not when my back is turned. How can you fight an insidious voice belonging to an invisible face lost in the crowd? Even if that term wasn’t addressed to me, it certainly was meant to offend someone.

I really wonder how it would be like if there were to be a frontal (verbal) attack involving me. Would I remain faithful to my usually introspective and quite nature or would I just let go, following the fine (almost genetic) fighting spirit we are all said to possess in the family? Would I remain cool and unconcerned by such display of ignorance and narrow-mindedness or answer offence by another offence? It’s not something I usually think about, but this thought has occurred twice now to me, on two specific occasions.

This is certainly one thing I had not thought about; nor should I, in ideal circumstances, ever need to. But I can still hear that loud voice from this morning, which shows me that all is not well.

Well, you can’t please anyone now, can you? Nor will I waste my time reflecting upon them and finding things to be offended with. It’s just something that literally stopped me on my tracks, both physically and mentally, this sunny (strange, that) and crisp morn.

Two of my good friends are going to Australia in a few days. That makes me think how my peer group is now scattered all over the place; some in Australia, a good portion in UK (though as yet too far for me to visit regularly), a few in France, Canada, US, India, Singapore and South Africa. Of the original group, a smaller set had remained in Mauritius for further studies, including me. Now, this small set is becoming even smaller, with me in the UK, and these two off to Terra Australis. Yet another one is thinking of settling there as well. He just got engaged; the first one of us to do so. I’m quite sorry I missed that. I do hope we get to meet again, if possible. We have had so much good times together. But everyone follows his own path and this may lead us… where? But I know there will be times where these paths will intersect. This time has not yet come, however, and I’m not going to think about that now.

What I’m going to think about is… an orange. An orange is uncomplicated. It will also bring up my vitamin intake. My grandmother always served me oranges sprinkled with salt. Later, I discovered that she slightly oversalts the dishes she makes and I severely berate her for that. My father too shows similar tendencies, which greatly alarm me (ok, not really..) At least, he always complains about the salt (or lack thereof) whenever I cook non-veg for him when he goes to work. He also seems to find innovation and experimentation in cooking to be a sacrilege. This has caused me many a time to just leave him with the curry and go upstairs to let off steam. Experience tells me not to vent your rage at the food. So, I leave the kitchen to him or her (depending on who’s currently out to annoy me) and tell them to do it their way…

 Everyone cooks in the family; my sister seems to stick to lighter fare because she does not want to venture into our domain. My mom, my dad and my own self are the undisputed masters of the kitchen. Just not at the same time, though. I just hate it (and they too) when someone just comes and makes supposedly useful comments about how to steer my ship. “Why don’t you add this”, my father would idly say. The whole concept of me cooking for him emerged when he found he seldom had time to cook his own lunch/breakfast/dinner quick enough in order to get ready to go to work (and my mom no longer bothers with such trivilities as non-veg fare: she has literally washed her hands of all that..) I, on the other hand, seemed (to the honourable mater and pater, at least) to have tons of free time on my hands. I therefore cooked and he ate. Or rather we both ate, because I like what I cook, hehe. And he must have appreciated it as well because he no longer cooked with the same regularity as before. In short, a chef was born.

So, when he comes with his comments and suggestions, I suggest to him that he take it up and do it himself since he has enough time to comment.

It’s a good thing we have two kitchens. One for the veggies: meri mom and meri behenn, and one for me and my pater. Actually ours is better; they usually come into ours to cook.

The kitchen I now use in this flat is a disgrace.

Ok: before I go: just a quick reminder of the books I’m going to tackle in the following days:

Ulysses, by James Joyce: not entirely, but at least some of the initial episodes.

New Grub Street, by George Gissing, which I’ve already started reading while eating my breakfast this morning. Very easy on the eyes, if I may use the expression. 

“Psychopolis” from Iain McEwan’s collection of short stories, In Between The Sheets.

The Intellectuals and the Masses, by John Carey; which I have already started reading and is very easily readable too.

Some miscellaneous articles which I’ve photocopied and which I’d only swiftly looked at.




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