The Tired Artist

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This peacock's name is Phil.

As of today, I have returned to the fold of college students. With classes and books and other nonsensical ideas such as program filing for next semester (although the website is mysteriously lacking in functional ways to do this). Overall, the last two weeks have gone by with a blur of intensity that just left me unable to write for days!
But now, alas, it is NaNoWriMo and I have to remedy my lethargic writer's state with 1667 words per day [I started two days late, so I have to catch up, but hey, it happens]. For now, I am taking a procrastination break to record down past events for tangible reincarnation.

Last Saturday marked my 18th birthday, so I am now technically a legal adult. With no job and a hefty sum of debt. I can see how our economy has tanked so badly; we imbue even our youngest adults with this overwhelming sense of lack. But, aside from that, everything went fantastically! I partied it up with my friends, got a Halloween costume (a week early, obviously) and ate cookie cake with whipped cream until sickness set in. It was a memorable evening.
When we got back, four girls conked out on my floor, reminding me of the days when the Sixth Floor Legends were all plopped into one room, struggling for space on a thin slice of floor... ah, the good old times. I can't believe I did work after that - we had school for an entire week and I can't seem to remember any part of it except talking to people about wanting to go dancing again. And having random intimate conversations in the middle of the night (isn't that what college is all about?)

Preparation for the weekend was an exercise in separation anxiety; I hadn't realized how much Barnard felt like home until my dad showed up on Thursday and started marveling about how I now live on my own... similarly, when we finally packed up our bags and headed out to New Jersey, it was a strange feeling to be leaving campus for a longer period of time. I guess the converse wasn't any better - Molli tells me that staying on campus was pretty dull (as expected with everyone flocking to their corners of the earth), but the feeling still remained.
When we did leave the city, I was immersed in Bangla. Culture, food, everything. People in our culture often don't mind if you "crash a party" (as my dad would say), so we ended up at a commemoration for a man who had died two years previous through friend-of-a-friend contacts. Many people were there, not only to pray but to enjoy great food (goat!) and chat with their colleagues. Sometimes my thoughts fly away with me on these trips, however, so I started asking my dad awkward questions about what he would want us to do when he died. He waved me away, told me to eat some more goat curry, and yet the thought still remains in my head. It shows me, somewhat, that I don't know much about Bangla culture. I feel now that I need to learn before I speak again.
As we piled into the car with Moushir and his family, I began getting the third degree about not calling in two months... this is another Bengali context, of course (we always want to be in communication). There's no escaping the guilt of not feeding back to your community; you lack the words other than "I was busy" and that just makes you sound like a snob. Hmm...
However, each time we head over to my dad's friends, we are treated exceptionally well. My first trip to Philly was the next day with Ashraf and his family. We saw the Liberty Bell and some historic sights, ate Philly cheese steak, and [most importantly] Da and his friends talked about the past.
I have, since last year, thought about writing a biography of my dad. His misadventures, even if never published, make up an amazing story that I would like to preserve. Why not, right? But now I see that others in our community have similarly interesting stories. So, though I will start small with my dad, I think I will progress to write on their stories as well. Time will tell me how that goes on - especially with NaNo right now - but I think it would be an amazing compilation of a different type of immigrant story. We'll see.
The point is, while my dad was here, I realized yet again that there are so many interesting things that your parents just don't discuss with you. Entire generations pass on without their histories recorded. On the train back to New York, my dad and I started talking about life and death again (because, as he said, Bengalis are always "solving world issues" - through talking endlessly about them) and, although I hope that my father has another 40 years under his belt (Insh'Allah), it is pertinent to be uncovering bit by bit what hasn't been learned yet.

So, my weeks were somewhat philosophical and somewhat racy, but positive and negative equaled out in a sense. I am never ordering clams again without asking about cookedness [they served them raw] and I am no longer going to eat that much candy corn [guh]. Those were parts of my young self doing it's thing. But I am going to "listen to my elders" as every text would say and know now that living on my own in New York City is where I need to be right now. Is that my old self? Well, it's coming along.

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