The End

This was to be a storytelling journey: two months in India producing multimedia expositions on small, inspiring non-profit organizations and a stream of blog entries to share the magic of India with our friends and family back home. With us, however, things rarely come off as planned.

The 26 December tsunami gave our time in India a focus quite different from what we had envisioned. But then, the best journeys are all about exploration, improvisation, and surprise.

From the outset, we were determined that our contribution to tsunami relief and reconstruction would focus on the unglamorous, behind-the-scenes work of bringing order to the chaotic free-for-all that characterized the early relief work. We were especially intent on avoiding the temptation to which many well-meaning people fell prey: the voyeurism and vainglory of frontline assistance – what we came to call “disaster tourism” – where the help given by volunteers usually paled in comparison to the supervisory and logistical burden it placed on the NGOs working in the field.

The work we did was difficult, often required long hours, and was frequently frustrating. It was not work that was intrinsically satisfying – like building shelters in devastated villages or finding funding for boats that would allow fishermen to return to the sea. In fact, it was not sexy enough to merit blogspace. But we hope and believe that it will make a significant contribution to the quality of reconstruction and development of the South Indian coastal villages trashed by the tsunami.

My first blog post on this journey was uploaded from the Frankfurt airport; so is this final entry. It is sad and ironic that such a disproportionate amount of writing should emanate from the stultifying blandness of Frankfurt. Yoo-Mi and I had been so keen to capture the vitality and brilliance of India, but simply failed to perform.

We can blame difficulties of internet access. But in truth, there were usually connections to be found.

We can point to our unrelenting work and travel schedule. But there is always time to scratch out a few lines, and finding time is more a matter of priorities than of exigencies. We seemed to find plenty of time to eat good meals, visit with friends, and explore our surroundings.

The one thing we cannot blame is India. There is no lack of wonderfully compelling things to write about. Our journey was filled with glimpses of exhilarating courage in the face of natural disaster, rare windows into the murky skank of Indian governance, colorful street scenes, fascinating conversations, and above all lovely friends. If you can’t find something to write about in the sensory overload and conceptual challenges that constitute India, you shouldn’t be taking up bandwidth in the blogosphere.

In the end, I blame my mother. Not that she did anything. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Advertisements

0 Responses to “The End”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

.

Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

.

Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

.

America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

.

Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

.

Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

.

Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

.

India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

.

Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

Join the Banter!

At its most fun, memestream is a dialogue -- or, better, a cacophony -- rather than a library of overwrought essays reflecting a single point of view. For that, we need your two cents!

If you read anything on memestream that provokes an interesting thought, an emotion, a laugh, violent disagreement, passionate agreement, an anecdote, an uncontrollable non sequitur... be sure to leave a comment.

It will be no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that "all the best stuff" resides in the readers' comments. So don't stop reading when you hit the end of the essays. And add your voice to the discussion!

Enter your email address to follow memestream and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 51 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 364,455 hits

%d bloggers like this: