We chat about American imperialism. No. She chats about American imperialism. I ask her if she sees it coming to an end. It will, she says. Then, immediately, less sure, she adds that it will eventually end. Somewhere I think this is a useless conversation. Not because we know more than each other or because there are fixed notions of what is right and wrong, but because I'm not setting out to change a global political landscape. I can't be concerned with the United States when things in India don't seem to be right. Who cares about Nike or sweatshops right now when we've got a caste that believes in violence and is in power in at least two states?
We continue talking, two people trying to find common ground in a dangerously fluid landscape. When we disagree, we remain mostly silent, choosing to say 'hmmm'. We find that we agree on little about the state of the world. One says it's horrible, one says it's fine. Both discover something new about each other. We're not sure we like it. So we hang up quickly. She has to study, I have to write. We'll talk later, when our leanings are grudgingly accepted. Then we will talk with more freedom and, with respect, will lay our friendship to one side and then we will fight it out.