Snowy Springtime

Mahmood Farooqui and Danish
Husain Perform Dastangoi
March 20, 2014

I am so tired of this cold weather. The forecast for further snow would be bad enough, alone. But, being in the thick of temperatures where it's too cold even for snow to fall: this does not feel like the start of spring.

Low as the temperatures may be; covered with snow as the pavement remains--I've begun walking to school. The roads are yet too slick for me to pedal safely in to school. As I estimated when I moved into my studio in early January, my walk is only half an hour from bed to desk. I'm glad to be seeing regular physical activity again: a few months off my bike has seen visible change in my waistline. I suppose the one silver lining of these temperatures well below freezing is that my walk is neither sloppy nor wet. Everything on the streets of Montréal is still frozen solid.

My class schedule is just short of overwhelming: Two languages back-to-back. My first art history class--with vocabulary and terminology yet outside my ken. A history class led by my supervisor--whose sessions I can't always attend. Thesis, thesis, thesis. I am nothing short of busy.

On top of classes there are so many departmental events, lectures, and fêtes to attend. They're all topics I'm genuinely interested in. A Nowruz gathering to celebrate Persian New Year. Financial aid tips from the Department of Scholarships and Student Aid. A lecture presenting a new perspective on the Sepoy Mutiny by a visiting scholar from Delhi. I feel slammed by my schedule despite that it's filled with events that I love engaging in.

The photo I've chosen to associate with this entry is taken from tonight's extra event. Professor P. hosted a traditional Urdu storytelling session, a Dastangoi at the McCord Museum just across from campus. Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain brought to life a genre that was effectively understood to have vanished in the 1920s. The two revived the tradition bantering back and forth in Urdu--more of which I could understand than I expected--in a performance that was especially captivating considering it consisted of watching two guys who never stood up from their seated positions on-stage for an hour-and-a-half.

In news as to what I do after this term is over, I've just booked my onward passage out of Montréal after the end of the academic year. I'll move along via the same route I took out of Montréal over spring break: down to New York City via Burlington, Vermont on cheap long-distance buses. After rendezvous with friends in Brooklyn and Manhattan I have a ticket booked back to the Pacific Northwest. I'll fly not directly into SEA but PDX. Fares were far cheaper into Portland than Seattle and I'd been planning on a spur to say "hi" to Tiffany, anyway.

Beyond that... I don't know. Summer is still up in the air as I've received no word back yet from any of the funding centers into which I put applications for intensive language study between these academic years at McGill. I'm still optimistic, still presuming that somebody will find me a compelling-enough candidate to throw some money my way.