A Year in India

Word Cloud
July 29, 2009, 7:35 am
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Since coming back to the US on June 25, I’ve been meaning to write a few wrap-up entries to close out my year in India. As this blog became an unexpectedly central part of my fellowship experience, I thought it fitting to create a word cloud built from all of its text. I’m hoping a few other final India posts will follow. For now:

Word Cloud


June 18, 2009, 1:15 pm
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Thanks to Loren, my 25th included Pillsbury cupcakes, frosting, and sprinkles all the way from the US! My favorite part of (American) birthdays right here in India.


Premature Nostalgia
June 17, 2009, 11:17 pm
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As my fellowship nears its end, I’ve started appreciating the everyday moments that have come to characterize my time in India. A few of these moments stood out when Chandan (my coworker and close friend) and I traveled to Hyderabad last week to run a teacher training workshop. The following list may seem random and mundane, but that’s half the reason I want to capture it in words.

Hyderabad waterfront

Hyderabad waterfront

1. Sitting for hours at Hyderabad’s Western-ish waterfront food court talking, taking silly photos, and eating “American” masala corn.

2. Getting hysterical with C in the midst of his workshop presentation. “Digital Equalizer is AIF’s initiative that allows for projects like, um, Respiration through Power Point!” Ha.

3. Driving, driving, driving through Hyderabad’s hot, crowded streets. An hour from the airport to the hotel. An hour from the hotel to a museum that was, in the end, closed. An hour back to the hotel. An hour + (in circles) to dinner. Etc, etc.

4. Mutual bliss over returning to our city of heart.

May 22, 2009, 1:59 pm
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Sight + sound from my window last night:

Desi Girl
May 19, 2009, 12:00 pm
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If there’s one song that’s defined this year for us AIF fellows, it’s been the Bollywood favorite, “Desi Girl.” Not much explanation is necessary except for the fact that the song is obnoxious, catchy, and somehow has had a bonding effect on the AIF crew. Listened to on repeat, it inspires some of the best (worst?) dance parties. Song and video below.

Dancing to our fellowship theme song at an AIF reunion in Ahmedabad

(For context, desi means “of the homeland,” i.e., a pure Indian. The song is from a recent Bollywood movie, Dostana.)

Another Reason to Love India
March 23, 2009, 10:20 pm
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… Fresh pomegranate from my fruit vendor across the street for 25 rupees (50 US cents).  Whole Foods prices are going to be quite a shock when I return stateside this summer.


Random Acts of Kindness
February 3, 2009, 4:20 pm
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Yesterday, on my ride home from work, my auto rickshaw passed another auto driver who had run out of petrol.  Beneath the hot afternoon sun, he was pushing his vehicle down the street.  My driver pulled to the side of the road and proceeded to drive the next 4 kilometers with his leg outstretched against the other auto, pushing it forward as we drove along.  He refused to take money from the other driver when we reached my apartment, instead sending him towards the petrol bunk with a wave. Smiles all around.