Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"tour diary"?

Siddarth Vaidyanathan weighs in again on his road experiences (he's done bus trips and cabbies a few times on this tour diary). Frankly, I'm a little disappointed by the tour diary. It could have been more edgy, and rather than these superficial little vignettes, which don't really make Pakistan sound different on the surface from India (oooh! edgy interaction in the practice area; contrast in small towns and cities; did I mention bus rides?; ex-cricketers - groan), he could have paid more attention to his personal interactions, his conversations with his peers, and tried deciphering them for the messages that would invariably flow in his direction. Thats where the true Pakistani-Indian differences lie, and if the attempt in the tour diary is to communicate to us what that country is like, he'd be better served by reporting those kinds of interactions (not these ones where he is invariably cast in the role of consumer, which as any anthropologist can tell you, is a very limited view).

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