Monday, December 8, 2008

Shalimar The Clown

I brought along an audio book with me, Salman Rushdie's 'Shalimar the Clown.' I thought that I would not like his book but it's a great work. The story has a wide scope with the feeling of being a classic epic. It is a fun story to listen to. I wonder why I did not discover Salman Rushdie before. Listening to his work, I feel that he's like a vanguard, spreading the voice of India throughout the world. So I now understand why India is sweeping the world with outsourcing and BPO's and software development. If people of the world would like to hear the voice of India, they can just read the talkatively stories of Salman Rushdie.

He is a modern voice which speaks of an understanding of the modern world in all it's complexities. It is an open voice. I wonder if there is a similar voice in China. The recent Nobel prize winner from China also has a great voice. But it is more a philosophical voice, talking of a more abstract reality. China is a much more complex world and the order and progress it has achieved is something that India still struggles in. So I guess it is great to listen to the modern India while in China; trying to reconcile the coming greatness of these 2 giants. I can hear the rising of India in Rushdie's works while I can see the rising of China by waking and seeing it's great modern cities.

Last weekend, we went to the old imperial palace, the 'electronics' street, the old tombs in the park with the lake frozen over and people skating and some even swimming insanely in the freezing cold. Yesterday afternoon, we went to an excellent museum talking about the war with Japan. A great museum that really inspires you and leaves you with an admiration of the communist armies fighting for independence. It was bitter cold in the weekend and I felt sick on some days. Last week there where days that were -22 degrees below zero. It was also cold and dry in my room that I could not sleep well. But the thrill of walking in the snow against the cold biting wind was something hard to miss.

Looking at the old palaces and tombs of the Qing dynasty is something one cannot get in other provinces in China. It fits with the old buildings of Manchuria and the Japanese and Russian occupation. It tells of a different China with cold and snow and nomadic warriors, quite different from the Southern China of languid summers and elegant food. In Liaoning it s more of a rougher and harsher nature with boiled lamb, spicy chilied food and hot pot to keep you from the cold. It is a China that is far from the glamour of Beijing and Shanghai and Guandong. More of the smog, harsh winters and snow and tough rough people. It is a place where Japan lost it's soul and reverted back to a past barbarism, seduced by the land and it's riches.

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