Thursday, August 28, 2008

Old wine...

Because SB asked for some. And because, well, we are like this only. All boring.


"Hey. Its me"

"I know"

"Ya, so I will be late tonight"

"Ok, call amma and let her know"

"I did"

"Ok. No dinner then?"

"No, I am meeting B for dinner"

"He is in town?"

"Yeah, for a couple of weeks"

"Couple of weeks? Doesn't he have kids to teach?"

"Semester hasn't started na. So he is here to talk to us"

"You or the folks across the street?" (For the uninitiated: Across the road from the William H Gates building in West Cambridge is yeah, the MSR Cambridge office)

"Both. But mostly the people across the road. Time to be nice to them especially since grant money is drying up everywhere"

"Yes, yes, we love the Finn but when the time comes, we shall suck up to Bill. He has the money after all"

"Its not like we don't like Bill or anything"

"Now you are telling me you like Bill?"

"Of course I do. But sometimes, his stuff is not fit for our purpose, for the kind of work we do. He understands that"

"I am sure he does. Not fit for purpose! Is that why you con poor housewives to switch to Linux?"

"Oh, that is not our fault. We don't con people to do anything. People try different things and they choose. It is a free world"

"I see"

"Anyway, so I was talking to B"


"He was saying how I am basically unemployable now"

"I could have told him that years ago. How did he reach this conclusion now?"

"Well, not just me. People like me. With the recession and all, there is no grant money. No support, no new people needed anywhere. So no jobs. Esp in the States"

"So what can you do?"

"Nothing much really. Stick around here for a while. Do more post-docs in other places. Travel"

"For the rest of your life?"

"Why not? It is a good life"

"For whom?"

"What do you mean whom? For us of course"

"You think so?"

"Absolutely. What's wrong with it?"


"So you don't mind?"

"Why should I?"

"Because you always did"

"But you just said it is a good life"

"That it is"

"Then why should I mind?"

"Oh. Are you alright?"

"I guess"

"So you think its alright?"

"Dude, you just told me its alright. It is a good life"

"And you trust me?"

"Is there a reason I shouldn't?"

"No. Its just not, you know, normal"

"Well, I trust you. If you say it's a good life, I am sure it will be"

"Okay good. Oh btw, I need to book ticket"

"For where?"

"States. For dissertation"

"Oh. So now that's happening?"

"Yes, it is all settled. Sep 12th. I fly out on the 11th"

"On Sep 11th?"



"Can I use your miles?"


"Why not?"

"Because I need it for later"

"Oh. I thought your firm pays for your US trips"

"Yes, they do"

"So why do you need miles?"

"Because I fly to other places on personal trips. And I might not be working with the company anymore"

"Wait, you are quitting?"

"Yeah, I might not be working with them anymore"


"Because of the good life we are going to have"

"I knew it"


"But I thought you wanted me to do my dissertation"

"As a stepping stone to a real job, yes. But as you are anyway unemployable, I don't think it matters"

"Okay, if that's how you see it, I can look at other options"

"Such as what?"

"Strictly speaking, I am not unemployable"

"You are not?"

"I am just overqualified"

"For what?"

"For a number of jobs"

"Such as a checkout clerk at Tesco?"

"That too. But also other jobs which pay slightly more"

"I am listening"

"Like you know, in the city. Be a banker or something"

"You want to be a banker?"

"No. But if are absolutely sure you want me to have a real job, I can consider being one"

"How considerate of you"

"That I am"

"You do realise I could say yes and you will be in trouble"

"What, you think I am kidding?"

"I know you are"

"See, this is the problem. The jobs I can get, I can never get because you don't like them"

"Yes, that's why you are not a banker. Because I don't like it. You have always wanted to be a banker all your life. Your true calling"

"Arrghh. Please. I have standards"

"Exactly. So what are you going to do?"

"I need to think"

"Ok think"


Cheshire Cat said...

My sympathies are with Bill here. Thinking is hard work, never appreciated enough.

And pretending to think, almost equally so - I speak from experience. Surely people don't imagine one finds it fun to stare at the ceiling...

Falstaff said...

Right. And of course, banking jobs are going to be so much easier to get because banking, unlike academia is not tied to the economy at all.

(not that I think Bill is seriously considering this).

Veena said...

Cat: As is sleeping with your eyes open as you are staring at the ceiling, I presume.

And don't encourage him alright? That's the last thing he needs.

Also, OT - I was going to email you to crib about our ill-fated Edinburgh trip that didn't happen but couldn't find email id. How was the festival this year? Posts (that could be deciphered by normal people) will be muchly appreciated.

Veena said...

Falstaff: That was my original position. But think Bill has a point. I mean, there must be a reason why (in this country atleast) they still are turning up diligently at campuses and cold calling people in certain departments no? Plus I guess the first thing to get cut in a bad economy would be the research grants that funds staring at ceilings.

Cheshire Cat said...

Sleep helps the subconscious to do its work... I recommend about 9 hours a day minimum, and I'm no hypocrite.

"ill-fated" - that sounds like it deserves a post of its own. What happened? The Fringe is done for the year, but the Festival continues until this weekend. I'm looking forward to that, I need to start getting work done.

The best show I watched was by this Dutch comic called Hans Teeuwen - outrageous stuff, outrageously good. A couple of the music concerts in the International Festival were good - one by a piano/claret duo (Le Sage/Meyer) which triggered in me a rather unexpected enthusiasm for Brahms, and another one pairing baroque music (Biber) with the avant-garde Italian composer Berio. Also a couple of fusion events pleasantly surprised me - "Sva" in the Festival of Spirituality and Peace paired Bharatanatyam with Japanese Taiko drumming, "Bhakti and the Blues" had storytelling by Vayu Naidu with vocal improvisation by the jazz musician Cleveland Watkiss.

There was a cabaret show by the Tiger Lillies which was hugely entertaining, but the huge draw there annually is La Clique - tickets sold out too far in advance for me. I also missed out on the Kiarostami video piece for the same reason. I got to see an improv comedy show by some student folks (the Improverts) which was OK. A lot of the stuff was competent but not exceptional. I didn't get to see any exceptional plays for instance (except maybe Pig island's "Simply Fancy") - the ones with rave reviews didn't have tickets available. I went to see a performance of Sarah Kane's "4:48 Psychosis". Falstaff would surely have enjoyed it, but me, not so much.

I went to some shows in Forest Fringe, which is the "experimental" part of the Fringe. The playwright Chris Goode performed Kurt Schwitters' sound poem "Ursonate" among other things - that was compelling stuff. But for some of the other shows, "experimental" just meant unpolished, incoherent and/or boring.

There's still a couple of things in the International Festival I'm looking forward to, namely a theatre piece by Goebbels, and whirling dervishes. I went to a lecture on Rumi and the whirling dervishes today, which was very good. Haven't seen any art yet, but hope to remedy that by week's end.

I was going to e-mail you to ask what happened to your visit, but I couldn't find your e-mail address either :)
I wonder sometimes what the point is of all this secrecy and anonymity. Frankness, clarity, simplicity - those are the virtues.

??! said...

You really hate putting up proper posts don't you? That comment would've done just fine.

What Bill needs to do is become TV gyaani. Spout profoundly depressing and depressingly profound fundas about how it all works. And why he doesn't. Lots of money, very little activity.

Cheshire Cat said...

??!: Perhaps, but what I said in that comment was fact. The blog is a tissue of lies ("fictions" is a fancier name), or at best: irrelevances.

Space Bar said...

That sounds like new wine to me. Are you sure it's nto the bottle that's got you mixed up?

cats need 9 hours. people need ten (and i pity you missed the kiarostami. now go put some fictions up.)

Veena said...

Cat: Wait, you mean all we had to do was ask you to write in comments section. Okay then, please review a suitable Booker nominee asap!

Not a big fan of Fringe but when I looked at the schedule, remember thinking the International looked interesting. Looks like you are having fun. Anything interesting happen in the Book fest?

And hey, I am virtuous. frank, clear and simple. My email id is on my blogger profile.

??!: Sri Sri Bill eh? Not a bad idea, I shall ask him to think about this.

SB: Wine or bottle, nothing was said in the post that you did not know already.