Published 22 January 2007
Service , Friends
Tags: Pondicherry, Puducherry, Puru Kothari, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, cutting grass, Brij Kothari, Bookbox, Planet Read, Mouhsine Serrar, Shuddham
When he was in school, Puru Kothari’s Hindi teacher once excoriated the class for failing to study hard enough, telling them that they were “only fit for jobs like cutting grass.” More than a decade latter, Puru ran into his old teacher, who inquired about Puru’s life. “I cut grass,” said Puru with a smile.
Continue reading ‘Cutting Grass’
Published 17 January 2007
Bio , India
Tags: Ashram Hindi, dispensary, feminine side, femininity, gender, gender roles, gender stereotype, hit by a bus, India, injury, Mark Jacobs, Masulinity, men are weak, pain, pain tolerance, Pondicherry, Puducherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Steel Magnolias, Yoo-Mi Lee
I’m glad to have grown up the lone male in a house of amazing women – my mother, sister and, for a short-but-significant while, two sister-like close friends. As a consequence, I am able to easily reject traditional notions of gender and have developed a strong sense of myself without leaning too heavily on the easy crutch of normative male privilege. More importantly, I am one of the few men who reflexively returns the toilet seat to the down position. No one has ever accused me of failing to “get in touch with my feminine side.”
Until last week, that is.
Continue reading ‘Getting in Touch with My Feminine Side’
A number of factors kept us in the states beyond our scheduled departure date in early October, and we didn’t land in India until early December. November is the heart of monsoon in Pondicherry, where we live, though it is common for the rains to linger a bit after the calender page has been turned. When we arrived to day-after-day of clear blue skies, it seemed plain that we missed monsoon this year.
Continue reading ‘Monsoon’
Published 8 December 2006
Bio , India
Tags: fauna, monkey, Pondicherry, Puducherry
Within minutes of posting about the many creatures who reside with us in our room-on-the-roof, we were visited by a family of nine monkeys. They love to sit on the parapet and eat leaves from our banyon tree.
Published 7 December 2006
Bio , Friends , India
Tags: Anjali Sardeshmukh, ant, ants, bats, Bindi Gandhi, birds, centipedes, chipmunk, cockroaches, cricket, fauna, geckos, IndiCorps, lizards, mice, mosquito, peacock, Pondicherry, Puducherry, rats, spiders
Several years ago, when my friends Bindi Gandhi and Anjali Sardeshmukh were IndiCorps fellows, working on public health initiatives in Ahmedabad’s Ramapir no Tekro slum, they lived in a wonderful house on the campus of the Gandhi Ashram. I called it “The Zoo,” in appreciation of its diverse and plentiful fauna. They had mice, rats, lizards, geckos, bats, cockroaches, ants, centipedes, roaches, and pretty much every other manner of creepy-crawly. Despite working to exhaustion to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions in the slum, they permitted the drainage ditches around the house to become blocked, creating a mosquito breeding regime so potent that one could hardly breathe without committing mosquito mass murder. (The surviving hordes of mosquitos exacted their own revenge.) The water tank was infested with millions of tiny worms. There was even a peacock who lived on the roof – how auspicious is that!
I could continue the roster, but you get the idea. I left them a notebook to record the comings and goings of all the different species in the place.
Continue reading ‘Fauna’
We met friends today in Mahabalipuram, a two hour ride north toward Chennai up the East Coast Road. We left home before sunrise and returned after dark. Here are two small glimpses of the journey, from just after sunrise and just before sunset.
Checking the nets at dawn
Planting rice at dusk