Thursday, July 13, 2017

A summer- in transit

I am in India this summer, as a visiting faculty. Campus life here comes with the comforts that are not a part of my everyday life. My home to my office is a good 3-minute walk. I do not have to take buses that run once in half an hour. I do not have to wade in the snow. I do not have to find parking. And then, just like all good things in life boil down to food, I make my pilgrimage from my office to the canteen four times a day- for breakfast, lunch, a meal in between lunch and dinner, and dinner. Meals are heavily subsidized, in price, not quantity. Suddenly, I do not need to go grocery shopping, cook, or clean up. And yes, breaks in between 3-hour long classes also come with tea, coffee, and sandwiches. Made. Served. All I do is show up, sit with my meals, and observe people. Some known faces. Mostly unknown faces. Some now-known faces that were unknown until yesterday. I continue to have trouble remembering names and putting them on the right faces. I just forgot that the canteen guy and I used to speak in Oriya many years ago when I first visited until he recognized me right away and started speaking in Oriya. But all that is irrelevant. My three main priorities these days boil down to teaching, remembering to hold Skype meetings with my colleagues in the US, and making that pilgrimage to the canteen multiple times every day.

If this honeymoon could last even a few weeks every summer, I'll be a happy academic.


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