my Pakistani taxi man.

Quite an eventful night in the District! i could spout off some random words like (jazz, fun, coffeee, boyzzz) or something dumb like that, but all the events of this evening pale in comparison to my TEN DOLLAR taxicab ride home.
by the way, am I the only one in the world that calls it a taxicab?

Anyways, my taxicab driver's name was Mohammed.
he started asking me about my life, what I study, etc. and so i naturally inquired about his life as well. He told me he was from Pakistan, and i immediately began to tell him about my research on the Middle East, and my imminent trip to Turkey.

I think that really sparked his interest, so I told him about my near obsession with the country, specifically regarding nationalism and the ways secularism and other harsh implementations of western ideology has affected "Turkishness", or Turkish nationalism.
In his attempt to discover if i was an imperialistic "American", he cautiously asked me what I thought about "this secularism".
(disclaimer: i made sure he knew that i'm Canadian)
my brutal honesty pleased him and he opened up completely, he started telling me about his experiences in Pakistan and his distaste for secularism in general, with comments about America and its contradictory policies on religion and its intersection with politics.

sidenote: Mohammed has a master's degree, nothing infuriates me more. I experienced this alot while working at the International Rescue Committee during the summer of '09. I would meet men who were doctors, businessmen, and lawyers back in their home countries, yet were struggling to find a minimum wage job in America (something needs to change here).

From there we talked freely about Merve Kavakçı, a previously elected-MP of Istanbul for the pro-Islamist Virtue Party. Kavakçı's devotion to veiling complicated her win--because veiling policy is a highly contested issue in Turkey. Kavakçı was prevented from taking her oath at the National Assembly solely based on her refusal to remove her veil for the ceremony. Following this, her Turkish citizenship was revoked (she was also an American citizen, which was a justification for the actions taken).
This disgusted Mohammed as much as it bothers me. Although, his take was much more emotional. He did not speak with anger about the Turkish government or even secularism itself, he spoke about the loss of identity and the importance of nationalism.

See, much like me Mohammed believes that culture and nationalism are so deeply ingrained within us that they ultimately come to define us.
basically, our cultures are inescapable. (arguable structuralist argument)

After more discussion on the absolute horror of someone being stripped of their nationality, culture, and identity he began to talk about himself once again, telling me about his love and forever devotion to Pakistan, I will never forget what he said:

"i'm Pakistani, and i will always be Pakistani, I was born Pakistani and I will die Pakistani, i could live for 500 years in America, and still be Pakistani, my home is Pakistan, my culture is Pakistan, and my soul is Pakistan, and if I said otherwise I could not be trusted"

All the theories that are pushed into my brain, all the examples of nationhood, cultural heritage and pride repeatedly enforced in every part of the world i study, was brought to life. The tone of Mohammed's voice alone affirmed the words of Renan, Gellner, Foucault, Williams, and Anderson (to name a few favorites).
and I can't imagine anything more inspiring than that!

for once this is not an exaggeration.
it was probably one of the most beautiful experiences i have ever had.
unforgettable too.
So thanks Mohammed, for re-affirming my nerdy love of everything culture.


"artists, as people are limited…art is limitless" - "Eoghan Ryan"

my friend clifford showed me this AMAZING Dali painting, "the anthropomorphic cabinet".
the painting exactly embodies the title, which I find interesting because Dali's paintings and his titles are usually so ambiguous, like the ever so famous:

"the persistence of memory"

or one of my favorite paintings, that I still struggle to understand:
"dream caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate"

if someone can explain this one to me, without context, just with pure perception, I will be forever indebted to you.

Anyways, i digress... which makes me think of Holden Caulfield, which makes me want to digress again, so i will.
to steal Mr. Darcy's words, "you have bewitched me, body and soul", Holden Caufield.
never have I met a more complex, and interesting character in a book, he heavily rivals Gatsby himself.
my current mission is to find someone to "chew the fat" with, all about Holden. interested?

ANYWAYS, back to my point "the anthropomorphic cabinet", so powerful right?

So, as I learned back in my AP art history days, there are many ways to understand a painting, and as much as you research, and analyze you may never know the true meaning of a work.
but that's a given.
it's the same with literature and music, you can appreciate a composer, like Beethoven (i recently saw the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra perform his fifth symphony, so Ludwig's on my mind) and even completely know a piece of music. for instance Fur Elise, all the notes, the dynamics, and chords, everything memorized. (p.s. i'm describing myself here). Looking at the title, you can assume that the piece is "for elise", but scholars have NO idea who elise is, there is even talk about the music being transcribed incorrectly.

Basically, I personally believe that as much as you know about a piece of art, music or novel you will never fully understand its meaning, its purpose, and the reason it was created.

I think that's what I love about it though, the ambiguity. I had "woman with flower head" on my wall for the entire year and would see something new almost every time i looked at it. I would sit on my bed and just stare at it, and talk with friends about its meaning. (nerds)
we never came to a conclusion.

i digress, again. my goodness.

ANYWAYS, back to "the anthropomorphic cabinet", I did some research to see if I could attempt to understand its meaning.
1) the title itself, anthropomorphic means an object that shows human characteristics. a cabinet is a cabinet. Thus, a cabinet that shows human characteristics.

2) Dali did a lot of works with cabinets, why? I found out he was influenced by Freud, he said:
a)"they are kinds of allegories destined to illustrate a certain complacency, to smell the innumerable narcissistic odors emanating from each one of our drawers," and more precisely later, "The unique difference between immortal Greece and the contemporary epoch is Sigmund Freud, who discovered that the human body, which was purely neo-platonian at the time of the Greeks, is today full of secret drawers that only psychoanalysis is capable of opening."

That is the most specific research I could find on this work (if i'm missing something, tell me please!). So yes, now we know he was influenced by Freud and believed that humans have these intrinsic drawers that remain closed unless an outside source (in my experience) forces them open. but why did he choose to picture a "woman", sitting the way she was? where she was? what is it exactly coming out of the middle drawer (looks a little bit like guts, but why?)? why are the contours of her body painted so delicately or even manly? why is she shielding her face with her hair? is her arm outstretched because she is attempting to hide her internal cabinets from the outside world?
i can see that this work is Caravaggio-esque, it exhibits some characteristics of chiaroscuro (one of the only words I remember from my art history days), a shading technique that plays with contrasts between light and dark, but why did he use this technique? why are there six cabinets? and why are there different locks and knobs on the cabinets?
granted i'm a bonafide overthinker.

I could go on and describe what i really think about this painting, but I think i've said enough.
I found a really interesting take on this theme that solidifies my belief that the beauty of art lies in its ambiguity.
the ability for people to explore knowledge and to attempt to understand the world through a piece of art is one of the most powerful educational tools out there today.
interesting blog post (if you were interested at all in my post): http://whycompromise.blogspot.com/2007/10/my-chest-of-drawers-notes-from-london.html

I dunno, i find surrealism insanely interesting, and i find Dali specifically so interesting.
again, anyone interested in "chew(ing) the fat"? telling me your perception of the painting?

source: http://www.moodbook.com/history/modernism/salvador-dali-surreal.html


wannabe nomad.

I don't think it's widely known knowledge that i am of CARIBBEAN descent. i'm "nationalistically" Canadian, but my "roots" lie deep in the islands of Trinidad & Tobago--land of the great (actually known as land of calypso and the steel drum). every single one of my extended family members live in that tiny island kitty-corner to Venezuela, (except my immediate family, and a small smattering of cousins, and an uncle).

i've been thinking about this a lot, especially with all the research i've been doing on nationalism.
I am a part of this entire other culture that I barely understand (besides food, and traditions).
I represent an identity that I don't necessarily feel connected to...

Well, when I lived in Canada, my family would take a grand vacation down to Trinidad and visit my dad's oldest brother, every year. taking in carnival, a GIGANTIC cultural festival with music, floats, and costumes that basically shuts down every street. I even have a costume myself!

Here are some pictures of Trinidad's carnival:

So, as you can see it's a very diverse, hectic, fun and colorful affair, (much like trinidad is itself). It is the island that we visit to have a good time, to party, eat, drink, hang, shop, and go to the beaches (which are crazy party centers as well). I left Canada in 2000 (when I was around ten), and I haven't gone back since (to Canada or Trinidad). This is one of the only cultural traditions that I have real knowledge of, other than certain Trinidadian takes on world-wide holidays.

I loved visiting trinidad, port-of-spain.

One of the most vivid memories i have is from maracas beach. the waves were stories high, the water was so clear, and i ate a "shark and bake" on the shore.
here's a picture of the only beach in the world that i like, in my limited travel, (i have yet to leave this hemisphere):

We would also visit my mom's family in Tobago, the serene island. beautiful beautiful beaches, breathtaking landscapes, flowers everywhere, genuine people, everything is just so wonderful theree. the main thing i remember is climbing up this mountain to get to the house my mom grew up in which sat right at the top. other than that trek, our visit was mainly relaxing.

I guess what i'm trying to get at is that my connection is nothing more than what any tourist would have. I'm sure when I was eight I felt truly trinidadian, but now that i'm twenty and it's been more than ten years since i've been back, i've lost that association. I guess i've used this blog post to re-ignite my trinidadian-ness, to make me explore my past, because Trinidad & Tobago is a place i can move to, even if just for a year. it's where all my family is, it should be my "home", or whatever. i physically have over five homes, but I have yet to find a "home" where i actually feel at home.

that was the roundabout way of explaining my title. i wish i could be a nomad, moving from place to place, gathering memories and experiences, and ultimately finding a home within myself.
but that isn't a reality for me, i could go into my whole "harry potter relates to every day life soap-box" and say, like voldemort's horcruxes, the pieces of my soul lie all over the Western hemishphere. but instead i'll say i have many homes, who says home has to be singular.


new words, and a new song.

HELLOOOO WORLLDDDDDDD, guess who's back? back again? kalyah's back, tell your friends! (sorry, momentary lapse of lameness).

Well, it's may in 2010 and I don't think i've updated my blog since early 2009.
This is truly a crying shame because that means i've been using other virtual portals to express my thoughts, interests and emotions.
the culprit: twitter.
(www.twitter.com/sinatra_please, shameless advertising)

The point is, I miss blogger, I miss the whole words floating around in cyber-space phenomenon that accompanies a public blog.
I think the main reason I stopped blogging was because I was tired of using "anticipated reactions" as a teenage cry-baby diary.
Now, i'm in my early twenties, twenty to be exact. I have been kicking school's and life's ass, (still single though). and i'm just wiser in general.


well Obama is still the president, no fatalities or impeaching to speak of. Although, his name is slandered almost everywhere you look. A sad reality that I guess is the result of vast change.
He has made plenty of great changes, but most notably HEALThCARE PASSED! that is bound to piss people off, unfortunately on both sides. Through my Canadian eyes this is a non-issue, every human has the right to healthcare, every human has the right to get access to the best medicines and doctors, i always thought that life wasn't a partisan issue, sadly, i'm wrong.

AHH not to shift, but I just recalled my post from last year about NOT going abroad, and I wanted to share that I AM going to study abroad in Istanbul, Turkey for five months, doing field research and taking classes at Bogazici University. My interest in Turkey started around late 2009 while looking at their veiling policy, most recently I became interested in Istanbul: all the architecture, art, culture, people, tradition,and religion; this entrepot city embodies culturally relative modernity, to me at least.
SOOO many commas, at least that hasn't changed.

Hmm, my musical tastes have evolved during my hiatus, but it was mainly rediscovery, listening to bands I hadn't really given a chance to in the past as well as exploring and LOVING jazz-- i even started a jazz blog last summer (another reason I abandoned "anticipated reactions").

I started learning french, oui, and I absolutely adore the language.
Of course I started learning french when I was six years old, living in Canada, but it was all forgotten once I started learning spanish in highschool, c'est la vie, vrai?

I absolutely cannot think of anything else to say, so I guess keep a look out, and hopefully I will get my place back in the blogging world!

I am currently back in georgia, so i MUST share this version of georgia on my mind, by billie holiday. This version attacks every aspect of my feelings on this state (i hope you can hear the melancholy in billie's voice as well):