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!