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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Delhi #2: academic hoopla and tuk-tuks

I am officially in an Indian city because I have taken an autorickshaw ("tuk-tuk") and lived to tell the tale. They are actually a lot of fun and not at all as scary as I had thought they would be. Of course, our ride was about 3 minutes and it wasn't raining.

Yesterday our program began in earnest, with a big reception under a bamboo-pole tent with little twinkle lights (red, white, and blue, of course) and fans spraying cool water all over the place (very nice until you stand in front of one for ten minutes and look like you got caught in the rain). We were given quite an introduction with much fanfare of "finest educators in the US" etc (which I can tell you is clearly not true, but still nice to be told). I had several interesting conversations, in particular one with a young man who had just finished studying at UIUC law school and a journalist who had written a book on the museums of Delhi and wanted me help trying to figure out where to shop it in the US. My roommate felt completely overwhelmed with all the attention and accolades, and I realized that my years at Massey had gotten me plenty used to that. Although I am v glad not to have an academic gown on at this particular moment.

Today we had more classes - on the role of arts and culture in education in India and the Indian perspective on globalization - and in the afternoon we went sight-seeing around Delhi. I just have to say this: I have never been so hot in my life. We went to the Rajghat, site of the cremation of Mahatma Gandhi; the Bahai Temple (shaped like a lotus blossum made of white marble), where I thought I would turn into liquid before we made it into the temple; and the Qtub Minar, the first mosque in Delhi. This last was my favorite, architecture nut that I am. The maker of some of the buildings here re-used pieces of old Hindu and Buddhist buildings, so you could see where human figures had been hacked away to suit the Muslim architecture - and lots where no one had bothered, so you could find entertwined couples, Ganeshas, etc. Really lovely. I'll figure out how to load up pictures at some point, but don't hold your breath.

And they have been feeding us so much that I'm going to burst, so dinner tonight was a Limca with some pistachios. Fortunately the hotel coffee is good and plentiful, so I can start the morning properly fuelled.

4 Comments:

At 12:02 PM, Blogger cjs1977 said...

mmmm... Limca... It kept my brain wet in Goa.

Glad to hear you're having a great time!
Casey

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Lisa said...

it sounds so ... awesome, your journey to India. I'm green with envy ;-) and wish you all the best.

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Drink it all in, WEAR YOUR HAT, and buy a couple more pairs of sturdy walking shoes! Just think, you can wake up every morning and say "I will do today something I have never done before. I will be somewhere today I have never been before. Every day is a new adventure." How often do we have that chance?

 
At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Naya said...

In Qutub Minar, they have used Pieces from Hindu temples for sure, but they haven't 're-used'. The Muslim invaders, conquerers and rulers destroyed hindu temples, stole away all the precious things and used parts of the temple architecture in their buildings..You see more atrocity than beauty when you visit Qutub Minar and several such Muslim architectures

 

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