It has been rainy for the past two days. Rainy days remind me of Kolkata. And, I think it is important to spell it out to myself, that's the city I love most in the world. It is the city where I am most comfortable. I might have to stay elsewhere for a while, but that is the city where I want to go back. It is in my blood . The city is in my blood. Even more than my family. It is in my blood in the same way my native language-- Bangla-- is in my blood. But since I won't be able to go back to Kolkata for a while, not until I defend, I read these days. I read books in Bangla in the way I haven't done ever since I came here. I chose not to work on South Asian/Bengali literatures exclusively for my dissertation. And I don't regret that decision. The work I have done with African-American literatures, other ethnic American literatures, Black Atlantic literatures have opened up the world to me in ways studying South Asian literatures would never have done. Consequently, I haven't always been able to keep up my reading of Bangla literature in the way I used to read when I was still living in Kolkata. It is not that I ever stopped reading in the language entirely, but I wasn't reading as voraciously in Bangla as I was in English. This year, I have been trying to deal with that much more consciously. I am keeping a list of the Bangla books I am reading, and I am also beginning to discover, if my writing has to mean anything to the world other than a passing fancy, I will have to engage with the archives of the Bangla Literatures (yes, I put that “s” in there consciously).
I have also gone back to a regular schedule for submitting, and it feels good.
I have started drafting a new poem.
And, I am drinking mango lassi and pontificating on friendship, love and personal growth.
For the last few weeks, I have been thinking of going back to some of the fiction I wrote during the last few months. When I was writing the dissertation, it was hard for me to work on two different forms of prose-genres. But now I am done with it, at least for the next three weeks or so, I am toying with the idea of going back to them. Yesterday, I took the printout of one of the stories, and the feedback I got from one of the workshops I took. I am looking forward to begin the work of revamping it.