“It was the greatest possible relief to get away from Egypt. The place, to me, had an arid feel about it; I never put out any roots there, as I had in India, or made any close friends there, or had any sense of its past – of the great civilizations which had flourished in the Valley of the Nile.”
–Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time
I’ve finally gotten to a place where I can tinker again. I often miss act of creating with my hands. Designing and sketching is surely an act of creating, but when you construct something with your hands, utilizing many materials and methods, it has a different feel. Building, constructing is unique that way. Design for the digital world seldom actually has life. It’s more temporary than anything else. Quickly consumed and discarded. But when you make something, when you construct it, and it has a life, a presence, it exists. It physically carves out space in the tactile world. Not so easily observed and discarded because you interact with it, physically. It’s an experience.
This tent, however, doesn’t quite exist yet. But it’s been fun to work on so far. I can’t wait for the kids to play in it.
I’m unaware of the origins of its name. It’s simple. The glass front on the tiny little coffee shop on a back alley just off the moat is reminiscent of graph paper, but that may be coincidence. It’s really no matter. GRAPH’s coffee is enough to make the name unique. Not to mention their shop. Coffee is an experience here. In a relaxed culture, things proceed slowly. I sipped the espresso macchiato at the same pace. Slowly. Savoring the sweetness of their espresso blend. It was on the verge of being too sweet, but it was not bitter.
I have no idea how to spell that. We are not in south India anymore. Chalk up yet another asian culture to our list. We’ve been here a little over three months now, but it still doesn’t seem real. I think humans are only capable of processing so much change at one time, and we’re still getting over India. We have no capacity to internalize this change yet.
With a baby on the way, I’m not sure we will until once we come back next term.
Not too long ago I posted that a few pictures had begun a nostalgic itch to go fishing. This lead to my researching freshwater fishing on the subcontinent. It’s been an insatiable and fruitful journey so far.
I’ve always gone fishing. It’s been a part of my life. So, even though we live halfway around the world from my family rivers, I was determined to find a way. Not only for me, but for MJ as well. I lamented not being able to share with her, and eventually with Luke, something that was a big part of my childhood adventures.
I migrated to fly-fishing later in life, so it’s a good thing I have a spinner background, because fly tackle is virtually non-existent here. I’ve been emailing with a fly shop out of Singapore about potentially having a rod/reel combo shipped here. That’s the closet I’ve found.
I did however discover some spinner rod gear at a local sport store chain. So, about a month ago, MJ and I headed out early one morning for the river. I wasn’t even aware of the history that we drove towards. A land so ripe with ancient history, I often forget to stop and think what happened on the paths that I trod. I went to a well known spot of the river close to a small, man-made dam. We fished for a few hours and we had a few bites, but didn’t lang anything. At this point, I didn’t even know what we were fishing for, what lure to use, etc. I was using what came in the little tackle box that came with the rod.
I researched a little more after returning home, and discovered a wealth of information, and a history of the river and the legendary fish that inhabits it. What the British called the Indian Salmon is properly named the Golden Mahseer. It was some interesting reading.
So, after a month or so, MJ and I headed back out for a birthday fishing trip. I decided to try a new spot on the river. It was great, as it was a little more secluded from the high volume of traffic at the touristy falls area. It was a much more beautiful section of river as well. We fished for a couple of hours and were trying one last spot before we left. It was a slow, deep section just below some fast moving shoals. On the second or third cast, I had a strong hit and it was on. It was quite a fight for the small sized fish. Evidently they are strong fighters. I let MJ try to reel in a few times, and then we landed it: a mahseer. Whew. What a trip.
It’s a small event, but I feel like it gave me a small bit of a closer connection to the history of this ancient land. I was able to converse with the centuries of fisherman who strolled the banks. In the words of Saad Bin Jung,
“trying to land your first masher is in no way a bald experience; it is a journey into India, her people, traditions and cultures, her wildlife, and mysticism and myth. Indeed, angling for masher is becoming part of an old, yes really and truly old, fishing lore.” -from Subhan and I
And now may the next generation have the opportunity to experience the same.
This book has been an unexpected delight. Having read only one of Conrad’s other books, The Heart of Darkness, I shouldn’t be too surprised, but this one has surprised me. It’s a challenging read, but very rewarding. The depth of which he writes pierces the conscience and makes you feel the on-going struggle the characters are experiencing. It is also a sea-themed book whose vastness can only be matched by the presence of the reality. Appreciate these prose.
After these words, and without a change of attitude, he, so to speak, submitted himself passively to a state of silence. I kept him company; and suddenly, but not abruptly, as if the appointed time had arrived for his moderate and husky voice to come out of his immobility, he pronounced, “Mon Dieu! how the time passes!” Nothing could have been more commonplace than this remark; but its utterance coincided for me with a moment of vision. It’s extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it’s just as well; and it may be that it is this very dulness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome Nevertheless, there can be but few of us who had never known one of these rare moments of awakening when we see, hear, understand ever so much — everything — in a flash — before we fall back again into our agreeable somnolence. I raised my eyes when he spoke, and I saw him as though I had never seen him before. I saw his chin sunk on his breast, the clumsy folds of his coat, his clasped hands, his motionless pose, so curiously suggestive of his having been simply left there. Time had passed indeed: it had overtaken him and gone ahead. It had left him hopelessly behind with a few poor gifts: the iron-grey hair, the heavy fatigue of the tanned face, two scars, a pair of tarnished shoulder-straps; one of those steady, reliable men who are the raw material of great reputations, one of those uncounted lives that are buried without drums and trumpets under the foundations of monumental successes. “I am now third lieutenant of the Victorieuse” (she was the agship of the French Pacific squadron at the time), he said, detachingg his shoulders from the wall a couple of inches to introduce himself.
-Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim
[Chattooga River, 2010]
Lately all I have been thinking about is fishing. I came across a few fly-fishing videos and have since been building my dream setup on the Redington website. It’s been too long since I’ve been on the water. I was looking through some pictures my last trip out with Dad. This didn’t really help ease the urge, so I’ve been searching for a few places to go, and for a few ways to fish around here since I don’t have any of my gear. I’ve discovered a few options. We’ll see where the trail leads.
I recently finished Anna Karenina, one of the great classics by Russian author Leo Tolstoy. It’s considered by some the greatest novel ever written. What a book. As with all the greats that I’ve read, they are epic in their scope and in their attention to detail across all aspects of life.
What is interesting about the massive 800+ pages of the great novels is that this isn’t how they were originally conceived. Anna Karenina is a novel in 8 parts. According to wikipedia it was, “published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger.”
Such an interesting fact, and one that only makes the process of writing more fascinating to me. I often wonder if writers in the modern era could produce this kind of work. Or has too much changed? I’m doubtful they could.
But isn’t this an amazing commentary on the process of Tolstoy? He wasn’t originally working with all the parts simultaneously. He had to write the later parts of the novel with the reality that what had already been written was written and published and could not be changed. I’m not sure if that’s an advantage or not when it comes to creating a work of this scope.
I’m sitting at a desk beside the Gulf of Thailand. The vast expanse of the sea is like the great novel. It encompasses all of life and flows through every detail, every relationship.