1. I feel a deep and personal affinity towards (sub-Equatorial) Africa. This is strange because I have never been to Africa, though I have had several African friends.
I feel far more affinity to Africans than I do to my fellow Asians, which is why when I had to create a fictional nation to host some of my stories, I set it in Africa (and called it Bisaria). I used to be able to speak fair Swahili at one time, though I’ve forgotten most of it; and at one point, I had made serious plans to emigrate to Kenya. I had also applied for a job in Ethiopia in 1996 but didn’t get selected.
I love African literature. My love for it began when I read Carcase For Hounds by Meja Mwangi, and deepened after I came across Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart trilogy. Unfortunately, books by African authors are difficult to come by hereabouts; I try to read what I can on the net.
But, again – I have never been to Africa.
2. I used to be a sleepwalker. Not very often, though, but I have had episodes throughout my childhood. Once I woke in the bathroom, without much of an idea what I was doing there. Another time I woke with my feet wet and muddy, though I was in bed and had no memory of leaving it, let alone the house.
The last episode I know of was at the age of eighteen, when my roommate informed me that in the middle of the night I had got up, gone to the window, began talking about a girl who was “doing something” and demanded that someone give me a rope. After that I, it seems, went back to bed. I have no memory of that at all.
3. I despise two foods – brinjal (eggplant to Americans), which makes me vomit (I mean projectile vomiting) and jackfruit. I can’t stand the odour of jackfruit, let alone eat any, a trait I share with my mother. I think it’s the smell which sets off the problem, because I have no problem with dried jackfruit chips (like potato chips). But even the idea of swallowing a slippery, slimy jackfruit makes me want to puke.
|This thing is a jackfruit. It stinks.|