Published 11 December 2007
Bio , India , Travel & Adventure
Tags: Bhitarkanika, crane, crocodile, dawn, egret, kingfisher, mangrove, morning, Orissa, Puru Kothari, Yoo-Mi Lee
We slept in the heart of Bhitarkanika National Park and Wildlife Refuge in Orissa, at a government guest house; but we are up well before dawn and back on our boat before first light. The night had been clear but moonless; and in the early hour, the eerie landscape reveals itself with equal measures of reluctance and mystery.
Continue reading ‘Dawn in Bhitarkanika’
Published 9 December 2007
Art & Culture , Bio , India , Politics & Policy , Travel & Adventure
Tags: dance, dance critic, Governor of Orissa, Konark, Konark Dance Festival, Manipuri, Odissi, Orissa, OTV, Puru Kothari
Two weeks of holiday in Orissa, and our first stop is Konark, site of the enormous (though largely destroyed) Sun Temple. We have bustled north to catch the fifth and final day of the annual Konark Dance Festival, which uses the illuminated temple structure as its dramatic backdrop.
We were the special guests of the Chairman of the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation, who was a student in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram School in Pondicherry with our companions Puru and Maya. This guaranteed us VIP treatment and second row center seating, immediately behind his highness, the Governor of Orissa, and his entourage.
Continue reading ‘Dance Critic’
Published 1 December 2007
Bio , Friends , India
Tags: Ajit Reddy, Bill Hocker, Divya Kapoor, Hemant Lamba, homecoming, Lata & Prashant, Linda Joseph, Manoj Pavithran, Maya, Mui Ho, Probir Banerjee, Puru Kothari, Sanaa, Uma Prajapathi
As our taxi raced south from Madras along the Airport Road, honking indignantly (and incessantly) at smoke-belching lorries and hapless motorcycles, Yoo-Mi and I were within a few hours of completing our 36 hour journey from San Francisco to Pondicherry. We had landed just in time to celebrate the 1 December birthdays of our friends Puru Kothari and Linda Joseph.
Continue reading ‘Homecoming’
Published 30 April 2007
Bio , India , Tenzing , Travel & Adventure
Tags: autorickshaw, backwaters, Betsy Jacobs, Chennai, Chennai Central, Deepa Krishnan, elephant, India, Kerala, Kochi, Kochin, Kuruchikuppam, Madras, Madurai, Malgudi, Namaste, Pondicherry, Puru Kothari, sleeper bus, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Tamil, Tamil Nadu, Tenzing, Varalaxmi Krishnan
More than one friend has complained that I have neglected to report on Tenzing’s visit to South India at the end of March. I have been a bit busy. But better late than never.
Continue reading ‘Malgudi Days’
Published 22 January 2007
Friends , Service
Tags: Bookbox, Brij Kothari, cutting grass, Mouhsine Serrar, Planet Read, Pondicherry, Puducherry, Puru Kothari, Shuddham, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
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 3 January 2007
Environment , India
Tags: Alang, Bangladesh, China, Chittagong, ecology, Environment, environmentalism, filth, Gadani Beach, garbage, greenpeace, Gujarat, India, Khambhat, litter, Pakistan, poison, pollution, pullution, Puru Kothari, rubbish, shipbreakers, shipbreaking, ships, solid waste, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, toxic, toxins, trash
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace International
We traveled to Alang, a stretch of beach on the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat, to witness first-hand what has been described as one of the “Seven Garbage Wonders of the World.” At the moment, there are 70 large ships beached like dead whales on the sands of Alang, where they are being dismantled for the reprocessing of their valuable steel. Shipbreaking is easy on neither the environment, nor the workers.
Continue reading ‘Alang: Shipbreaking, Salvage, and Environmental Issues’