Tag Archives: auspicious

We have reminded them of the circumstances of our migration and settlement here

The occasion appropriated my wardrobe

headband earrings red-neck cut off

to travel back through the city for the cake

infinite-in-one what now?

Where the oxen forded not the river but the highway

pulllll!

And the rickshaw interior was fated for the day.

Patriotic Padding

At the bakery they wondered if every American dressed for their pastry.

This was confusing as is so why a picture? they thought

but we soon assimilated them to our spirit

good riddance, he says

It must be the only one in the city of its kind.

Sweet freedom!
We didn’t have a mit or a pigskin, so we played cards instead. Get those redcoats out of here! Kelly proclaimed.

P1080106

6 lungs inflated 70 balloons; a mosquito held them; a tailor’s string shared with all.

my bed is America for scale P1080028

We requested a special dinner themed America.

bland

3/4 of it required salt so we knew they had succeeded.

Cake realized

When I said Americans weren’t louder than us I was lying, Norwegian Ann admitted over her green beans when we sang the anthem. It’s manifest destiny, I replied. We had so much more space than you to fill.

America!

But as soon as we shouted at everyone for fireworks, rain threatened to deflate us

what now?

but we paused with the clouds to scare the neighborhood.

lungis and fireworks

That’s not supposed to look like that! she said in this moment. Neither was the messy white ground flame that followed, but it glowed better and brighter.

futile

Is it a war? the ghostly congregation at the boy’s hostel wanted to know.

curious

Still the rain pixeled the air in white dots all around us, the callous sky collapsing in downward arrows as we fixed to send the biggest sparks higher.

damper P1080072

In the end, two managed an opposing current.

finally P1080067

When they burst low and fast, we danced and danced and danced in the sand turned mud.

reach

It wasn’t the explosion we loved, but the lighting of it. We saluted the floating ashes and shouted freedom! as the monsoon fell into our open, wild mouths.

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(Co/a)mputation

I know I have been getting some quiet chastisment from everyone for not updating in a while, but I should explain that my hard drive crashed the second day I arrived here. I have been wandering around a bit lost, reading books, attempting to write out full descriptions in my journal but failing, scribbling “blog post?” next to certain incomplete phrases, for later times. I am thinking of you, just unable to type.

My laptop feels nearly like an organ. I am used to the warm drone on my legs as I sit ankle-crossed or Indian-style on my bed, writing. Peeling its slightly sticky bottom from my legs always signals the end of time spent typing a paper or an e-mail or looking at things other than the papers and e-mails I should be typing. My thoughts didn’t flow succinctly from my brain to the clunky hostel computers I have been using;  my neurons have fettered my thoughts to the synapses of my fingers and my keyboard. This organic disruption troubles me some, but I am also a fast typer and I like to watching Arrested Development online too much to give the idea much weight.

The thing is as disposable as a kidney but retains all my inherent flaws. My folder files are disorganized, my keyboard lacks two keys I never bothered to replace, and the hinge of the screen wobbles. I failed to love it in the way I fail to love everything with any working order. By all means I had this coming, but the separation disoriented me even more than expected. I have spent most of the last two weeks biking into main campus to use the phone, which allows me to interact with call center employees who are well-intentioned but unable to understand me when I say, “I don’t know the service tag. Doesn’t the thing run on fairy dust?” My abhorrent lack of knowledge about this machine that I rely on for everything isn’t new or unrealized before, but now an added level of mistranslation. In some ways my computer couldn’t have crashed in a better location. It’s a homecoming, really, as I am sure many of these parts were manufactured here. I just don’t want it to become a buriel.

In yoga I am learning about muscles I didn’t even know my body had, and when the Dell repair man came he unscrewed and etherized parts of my computer that I weren’t aware unscrewed and separated in less time than it took me to say hello to him. Within five minutes, I had a new hard drive and he was gone.

But my computer was still by all means a corpse, which is how I ended up sitting the tiny windowless room of the campus IT office all afternoon yesterday. The place had a total of three outlets and above me, a fan spun with such devotion that I feared it would unbridle itself from the ceiling at any moment. I listened as three busybodies around me chat in Hindi or maybe Telegu. Their lilt of language was wired with some generic, technical terms that I recognized by ear but were just as meaningless – ram,driver, cd.

They had given me a harsh once-over when I burst into the room asking if they could upload Windows XP to my brand new hard drive, sweating and exasperated from my bike ride there and the situation in general. But tenacity and a sheer doe-eyed look of desperation does pay off. “You will have to wait three hours” turned into “Come back in an hour” and then “we can do it now that you sat across the hall and  realized we were done eating lunch but not telling you that.”  And within the two hours comprising the uploading process, “Find internet drivers yourself” transformed into “Come back tomorrow when we have finished downloading this for you!”

So now I am sitting in the familiar position on my bed, trying to regraft this cold metal device back to my life, but something is askance. The screen resolution isn’t just so. I don’t have any music or photos identifying this hunk of wires and boards as my own web of needs.  I need to re-invent it, re-format it to the circumstances, and decide how much of my old self I am willing to include in this blank, foreign existence.

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The City of Love

We spent our time in Agra lounging in the shaded outdoor restaurant. We read, we walked around barefoot, and we petted the emaciated kitten who tickled our feet while eating. This is the sort of safety and relaxing we expected from our few weeks of vacation before school. We ask the manager to rent us a car or send some more mineral water up to the room, and he says slowly, “Don’t worry chicken curry,” and our request is filled.

Sounds of the city float in from the street – someone playing or singing a song, cows mooing, clamor of a cart, the generator that sits next to the street kicking in. On our last night in Agra, I was sitting in the courtyard reading in the waning light and I heard a louder commotion echoing closer. I went to investigate.

“What is that?” I asked a group of hotel employees chatting in a circle of lawn chairs.

“Wedding.”

I rushed upstairs to tell the others and grab my camera. As we are leaving, the boy who brings us water was waiting near the door.

“You must be very careful,” he warned, sternly. “The men will be much drunk and may cross over the street to greet you. Do not talk to them.” Again, the aid and protection of strangers surfaces at the most unexpectedly important times. This hotel especially has undertaken our well-being with vigor.

What approached us in the dark was like a moving vigil, but with trombones. Men marched blowing into brass instruments and holstered bass drums. Their notes blended with music emitted from speakers attached to a shiny cart leading the procession. Among the musicians others carried swinging bright lanterns, four per pole. The groom sat sternly upon a horse near the back of the train. Illuminated by the lanterns, his face remained somber among the swirl of beats and laughs and colored robes. Behind him a circular light show spun its colors, also on wheels. Truly, a wheel of fortune.

“Agra is the City of Love,” the jovial silver shop owner had said to us earlier in the day.  Our departure was full of it, both ours for the city and in this unexpected march of vows.

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