Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mumbai and Rajasthan

After Goa, Rachel and I headed to Mumbai, the city which will be my home for 4 months starting in February. Reaching in the early morning at the usually crowded CST train station, we were greeted by taxiwalas wanting us to take their cab and views of the glass with bullet holes in it from the terrorist attack only a few weeks before. We then headed to my friend Raj's house (where we would be staying). Once there and greeted by Raj we had some tea, coffee and chapatis and a shower, we went to see Raj's office at Idea Domain. This is one of the sites I will be working at in Mumbai. After that it was off to Bandra (the cool suburb- think Brooklyn- not actually a suburb) of Mumbai to be trendy and get lunch. After walking around, eating and doing some show shopping, we met up with my friend Priya's brother, Dhruv. He showed us around Bandra, took us to see the Bollywood actor Shahruh Khan's house, and to the beach front where the cool college kids hang out. After that it was off to a Magnet (a wall mart-like Indian store) where you can get everything you need to do some shopping for a party Raj was having that night. Magnet was fascinating but not bigger then a "normal" American supermarket, it is apparently also on illegal land that is suppose to be used for a mill not a store so it is there illegally.
After Raj's party that night and a trip around the touristy parts of Mumbai, a Lonely Planet walking tour of the interesting old buildings, a view of the Taj Mahal Hotel and its current reconstruction post terror attacks, and a visit to the best bakery in Mumbai, we hoped a train to Jaipur for the Rajasthan leg of our journey.
What struck me about Mumbai was how nice people where, and helpful, they were thankful that Rachel and I were in the city and touring around (despite the terrorist acts), and were eager to show their resilience and unity in the face of such acts. There were many signs on billboards and bumper stickers on cars with statements of a unified Mumbai against acts of terror, very reminiscent of similar signs after 9/11 in NYC. In general Mumbai is an easier city to get around then Delhi, there are nice sidewalks and less staring and eve teasing by men. Also women tend to dress less conservatively (which is good because it is going to be so hot there in April and May, and I want to be able to wear some skirts that end at the knee and not the ankle.

Now Rachel and I have met up with the Fulbright group. We have toured Jaipur and are now in Jodhpur, the beautiful and friendly blue city. But more on that later...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


After switching apartments (and trying to find a permanent one) for two weeks and having access to no reliable Internet, I am finally out of Delhi and on vacation with my cousin Rachel in... Goa! Yes Goa, the beachy and touristy part of India were there are a lot of old hippies in thongs (especially men who might want to consider a change of wardrobe) and Israelis. Except this year it seems to be pretty empty all around. Even the people trying to get us to buy stuff tell us that the prices are really really low because no one is here. Well okay, but it still seems high to me... Anyway, the empty beaches and not so party like atmosphere mean that we are getting a lot of snooze time on the beach but not a lot of raves. This is okay since nether of us are big ravers. So its actually been really low key and nice to sit around and do nothing. A nice switch from running around trying to get work done in Delhi while trying to find an apartment. I am happy to have nothing to do. Our next stop is Mumbai (Bombay) for a few days and then it is off to Rajasthan. I apologies for the lack of pictures, I will do my best to post some images when I am back in Delhi, even though I still have no Internet in my apt, hopefully it will work from the Internet cafe down the street. Fingers crossed because there is nothing like sunbathers and a cow together on the beach!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Work, Work, Work

This week was an amazing research week for me. I attended three focus groups for one of the agencies I am working with, to test a new beauty brand. The participants for these groups were middle class India women, some were married and others were not not. But the groups were all in Hindi and I understand most of what was said!
Other than being in Hindi, focus groups are run a bit differently here than the ones I have attended in the US. Here the people running the focus groups come to the participants (especially because these participants are young women). So the groups are held in a person's living room (basically someone rents their house out for a few hours to hold the focus group there, get paid to do so, and serves the participants and interviewers snacks and tea) and in the same neighborhood as the participants live. This means they do not have to travel far, so they spend as little time away from their family as possible, and are allowed to attend the groups, since many families do not like women traveling by themselves around Delhi. Also since the focus groups are in a house, the women are more comfortable. The home is women's space. An office building is a male space, and would be uncomfortable for women participants, as well as far away. I cannot go into the questions asked as they are for the agency I was working with. But the groups were facinating, and just interacting with this group/demographic of women and hearing what they had to say was enlightening and great for my research.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Long Unhappy Week

Between the Mumbai Terrorist attacks and having to leave my apartment (for reasons that are just not worth writing about), this week has been the worst week in India yet (and hopefully ever).

I spent most of this week trying to find a new place to live after being told I had to leave the apartment by Friday. I have not successfully found anything (in part because its only for two months) so I am moving around to friends’ houses and a Guesthouse until I go on a trip with my cousin Rachel on the 14th. After that I will hopefully have a more permanent location for the month of January. Currently I am staying with fellow anthropologist (because they rule) and friend Claire, and her roommate Sumi, in Greater Kailash Part 1, my old stomping grounds from my days as a study abroad student Lady Shri Ram College. They have been really great, and welcoming, so I cannot complain on that end, other than living out of a suitcase. This suitcase part I suppose is never fun.

The Mumbai terrorist attacks are and will be scary, sad, frustrating, alarming, confusing, horrific, cruel, terrible, and many other things I cannot put into words. Waking up on Thursday morning to emails from friends and family alarmed about my safety and the state of India, and then turning on the news was painful (having turned off the TV and gone to bed early that night). I cannot begin to understand what motivates people to such acts of cruelty. The anger in this world continues to astonish me.
I can only hope that one-day peace will finally prevail.

Friday, November 21, 2008

About Delhi

“Here we stand in Delhi city, symbol of old India and the new. It is not the narrow lanes and houses of old Delhi or wide spaces and rather pretentious buildings of New Delhi that count, but the spirit of this ancient city. For Delhi has been an epitome of India’s history with its succession of glory and disaster, and with its great capacity to absorb many cultures and yet remain itself. It is a gem with many facets, some bright and some darkened by age, presenting the course of India’s life and thought during the ages. Even the stones here whisper to our ears of the ages of long ago and the air we breathe is full of the dust and fragrance of the past, as also of the fresh and piercing winds of the present. We face the good and bad of India in Delhi city, which has been the grave of many empires and the nursery of a republic. What a tremendous story is here; the tradition of millennia of our history surrounds us at every step, and the procession of innumerable generations passes by before our eyes…”
-Jawaharlal Nehru

Monday, November 17, 2008

How to Eat a Goat!

At the invitation of our friend Dave, Michele and I went to the famed Karim's restaurant in North/Old Delhi near the famous Jama Masjid. There we met up with a group called Eating Out in Delhi for a Karim's special: A Whole Cooked Goat! Literally, a whole goat stuffed with Biryani (rice, eggs, spices, dried nuts and some goat meat). We had about 30 people and two whole goats (one goat serves 15 people). The meat was actually a bit difficult to chew, although well spiced. The curries we had with it were wonderful, as were the tons of nan we ordered and the biryani. And the spectacle of the goat was, well, crazy, although I might turn vegetarian for a few weeks after eating this much meat! See for yourself:
1) The goat arrives:

2) and is placed on the table
3) The goat and me:
4) Lets eat:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Back to Work

So after a few weeks of sickness, crazy holidays, short trips to the mountains, and election highs, it is back to work on why I am even in India... my Fulbright research. I have been sending lots of emails. Calling lots of potential contacts. Catching up on all the reading I have to do. Attending Hindi class and Seminars at Delhi University. And of course spending time at ad agencies, specifically Wunderman, as of now.
With all of this going on, I am trying to keep up my running and soccer pick up games on Sundays, and meet up with friends for good times.
So while I have no brilliant discoveries or breakthroughs as of yet, hopefully next week will yield great, or at least, interesting results. Just trying to sort out my research objectives and get to the deeper questions and hopefully some of those questions' answers or the further questions they create. So much to do!
Cheers for now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Democrats Abroad Celebrate! Yes, even in Delhi, we can!

While everyone in the US waited up late for the election results, I got up early to join some fellow Democrats abroad to watch the election results. Since I cast my ballot weeks ago via absentee, it was nice to have some excited yet tired people to share the excitement of Tuesday/Wednesday (depending on your location). Along with a large number of Indian reporters and TV crews, there were tons of Americans chanting "OBAMA!" and "WE LOVE YOU PENNSYLVANIA!" It was a good feeling, and an even better one, once people started doing the electoral math!

Although it had been an early day, that same evening, there was a large party at one of the fanciest hotels in Delhi celebrating the departure of Bush and victory of Obama.

I cannot express how excited and happy I am, and how proud I am of the USA, especially with the number of Indians coming up to me in the last few weeks asking, "Do you think Obama will win?" and "Did you vote for the right candidate, Obama?" Now I can answer yes to both questions.


Having recently returned from a refreshing trip to Shimla, a Hill Station not too far from Delhi, I now realize the large amount of work that lies in front of me. Ignoring that for a minute, it was nice to get out of Delhi, experience some clean air, walk up a lot of hills/mountains, look at the Himalayas, and stay out of the way of a lot of monkeys who call Shimla their home.

We did not do much, other then walk a lot (which is not so easy in Delhi and was thus amazing), see the British Viceroy's Summer Home, from when Shimla was the Summer Capital of India (Delhi was the rest-of-the-year Capital) under the British Raj, and hang out.

Train ride up to Shimla, yeah mountains!
Going up!
Welcome to Shimla!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


As another Diwali (the Hindu festival of light, that celebrates Ram's return to Ayodhya from exile) passes us by, I sit here and contemplate the large number of meethi (Indian sweets) eaten, the dias (small candles) burned around all the houses (some having been replaced by electric "Christmas-like" lights), the poojas (prayers) to Ganesha and Luxmi (for good luck, good travels, and success), the fireworks set off filling the air with a lot of smoke that made my eyes burn, the wonderful company of my wonderful friend Priya, her grandparents and her aunt and uncle, and good food and drink, I cannot help but miss my own family get togethers and events. As it is though, I could not have had a better Diwali, with better people.
It was too fun, and included some great wine provided by Priya's aunt and uncle. I got to watch Priya's cousins light up the sky and make a lot of noise lighting fire crackers. I even helped Priya and her grandparents set up and do pooja. It was great having a "home for Diwali and it was a great home to be a part of.
Diwali lights put up by my neighbor.

The dias (traditional small Diwali candles) Priya and I set up around her apartment in Noida, a satellite city of Delhi.
More Dias!
The pooja thali (plate) Priya set up. See the little statues of Genesha and Luxmi with the thali infront.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sick in Delhi

So despite big plans for this week (Photo shoot with an ad agency, Diwali shopping) I got sick with a flu like ailment instead, and the only place outside of the house that I visited was the Doctor, oh wait then I went to the Chemist (Pharmacist). Other than that I spent a lot of time in bed, caught up on my bad movies I have been "wanted to see on TV list" -Tuck Everlasting, Man in the Iron Mask, When Harry met Sally- well actually the last one was good. Tried to get myself to eat things despite being on some antibiotic that seems to be doubling as an appetite suppressant and generally roomed around the house with a fever being a little out of it.
Although I am feeling much better now, I am still a bit weak and not really eating (last day of antibiotics).
It all started out well on Monday, but on Tuesday morning I woke up with a fever and it was downhill from there. So I went to the doctor Tuesday evening, she was very nice and took my temperature (somewhere between 100 and 101), and looked into my mouth, felt my throat and stomach, and decided that I did not have Dengue (yeah!) but some flu thing. She wrote down, on a piece of paper, a whole bunch of medications I needed to take and how much each day, and then said to call her in two days. I then went to the Chemist and got my medications (no referrals needed in India, you can literally walk into a chemist shop and get a shot or anything else). After that I went home, tried to eat some soup (which decided it did not want to stay in my stomach about a half hour later) and then went to bed. I spent the next three days at home doing the sleep/bad movie thing. So much for all my plans but I guess getting sick never comes at a good time. In any case it was the cheapest week ever! Because I did not go anywhere or do anything or eat that much.
This coming week is Diwali so there are going to hopefully be some great fireworks, good food, and fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pardada Pardadi- Or Village and School Life for a Day

This Saturday, Michele, our friend Dave, his friend Leslie, and I, took a car to an NGO, Dave's wife Jenny has been working for and with. The NGO is called Pardada-Pardadi and it runs a school for girls in Anupshah, a small village in Uttar Pradesh. The village is about 3 hours from Delhi on poorly paved roads. It took us 4.5 hours to get back because of terrible traffic! But that is at the end of this journey. First we got up at 5:30 to get to Daves house by 6:45am. Then we went to the school and village. At the school we were greeted with garlands (flower necklaces) and showered with flower petals, of course these really were not for us. They were for two other visitors, one of which was the head of Xerox in India, who had facilitated large donations from Xerox and from themselves to the school and NGO. We had come to represent Jenny (Dave's wife) who is in the US with two of the students from Pardada-Pardadi. But it was a nice welcome anyway. We then got a tour of the school led by some of the 10th grade students, who were practicing their English, when I was trying to practice my Hindi (so conversation was a little funny), but they seemed to appreciate my Hindi practice, and my knowledge of Hindi, since no one else in our group said anything in Hindi.
We then watched many of the students put on a performance with different cultural dances, and listened to the principle of the school, and its founder, named Sam, talk about the schools mission and goals. The school provides the girls with academic classes, vocational training (sowing, embroidery etc.), three meals a day, and 10 rupees deposited in their own bank account for everyday they attend school- this money is only accessible after they graduate and get married or turn 18. The money is to help them start their own business or job and support their family. As well as to make them independent and self sufficient, in a country where women are not usually able to take care of themselves.
The food, independence and education are valuable to the family of the girl because the girls get fed, and are better marriage matches with their education, and when they work and leave school they can add to the family income.
After the performance, we went to the schools elementary/primary school, a short drive away, and saw another performance. After which we went to Sam's house in the village. Sam, who founded Pardada-Pardadi, comes from the family that collected the taxes in the area/village for many years, is very wealthy and worked in the US for 40 years before coming back to India and literally putting all of his money towards this NGO. This is an interesting thing to do given the trend of some wealthy Indians giving up their wealth for causes, while others move back to India from abroad to live like kings. In any case at his house we were served an amazing lunch and talked with other people involved in the NGO. We then walked around Sam's village, and met with and talked to the villages. We then took the way to long car ride home.
It was great to get out of Delhi for the day, see an interesting organization, and walk around a village.
Some guys on our road trip back, who were excited to see some white people, and a white woman (me taking their picture). Yeah admirers or sketchy men.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yum Kippur and Dashara

This week was the Hindu holiday of Dashara, which celebrates the triumph of Ram over Ravan (the 10 headed demon and kidnapper of Sita- Rams wife). Basically Ram kills Ravan and rescues Sita. On Dashara, this "fight" is re-enacted in "Ramlilas" or performances where actors dress up as the characters involved and perform the story. It is also re-enacted through the burning of large effigies of Ravan, his brother, and son. These effigies are large paper machie-like puppets filled with fireworks. In this way, someone "playing Ram" will shoot a arrow (often fire tipped) at the puppets causing the puppet to begin to burn, and then let off the fireworks, making lots of noise, smoke, and fire. There are large performances broadcast on national tv, and smaller ones in individual colonies (neighborhoods). These performances
usually take place right around sundown or 6:20pm- the time that Ravan was supposedly killed

This year was particularly fun because Dashara and Yum Kippur (the Jewish day of Atonement- when Jews fast and go to synagogue to repent for last year's wrongs and have a good new year) fell on the same day. This was exciting because many Hindus had been fasting for at least one of the 9 days leading up to Dashara- these days are called Navratri (literally meaning 9 days). These 9 days celebrated the goddess (Shakti/Devi) and her 9 forms. (Ram supposedly prayed to the goddess during Navratri which gave him the power to defeat Ravan.) Thus when I told people I was fasting they were a little confused about why I had waited to fast until Dashara, when no one else was fasting. It was still fun describing "my holiday" which was on the same day as "their holiday."

I broke my fast with traditional Dashara food: chole (chick peas) and Poori (fried roti-like-bread), supplied by our tiffin service. It was very good but too oily to break your fast with, and it made me a bit nauseous. I miss my bagels, spread, and smoked salmon!

On the other hand, describing traditional Yum Kipper food to my Hindi teacher allowed me to describe the finer points of Jewish cucumber pickle (in Hindi!) and how it is different from Indian pickle (made from hard mangoes- not the ones you get in the US- lemons, and chilies). It was very hard to describe. Indian pickle is spicy, red in color, and not cooling like a good cucumber pickle. In any case, I might have to find a way to get someone to bring a jar of Jewish pickle to my Indian friends here, because now they are all curious to try it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

One Long Week In Delhi

Okay, so yeah, of course India is not easy to live in. Things never work as they are suppose to. You have to bargain with everyone to get a fair price. You have to be ready to take on the world, and some very unpleasant men, the minute you step out the door.

So here are the bad things this week: I had another "short term" cold and felt icky. First there was no water and then the washing machine broke downstairs so I am currently trying to wash jeans by hand -which is difficult- and probably does not work as well. Hopefully next week, it will be back to working order. But for right now- I need pants! Getting autos this week has been particularly difficult. And of course Sarah Palin scares me.

The good things this week: 1) The comments I got about my Hindi. Two Auto-rickshaw-walas, a group of Americans who watched me bargain for an auto and tell one of the auto-walas off for charging too much, and a group of people at Moti's Sweet Shop were I was buying some Indian mathi (sweets) all told me I had great Hindi. I have been working so hard at it and it feels really good to know that my conversation skills are improving.
2) Going to a club with Priya and showing off my Bollywood dancing skills and just having a good time with a good friend. As usual, fun and not too serious dancing was involved and Singh is Kinngh was played. Yeah for clubs that play the latest Bollywood item number right after Bon Jovi.

Somethings only happen in India... and sometimes they are amazing (speaking Hindi, hanging out with amazing people like Priya)... and sometimes they are not (washing pants).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cool Ads in Delhi

These two ads are from the "I'm not yesterday" campaign for Mail Today a new daily newspaper in Delhi. They are very interesting because of the way they challenge gender roles and definitions of beauty in India. They are all over the city, and people (in advertising and academic circles at least) have been talking about them, and how they show a "new" India or the India many Indians desire.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Canadians, Democrats, and Amritsar

So this week was a little intense. I will do my best to go through the major events quickly and effectively.
Last Sunday Michele and I had dinner at the Canadian Embassy with our new wonderful Canadian friends there. It was a beautiful night, with wonderful people, and very cheap beer and good beef. In other words very Canadian and not very Indian, but very fun. We met a reporter from the Toronto Star, someone from the World Bank, and many other Ex-pat Delhites.
Then on Tuesday, Michele and I went to a rally for Democrats Abroad (which we are) were we met Americans who are also Pro-Obama. There was a lot of talk of how to vote from abroad and what we can do to support the campaign while we are here in India. The head of Obama's campaigning for Americans Abroad also spoke about what is currently going on in the US and for the campaign and how Obama cares for Americans abroad. All very exciting, we are hoping to meet up with our new Democratic friends again for Debate watching parties.
Lastly on Friday, Michele, Aditi and I headed to Amritsar to visit our fellow Fulbrighter and friend Jaspreet, and tour the Golden Temple (the holiest temple for Sikhs), go to the Indian-Pakistan border and cheer on the Indian side. This was a little crazy and silly, but an interesting take on Nation building and Nationalism building. Lets have pride in India, people! Was the message of the evening. We also eat wonderful Punjabi food (nan and lentils). After a very, very long train ride back to Delhi, I am back and have to go prepare for next week. So I will put pictures up soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Unwrapping a Tiffin

For most dinners every night, Michele and I get Tiffins. Cooked by a neighbor of ours, tiffins are traditional Indian meals in a series of metal containers and in a thermos, served to stay warm and good.
1) Open the thermos2) Take out and open the tiffin
3) Open the containers
4) Eat dinner!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Day in My Life

So here is what I do each day, I though it might be interesting and good to know:
6:10 am: I get up and get dressed to go running

6:30: leave for the Saket Sports Complex

6:45: Get to the Saket Sports Complex track and run for about 30 minutes

7:20: leave track walk home, take a shower.

8:00: have breakfast with Michele (my wonderful flatmate). I usually have eggs with leftovers from the night before or I have oatmeal.

9:10: leave for Hindi class. I take an auto rickshaw to Malviya Nagar where my classes are. It costs between 20 and 25 rupees to get there.

9:30: Hindi class begins. I spend 4 hours talking in Hindi, writing in Hindi, reading Hindi, and learning new grammar. Its actually a lot of work and I am really tired at the end of it.

1:40: leave Hindi class. Now I do one of three things. 1) go home and work on Hindi homework, write emails to contacts, and read things I need to read. 2) go to Gurgaon to meet ad agencies and contacts. I take a taxi there which is fun but expensive. or 3) go to the University of Delhi, School of Economics, Dept of Sociology to do some research or listen to a lecture there. Then I get to take the Delhi Metro which is always fun.

5-6:00: I get home from wherever I was if I was not already home, and finish emails, Hindi homework etc.

7:30/8:00: Get food from my neighbor. A women a few houses down from where I am staying make tiffins (meals in a tiffin or travel case) for people in the neighborhood for about 45 rupees each. Every night I get warm and really good dahl, subzi (a vegetable or vegetables), rice and rotis. So that is my dinner and often some of my breakfast too.

8:00: take a shower and eat my dinner.

10:00: I am usually tired and go to bead, on the early side.

Thats my weekdays here in Delhi. Its a lot to do, but it is usually good.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some things, unfortunately, do not change

So you may or may not have heard that there have been a series of bombings in Delhi. I am happy to report that myself and my friends are all safe and well. Unfortunately, terrorism has not changed from the last time I was here, whether in Delhi or anywhere else in the world. Thank you all for your concern.
May peace prevail and stay safe,

Friday, September 12, 2008

Change and… Change in India

So I have gotten a lot of questions about what changes I have seen in India and in Delhi since my last extended stay in 2005-2006. It’s been a few weeks so I now feel qualified to give an answer:

Then: Cows, cows everywhere, stopping traffic, eating garbage, pooping
Now: Where have all the cows gone?, long time passing, where have all the cows gone?, long time ago. The answer is: they have been moved out of Delhi. There has been an effort by the Delhi government to get the cows out of Delhi, especially with the new Metro and the upcoming Commonwealth games, the government is trying to get Delhi ready, which means… no cows… well, less cows. I have seen some cows, but I can count the number of times on my hands and they seem to only be around on weekends.

Then: No monkeys in Delhi
Now: Monkeys in Delhi. There are no cows… but there are monkeys, at least in my new neighborhood of Saket, they really like the park across the street and our landlady’s mango tree, and they’re meaner then cows. I sow one try to steel a guy’s bananas as he walked down the street.

Then: Traffic is terrible and crazy.
Now: Traffic is STILL terrible and crazy.

Then: The Metro was really, really new and usually empty.
Now: The Metro is still new, in the process of being finished (which is not helping traffic because there is construction everywhere) and will eventually reach South Delhi. Also (and more importantly) the metro is now very crowded. I ride the metro every week to the University of Delhi, School of Economics where I am affiliated, and it is crowded (like New York) except that people in Delhi have no idea how to ride a metro and start literally pushing people before the doors open to get out at the busier stations…um… you can’t go anywhere until the doors open. But at least people are using this clean, safe, good for the environment and cheep form of transit. I can’t wait until the whole thing is done, even if from a design perspective, it’s not that interesting.

Then: My position in life’s hierarchy was low. I was a young, unmarried, white women and an anonymous student. I had now clout and no respect.
Now: I am a Fulbright researcher and I am associated with the Delhi School of Economics (a top school), which gives me more clout and gets me into more things, helps my research and academically is great! I also speak way better Hindi, which helps with Rickshaw walas and anyone else trying to bother me. I am also a calmer person, which is always nice.

Then: Conservative city, and conservative dress for women and men.
Now: Still conservative, but there are many more tank tops on the street and some (Indian) men in shorts. Maybe in a few years I can wear a tank top here too (or maybe not), its still good to attract less attention.

Then: The movie to see was Dus (10).
Now: The movie to see is Singh is Kinngh.

Then: No malls in Delhi.
Now: There are malls in Delhi, including one very close to where I live.

Then: You always needed to carry a lot of change in your bag so that you could pay rickshaw walas and taxi walas the correct amount and not get screwed over.
Now: You still need change…

Pictures of Gurgaon

This place is full of space age skyscrapers in the desert, with bad roads.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mallrats in New Delhi

In a city where most people live on a dollar a day or less, finding the very wealthy is proving to be easy, thanks to the CityWalk Mall in Saket. A very large Mall full of European and American stores, a large multi-screen movie theater (we saw Wall-E) and a big and expensive food court. What more could any home sick American or wealthy Delhiete want? Forget the fact that my paid-in-rupees salery could never suport a shoping spree at the mall, the fact that it looks like I am in the USA is exciting enough. Plus the ads are amazing and the Air Conditioning is wonderful. And ofcourse a mall in Delhi could not be complete without begger children outside and guards and metal detectors to pass through to get inside. If I every want to forget where I am, I know where to go. Although the whole thing felt a bit strange, it was also facinating.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Finally a Home of Our Own

After running around Delhi with the other Fulbrighters learning about India, the Fulbright program, getting sick, and safety concerns, Michele (a fellow Fulbrighter) and I have moved into our Delhi flat in Saket. The flat is spacious and well furnished, but hot, like everything else! Hopefully it will cool off soon (fingers crossed). The market by our apartment is also really nice, it has a movie theater, lots of shops and resturants, including a McDonalds (which I probably wont eat at) and a Benningan's (which I am kind of intreged by).
I headed up to North Delhi to see the University of Delhi campus, and to see how long it will take to get there from Saket. The School of Economics looks like any other college in Delhi, but the whole campus is huge. I am glad I know where I need to go, becuase I am meeting professors from the Dept of Sociology on Wendesday, and now I wont get lost. Everyone I talked to said it would take an hour to get to the University from Saket (to see the distance look at a map- they are practically on different ends of the city), but I might leave two hours for my first visit, just in case.
For now I am happy to have two days off until I have to start my Hindi studies and my research.

Monday, August 25, 2008

In Delhi!

I am sitting in an internet cafe in New Delhi (South Delhi). After a long (14 hour) flight to India, where I had a free seat next to me (yay!) and two kids screaming and kiking my seat behind me (boo!). I am finally here. The flight got in about 5 min early (to India, I did not even think that was possible) but that just ment that I waited over an hour for my bags to appear. Once finally getting my baggage, I wheeled my cart out into the card of people looking for a sign with my name on it (my driver). I did not find him but I did find Aditi (another Fulbrighter) who had been on my flight (except we did not know it). We hugged, it was so nice to see a familiar face! We found our driver, got out of the airport, wheeled our carts through tons of traffic, thick smoggy Delhi air, and way too many people, to our taxi. our driver litterally pushed a car out of the way to enable us to get our bags and persons into the taxi, and off we went. After a nights sleep in our hotel we both woke up at 5:30am (ahhh jet lagged). We went to breakfast, and then Aditi invited me to visit her Nani ji (grandma). So we hung out with her and went to get cellphones with the help of her uncle, this was a chore within its self since you need so many documents its crazy (you need a photo, passport, drivers lisense, offical documents etc). When that was finally done, we went back to the hotel and met up with some other Fulbrighters for Dinner. Then it was off to bed. Orientation starts today, I hope to be fully oriented by Thursday.
Till next time,

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Leaving on Sat. 23rd!

I am leaving NYC to begin this new adventure and blog!