City Vox Popili – A Life in Kanwal’s Day, Paris
As part of The Delhi Walla series asking citizens to “write down everything you did in one day.” Send yours in 400 words max to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Photo by Apoorva Arora]
[By Kanwal Sohi, who study English–Language, Literature and Society–at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris.]
I entered the kitchen and put on the France Inter on the Radio France application while preparing the morning tea and omelette. Israel-Palestine war on the radio. I got messages from the Sorbonne and the American library that I have books overdue. I decided to go to both the libraries to return the books. After breakfast I put the books to be returned in my bag, lest I forget. I surfed social media apps. Time evaporates. I read a few pages of Le Monde, which I had bought on Friday because there is a literary supplement on Fridays. I read Friday’s Le Monde all through the week.
While going towards Paris by train, to return my books, I got a call from my friend Annick. She was also on the same train line but a few stations behind me. I got down at the next station so that she could join me. We went to the university residential area Cité Universitaire. She knew a Korean restaurant there and invited me to have lunch. We walked through a long chain of trees. Fallen leaves on the muddy path. Annick remarked that autumn is late this year.
The waiter at the Korean restaurant was from Bangladesh. He spoke Hindi. He was working hard to make ends meet. I told Annick that his name ‘Ashiq’ meant lover in Bengali, Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi and Persian. ‘What a pretty name to have’, said Annick. She told me she had been to Korea. We talked about the books we were reading. She was reading a book by a geopolitical expert on his experience of living in French and Iranian culture. I told her about The Bell Jar by Plath. After lunch we walked to a cafe. Misty drizzle in grey November light.
After an hour’s travel, I went to the American library. Walking in the street, a few steps from the library, I remembered that the library is closed on Mondays. How stupid of me! After four years of being a member here! What a waste of time! Am I wasting my life? The thought starts to make me sad. I resist. I read.
After returning the book at the Sorbonne library, I started my journey back home. Already getting dark–it is just 4 o’clock. By the time I reach back home, the evening is melting into night. Yellow lights in the neighbour’s window. The day is gone.