Saturday, October 17, 2015

Foreignness

I just read an absurd German book recently, set also partly in Ireland, which I loved for its very oddness. Our perception of the world is shaped so entirely by our experiences, the people we meet, the places we visit, the food we taste, the things we see. Someone in another city, someone across boundaries and seas and oceans sees the world with a view that might never resonate with mine. It is why German humour is so unfunny, Japanese beauty often so bland. This foreignness is to me both fascinating and disconcerting. Fascinating because we have so many windows into the unfamiliar, from armchair connections to travel - so that we have a friend now who loves British humour and another with an obsession with Italian cuisine. And here I am in love with all things German. And yet it could all simply be an illusion of insight and closeness. It is disconcerting, obviously, because it makes me feel small, apprehensive of everything beyond my comprehension and out of my reach. And yet I am even more wary, oddly, of things that are, after all, within reach, the broadness of our scope, the ever extending horizons. Of sitting in a corner of Hyderabad reading a German book by a Swiss immigrant in Ireland, and nodding in agreement.
I love how our perception of the world is shaped so entirely by our experiences, the people we meet, the places we visit, the food we taste, the things we see. Someone in another city, someone across boundaries and seas and oceans sees the world with a view that I might never comprehend. It is why German humour is so incomprehensibly unfunny, Japanese beauty often so bland. This foreignness is to me both fascinating and disconcerting. Fascinating because literature, now technology offer us windows into this uncanny,