12 January 2009

Written on REST TIME

REST TIMING for Microfilm/Microfiche Readers are given below:
2:45-3 pm
3:45-4 pm
4:45-5 pm
5:45-6 pm

It is unclear from the instructions at the Nehru Library whether the rest time is for scholars or for the microfilm. I imagine the latter, but it is refreshing to be forced to take a break, one 15 minute period out of each hour. And so here I sit not resting but instead writing a blog entry. My US/UK-paced life coming through in the face of India time. I can, however, hear the woman behind me typing away just as I am, so that makes me feel a bit better about not truly resting.

I'm intrigued as a simultaneous participant and observer in the relation between culture shock and its rearrangement of the body, timing of daily cycles, and the shaping of one's daily rituals, from brushing teeth to resting for 15 minutes out of each hour. Despite the fact that I tend to take a zen-style, go-with-the-flow approach to India (for anything else is madness), the body still resists moving into new patterns, breaking old ones, groping futilely to anticipate the next challenge to the old order. How will disciplinary power emerge today, I ask myself each morning. In hourly breaks from the microform. Unanticipated, clearly.

And from the research bin today: Nehru wrote in his prison diary that he missed the sound of dogs barking at night, his sign of ultimate isolation. I can hear them just fine each night, all night. No worries.

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