I just read Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I didn’t realize it until I had finished the first chapter, but the book is actually a collection of short stories. At first I was upset because I had grown, in such a short amount of pages, to really feel the emotions being developed in the narrative. I remember putting the book down to go make some tea, excited to pick up where I left off, only to find a new story being introduced. I feel like an idiot now because on the cover of the book it says “stories by Jhumpa Lahiri.” Haha! The book was enjoyable nonetheless.
I was realizing the other day that my shoes have been so many places in the last four years. My one pair of Nike shoes has been in the United States, Mexico, Canada, India, Kenya, and Tanzania. Here are some of the highlights:
January, 2007: New Delhi, India
Randi and I were in India in December, 2006 – January, 2007 and we visited New Delhi to see some beautiful architecture in this old city. Pictured is one of the buildings at the site of the Qutub Minar, the tallest brick and stone minaret in the world. The inscriptions on the building I’m standing next to are all in Arabic, carved maybe 600 years ago. I can imagine Muslims in northern India standing at the top of the minaret singing “Allahu akbar!” to call pious Muslims for prayer. Delhi was a big, dirty city, but it is home to many relics of the old world.
I’m reading David Barsamian’s collection of interviews with Arundhati Roy, The Chequebook and the Cruise-Missile, and I came across something that made me crack up:
“But still, how are you going to persuade a Naga sadhu–whose life mission has been to stand naked on one leg for twenty years or to tow a car with his penis–that he can’t live without Coca-Cola?” page 17
… a reference to the uphill battle the West faces in its quest to develop countries like India. “Develop,” of course, means that companies like Walmart are trying to create a demand for big box stores, processed foods, iPods, etc. It’s an uphill battle because India is essentially still one massive “wilderness.” With the possible exception of booming twenty-four hour cities like Bangalore and Mumbai there there is just no concept of supermarkets. For whatever the reason, people would rather eat a dosa or an idli than a McDonald’s hamburger, even if it is a “Masala Chicken Burger.” Continue Reading