Monday, January 08, 2007

Thiruvananthapuram

I awoke thinking that I had injured my tongue. In my sleep-fog, I examined it in the miror. Satisfied that it was whole, I returned to bed. Now, I think that my tongue was changing configuration - hinging in the middle to pronoune the polysyllabic, metered words here. Exchanging one for the other - Thiruvananthapuram for Trivanduram, Kunyakumari for Cape Cormorin.

I don't know what people want me to be here, and the question of identity seems to be at the forfront. Like so many things, there is no proper answer. If I say that I am American, people insist that I am Indian "but settled in the U.S." If I give them that answer, they tell me that I am American. I think what people really want - what is important to them - is to place me in a category themselves, to affix the label like a "Hello, My Name is" sticker at a convention.

I went to the sea. I expected to to speak to me, but all I heard was my own voice telling it that it is not my ocean. Beofre I could really miss the Pacific, I began to feel connected to the sea, vibrations along a long, long, invisible thread.

Contradictions and ironies are everywhere. People here are modest, theoretically, yet the men show more leg than any of the styles in H&M last summer. It's all about the mini-lunghi apparently. So, the men are walking around in mini-skirts and I get looked at askance if I don't wear a duputta with my loose-ass salwar. (Duputta and backpack do NOT work well together.) It shouldn't surprise me, modesty has always been applied nearly exclusively to women.

I am over being cranky-pants (cranky-churidar?) about this trip - it's starting to find its own rhythym now. So far, this has been my best trip to India - but that is thanks to the low expectations standard.

1 comment:

roop said...

omg, i am laughing so hard at "it's all about the mini-lunghi" -- and yet, also gagging at the mental image.