When I go to a different city/town for research, I try to clear out an adjacent weekend so I can walk around and see the place and people.
A few months back, I went to Hyderabad for a conference. I went 2 days early and tried to understand Hyderabad. Hyderabad is the most whimsy and insecure city I have seen in India. We all know that one relative who is fond of his money and wants people to see it. Hyderabad is that uncle/aunt.
On my way to the Airbnb, I crossed a fish shaped building, which on later investigation turned out to not be an amusement park/aquarium for children but a fisheries office, where real adults in their formal bushirts and dupattas go. They must say goodbye to their children before leaving for office, the office which is, to the child’s envy not as boring as their school building, but a shiny fish. The first night, I went to a brewery which faced, I am not making this up, a diamond shaped bungalow. It was silver, huge and made to look like a diamond. It had diamond designs on the gate and diamond studded cheetas on the front door. It took me 3 hours to get over the surprise of what I was witnessing. I stood with beer in my hand and wondered if the rooms have curved walls or if they wasted a lot of space to made a box shaped house inside the diamond outside. I wouldn’t have been able to rest if I had not gotten the answers to my questions. So I went to the watchman and held a mini interview. The house has curved walls. Imagine where they hang their photoframes!
The next day I went to the science center. It was the most exciting thing I had done that year. Sit in a planetarium, see a dinosour skeleton, compare her thigh bone to my whole skeleton. Basically I lived the fantasies of my childhood. At one time, I was standing outside the museum, taking on a work call when I saw some stone carving in the garden. Walking around casually I noticed a ‘300 AD’ on one of them. I dropped my phone in sheer surprise. Things that helped us understand our history, made our religions standing non-nonchalantly in the sun befriending stray pups.
I ran around the museum, witnessing stone carving, revising my anthropology and comparative religion lessons from college. I went to a doll museum, which had hundreds of porcelene women statues doing obscure things I have neither done nor observed women doing in real life.
Introducing: Autumn Breeze!
I find it amusing to read cis-men’s description of a woman. I try to put myself in that description and live in a little bit of that borrowed imagination. Like, try to read John Green’s Looking for Alaska and try to be Alaska, who is a generic person with psychological issues and let him romanticize her symptoms and coping mechanisms. Feel what you are when you are as he imagines you.
So I became/am Autum Breeze, the girl with barely a waist and who hangs out in dance movement postures in random life situations that induce even small pleasures.