Jazz Fest and Updates

Last night I went to Calcutta Jazz Fest. What an awesome event, and what awesome music! Last night featured Aakash’s band and the international faculty from a University just South of Chennai called Swarnabhoomi. The drummer was from Mexico, the pianist and base from the US, and the Guitarist from Calcutta. Two of my favorite songs of Aakash’s were Monsoon Blues and one sung about the pacific Northwest Coastline in which Jayanthi joined in, adding her voice and bringing the a stark cloudy day on the NW coastline to life in Calcutta.

The days pass, with some limited successes in research.

  1. A few cryptographers have expressed interest in deciphering the shorthand/cipher I have encountered a cipher in Hyde’s Legal Notebooks (a source I am using at the National Library) which I have been unable to solve.

  2. Bangla is progressing well, and during the weekdays I have increasing confidence to read and translate documents. It’s a difficult language.

  3. Out of the blue I received a personalized email from a company called vedams books about a book called, “A History of Calcutta’s Streets,” which I had been looking for for months. Apparently a German had bought the last copy available copy to my knowledge a month ago. I don’t know how they knew they I wanted the book. Perhaps someone knew I was looking for it and called them? I don’t know—but I do now I have someone to thank for the help.

And some setbacks

  1. I was denied access to the High Court of Calcutta’s archives despite Fulbright sending an introduction letter. Other scholars (not connected to Fulbright to my knowledge) have been granted access.

  2. The National Library of India has run out of ink for photocopying, so I will have to wait a month until I can request photocopies of materials. Meaning that I can’t supply the cryptographers with the scans of the shorthand they will need to solve it.

As well as some interesting travel

  1. Last weekend I traveled to Bishnupur on a class trip with Matt, Jessica and our teacher Debanjan. Bishnupur is a fascinating small city/town with an array of Terracotta temples dating to the 17th century, with numerous surrounding villages that produce a variety of handicrafts. Each village specializes in a certain craft, granting it comparative advantage in that specific craft. Ricardo and Adam Smith would be proud! I also fulfilled my dream of driving an Ambassador car—the ubiquitous yellow taxi of Calcutta. Fantastic!

Apologies for some banal writing. I’ve lost my voice due to a few successive days of having a sore throat, and a little too much partying. I therefore think I’ve also lost my writing touch. With more things to do and more people to meet, it’s harder and harder to find time to write. I also should have been around to talk to my grandfather during thanksgiving, maybe there will be time for that too!