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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?

http://www.freecycle.org
a network that is active in many different parts of the world. You offer things that you know, have been sitting in that corner for a little too long and can look for things from old clothes to bikes to TVs.
It’s really sweet, kinda like the PODs we used to have at Wes.
And even more so for someone like me who moved here to Grenoble for only 6 months with a suitcase and a backpack. I couldn’t bring everything-that-i-might-need-to-use-once with me. With freecycle, i can borrow stuff, leaving them here again when i leave.

Earlier this semester, i looked for a pair of mountain boots to go hiking and got it from this girl called Violaine. I went up to her apartment to pick the shoes up, and OMG, she lives in a penthouse with 2 huge windows: one looks over the central square down town, typical European style with cobblestoned streets lined with red brick roofed cafes and restaurants, really pretty; and the other has a beautiful, untarnished view of the mountain. I was awed.

Moving forward 3 months, i realized that i’d be leaving Grenoble soon and i didn’t have that many photos of the city. I shot Violaine an email asking if i could come over to her place with my camera one day and she said: sure why not; she was out of town often back then but one of her flatmates could open the door for me. However the weather’s been pretty crappy and the only day when the sun sneaked out, no one was home when I called. I let her know that and today, she replied to tell me that she’d be home this Sunday, and that she could also leave me the keys under the doormat if i wanted to drop by when nobody was around. Serious, WTF? We’ve met once, for like, i don’t know, 10, maybe 15 minutes.
People need to stop being so fucking amazing.

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