Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Desultory in Cal

I don’t think I can live without my Ipod Shuffle. I generally have it on me all the time: when I’m doing yoga, walking down the street, taking a taxi. It’s so little and light. The other day I left it at home (in an effort to be cute) and it was a definite loss (for the one taxi ride I had alone). I also think I’ve become a bit preoccupied by my Itunes most played list. The other day while listening to a tape (yes I still have tapes and a walkman) I thought to myself. “I should let this song go to the end before I rewind it so that this play gets counted”

There are few things as depressing to a single girl than being surrounded by happy gay couples like I was last Friday. You just keep thinking, “They found each other, why can’t I find someone.”

So I’ve been declared an honorary Brit by my friends Aneruit and Patrick. It all started when I was having a conversation with Aneruit and he suddenly stops and says:
“Wait you’re from America, right?”
“But you said trousers?”
“Well, I haven’t lived there much in the last 4 years”
“I knew there was something wrong with this conversation”
So between all my little British-isms (which seem to be growing the more time I spend with those two) and the fact that the last time I was home (in the US) people kept asking me where I was from, I’ve been dubbed honorary British. Though I still don’t get cricket and the guys say they will explain it to me, I have sat through some long cricket discussions.

I got a bunch of Bendis (the dot people wear) when I first got here which have just been sitting in my cabinet. I figured I should start wearing them so I don’t just drag them home with me. Everyone tends to like the way they look, but generally at some point during the day they will either migrate or fall off entirely. While doing my sit-ups the other day I found one at the bottom of a random shirt, how it got there. . .?

The kids at the end of my block are special. Other than directing people to my flat when we have parties they also: greet me daily, ask me if I’m speaking to a friend (if I’m on the phone), make a comment on my clothes (especially if I’m wearing a sari or western wear), ask what music I am listening to (sometimes I let them listen too), invite me to play badminton for a while (I’m really bad), or say something else to me that in my poor Bengali I still don’t understand. They are pretty fun.

So there’s a huge train station by my house and you can hear the trains at all times of the day and night. It’s a random slice of life living next door. Only the 3am express and when people on the platform peep over the stone wall separating us to watch me skip rope in the morning annoys me.

I'm starting to think that Black Americans outside of the US are pretty exotic. In all my time here I only ever met 2 other Black People from the States and one was actually Nigerian studying in the states and the other was ½ Senegalese ½ Florida white person. Though our media and music has gone almost everywhere it seems that most Black Americans (Those of us who for generations have been born and raised in the states- Homegrown Ashley would say) don't leave the US. Even while traveling I met only a few and they were all Peace Corps Volunteers in Africa. Now that I think about it even in Germany people were surpised to hear I was from the US. (Though they accepted it and never tried to tell me I was really Cuban or from the West Indies). I guess I'll be plain again when I get back. . . We'll as plain as I ever can be.

The best and worst thing about Cal/Kolkata is that you get to meet a lot of people. It’s not the typical tourist town (most people hit Delhi Bombay, the Himalayan area or the south), so you get a unique collection of people working or studying here. I’ve met designers, exporters, PHD candidates, one guy who was here to teach rugby to street kids, etc. The bad thing is people are always leaving. Karan and Avo (their picture was up here somewhere) are moving back to Delhi after fashion week. Aneruit’s leaving after he finishes his book in April-ish. I’ve been to countless goodbye parties. But I guess since I’m leaving too (at some point) I can’t complain too much . . . can I? It would just be nice if everyone left after I did.

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