Friday, 26 March 2010

Journal of India - A prologue

So I came back from India with a notebook full of writing about the things I saw, and for a few weeks I wondered what to do with it. I was originally a bit too shaken to share (and very much exhausted after the long journey), and I needed to let things sediment in my mind. Yesterday I felt that I was at a relatively safe distance and I went back to my original booklet, seeing whether some of this material was worth putting here. I re-read the whole thing and I decided it was.

The diaries are actually rather irregular. The first two entries I'm not going to transcribe, because they're frankly too chaotic - I was still adapting myself to the new situation and I couldn't write cogently for the life of me. A brief sample:

The initial euphoria of exploring a new setting is ebbing, and now the multitude of signs and histories with which I have brushed flanks – perceiving a little of the local reality and a great deal of my own stupor – is pressing in my skull. There is so much to learn, and so little time and energy to do so. The resulting sentiment is one of a drowsy indifference, a certain affability when faced with the surroundings’ unfailing tendency to make you wonder.

The wall of the ruin is mottled, dug into by time and tourist gazes. History’s own version of acne (or that of stones). No doubt the sentiment of ‘indifference’ will prove as passing as the euphoria. It is so hard to put order in one’s thoughts when one is presented with such an array of experiences (all variations of the same one – a sight that screams ‘remember me’).

The rest of the entry consists in a few lines on local traffic and the eagles that fly over the sky of Delhi, but it's not particularly insightful. So my chronicle is going to start from the third entry, throwing in two or three entries a day, depending on what city they're describing. I've tried to edit and cut the least possible, though the odd word here and there has been added or changed when clarifying the text seemed really necessary.

So from tomorrow, and for a few days, the Rant Machine is going to be touring India. Hope you enjoy it. Peace out.

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