Thursday, April 27, 2006

INDIA WEEK ONE

Fortunately the augmentin blitzed the sinus infection and I'm feeling sprightly. One week in India with three more to go. I've been in Ahmedabad in Gujarat for a week. Not as hot as feared but still smokin'. Gets to about 40 degrees between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. I'm up by 6 am, then jog around a 400 metre dirt track that belongs to Gujarat University. 5 circuits alongside pudgy Gujjus in various callisthenic poses. The weirdest press ups I've ever seen. Some cute couples strolling, jogging and lingering. The young women here have beautiful long hair. Then back home and a short walk with my in-laws in the gullies of the local 'societies' and gardens, tea, muesli, bath and reading.

I'm working apace through Alexander Weheliye's Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity. I've had this book since last August because I've been preparing a piece for the journal Science Fiction Studies on Afrofuturism as critical discourse about music technology. Hadn't got around to the book earlier though. I knew it would be good because I use a 2002 Weheliye article (from Social Text) on R & B and posthuman black voices in my graduate Media, Sound and Music course. So far it's really excellent and more profoundly paradigm shifting in terms of its arguments about technology, identity/subjectivity and blackness than some of the reviews (including the one linked above) concede. Will report on it more in the (Afro) future.

I had started another good US book on music--Josh Kun's Audiotopia: music, race and America--but had to abort after the first chapter for return to the library before my departure from New Zealand.

In Ahmedabad, I've already been to Crossword books a couple of times and the local academic store Granthaghar (House of Books). The former is a chain, the latter an independent with 10% discount and an incredibly friendly and supportive owner and assistant. Indian books are really cheap compared to their US & UK editions. So I've already gotten into the Sage and Oxford University Press catalogue of new releases on Indian media, film and cultural studies.

As ever I'm thoroughly enjoying the food, though much care of the self and discipline is needed to not go overboard. Everything from the 15 rupee aloo-double chutney sandwich to fish tikka and variously pickled chillies have passed my palette and I'm looking forward to a lot more.

Slight guilty feeling because the first week of each India trip is consumerist heaven. This is where I do all my clothes shopping. I kid you not, even the boxers and socks. I've already bought about 12 shirts, one pair of chinos and a couple of long kurtas.

It's a blessing to be relieved of domestic chores for a few weeks and have justification for a daily siesta. Not that I need that much rationalization for a nap.

More later. Slow internet connection. Making plenty of playlists on iTunes while catching up with tracks I forgot I had or haven't listened to much. Betty Swann's soul is high on the most played list and there's something about Dusty in Memphis that for the last two visits here has made it my preferred listening when drifting off to sleep in the afternoon with the AC set to Super Cool and the fan crunking away above.

1 comment:

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