Monday, November 24, 2008

Expatriate diaries

An interesting column on the reverse migration of Indian Americans to India (includes a reference to S & M conferences that take place in India - no, it is not what you think).
Exact data on émigrés working in India or spending more time here are scarce. But this is one indicator: India unveiled an Overseas Citizen of India card in 2006, offering foreign citizens of Indian origin visa-free entry for life and making it easier to work in the country. By this July, more than 280,000 émigrés had signed up, according to The Economic Times, a business daily, including 120,000 from the United States.

At first we felt confused by India’s formalities and hierarchies, by British phraseology even the British had jettisoned, by the ubiquity of acronyms. We wondered what newspapers meant when they said, “INSAT-4CR in orbit, DTH to get a boost.” (Apparently, it meant a satellite would soon beam direct-to-home television signals.)

Working in offices, some of us were perplexed to be invited to “S&M conferences,” only to discover that this denoted sales and marketing. Several found to their chagrin that it is acceptable for another man to touch your inner thigh when you crack a joke in a meeting.

We learned new expressions: “He is on tour” (Means: He is traveling. Doesn’t mean: He has joined U2.); “What is your native place?” (Means: Where did your ancestors live? Doesn’t mean: What hospital delivered you?); “Two minutes” (Means: An hour. Doesn’t mean: Two minutes.).

Images from a recent visit to Mary Boone Gallery. They have a exhibition of Eric Fischl's glass/resin and bronze sculptures. The show runs till 20th Dec.
From the gallery handout: The largest figural group, “Ten Breaths: Congress of Wits”, is based on photographs taken by Fischl of a Brazilian dance troupe. The exuberance conveyed by these five dancers is countered by the palpable physical and emotional weight of the figures in “Ten Breaths: Damage” and “Ten Breaths: Samaritan”. “Ten Breaths: Tumbling Woman”, a variation on the bronze sculpture Fischl created in response to 11 September 2001, is here given new context in the presence of another solitary figure – the striking translucent “Ten Breaths: Falling Angel” mounted high above the floor of the Gallery.

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