What a blast! I’ve been around the sun a few times (all right, many times), and there’s always something new and cool in every trip, but this particular chakkar is turning to be really special. A year of firsts for me. I’ll have my first novel out this year. And this is the year we were finally able to hold the first Indian SF Workshop. The first Great Indian SF Workshop That Still Has No Name. It’s exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do when I grew up– okay, that’s a lie; I wanted to be a famous theoretical physicist renowned for his humility– but bloody hell, I’m glad things have worked out the way they have.
I should have blogged about the workshop on a daily basis, but here’s the catch: if you’re blogging, you’re not doing other things, and those three weeks at IIT-Kanpur were filled with doing other things. Vandana Singh put up a couple of lovely pieces on her experiences at the workshop, and that finally shamed me into action. I've followed the historian's policy of making up what s/he cannot remember.
Saturday, June 13, 2009: I’ve parked my corpus at Tej’s Abode, a cool boutique hotel in GK-II’s S-block in Delhi. I’ve been told to say “GK-2” and “S-block.” My elder brother, who’s under the impression I was raised by courteous Swedish yodelers, gave me a lot of unsolicited advice on how to survive in Delhi, including the nugget that I should never, ever, ask to be taken to “Greater Kailash 2”:
“You might as well hand them your wallet.”
I did get ripped off, but it was well within class-warfare limits.
I told Kaushal, the efficient day-manager at Tej’s Abode, that I had a morning train to catch, and that it was a 6:15 AM train, yes, the Lucknow Shatabdi, and that I really had to catch it, because I really had to be in Kanpur for a workshop. So. 6:15. We chatted a bit about phones and hotel bills and wireless codes. I made sure to set the cell phone’s alarm for 4:15 AM. Actually, it’s unnecessary. Once I set an alarm, the Brain always wakes me a few minutes earlier, as if to demonstrate that it could also run a hotel or two. Pretty freaky, this human time-sense thing. Why should wetware have any clue about the number system we use to mark how many times one needle goes around another? Suppose I used a binary clock? Wake me up at 00100.01111, please. I suppose it’d probably piss off the Brain.
Sunday June 14, 2009: Missed the damn train! My bloody fault too. I had woken up at 4:15, was ready by 5:00, waited till 5:15, then headed downstairs. Mahesh, one of the guys who worked there, had been sleeping, but woke up, listened calmly to my panicked shrieks, explained that nobody had told him anything about getting any taxi, took charge of the situation and ran out to hail a cab or a rickshaw or a passing camel.