Feb 23, 2010

Tuesday.

Another long day of class-the lack of productivity that occurred made it feel like forever. Trying to get a group functioning and producing is difficult when there is no time line, so that was our first line of action. I spent some time outside drawing, any excuse to get out of that room. The usual, bakery, lunch, procrastination, after effects. Eventually we spent some time with our teachers actually arduino-ing. We also got our LED blinking, as practice. Eventually Mahima and I left for the city in hopes of pretending to be sophisticated at IndiJoes, where we could sip on fancy drinks- for free of course! We got a bit dressed up, both wore our glasses, brought a book to put on the table for show, and were ready to pretend to have an intellectual conversation. We picked up a few others, ad trekked to SB road to pick up electronics.

Expecting that we would be wandering aimlessly in a huge electronics store looking for pieces we have never seen before and would surely be unable to recognize, we jumped out of the car onto an insanely busy street. I thought Commercial street was chaotic, but I should have known- electronics-Bangalore…

Handing a notebook with a large list of materials to a man in a button up shirt behind the counter, I watched. He set the list down and would pick up a plastic box, flip through some paper bags of what looked like miscellaneous, and would dump out a few of a lot of things. He did this while answering an array of questions thrown at him by other customers. He stayed very calm and efficient- we were out in 10 minutes, 232 rps. Mahima and I were excited for the rest of our night-that is an understatement by far. Running late, we sped off-only to be interrupted by a phone call.

The place we were going had caught on fire with 10 already dead and 100 trapped inside! Lots of phone calls after that, making sure everyone was okay. Scary, that had our teachers not wanted us to go into the city today ad get the electronics today, we would have been at Indijoes when the fire just broke out. The fire did not reach that place where we would have been, but it was in the same complex- too close.

Having heard the news, we changed plans and headed to Java City. I had exhausted myself in the car, and this fire business had upset me more than expected. I suddenly just wanted to go home and to bed, but neither of these things were in store- at least for many hours. We went to Indian Coffee house with Gounder, and spoke for a long time. We have good conversations. I am constantly asked questions that I find difficult to answer. This is startling, because half the time I simply don’t know because I have never questioned them myself. I hate not knowing the answers, and get defensive and exhausted. … things to work on…

He also called me out big time. Which, after an exhausting, upsetting day, I did not want to deal with. When I finally did, though, I appreciated it, and bought a flight for Bombay leaving Friday. I am very excited, because I have always wanted to go, and thought it was not an option this trip. My ticket has been purchased.

In the night, Mahima and I went for classy drinks at Bacchaus. It was great, we talked a lot and drank martinis dimmed by candlelight. We drove to her aunts, where we slept in a huge comfortable bed, and woke up before class in the morning

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February 25, 2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feb 22 2010

Monday

Class

today

was

dramatic

BUT

we got over it.

In the afternoon Mahima got a phone call by a mystery number, I watched her expression change and heard her say may name into the phone. My journal has been located- oh no- by a mysterious man’s voice who I would meet in the city tonight- it sounds much sketchier than it is- I promise (that’s to you parents). I met up with Kris and friends at Java City number 2 where we played Uno and I sipped on some coffee. I walked towards Tavern and found myself with a shot of wheat grass at the JusBooster juice place in front of Barton’s center-again. They are very friendly now that they know me, and I wondered who I could possibly meet and what would become of this. I had all fingers crossed, and was sure I would not like to stick around for conversation, assuming what I find to be so private, was now the knowledge of a complete stranger.

A young, Indian architect with long hair and a button down shirt approached me, asking my name. We got along really well and he told me about the discovery-

Apparently, he found this hard back black book just standing up and open in the amphitheater, flipping through the pages, he immediately realized what it was and turned to the back where he saw “Srishti”. Auntie’s son happened to be with him at the time, and saw a picture in the back. He recognized me (we had spent time talking at Aunties party a few weeks ago), they soon found Mahima’s number in the back. Exhausted, and attempting to get home and to bed, he threw it in his bag-only to find it this morning when he called Mahima, and we met up in the evening.

How ridiculous.

We sat at a café for awhile, before walking down the street to Pecos. We spent some time there, talking and eating and such. It was great, he shared similar interests and fascinating experiences.

Mahima and I rode home together, for work and sleep.

February 24, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Feb 21, 2010

Sunday pain.

Well… not completely. Upon arriving in House #97, I showered-dirt-everywhere. I have never been just so covered in dirt (I take that back-lacrosse) and attempted to stay cool for as long as possible. I made oatmeal with bananas and almonds along with via, which I enjoyed in my room before getting to work. Although I feel guilty for missing any Indian meal-breakfast, lunch, or dinner- that is a breakfast I must treat myself to every now and then.

I attempted to do some work but spent most of the day in and out of sleep, in and out of procrastination, in and out of useless tasks that at one point seemed important. I went for my journal, believing it a good idea, for generally, as I begin to touch the pen to paper, searching for the words to describe. This was a sour moment, the moment I reached in my bag-searching for the familiar rough texture of the hard back book that I had surely placed back into my backpack to find-nothing.

Startling- I am very private about my journals, and while writing in them I generally do so in a way that reading even one word over my shoulder-would be impossible. At fireflies, I pulled the journal out to draw a bit, and in doing so-lost it! The whole day I was a bit concerned (alright, that’s a lie, extremely concerned), imagining who could possibly be sitting around the journal, laughing, looking at drawings and pictures, wondering about the author. Sad- that the experiences of my first month and a half in India would no longer be in my possession.

Sleep-and nothing could wake me from it.

February 23, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Feb 20, 2010

Fireflies

“Deliriously joyful”.

I feel this way often. It happens sporadically, and each time, I think I have never been so happy, so content, so satisfied. Every time, radically different than the last. Every time, startled. Every time, sure it will never happen this way again. Every time, wrong.

Today I went into the city early to run some errands and such. I hung out with Gounder, got coffee and a dosa-of course. We looked at music and dvds for awhile. We got juice and hung at Java City for a long while. It is a really nice stoop that everyone congregates on. It is perfect. Gounder and I talked a long time about a lot of things. Refreshing, to be asked questions you have never pondered, questions you have never been able to answer, questions that maybe don’t have answers at all.

With good timing, I found myself at the ATM with some girls I know, all who would be attending Fireflies in the evening. I had not made a decision on attending, and was leaning towards no due to the 40km trek from the city, and the sacrifice of sleep for the night. Rima called, however, and I jumped into an auto headed towards Majestic.

The trip to Gokarna left me completely frightened of the bus station, and convinced that I could never travel alone. Today, I found out otherwise. The driver dropped me about seven blocks away from the station, and hurried as I was, I weaved through the people while keeping an eye on the ground in hopes of preventing a hard and embarrassing fall to the ground. The bright lights of the shops flew by, and the shop owners questioned “miss?”, upon nearing their store.

I arrived at Majestic, overwhelmed by the numbers walking in, walking out, selling food and trinkets. I followed the crowds, crossed an overpass, which I recognized from the last trip, and arrived on the platform level-full of buses and people. Platform 12 was as crowded as the rest, and I searched for two familiar faces- which found me very fast. We hoped on a bus after talking to the driver-a nice, air-conditioned Volvo full of others who appeared to be going to the same place.

We had to take yet another bus and then walk 3km to the place. On the way, however, a pick-up pick(ed-us)up, dropping us off at the gate. We were greeted by trees lit with green from below and crowds of hungry people standing in line for food, coffee, and water. We walked through the woods to an amphitheater that was booming with sound and crawling with people. We forcefully pushed ourselves through the crowds and up to the front row where the rest of Srishti sat. Lots of people from my batch were there, and many others. I split my time between VCD402 and Kris+friends. I would go down to the stage to dance, and up to the seats for recouping and relaxing a bit. Time flew by. Before I knew it, it was 3 am, and I had yet to feel any form of exhaustion. After 3 it began getting harder, but I got food and the music turned to some bands that the audience went wild for.

These bands were much more Indian (in my perspective), and everyone was dancing. With the beginning of each song, the crowd went wild, there was insane dancing and people up on the stage. The enthusiasm was startling, and the fact that this music got everyone up and dancing, was great. I am very envious of cultures with a strong emphasis on music and dance; a song comes on and everyone knows it, screams it, dances.

Sleep came into the mind. Exhaustion creeped into the body, and upon sitting on the stone of the amphitheater, I acknowledged the immediate desire to lay down. Fighting it off, for its clear victory over my consciousness, I continued dancing. Others gave into sleep, where ever possible. This guy slept among old coconuts and straws. People threw their coconuts into the pile around him morning.

The sun came up while we were walking out of the place. At first, just a miniscule vibrant pink glow over the horizon. It rose very rapidly as we walked past fields of crops with an occasional scarecrow, oozing its insides-out. We passed cows, roosters, homes. We were tired, and began attempting to stop every car that passed. After many rejections, we succeeded, and the seven(?) of us got a ride to Bangalore, making the trip much easier and shorter. Upon reaching home, I immediately showered, and made breakfast before falling asleep for a bit

.

At Fireflies, they had a few speakers. One just happened to be Vandana Shiva, an environmental feminist who I have learned about in every Environment class I have taken thus far. Neha had come up, telling me about her new class, and how the woman they are learning about was here. I asked the name, and we ran down to the stage and pushed to the very front. We successfully followed her off stage to get a photo. It was great to have someone as excited about it as I was.

The stars were incredible. The moon has been growing in the sky, and I have been told that when the moon is growing, its superstition to look at your money and then at the moon, and it should grow. Preferably a bill greater than 5rps if we are talking about the most for your money here.

During my periods of consciousness today, I really missed home. I looked at pictures and missed a lot of things that come with home. I love home, and I have to acknowledge that if I were here with the prospects of spending the rest of my life here, my attitude may be different. As much as I am in love with the place in this moment, in the back of my head, I know I have my family and friend(s-haha) at home, Torch Lake, and Romeo to see upon my already-scheduled return.

February 21, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feb 16, 2010

Having noticed overwhelming temperatures while walking home from school yesterday, I found myself searching weather.com to find out what exactly the temperatures were looking like. I knew it was hot, but I never thought I would be wearing jeans in the direct sunlight of a 90 degree afternoon.

Hot. The temperatures here are incredible, and the sun is of an intensity I have never experienced. Everywhere I go, I am hot, and the constant desire for a cold shower follows most of my thoughts. Everyone laughs, leaving me with comments of “Your here through April right? Hahahaha”.

Oh good. The Times of India reports that this is the second highest record for the month of February in thirty years! Also, apparently Bangalore’s climate is one of the nicest, and the weather and temperatures stay more comfortable than most of the country.

I will be setting my jeans aside and replacing them with harem pants and other loose fabrics for the rest of my time here (I can’t wait!).

We wasted a tremendous about of time today waiting for our professors to show up. This was frustrating, but I  began looking for a competition to take part in. The students in my class are doing a poster competition for one of our assignments, but the idea is perceptions of the West as someone not from the West. I am going to find a different competition to partake in.

After class I went to the city with friends. I took pictures of street food and we all sat and got coffee for a long while before heading out to indijoes. We hung out in a really nice plaza for a while before having to head home. We took a bus and then an auto, which took a very long time, but we made it.

Something I think is great;

if-while in an auto, one needs to turn around, instead of wasting time looking for the next exit which could be  many miles away, he simply turns the vehicle around, and drives the opposite direction on the shoulder of the road.

I love that.

home and to sleep

February 16, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feb 14 2010

Valentines day in Bangalore, India, and I have not even stepped outside this apartment. I have been at Swati’s for the last 24 hours mostly doing work, attempting to take a break from work, and drinking orange juice. The apartment is incredible, compared to our  purple home. Each girl has her own room, windows, and bathroom and they share a big living space and kitchen. There are two balconies, a pool, a small grocery store from which you can order things to your door, and independence. I think I will be spending a lot of time over here… as long as the welcome remains open.

The last two days have been low key. There has been lots of talk over the state bandh and valentine’s day. I was told a lot of stories about last year and how the faculty and students went out to the city dressed up in celebration of the day to protest…the protest… of sorts.

I have been staring at a computer now, for more than 12 hours, and have many more to go. It is nice to work around other visual communication students, however, because they have just as much work as I do. We woke up to chai with lemon grass-which was incredible. Swati made eggs-which were up to the chai standard, and we continued to work. I spent a long time just trying to preview the changes I had made. We watched the time speed up, and looked at each other at 4 wondering what had happened. The sky, showcasing the sun, was soon enveloped with darkness, and everyone in the apartment suffered a tremendous increase in levels of stress.

We ate and worked through the night, and fell directly to sleep.

February 15, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Feb 13, 2010

Woke up early this morning in attempts to continue work on the postcards I have due today and was pleasantly surprised by a text message declaring that school had been cancelled due to a “state bandh”. I showed this to emma, and neither of us had any idea of what that meant. We logged onto google to find out more. Turns out, there is a group in India that is very much against Valentines day, and thus everything is closed.

Still curious, I went to the mess to find out more. My understanding is that this group is attempting to preserve their culture and therefor strongly discourage the celebration of this Western holiday? All day I have been hearing and reading stories about (today and or in the past) busses and cars set on fire and stoned, couples threatened to be married on the spot if spotted together in public, groups barging into pubs and beating people up, etc. When I asked if I could go to the city, I was told that it might be alright as long as I remain distanced from any guys and if I see saffron, to turn around and walk the other way… I stayed in Yelahanka.

In the News

I kept reading…

“Since all these fads are against Indian culture, we will see to it that no courting couples or lovers make a mockery of our native ethos and celebrate the Valentine’s Day. We will not hesitate to ascertain their whereabouts and summon their parents for a proper treatment of such lovebirds,” Sampath added.

Meanwhile, activists of Sanskriti Bacahao Manch (Save Our Culture) another forum in Bhopal worshipped sticks with which they are planning to beat up the couples, if they are found courting.

“The youth should banish the western culture from our country on this Valentine’s Day. They can choose some other day from the whole year to express their love, but not Valentine’s Day. Despite our efforts, if the youth does not listen, then we have performed this ritual of worshipping the sticks and gathered our whole group,” noted Chandrashekhar Tiwari of Sanskriti Bacahao Manch. (ANI)

-Newstrack, India

Another article titled “Tamil Nadu-based Hindu outfit burns Valentine’s day greeting cards” reads:

Coimbatore: A Tamil Nadu-based Hindu outfit today burnt a few Valentine’s day greeting cards here, to mark its protest against celebrating the day falling on February 14, in the State.

Eight workers of Hindu Makkal Katchi including its general secretary, Arjun Sampath, brought the greeting cards near the District collectorate and burnt them.

Sampath told reporters that government should not allow Valentine’s day celebrations to be held in Hotels and Clubs and public places. Such celebrations promote Western culture in Indian minds,he added.

No class, and no more plans to go into the city today and tomorrow for my photo essay, which is extremely disappointing. I spent the day cleaning and doing work on and off. Mimansa, Shreya, and a friend went out to eat at a place called Traffic Jam. 50 rupees for us all to eat.

I have been working on after effects. First of all, learning how to use the program, and then making three ten second videos for my interactive type design class. Unfortunately, my computer does not handle the program well, and so attempting to do anything within the program or while it’s open-is extremely slow. This is also due to the glows and particles in the scenes.

At a standstill, and unable to produce anything I was pleased with for my screen printing assignment, I left the house and ventured on to Swati, Laura, and Saema’s apartment. It was beautiful…

February 15, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

what is this!???

President Barack Obama to deliver University of Michigan Spring 2010 commencement

I am so jealous

Corey- you better be there

I have to leave town for this to happen!? Who can they possibly get to follow Obama? You think they can get him again!? This is wild.

February 12, 2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feb 10, 201

Yesterday was similar to the rest of the week, in that we worked in class all day with two critiques. We got out of class around 5:30 today, however, which was a treat. There was a bit of drama and ranting that took place, and I took a lot of walks, to the bakery and such.

Otherwise, I sat like a “good” student working. We had an after effects session in the afternoon, and I walked home to an empty house. I listened to music and laid in my bed in between small bouts of productivity.


Today was special-I got mail! I got super colorful earplugs to stop insects from finding my ears in the night and Starbucks instant coffee-via (THANK YOU!).

At home, I’m not a huge fan of starbucks.I dont like the coffee that much, I dont like the fact that it’s a huge chain, and  that they have their own language for the different sized drinks.  I would almost always prefer Ambrosia, a small, much dirtier, much cheaper, tiny coffee shop locally owned and operated by what appears to be a close group of friends. However, while so far away from home, where things are so different, making a cup of coffee of a familiar label and taste, has its charm.
I can’t get over the color of these ear plugs-to be honest. They are brighter even than the pants Rima got me, and I wasn’t sure that was possible.

Yesterday was our usual ladies night, however, there was a birthday to celebrate. I had promised Auntie that I would stop by for dinner one day, and found out, when her house came into view, that tonight- was a good night for it- good timing! She was having a huge party for the graduating year. The trees surrounding the home had blue lights all over, and everything in the main room was moved so people could dance. There was tons of food and a drink of fanta and ice cream which tasted just like a creamsicle. It was amazing. There was a lot of dancing and delicious food. It was great. It was social as in everyone in the group was together and dancing. There were only few people on phones I noticed almost no cliques. Everyone sat down to eat together to eat. This was alos done in a way that included everyone present. There were no small clusters of small circles, it was one large circle. Auntie had us thank those who had worked all day to make this possible-which was really nice.

After dinner, we went to a birthday party, dress code- cmyk, rgb, or pixellated. It was held at a non-Umesh/Auntie apartment. We got there early and sat on the balcony watching people show up. There was a lot of dancing and conversation. The police came, which was a bit scary, but everything was fine when we handed over 500 rupees and turned down the music. When we finally left we did so in groups of 4-7, a boy in each group, hoping not to see any other people out at this hour.

I have really enjoyed observing behavior especially gender related. What girls and boys do and dont do, say and don’t say, wear and don’t wear. It has been hard to wrap my head around what is and is not acceptable for me to wear and do here. The segregation on the bus (not in a manner of superiority), for example, is so intriguing to me because it just does not exist at home. Last night, however, I left the party with a very different perspective. It was as though all the boys became protective and responsible for us. It was as though we suddenly had 12 older brothers, and it was comforting.

We walked home late, and went to bed.

It was a really nice day.

February 11, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feb 9 2010

One class for twelve hours.

9 am till 9 pm in the same classroom, was a lot. Or else I just think it is a lot since an actual class period is generally much shorter. Never do I stop working when class finishes, and I work much longer than 12 hours most days, given it is in the luxury of my home, or the library.

We had two critiques, one at 1:30, the other at 7:30. This was much better than usual, in that instead of having to critique as a class, we did it in small groups with the professors, which let everyone else keep working. I like my direction and they seemed to, as well. I have been playing all day with particle explosions, glows, and lens flares.

When class ended, I refused to reopen after effects. The point of the long class was so we would go home without work. I hung out with Mimansa for the night. We both sat up doing work and talking in her room which was really nice. The house was quiet and empty except for us-which was conducive to work-finally!

February 11, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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