Tuesday, April 19, 2005

"And they've all gone to look for America"

Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go
- ‘Father & Son’*

Now see- this is a TERRIBLE way of beginning a blog post. Bloggations, chapter 18 verse 5 states, “thou shalt not quote overgrown ex-boybanders while trying to make a point”.

De Profudis Clamavi ad te, Domine. Sigh.

No but wait, I need to stick to that quote. Because a large part of what I’m about to scribble [typple?] deals with leaving home, and being what our fathers tell us to be.
Rites of passage, rises and fallses [a.k.a Rudyard Kipling’s truth abt falsies named triumph and disaster, and much pardon for being unable to avoid that incredibly bad pun], and what it takes to walk and not run are the other parts of this wordy venture.

Its as simple as this. College is over. And the bit fat worry that is waiting to FAQ me senseless is- “what next?”

[“FAQ me senseless”- ha ha. Ahem. Damn, did it again.]

So the Fulbright scholarship came through. This means I leave on May 13th for a pre-academic program at Portland, Oregon. Then comes the ACTUAL academic program, and where I go depends on me and an academic NGO there called AED. They know and I know that it's schools under NYU or bust, with writing and theatre being the chef’s specials. Or maybe they'll stick me somewhere in North Dakota. Centre controlling the marginalized.

"Burn the gringos. Burn 'em all!!!!"

Oh blimey, I wonder who said that. Such angst. Ha.

This could go on for 2 years. Alright. So Im getting the usual dishing out of cursed squished limes on the ground beneath my feet, as well as the good wishes and blessings of tearful adults who see in my… erm… achievement, the perfect freedom from Canara bank loans and the sale of that maruti. Would that little pinky and motu and bunny and molu do the same.

Being an example is bloody freaky btw. Hairy-assed lab rat pinned against a board for a whitecoated goggled gaggle of scientists….. Enough. ENOUGH! LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU ANIMALS!! AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGggggghhhhhhhh!!!

Ahem. Well, you get the idea.

My point is, its been a strange life. College has ended with that strange on-stage quality that my entire life seems to have had, all this while. And I have played every part… Iago, Romeo, Brutus, Henry IV, gogo…. Without forgetting Pluck and Feste and- but of course- Caliban.
Um, you will notice that I left out the heroines on purpose? Misleading in their psychotropical sweetness… but I wander. Not a heroine, not even a Portia or a Hermia. Wish I was though. They fit better into the stereotype of the happy ending.

Friends, Caledonians, debit card users… lend me thy short attention spans. The fact is that there’s a reason why Protocol sounds like the glue used by a doctor who deals solely with issues of Keester City. College and I have had a strange relationship- More on this later. Fact is its ended, and lookie- No time to gain weight, go swimming with squalling bloody brats in the summer course while wishing they'd drown, no lazy days of a madras summer indoors, no theatre rehearsals, no form filling, no interning, no year offing, just- WHOOSH!!

Look momie, no hands. Yeah, they were cut off by them automatic sliding doors on that new york subway train coz in the hustle-bustle madness no one cared about the big little lost indian student with funny hair who's going to miss her flight coz she forgot those damn circles and arrows that pointed the way to her terminal and tried pulling her big bag in that didn't get in because of the supersize crowd but it was too late and AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

*gasp* *gasp*

As you can tell, I haven't been sleeping too well.

Im not scared ["put 'em up, chump- who yer callin' a wimp?? Put 'em up!!"] of the change, Im just a bit breathless from the incredible suddenness of it all. And because of the questions that suddenly seem to be hopping up and munching huge chunks outta the orange rhizomes of my mind's peace-

Which book do I take with me?

Do I need a new pair of boots?

Will I-please god no- start sounding like "Them"?

Will I be shoved into North Dakota?
[NB- I don't know why Im stuck on North Dakota. Im sure it's a nice place. If there's anyone from North Dakota reading this, I apologise deeply. Smokum peace pipe? And tell me if they still scalp indians there.]

Geez. Shouldn't worry about this stuff, should I? After all, even if I hide in a carton for the remaining days in this city, there's still going to be that flight to catch, those yanks to meet, and those courses to decide on.

Right. Stiff upper lip, clenched sphincter and all.

But please god tell me they're not going to expect me to be the sort of cultural ambassador who plays them all "de hep indie-punjabi-hip- 'op mixes, mon" or tells them about south indian cooking or worse-

"so... do you have a word for fuck off in your language? Like, in tameel?"

"hey I love your country!! I totally dig Aishwarya Rai- sweet jeeeeeeeeeezus, gurl: all Indian chicks like her, 'cept you?"

Ok so maybe I'm being unkind. Im sure in this post-post-colonial era, we ALL will relate to each other as sentient beings of a technologyfied world who try eating healthy at Subway and surreptitiously watch Ftv....

... Or not. I haven't told you fine people about that Pre-Departure Program I attended in Delhi in March, have I?

Well, its was when they got all us scholarship kiddies/guinea pigs [coz its the first time this program has been instituted, though its part of the entire Fulbright flow] to brief us on our continent-hopping.

Jane E. Schukoske is a professor and a part of the USEFI empire- which is, by the way, the main stork in charge for depositing gurgling happy Indian lads and lassies in the land of lapdances [So sue me, I wanted assonance. Hmpf].

Anyway, part of the day's session was spent with her telling us how important the honor code is in America. Sweet lady, professional, well-meaning, grey haired and pink suited BUT she pissed me off. To give you a taste (NB- CAPS meant for the drawlish emphasis she placed on the sentences; Ellipses a.k.a dots for her pauses; Spellings, coz of my need to reproduce her nuances faithfully, and because Im devil-spawn evil at times)-

"You may wanna READ the print-aaout CAREFULLY, coz you DON'T wanna ever make... the errors that would CAUSE you to be pulled under by your college's litigation. ReMEMber, in AMERICA, we take PLAgiarism VAEry seriously"

"Keep in touch with your FAMILY and your present institution, they'd laaike to know about all the graayt things happening for you. Use an EMAIL SURvice, which is a cheap and easy way... to KEEP in touch. Do you all have EMAIL? Do you all know how to use EMAIL? Are they ALL accessible outside India? Hotmail? Yeaah, thats a GRAAYT one to use"


Imagine sitting through 2 days of this, with a dozen or so other enthusiastic kiddies yelping their assent- "yes, ma'am!"- every time a cue card was held up. It took me a week to get rid of the cynical squiggle off my face, otherwise known on msn as :-S

All that I am, all that I have... now under a yankie microscope? Or will they let me willingly go underground and grunge over books and lurk where the good coffee is?...

One waits. One gulps.

One picks up that pair of boots anyway. Dad always said you can never be too sure... tee hee.

It should be fine. I dare any and all fishbowl makers. Bring it on.

Ah. Le quiet sudden smile. My people, post scriptum, I must say- The great thing about this life is one's innate ability to find a song for every moment. Here's the one for here, now.

[Prashant, Nihal, Vishal- if you guys ever read this, this one's for you. Sing forever : )]

Incubus- Drive

Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I cant help but ask myself how much I'll let the fear take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before, it seems to have a vague
Haunting mass appeal
Lately I'm beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there, I'll be there
So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive, oh oh
It's driven me before, it seems to be the way
That everyone else get around
Lately, I'm beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there, I'll be there
Would you choose water over wine
Hold the wheel and drive
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there, I'll be there


*As sung by Ronan Keating, seen constantly on vh1, which has ear-wigged its way into my head. Not to be confused with that soul-touching original by Yusuf Islam, once known as Cat Stevens. This version, Anshu. This version, Bobbin. This version, Arindam. And apologies to all those who bled for Yusuf without cause. Peace :)


zhi said...

boy, i cant wait for you to get there and kick their asses right up to....erm...northest dakota.

way to go pookums, way to go.

Gul said...

boo... wish u dint have to go alone...wish u dint have to go
take care of my goblin... i want him back as well.

Anonymous said...

"Smokum peace pipes?"


Gee...who was the Blue Goblin talking to there, I wonder?


Anonymous said...

"Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye...
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night!
There's no sensation to compare with this...
Suspended animation, A state of bliss..."