Gigi knows her lover as a man of secrets too. She decides to type up a paragraph of her own. She seats herself at his laptop, and types it up, one word at a time, right into his document, where the last paragraph has ended. "Despite being criticized for its seemingly bureaucratic models and charts, such transparent articulation in fact speaks the modern language of constitutions while borne of scriptural insight, thereby allowing the metaphysical to engage 'the real' through the ethical. Such is Sarvodaya's operational realness that concepts are actualized through concrete projects such as repairing irrigation canals and constructing community centers at the grassroots level, initiatives that Dharmapala described as productive of good karma." Gigi looks over every word, and checks her punctuation, her spelling, the spacing. Her lover finds it unnecessary to add two spaces after a period. "A relic of our typewriter days," he says. She is reminded of Tambiah, and how he'd observed Thai peasant approaches to Theravada Buddhism. Should she type that up too? Is otherworldliness less apparent in lay belief, that the concept of rebirth is what most villagers strive for? Rather than nirvana, this being too much of an abstraction, so complex a concept? "People need to be guided by clear goals," her lover, if he were here, would have chimed in. "That is to say, pragmatism. A life lived by lists. By things to do. Things they can see on paper, and follow through." Her lover would have told her that, that much Gigi knows.
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of I Didn't Know Mani Was A Conceptualist, forthcoming in 2013. He has also edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters (world religions) from Harvard and fine arts masters (creative writing) from Notre Dame, he is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree Publishing Poetry Prize, among other awards. Desmond is an interdisciplinary artist, also working in clay. His commemorative pieces are housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.