Sunday, 19 April 2009

Looking for yourself

Interesting piece by Amit Chauduri in the Guardian yesterday about Indian literature (the Russians de nos jours I suppose - see yesterday's post) where he addresses how curiosity enlightens the traveller:

"Personally, I think I could find out more about myself by asking Ian Jack (to take a random example[...]) what he thinks about Hugh MacDiarmid or Muriel Spark, or the Scottish education system in the 60s, or his experiences as a newspaper editor in Thatcher's England, than by interrogating him on India; this is because we're both - as a Bengali and a Scotsman - historical beings invested and implicated in the 20th and unfolding 21st centuries, and will address each other most profoundly, despite our differences, only by addressing our own deepest memories about ourselves. I think the Scotsman understands this, which is why he doesn't constantly ask me what I think about Scotland; but I wonder if the Indian does. To constantly look for yourself even when you encounter the foreign is never to travel; while we know that it's in observing and overhearing others as we journey that we often discover unexpected dimensions of ourselves."


Kevin Musgrove said...

I knew there was a reason why I'd given up reading the Gruaniad (-:

gaw said...

I know, it gives you cancer. Did you resort to patches?