Kolkata, Ranchi and Chennai

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Life in India | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Toshniwal reunion Christmas 2011

Nanded, Maharshtra, India

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Life in India | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shweta Zanwar’s wedding and reception 12/21/11

Nanded, Maharshtra, India

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Life in India | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tirupati

On Monday, I went to Tirupati to see the Sri Venkateswara Temple.  I’ve always wanted to come here, but I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t realize it was this beautiful drive up the Tirumala Hill to get to the temple.  Once we got my ticket, I didn’t have to wait in line for hours for my darshan.  I was in a VIP line that moved quickly, and my darshan was at 8pm.  But like everyone else, I only had a second to look at Lord Venkateswara.  Once you stand in front of the idol, the temple staff pushes you along to keep the line moving.  There are a number of armed officers with machine guns in the surroundings, since the gold idol is worth a lot of money.  The spot for hundi is outside the worship area in a big white sheet, shaped like a canister that hangs from the ceiling.  I’m told that the temple can easily collect at least 1 crore ($188,000 with$1=53 rupees)/day during festival season.  There were also a number of men, women and children walking around with balled heads, as I soon learned that the temple was a place where people shaved their heads once a wish had been fulfilled.   Apparently the hair is shipped to the U.S. or Japan for wigs to be made.  A special thanks to our family friends, Dr. and Mrs. Reddy, who made this possible for me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Life in India | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mysore 2011-vs-Mysore 1978

One of the places that I have remembered the most from a childhood visit to India was Brindavan Gardens. We visited India for five weeks during Christmas break (Dec. 1977 to  Jan. 1978), and at the end of the trip we came to Bangalore, Mysore and Brindavan Gardens.  I have been dying to return to the gardens, since I last saw it because I remember it as a mystical place with waterfalls.  But when I reached my hotel last weekend, the hotel desk said to “hold on to my memories from 1978.”  She did not encourage me to visit the gardens as she felt it was not maintained the way it used to be.  I refused to listen.  I went and saw the gardens that day.  It was fun walking around, but it didn’t feel nostalgic.  Maybe because, by now I have seen so many gardens just like it in other parts of the world.  My childhood memory of the gardens was at night with all the waterfalls lit up.  But now, both the gardens and Mysore Palace are lit up at the same time, so unfortunately if you’re only in Mysore for one night, you can only see one or the other. I had to choose between keeping my childhood memory or replacing it with a new memory.   I chose to keep my childhood memory of Brindavan Gardens as I do not even remember Mysore Palace at all from my visit in 1978.  For me, the palace was worth seeing again, especially lit up at night.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Life in India | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The “Dailies,” Nov. 28 to Dec. 2

We did something called the “Dailies” the week of Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.  It was basically a daily operation of SoftCopy (the multimedia site), The Observer (the newspaper), Bangalore @ 8 (the newscast) and CityCast (the broadcast website).  The students were out in the field reporting and then returned to IIJNM each night to contribute to one of the four publications.  Some days students were assigned to the desk as assignment editors and some days they were in the field as reporters.  We were all here, all 69 students and eight faculty members, each day and night until 10pm to review stories, headlines, scripts, video and more.  I mainly focused on CityCast, which only involved the broadcast reporters.  A special section was created on CityCast to run the Urban Poverty: Special Report section, a series of feature stories from the week before that covered health, transportation, labor, housing, energy, and education among the poor in Bangalore. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some mornings the story meetings lacked proper planning and coordination from the editor in charge that day.  Students were constantly asked, “did you read the paper this morning?”  Something I remember only too well from my student days at Medill.  As the week progressed, I think the students really started to understand what was expected of them after they first came to the morning story meetings with weak story ideas or no story ideas at all.  Some students noticed how they missed stories when they read the competition the next day, the daily publications and broadcasts in the Bangalore region.  Some students noticed how their stories were better reported because context was provided in their writing.  Each night the lab was crazy, but exciting!  By about 9pm, we (students and professors) sat in the auditorium and reviewed the day’s work.  Some of the feedback included “have some more confidence in yourself,” “try to remember all the steps [when using technology] that have already been taught to you,” “you all are working really hard and sincere, but you need to work smarter.  It’s a shame to see so much hard work put in, but not achieve the final product.”  I remember being part of a daily broadcast operation when I taught a Maryland and of course, from my own student days at Medill.  But I have never seen three tracks of students, multimedia, print and broadcast, work simultaneously in the lab to produce four different daily publications.  That alone was worth seeing at the end of the day, not to mention how much the students improved from Monday to Friday.  Most importantly I think the students all really began to understand how important it was to work as a team, and I’m glad I could be a part of it.


Posted in Teaching in India | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bhai Dooj

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These are my nieces, nephews and cousins in Pune celebrating “Bhai Dooj.” This is the final day of Diwali celebrations.  On this day, sisters apply tika on the forehead of their brothers and brothers in return bless their sisters and promise to protect them throughout life. They also give gifts to their sisters.  It is a very sacred day for all brothers and sisters.


Posted in Life in India | Tagged | Leave a comment