By David Shulman
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Extra resources for Spring, Heat, Rains: A South Indian Diary
Best of all, even better than surviving the baptism by linguistic flooding, is the afternoon ride home in the golden light through Gandhipuram and Danavayipeta on the back of Smile ’s scooter. This is the place I have been seeking, it is right, it is whole. February 16: Circar Express The water fails in the night, the taps gone dry. I have the feeling, really a kind of certain knowledge, that this will happen again, and again. At dawn I manage to fill up half a bucket from the Godavari tap on my balcony, enough more or less to wash.
Full of wilderness, a wild place, raw. A country of manly men and sturdy, active women. The dry uplands of Telangana impact on the greener world of the coast, with its great rivers; the interaction of these two ecosystems, together with the mixed zone of Rayalasima to the south, determined the history of Andhra as a whole. That much is simple. Historically, cultural innovation tended to come from Telangana, to be domesticated in the delta, then reexported to Telangana. But wilderness infuses all three regions, unlike the Tamil heartland.
When I wake, I can clearly see the missing piece I was looking for, the one that gives no rest; it is, of course, the one I have set aside. A sudden spurt of exultation: Madras ahead, the past as future, once again. spring 22 In 1975–76, Eileen and I lived for some months in Madras; to be precise, in Mandaivelipakkam, not far from the great Mylapore temple, in the south of the city. I spent those months in temples all over the Tamil country, looking for stories; Eileen was studying Carnatic singing with Ramu in Madras.