Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Figure Skating 101

  1. Republic Day. I can tell it's approaching because they've started putting the seats back on top of the bleacher frames lining Raj Path. I really want to see the parade or them beating the retreat, but I keep getting e-mails from the U.S. Government telling me how dangerous it is to do fun stuff in India. We'll see.
  2. Transportation. Last week was a really bad transportation week. I was in an accident--don't worry, the only person hurt was me, and I obviously lived to tell the tale--and I had a lot of hassle with autorickshaw drivers throughout the week. To the young man who tries to pick me up every afternoon at the intersection of Raj Path and Jan Path: listen, you're not doing yourself any good trying to force tourists to go to the bazaars. It just makes you look dishonest, and gives Delhi a bad reputation among foreigners. Knock it off.
  3. City of Djinns. Re-read it yesterday and today. I read it years and years ago, when it first came out, so I could barely remember most of it. It's much more interesting now that I know Delhi more intimately. I will say, the young Darymple didn't know a heck of a lot about architecture (hint: Taj is not the model for Safdarjung's Tomb). But it's been interesting reading, especially the post-Partition commentary. Much has changed in twenty years, but much has not.
  4. Chandigarh. Eric and I are going to Chandigarh on Friday, stopping in Panipat on the way up and Sirhind on the way back. Also going up to the gardens in Pinjore. I chose the hotel based on the description of the beds ("comfortable"), so I hope it turns out as advertised.
  5. Fire. I often walk in the park across the street in the evenings. While I was walking tonight, a family deliberately started a fire on their driveway. When I came around the corner, the family was standing around it, hands clasped as if they were all doing puja, while the fire burned 4' high. It was intense enough that I could hear the cracking and popping through my earphones. Not sure what they were up to, really, but I'd like to know what it was for.
  6. Italian. My favorite Italian restaurant is Stone, on the top floor of Moet's BBQ in Defence Colony market. I like eating outside on the terrace, where I can watch the birds all come to roost at the end of the day.
  7. Rab ne bana di Jodi. The poster was better than the movie, but Claire and I had fun, anyway. This is the first time I've ever had to check my bag at a cigarette stand on the sidewalk. I guess once a bomb goes off outside your theatre, you're a little jumpy about handbags. Still, a cigarette stand?
  8. I was complaining to Eric about my dissertation topic (rough summary of my concerns here), and he was trying to cheer me up. "Look," he said, "you could have stuck with colonial churches and cemeteries like you originally intended, but you probably wouldn't have gotten the funding you did. The archive is deep for those topics, they are very doable, but they are not very exciting. You got the funding because you're going for the triple, not the double, axel." "Triple axel!?!" I exclaimed. "Do you know how hard it is to land a triple axel? That's 3 and a half rotations!" "That's exactly my point," he said. "They expect you to land it. And you will." And this is where I explain: I use hockey skates. I can't even do a single toe loop in those things, much less a triple axel. My dissertation is going to crash and burn, sliding across the ice to crumple against the boards. Wait and see.
  9. Calcutta. In March, I have to go to Calcutta for a Fulbright conference. We are being given ten minutes to present our research. Ten minutes only. Good luck with that, that's not even a poster session.

No comments: