Thinking

Last night I was invited for a traditional Senegalese meal by my colleague who, since I left in April, has brought his newborn, toddler and wife up to join him. They are all from Senegal and we feasted on Tjeeboudien, a combination of rice, fish and vegetables, eating from a common platter. One eats from the section of the platter directly in front and then staying within that section. It is the role of the host or hostess to constantly shove the choicest pieces to the sections of the guests. And all along we watched, on a tiny screen, the final match of the world cup.

I woke up with all the signs of a laryngitis in the making. Here I have come 6000 miles and now I am losing my voice? I sent an urgent text to my co-facilitator who is also a doctor, to get me some miracle medicine hoping to stop the progress. For once I didn’t bring my salt packets to start gargling as soon as I got up.

The shower was cold and the shower curtain slimy with mold. At breakfast the rancid butter from yesterday was still laid out as if I hadn’t said anything about it and the freshly squeezed orange juice was immediately invaded by a large shiny fly.

One could take all this as signals that this is not going to be a good day; but then when I watch what is happening in Gaza, I tell myself to get real. I am sure they take rancid butter, cold showers, slimy curtains and flies in the OJ anytime there if these rockets could just stop.

This little outing into thinking that somehow the universe conspires against me on certain days is, I have to remind myself, a relic from a time when the human mind (mine and others) were primitive and not ‘self-authoring, establishing a sense of the world that is made by myself, not authored by some magical force. It reminds me of situations where I was working with people who weren’t able to do this self-authoring and thus totally in the grip of something that would not do them any good, without knowing it. This brings me back to Gaza. What are they thinking?

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