Posted by: gdevi | April 4, 2013

Conference day 1

I have to note here that as usual all the flights were delayed between PA and TN, and I finally got into Nashville last night at 11: 30 pm. I got a rental car from the airport and it supposedly came with a GPS that did not work and by the time I circumambulated interstate 40 and 24 and got to Murfreesboro and to the conference hotel –Doubletree Hilton– it was around 1am in the morning. It was incredible, really. But the person at the rental place asked me where I was from originally and when I said, India, he told me that the rental place job was his second job and that he was actually a record producer and he was sampling an old Indian song recently for something he was producing. He didn’t know what the words meant, he said. I said I will give it a try. “Accha to ham chalte hai,”  he said, is the song he is sampling. Oh, I said. That is a very old song from the 70s. (I did not tell him that the actress Asha Parekh who sang this song was insufferable–her standard line in all movies was to run around with some guy bat her eyes at him and say “Idiot Badmash Stupid; mat chooao mujhe!” The screenplays must have been so easy to write.) I told him the meaning of the first four lines. He was really pleased. Glad to have helped, I said. He asked me if I knew Dr. Dre’s music. I am afraid I don’t, I said. I have heard my daughter mention his name, but I am woefully out of touch with the contemporary music scene, I apologized.  He said he normally rents cars to Grammy award winners.  I am just an English teacher, I said. But a smart one, he said, English is not your first language. Amazing, really.

It is raining here. I am off to the MTSU campus for the day. I will post updates later.

Quick updates.

A very interesting movie about the epidemic in Pakistan (and India and Bangladesh) where men throw acid in the face of women. Very interesting discussion. There was some of the standard sentiments of “horror” but also a side-discussion where some of us talked about why “acid” and why “the face.” Very interesting movie.

Our panel went extremely well. I talked about teaching women’s studies courses and seeing the hostility between straight women, lesbian women, and transgendered women, and how to make sense of it pedagogically and ideologically. JC talked about being a transgendered woman–the bureaucratic requirements when you change your birth gender. Very good discussion, with nearly 35 people, a full room. Later an audience member told me she wrote down a few things I said and hopes to “quote” them in the future. Nobody has ever “quoted” me before, so I thanked her. I don’t know what to make of it, really.  Overall, a wonderful very involved and engaged panels and discussions.

The long day ended with a two-hour Chinese traditional music and dance presentation by the MTSU Confucius Center. Some students with powerful voices. Very nice.

I am so tired that I don’t feel like going somewhere and getting something to eat. I will see you tomorrow, honey. I will try to find you some groovy thing from somewhere here before I leave. I am so looking forward to hearing the keynote by Lilly Ledbetter tomorrow. I am driving back to Nashville right after to catch my plane back to State College.

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