Anyhow, things are good in general. I have a few new leads for my project. It honestly feels like I am not accomplishing what I want, but everything will be okay in the end. The problem is I just need to remember what I designed in my project. Because this is so much harder than I was anticipating, I sometimes freak out that often my days do not result in much as far as my project goes. But in my actual project proposal, I put down that I intended to get around twenty to thirty good interviews/conversations. So really things are going fine. I have already talked to a good ten or twenty people about the issues I am really interested in and I recently had a few good ideas/connections.
I have not given up on Hard Rock Cafe. So far it is the best place to crossover social boundaries. Just...the stupid hard rock is kind of throwing me off. I have also begun experimenting with coffee shops. I am still looking for the right time to go. During the afternoon they are more manageable and quiet, but then there are less people. One concern with coffee shops is they are more like fishing than other methods. I need to balance attracting people's interest with just straight up asking people stuff so I don't scare them away.
The other day while I was experimenting with establishing rapport with bookshops by purchasing something small I had a genius idea. Thus far I have kind of struggled with talking to people in book stores. I tend to come off as awkward or weird if I try to act normal and people are not really that interested in research projects. But I realized I could be covertly more successful if I just hung out in the Indian authors section and then asked people what books they recommended. This would then automatically start some sort of conversation on reading. Voila! We will see how it goes. Also, so far, I think purchasing things at bookstores really does help in working with them. Not necessarily in getting them to talk, although it helps that, but also in sort of unofficially asking permission to loiter. At least they always have that hope that I will purchase again.
One cool thing is that the people at my PG have expressed interest in my project. They are all around my age-ish, so it makes it easier to talk to them since we are all in the same boat, essentially. So if worse comes to worse, I should be able to get ten or so good conversations out of where I am staying. I wasn't sure if that was going to work out or not. My initial observations suggest that none of them really read, but then that is what I am here to find out.
My last really good lead is the book club I joined. I found them on the internet. They just restarted apparently and so far only meet once a month. I couldn't go to the last meeting because of the temple trip, but come hell or high water, I am going to be at that meeting this Saturday. There should hopefully be around eight people there. And they haven't decided on an agenda. Holla! I am hoping that I can have some conversations with these people. Maybe even over the internet or in person later? We will see. I want to see what they read as well as talk to them about their perspective about reading in India. I hope they have deeper opinions than just looking down on other Indians for not reading. We will see. However it goes, I hope I an make it to at least one more book club in late July or early August, depending on when/if they hold it.
I just wish I was not so dang shy. This would be so much easier if I did not have so many feelings about randomly assaulting people with my project. I just don't want to do that, both because I do not like randomly talking to strangers, but also because I do not think that will really help me talk to people who actually do read to get at the heart of the matter. I hope this comes together.