Thursday, October 20, 2011

Salt, Sand, Samosas

The University of Madras

I decided that since I would be in Chennai for a few days, it would be wise to meet with a few people to talk with them about names in Tamil Nadu. Yesterday I had an auto rickshaw drop me off at the University of Madras and wandered around campus until I found the sociology department and a professor in his office. We made an appointment, and I went back to interview him today. Unfortunately, something had come up for him, and he wasn’t there.

I walked around campus, feeling pretty aimless and unsure what exactly I was doing there; plagued by doubts about how I was spending my time in India and trying to figure out where to go from here. I kept walking and then I remembered that supposedly there was a beach nearby the University of Madras campus.

I decided to find it. Ignoring the persistent offers of auto rickshaw drivers, I kept walking, without a map. I made my way through campus, trying to pay attention to the air, trying to find the breeze and salt and sand. I turned onto side streets, passed through gates, crossed highways, and as if by instinct, miraculously, I came to this:

I walked

And walked

And walked

And walked

By the ocean, a girl from Chennai who looked like she was about fifteen, shoved a camera into my face and started taking a video. “Do you have something to say about this beach?” She asked.

“Umm. This is my first time here. It’s a really nice beach.” I said.

“Where are you from?”

“The USA.”

“So how does the ocean make you feel?” She asked.

“Umm…It makes me feel great.” I said. “The ocean is pretty much the same everywhere. I like that.”

“But how does the ocean make you feel?” She asked again (clearly she took her task seriously).

I thought and she waited. “I guess it makes me feel like I’m not all that far from home.”

She nodded and put the camera away. “Thank you madam.”

No comments:

Post a Comment