My job ‘in the field’: a reflection

I live in India. I work in ‘development’. I was lucky; I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and immediately got a job working ‘in the field’. So I packed my bags and headed half way across the world to start a life far removed from my days as a student. I had been to India twice before for months at a time; I knew the country, its idiosyncratic quirks and off beat rhythms; its vibrant colours and potent smells; its sleepy villages and pulsating slums.

And far removed from all the guidebook photos of festivals and saris and yoga and wonders of the world, there is my office on a hill. I travel there everyday and sit at a computer. I write project proposals and grants and evaluations. ‘Development’ lingo says I am ‘working in the field’ and yet I can’t remember the last time I walked through a slum or a village – the places on the margins of Indian society where ‘development’ takes place.

So why do I live in India if the work I do could be done anywhere in the world? Continue reading