Posted by: gdevi | December 16, 2011

Grading digression #1

In the midst of endless grading during this finals week–it is like shoveling snow–it is never done–I was thinking today how much I would love to learn to skip stones properly. I am completely impressed by people who can skip stones professionally in a river or a lake. I mean I am simply totally impressed. That is the truth. I could watch people skip stones in a river for a long time. All these years, whenever I have tried to skip a stone, it always sinks. My well-informed friends have tried to teach me the tricks of picking the right kind of stone, the angle and bend of the wrist, the angle of casting the stone etc. It is all too mechanical and their explanations have never connected the aesthetics of the stone-skipping with how beautiful it looks from the shore.

I was thinking of skipping stones because the grading fatigues me. Five classes, piles and piles and piles of papers, exams and stuff. God almighty. I was thinking of all the things I would love to do before I die; here they are.

Learn to skip stones properly

Learn to speak Arabic, Persian and Spanish fluently

Translate Lalithambika Anterjanam’s stories from Malayalam to English; do this with Jane

Visit St. Francis of Assissi’s birthplace tomb etc

Visit Palestine and see Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem etc

Work in an Amish farm for a while

Write a book about comedic films in Malayalam

Write a book about Marxism and Malayalam films

According to my horoscope–they write horoscopes for children in Hindu families–I am supposed to live till 62 years old. The horoscope–in our family we call it the horrorscope–is an interesting book to read. It sounds completely fictitious but so earnest. I am 45 now, so that leaves me with just seventeen years to do all of the above, in addition to all the work I have to do now. I say this to my daughter all the time, every time she questions something I say, I tell her, it is only for another seventeen years, my dear. You won’t have to listen to me past that. But it would be so fantastic if I could actually do all these things I have listed above. Just thinking about it is such a scintillating thought.

Related update: Your card and gift arrived today, John. Totally cool gift– a signed autographed copy of David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day. We all got a kick out of Sedaris’s inscription: “To Gayatri, I’m so happy you’re alive.” Did you suggest that to Sedaris or did he come up with it himself? Either way, you should know that we are all big fans of Sedaris. Thank you so much.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. Take care, John.

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