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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Last real week

I'm not quite down to my last seven days yet, but today begins the last full week of my Field Study. I have this week, then Monday and Tuesday, and then it's home again, home again, jiggity-jig. I've got a pretty coherent plan for my last week, but gosh it is difficult to decide what would e the best possible thing to do with just one week. I mean, at this point it kind of does not matter. I have the bulk of my material. More would always be awesome because I really do not have as much confirmation of my sources as I would like. I think the most challenging thing about my research right now is the realization that the information I really need is scattered pretty well over the population. How do I saw what I mean. I mean, it is simple. I've said this before, but India is a lot like America in many ways. Most people I talk to here do not really read. It is as simple as that. They either do not like it or do not have time for it. But there are people who do read and now those are the people I really need to talk to. But they could be anyone. There is probably some good way to figure out who they are, but until I figure that out (which also requires more time) finding these people is slow extraction largely based on chance.

The other night I went to some sort of academic conference. I found out about it through one of my clubs. They were presenting a few books on the brain that had recently been written. Basically it was a bunch of really old Indians and some advocates for special education. One of the books was about working with the brain to help children succeed and overcome things like ADD and ADHD without medication. This started a huge argument about how to approach special education in India. Basically twenty minutes in the agenda of presenting the books in academic conference fashion was abandoned and it turned into an argument/discussion about special education. There wasn't much book discussion, but it was interesting to say the least. At least I learned that a lot of serious sciency-books seem to be mostly read by older Indian doctors and that ilk.

They had a Canadian woman speak over skype. Except I don't think anyone in the room could understand a word she was saying. The connection was kind of bad. It really was kind of a surreal experience and so very Indian in its way. There were so many brilliant, super-qualified, official people in the room. And yet people got up and sat down as they pleased. "Questions" were usually more statements than questions, although perhaps with high level science this is the case. I have never been to a comparable paper conference in the U.S. I've mostly just been to English or religious research conferences and, well, especially in the English ones, people do not tend to really have questions or opinions. Also, at the end the woman running the panel who had been fielding and answering questions at the end said that she was just a housewife and didn't have a job. I was kind of like "whaaa?" She spoke well and seemed very intelligent, so I assume she has some advanced degrees. It was just kind of random to have listened to someone talk about some science subject and then have them describe themselves to you as "just a housewife." Perhaps it is just part of the evolving definition of womanhood and gender equality. Housewives conversant on the cutting edge of brain science and psychology. It sounds good to me.

Anyhow, today I am going to try to see if I can get in touch with the owner of Fact & Fiction. It is this awesome book store with pound for pound the best selection of books I have seen in India. The store is about the size of a small bedroom, but my goodness there are so many quality books in there. I haven't purchased a book there and I kind of would like to grease the wheels with a purchase, but I am running out of money (it is the last week) and I am pretty sure that I have more books than I have suitcase space, so I will have to look for something small. I bought the Penguin Hindi-English dictionary because it is spectacular and it is so much cheaper here. Except it is huge. But really, it is the best Hindi dictionary I have ever seen. Okay, uh, I also bought the entire Harry Potter series in Hindi. But it was cheap! It was less than forty dollars for the entire series! Don't judge me. These two things are my problem. Because seven books are not small. I had extra weight coming over, so here's to hoping I can slim things down enough. I've set aside money for baggage fees, if it comes to that. Hopefully it won't so that money can go towards September rent instead, but it will be fine either way.

You know, I haven't really posted anything about what I have been reading. Why haven't I been doing that? I have no idea. Maybe I will write some posts about that this week and after I get back. Oh, I have to start thinking about what will become of this blog after this is all over. I kind of feel bad about just tossing it aside once this is over. That seems kind of disingenuous. Maybe I will expand/continue to work on what I have been with this project until I connect it in with something else.


  1. I feel similarly about the blog - not sure what to do with it, but I don't feel much like just giving it up at this point. Anyway, good luck finishing up your last week! We leave tomorrow, it's sad. Also, a few blog posts ago I decided to just write a whole blog in response to your question on my saree post...it seems you were sick/missing around that time so I'm not sure you saw it - in case you cared for your response it is there somewhere a few older posts back.

    1. and i just posted a response, i didn't post it as a reply

  2. oh, no i will have to go check that out
    honestly for like the last three weeks the internet has been terrible here, especially with byu.edu and blogspot for whatever reason
    for like two weeks i couldn't even view my own blog
    i'm a little behind

    i think with my blog i may either unofficially continue my project on my own or else sort of meld the meaning into something more general with indian literature/culture
    maybe i can work future visits to india into it?
    i don't know, it's exciting