Coming up for (hot, sunny, Delhi) air

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Incense jammed into the walls of Safdarjung’s Tomb

As The New Diplomat’s Wife put it so perfectly: “last week was…well, it was last week.”

I only got to read snippets of the news last week in between feverishly plowing through InDesign files and taking care of Will. Perhaps it was for the best. I fervently hope this week is far less tragic, far less intense.

I’m wrapping up a project for the American school here (the name of which is misleading as Americans represent only a minority of the gigantic student body). I’ve been putting together the middle school arts and literature journal.

It’s been interesting to gauge the reactions of my working-outside-the-home friends versus my own investment in the process. Many can’t seem to get past the fact that no one, save a handful of students, parents and teachers will probably ever see the final product. If there aren’t hundreds of thousands of readers or foreign governments involved, how tough could it really be?

I talked to a photojournalist friend of mine today though, as we watched our kids at the playground. Before I could even explain the layout and surprising ethical dilemmas inherent to editing middle school creative writing for publication, he cut me off.

“Of course it’s lot of work. You don’t want to put your name on a piece of crap.”

Yes. That’s it.

Back when I worked in an office, my performance review came in the form of a multi-page assessment covering everything from how well I worked with others to how “innovative” I could be at “system management.” Nobody judged me on the basis of a single piece of paper, website or photo.

Now that’s not quite true. I’m not necessarily a professional anything anymore, but for the occasional jobs that come my way, the photos and words I put my name on have become more relevant than my old resume.

It really doesn’t matter if the middle school arts and literature journal is a temple of clean and crisp modern magazine design printed on heavy matte paper because that is what’s cool these days. To me though, it does. Because I’ll be darned if I put my name on something that doesn’t look at least modestly visually appealing. It takes time to edit and layout 80 pages of non-negotiable content no matter how good or bad the design aesthetic– it might as well make it look nice enough to justify the hours of sleep I lost in the process.

So that was last week. Luckily May is looking less busy, more calm and, hopefully, more peaceful for everyone.

Switching gears entirely, Will and I have been making a habit of revisiting some of our favorite tombs and gardens around Delhi early in the morning, before the sun chases us off to spend all afternoon at the pool. I figuring climbing up flights of giant sandstone stairs isn’t terribly unlike visiting a playground for a toddler and Will seems to enjoy the change of scenery.

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Almost as much as he enjoys cleaning the walls of 14th century tombs with his wet wipes.

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Will spent 30 minutes at Safdarjung’s tomb the other day cleaning the floor. Cleaning is his thing. I’m not sure if he just loves being that helpful or if he just finds the ritual calming. Whatever the reason, he’s the cutest groundskeeper Safdarjung’s Tomb could ever have.

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These doors underneath the structure freaked me out a little, so many unlocked padlocks. Then I realized that all of the administrative offices are housed in the dark basement of the tomb. How creepy a place to work would that be?


One thought on “Coming up for (hot, sunny, Delhi) air

  1. Will certainly is adorable!!! And I know what you mean. I recently finished writing some articles for my local newspaper. It was a lot of work and took hours. I could have just slapped words on paper and said, “Good enough.” But not me. I don’t want my name attached to anything I’m not proud of. Good for you. It’s obvious you’re very talented.

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