I arrived at the Study in India Program Guest House in Hyderabad, India at 7pm local time last night. I hadn't really slept in about 40 hours. Some strange airplane dream states. I finally slept today, during an orientation lecture. I had a dream that I had to take my orientation name badge apart, which I attempted to do during the lecture. I later napped from 4 to 8pm. I'm better, but this is still quite dreamy.
The constellation Orion hurts my neck right now. It is directly overhead. I am completely amazed and enthralled by this orientation. It's winter, and the stars are not in their usual places. I find this to be very wonderful.
I have not quite got my pictures organized with this new internet connection/wall plug charging/lack of a hard drive situation, but it's coming. Currently I am contemplating whether or not to follow the directives of the faculty who are watching over us intensely. We have been directed to stay on campus and not to venture into the city. Our house "daddy" Dipankar characterizes the state of the city as one of mourning for Janardhan Reddy, a prominent politician. However, the assistant director Kavitha warns of demonstrations and possibly rioting.
This places me in a bit of an awkward state of conflicting feelings. I have gear. I have my own desires to gather some images of the city. I also don't want to cause any trouble. Also, I don't feel an intense lack of safety here. Certainly, I am a long way from home, and in another culture and don't know crap about crap. Simply put. On the other hand, these are the images that should be gathered.
I am reminded of Marker's Sans Soleil. I want to show you the street, the festivals, the echoes of this ancient culture as it meets modernity. I want to call a taxi and take a tour of the city RIGHT AWAY! For tonight, I will most likely take my binoculars out onto the balcony next to my room and look at the stars in their new positions and contemplate my level of insubordination for the morning.
I find it odd to be here in the aftermath of a terror attack that shook up the country. It is so much like my first visit to NYC, nearly two years after the towers fell. People are shaken. They have strange fears, and predjudices that they sometimes hide, and sometimes fail to hide. Add to this a strange combination of progressive understanding about the unfairness of the caste system, with a daily, obviously unconscious, deferrence to it. There is much to contemplate here, and actually the jet lag is probably helping me be more creative as I consider the forces at work here. I am so completely far from home.
Tomorrow, there will be adapters, pictures, and I do believe a bit of intrigue. Tonight, I am going upstairs, and outside to look at my new stars. Times 10.
Word to my travel mates. There is not a single average one among them. I don't think I could be with a better group of people. Sincerely.