Monday, March 2, 2009
Up again at 5 am, I spent most of the morning preparing for my classes today and fine-tuning my grant application. I am also getting material ready for my trip to Cornwall on Wednesday and did remember to book my Easybus ticket from Victoria to Stanstead airport.
When I did get out of bed at 7. 30 am, I ate my breakfast (Tesco's Muesli with yogurt and honey) while watching a part of 1947, Earth--Deepa Mehta's film on the partition of the Indian sub-continent which is based on the novel Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa. I have been invited by my friend Annalisa Oboe of the Modern Languages Department at the University of Padua in Italy to give a lecture to her graduate students on March 19 and I do need to get started with the research and writing of this paper. And, of course, since I am intending to comment on the adaptation of the work from page to screen, I need to watch the film one more time and show excerpts from it. After a very long time, I shall be taking my laptop on a trip--this one to Cornwall--where I intend to continue working on this presentation as well as transcribing two of the interviews I did with Anglo-Indian subjects.
I set off from home a little earlier than usual to teach my Monday classes as Llew wanted me to pop into a camera store to take a look at a new camera that he intends to buy for us as I have damaged the one we have been using for almost ten years. I hopped into Jessops on New Oxford Street and took a look at the model, only to discover that it is very similar to the one we currently own--but sleeker, smaller, lighter and with a larger viewing screen. I liked it as much as Llew does and I green lighted his proposal to go ahead and buy it--in the States, of course, where it is much cheaper (almost half the price that was quoted to me by the guy at Jessops). Truly, we are so fortunate about the reasonable cost of living in America--this is being brought home to me not just while living here in London, but indeed on my recent visit to Norway where the prices of everything were just exorbitant!
My classes went off well and while I ate my tongue sandwich lunch at my desk, I managed to touch base with the real estate agent who represents my landlord in the hope of being able to extend my lease through the summer months. The issue of my summer accommodation continues to be a worry (as it is for my colleague Karen who has also been served with notice to vacate her Islington flat by the end of May) and I hope I shall be able to resolve it soon. What I am realizing is that it in London one only starts to look for June accommodation in May! It really doesn't serve any purpose to try to be the early bird... so I simply must try to develop patience.
Right after my second class ended, I had a private Tutorial in my office with my South Asian Studies students who are coming along very well in their reading and writing through the independent study module that I am supervising. They handed in their assignments to me (0ne report on a film, another on a book) and have completed reading Dominic Lapierre and Larry Collins' Freedom at Midnight as well as seen Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. We had a very animated discussion indeed and I am very pleased with their progress.
I barely had the time to send in my application for the grant by the deadline when I had to leave my office to attend the General Faculty Meeting held upstairs at 6 pm. Dinner (an assortment of finger sandwiches and drinks) was provided and I had the chance to socialize with some of the new friends I've made among the faculty such as Emma Sweeney, Julia Pascal and Moira Ferguson. It is funny but though I do not see them very often (faculty members always have differing schedules and so rarely meet outside of such venues), I feel quite comfortable with many of them and do enjoy catching up with them. So many have been asking me to get together with them for lunch or coffee and I am keen to do this now that I know that my time here is limited and fast drawing to a close. I also met Karen today after a very long time. Now that we are teaching on different days, we no longer meet regularly and I do miss our weekly dinners. She has also been entertaining her in-laws from the States while trying to meet a publication deadline and coping with poor health. We resolved to get together soon, though with all the traveling I will be doing this month, any plans look doubtful.
I returned to my office after the meeting to tie up a few loose ends and left about 8. 30 pm to catch the bus and get home to respond to my email and write this blog.
It was a good beginning to the week and I am looking forward to the rest of it with much anticipation.