Thursday, July 21, 2011

Of Poo and Paper Proposals

Look Mommy, I'm an angel!

Thursday nights have become my sacred "leave house and work in cafe" nights. Tonight is no exception, although leaving the house was more challenging than usual because Miss Matty decided to poop all over us during dinner. One minute I was holding her and shoveling lemon-paprika tilapia into my goot, and the next minute I'm staring down at the growing warm wetness pooling on my t-shirt and jeans and wondering how badly breast-milk poo will stain the carpet in our rental. This "Poo-nami" event required federal-level disaster aid interventions along the line of insta-bath in the kitchen sink for baby and hot-hot showering with all the shat-upon clothing for mama. Needless to say, I did not finish my dinner. Instead, I washed, pumped, and got the hell out of dodge. It took a whole hour and a half to leave the house, delimiting my work shift to a couple hours. Of course now that I'm finally at my favorite cafe, I find that I have absolutely nothing to say about Indulekha for my SALA conference paper proposal. I mean, really, how can the regulation of sambandhan possibly compare to a lake of molten poo in my lap?

Seriously, here is what I have so far:

This paper explores how the early Indian novel became a performative forum for social change. With fiction, novelists could intervene in the legal reform of marriage and contribute to forging regional colonial modernities. My analysis of O. Chandumenon’s novel Indulekha (1889) explores the relationship between the novel’s investment in the reform of marriage in the matrilineal Nair community and the novelist’s later involvement in the Malabar Marriage Commission. The Malabar Marriage Commission was organized in 1891 by the British colonial government and Indian social reformers to investigate the possibilities of regulating Nair marriage practices such as matrilineal inheritance, polyandry, and contractual (dissoluble) marital unions called sambandhan.

OK, does it make any sense?