My day in the District…

Some would say that I have a tendency to D.C. bash.  Some might be right. But, today I’m going to try to offer a fair and balanced view of our nation’s capitol. Here’s a day in the life, as told by my iphone3 photographs. #vintagetelecom

First, I tried to catch the train. D.C. has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to the metro. They’ll threaten your life if you drink your morning latte on your morning metro commute AND they always have those handy, dandy signs that tell you just when the next train is coming. Imagine my surprise when I reached the platform and found this: 
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I waited for a few minutes with the mob of people on the platform. Turns out that they were doing construction on the Virginia bound platform and trains in both directions were sharing the same track. Luckily, within just a few minutes the train came and the board changed. Mass confusion ensued:

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En route to Dupont Circle, which is on the infamous red line, I had the pleasure of taking a shuttle bus to try to get around Metro Center. Why around? Because, wmata decided to close its busiest station all weekend…IMG_0725

I eventually got off at Dupont Circle and had the pleasure of knowing that if I wanted to buy a pack of Newports at this gas station, I could actually take out $9 whole dollars to make the purchase. Who needs even numbers anyway? IMG_0711

I ate – guacamole – and drank – Diet Coke – at Lauriol Plaza. And honestly, I wish my iphone3 took better pics in the dark, because there were some fashionable folks coming in the door. And everyone knows that I don’t dole out fashion kudos easily. Alas, on the walk back to the train, I stumbled past an institution that I’d heard about in books and on cnn. Who knew that the German Marshall Fund was just blocks away from Dupont Circle? This is one of the perks of living in the epicenter of political power. You learn something new every day!IMG_0709

Since today was quite nice, I figured I’d roam around the city some more and soak in the sun. D.C.’s weather has been having serious mood swings lately. Just think, the temperature today was in the low 50s. Just Monday we had a snow day!
And the streets looked like this:
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Anyways, the snow is behind us, so there’s no better D.C. haunt on a Sunday than the flea market at Eastern Market! Today, I discovered that a Huffington Post Poll named this flea market the 2nd best in the world. I still can’t find the poll to determine which is first or first best or best – however you’d say that. This sign vaguely reminded me of that time that I was in the IGIA Airport and they had a sign that named the airport the 2nd best airline in blah blah blah… you should re-read the post to recollect. (This isn’t the HuffPo poll that this market is mentioned in as 2nd, but here is a recent HuffPo review of world flea markets, in case anybody is interested: http://huff.to/1fiDyXb) IMG_0713

I loved to see that vendors I love still have booths and are still doing well. I dropped by the BAMI booth and it was nice to see a friendly face. Though I didn’t buy any new soaps today, I’m now kinda regretting that decision. I also saw a few home decor must haves at Olde Good Things, but I’m often shocked by their sticker prices – especially at the Manhattan store – so I didn’t dare browse too seriously. Anyway, I did nab a whole gaggle of scented diffusers from CandlesbyGeeda.com! I was the lucky buyer-beneficiary of a scented oil that smells like man. Yes, people, man! I’m so excited I could do a dance. IMG_0715

I found two new booths that will become my new regulars. Well, maybe they’re just new to me, which isn’t saying much. But, I loooveeeddddd the goodies I bought from Was Paper. I’m going to tell you what I got, but please hold your horses. Don’t be copy cats and try to have a safari fridge theme in your house too. Get horses or elephant’s butts (yes, she has those too!) or anything else other than my beloved rhino. Consider this a warning…

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was paper

And just as I mustered the will power to walk past this sign and not give in…

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… i found Mirasa! The lovely woman at the booth was already packing up, but she didn’t seem in the least bit perturbed when I started digging through the bib box. I noticed her accent and was so enamored when she said she was from Bombay (only Bombay people call Mumbai Bombay. That’s an insider tip!). I LOVE Bombay! Turns out she came to the U.S. to study at F.I.T. and found her husband. I can relate, since I went to India to work and found my fiance. I told her that I got engaged in front of the Gateway of India in her hometown of Mumbai AND I went to college in NYC too! #smallworld

Honestly, after weeks of feeling disconnected and misunderstood in D.C., this conversation was a light in my lonely heart. It was lovely to find someone who also understood the craziness of the Delhi I left behind – its positives and its negatives. It was really cool to connect with a perfect stranger and to feel so familiar with her personality and her designs.

Bombay has a booming design scene for fashion, housewares, art and more. In fact, since I haven’t been to Helsinki yet, I’d argue that it’s one of the best places to find innovative contemporary design. Alas, underneath a string of baby bibs and onesies, I found that Delhi wasn’t so far away and D.C. might not be so bad after all.

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I pressed on and tried to avoid the rest of the tempting vendors…

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I navigated my way back to the metro…

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I made it back on to the train and decided to stop at Chinatown for a peak around…

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…but it was reaching the doggie’s walking time, so I headed back to the far, far, away land that is Northern Virginia. I left D.C. behind somewhere in the wmata space after Foggy Bottom, before Rosslyn and underneath the Potomac river.

THE END.

This paper ain’t writing itself…

Dear family & friends,

Unfortunately, this paper ‘sho ain’t writin’ itself!

So, to keep you entertained while I try to write it, please listen to my new favorite Afro-pop song. I heard this one while on my recent trip to Mozambique

When you’re done, take the time to browse the new photos from my August 2013 trips to Maputo, Mozambique and Lucknow, India.

Before you go, check out the latest titles of books about India that I’ve been reading from GoodReads (see the widget on the right side tool bar). Some titles are too recent, too old, or too obscure to have a photo or listing, so click here to read the reviews for Manoj & Babli: A Hate Story, Curry in the Crown and Warrior in a Pink Sari.

Yes, it has been a busy month.

I will tell you all about it once I get this academic monkey off my back.

With love,

Aging Capricorn

School Daze


School DazeI’m back in school and it feels as if I never left. It’s all too familiar – that nagging sense that I should be reading, writing, editing, reviewing something. I go out to parties and I feel deadlines creeping up on me like unwanted advances from guys without all their teeth. Everywhere I go, I feel menaced. I feel watched – watched by the God of graduate school guilt. He is not a merciful God, especially when He doesn’t actually listen to my suggestions for ways to shut down the city so that I have more time to study for a final.

A friend of mine once said it’s only when faced with school that we wish ourselves bodily harm. How many distant relatives have we wished hospitalized so that we’d be excused from taking exams? How many times have I said, “just shoot me now” and meant it? Who needs both kidneys anyway?

So, why am I back in school? After all, this isn’t undergrad. Nobody made me go. I don’t need this diploma. I have no idea what I was thinking when I registered for this distance learning course. Well, that’s kind of a lie. I thought things like: This is a good idea. It’s cheaper than in the U.S. You can get global exposure. You can manage this while having a full-time job. I didn’t think things like: You have a full-time job, fullll tiiimmeee. Under eye bags are irreversible. You stopped owning notecards three years ago. You’re talking about an Indian university (think of any HBCU and make the administration 5 times less responsive to your needs). And now that I’m turning in assignments, and wracking my brain for a paper proposal and freaking out that I’ll actually have to take exams – I’m thinking that now might be a good time to pretend like I broke my arm.

Do I really want a PhD after all? If I do, then I can’t do it while working – that’s just a death wish. Right? But I can’t be broke again either. Me and myself (the sane, objective me in the third person) we decided that being broke was no longer an option. Is higher education a good reason to go back on that notion?

Do I have to pretend that I’m smart now? I really don’t want to have to eat, sleep, and breathe my studies. People will ask me cultural questions over dinner and it’ll be embarrassing when I don’t answer with anything that they couldn’t find on wikipedia. I tend to act like a petulant child when asked to prove my knowledge in public settings – I throw my fork on the floor and pretend like its their job to pick it up. And then I throw up on their head when they bend down to retrieve the fork. (I was a precocious 3-year-old) I don’t like being put on the spot, and I don’t like being doubted – especially in public. But isn’t that what getting a PhD is? Always being asked to prove, in a very Freudian way, that my obelisk is brainier than my contemporary’s.

I digress. In the making of this blog post, I have successfully procrastinated yet one more hour. I could have read about the Indian Diaspora, or drafted my paper synopsis, or practiced my Indian head bobble. But, instead I chose to ponder the repercussions of a PhD program for which I have not yet applied. This, my friends, is the delirium of being an adult student. My quest for knowledge has shredded my logical decision-making capabilities and stressed me to the extent of sheer stupidity. And, with that, I’m taking a nap.

*drops my No. 2 pencil and walks out of home office*