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I rarely ever say that i don’t like something or someone and people think i’m just trying to be diplomatic. The simple truth is that i don’t have the “extreme” personality. I might feel upset, disappointed, irritated or whatever, but in the end i don’t hold much feeling about that person. I honestly can’t think of anyone that i actively dislike [must be someone who constantly lies and cheats, and luckily i have never ran into such a person] and there are very few that i don’t like, so it surprised me how much i don’t like Mr. J., given that i haven’t spent that much amount of time here. I can barely stand the time that i spend in his presence [or he spends in my presence]. It’s all bullshit.

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my opinion of S. is, uhm, free falling, after talking with Vishal yesterday. He didn’t prompt me or anything. I’d already had my doubts and he confirmed it. Not that they’re doing evil work, on the contrary. But i don’t think it’s efficient, and most important, the man who’s running it is, i don’t know, i don’t have the word. and to be honest, i don’t have any firm ground for judgment, i barely know what’s going on, and to me personally, there’s nothing i can complain about. but it’s my hunch. and i feel bad trying to pimp it up and fundraise for it. It’s like deceiving people, not out of their money, just that i’m doing something that i don’t totally believe it, if that makes sense.
and i cannot quit, well, technically yes, i can, but they cover my food and housing for me, so that’s my moral (and financial) dilemma, cause if i quit and found some organization more worthy of my service, i’d have to pay out of my pocket for the rest two months.

never a country that’s so rich
colors,
sounds,
smells

One night @ the call center: mediocre, but still learn some cultural happenings among the urban Indian youth. Don’t know why the author could have said that the story represented Indian youth.

The kite runner: gripping and moving, no, heart-breaking. Pretty much finished it off in one day, in 2 seatings (had to put it down to go out to dinner). Stayed up late and skipped yoga this morning. Cried for at least half of the novel. Beautifully written. Again, a story with a background of upheaval, revolution, and immigration. Fear. The worst thing that you could do to any one. That permeating fear. Don’t even know if you can trust a single soul. And then another fear, the implied one. When fear has been inculcated into a culture, when kids learn violence and suspicion the moment they are born, grow up knowing only the sounds of bombs and shootings, how could they envision and aspire to something else more humane? How could they escape or kill that haunting ghost?

Interestingly, the author of one night also asks what readers fear?

And i also fear at this moment: 1 month away from the american election. Who would win? i’m even not american. But sometimes fear signals a good thing. Elections in VN, you don’t even have the privilege to have fear.

A bend in the river: (Aug 31) sounds like a stupid thing to say, but no book has given me such a clear insight into the history of Africa, the ambivalent legacy that new independent states inherit from colonialism.

I thought i wasn’t spending much time outside. That was true. But going out was definitely not the best idea. I was exhausted for most of the week. Part of it was the yoga. Talk about 1 hour of yoga every morning, then another half an hour of biking to office, biking back at 8 p.m., going out till 11 p.m., ok, not at all that late, but 7 1/2 or 8 hours of sleep was not enough.
Did a bunch of cool things though. Saw Darpana’s opening season show. The show was just fine, but all the dancers were beautiful. Went to St. Xavier’s to see a documentary on religions, which was just ok. Met up with Anna to go to this cafe/shop, the fair price, co-op type. It was nice and all but i’m not into, a.k.a. cynical about that kind of place, though i can’t really explain why.

Sunday, worked half-day in the office. Then was taken to see this well, yes, a well to store water. I wasn’t too excited about the plan at first, but it turned out to be a masterpiece. Too bad i don’t have the photos yet. Met some cool guys, not sure if we’ll cross each other again. But one of them falls into the category of guys that i have history with: short, foreigner (this is relative), not staying here for long, not exactly in my field (as if i had one), and white. But can tell Anna and i have some similar tastes or intuitions lol.
Anyway, she’s an all-around nice girl, that’s definitely an underestimation, but i can’t really find the word. Trying to think who she reminds me of.

Just talked with Sarah and got the slides she prepared on my behalf for the Freeman dinner. It was the sweetest thing ever. On one of them, i was so fucking high (as in HIGH) on Foss Hill but i guess no one’d be able to guess. And that was some wicked photoshop she did on this photo. Just Love It. I’m supposed to be shopping and bargaining at a bazaar lol.

Every day i read the news about street celebrations and yet never got a glimpse of it, quite unsurprising, since my route comprises of going to the office from Mr. J’s house at 10 a.m. and going back at around 8:30 p.m. and it takes 2-5 minutes each way, depends on whether i walk or go by car.

But finally, got to see it in close-up, and it was also the final day of the festival. Indians did live up to their tradition of being crazy dancers. It was a lot of people. (a lot as in A — LOT, even by indian standard). And also got to see the immersion of Ganesha, which was actually scary. The paper reported 3000 idols immersed in Ahmedabad alone, including 800 in big size. Imagine all of them diluted into the river which is not even that big and which flows right through the city, cutting it into two.

But maybe even though all of the idols are made of plaster and painted with chemical paints, it’s in the end nothing compared to the waste released directly from all the factories along the river. Nothing compared to all the fuel burnt when i take the plane to cross the world.

Sep 16,

The First Promise – Ashapurna Debi: The rural life in West Bengal in the tide of colonialism. Descriptions of customs, traditions (child marriage, puja, etc.) the women and their roles, how they change and are changed. the transition, the uncertainty and the inevitable. the fundamental part of identity that is challenged and that is bound to change (caste, e.g.)

Women are oppressed (and this goes for many other groups) certainly not only because men are sexist. A sexist society nurtures a sexist mentality in both men and women, so women can certainly be oppressive to themselves. They have to find the empowerment to break through. Liberation doesn’t lie in the hands or at the mercy of the sexists.

 

Sep 9,

The Hungry Tide – Amitav Gosh: I don’t like the two foreground protagonists (if such a notion exists), but the book offers a beautiful, rich, and humane depiction (or documentation?) of Sunderban, where the relationship between human and nature reaches both extremes: symbiosis and enemy. Meticulously researched like a comprehensive anthropological work that covers everything related to the locale: environment, folk tradition, history.

 

Aug 26,

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai:

a novel exploring extremely complex and intertwined issues: interethnic relationship, nationalism, immigration, uprising, globalization, the making of history, etc. in a series of everyday stories. It seems straightforward enough, but the perspicacity could hardly come from someone who hasn’t spent time in another part of the world, seeing another angle of the apple. Immigrants, or just people who move in general, do have that opportunity of stringing together the pieces.

In light of the ongoing Jammu-Kashmir upheaval and the Georgia-South Ossetia controversial break, it brought back the questions that I’ve stuck with for a long time: How can you know that your acts are of your true desire and not of a mob mentality? That they are a dedication to the cause and not an abuse of the cause? When you’ve already been part of the whirlwind, how can you cut yourself off, take a step aside to see which way it’s going? What’s the difference between a personal revenge and a public punishment? Can either be justified?

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