entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

The Gift of Cooking

When under the influence of a passion, anything is possible. Limits are unquestionable. Dreams fly high.

With no restraints of studying or commitments, it was a no brainer that plans needed to be made for our House Manager’s birthday. I don’t think I have adequately described Mr. Das and his position at Tagore. I guess you could consider him the “Father” of Tagore. He is the man with all the answers and advice: “Mr. Das, what bus to I take to get to Medhipatnam?” “Mr. Das, how do I buy train tickets?” “Mr. Das,  can you call me a cab?” “Mr. Das! Mr.Das!”

“Trust in Das” has become his motto. From 10am to 8pm he lives at Tagore. Daily activities include: manning his desk in the common room, playing games on his computer, watching movies, planning future trips….Ok, in reality, Mr. Das actually does a lot of work but he also has plenty of time to be bored 🙂 He is a quiet soul but his snarky humor comes out when you get him talking.

So, again, after hearing that Mr. Das’ birthday was coming up, celebration plotting was in action. Being the cook that I am, the first thought that came to my mind…lets cook him a meal. But how to do it…? I immediately thought of my Hindi professor, Bhavani, who has been giving me cooking lessons. I asked her if she would be willing to host a celebration at her house. At first she was hesitant, claiming that her house was too small and that she was a terrible host, but in the end she accepted! The two of us planned a menu and went to work yesterday! We spent 2 hours selecting out fresh produce at the markets, then worked 5 hours in the kitchen before Mr. Das was invited over. While Bhavani and I worked the kitchen, a team of decorators cut out shapes to decorate the apartment and hung flowers from the door. The final hour was the hardest. As I rolled and stuffed paratha my whole body was dripping with sweat. It was as if all airflow stopped in the kitchen. Between rolls I had to wipe my brow for fear that I may drip sweat into the food! As Mr. Das finally entered, I finished the last paratha and rushed out to freshen up and tie my sari. On the menu:

  • bandagobhi aur palak pakodas (fried cabbage and spinach snacks)
  • baigan chana daal (chickpea daal with eggplant)
  • Bengali fish curry in mustard sauce
  • Methi Pulao (fenugreek rice)
  • aloo parathas (bread stuffed with potato)
  • fruit juice
  • North Indian Sweets

While this seems like a big undertaking for 24 hours, in my eyes it was no big deal. 5 hours of cooking in 100 degree weather- no problem! I love to do it. I mean, is there anything better than celebrating life and friendship over good food and conversation? It was as much of a gift to me to put on the meal with Bhavani, as it was a gift for Mr. Das. That’s what a life passion is all about- it’s just what you do!

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Picture with the birthday boy!

Mr. Das, myself, Bhavani, and Tanvi (plus Anna photo bombing!)
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Tanvi- the master of decorating!!
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Ready to eat!

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Tanvi was so shy as Mr.Das helped her fill up a plate. He has a knack for kids 😉

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Emily did a great job cooking the parathas! My savior for the day!

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 Dripping sweat into the parathas…just kidding 🙂

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Fish Curry

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Eggplant Daal

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Parathas!

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Picnic-style, always the best choice with so many good friends!

IMG_2998The cooks 🙂 What a successful celebration!

ISEP Student Stories: Studying Abroad Teaches Charla about Home

This is a great perspective coming from another ISEP Study Abroad student.

ISEP Study Abroad Blog

In this week’s blog post, Charla H discovers the true meaning of international exchange: you not only learn about another culture, but also learn about your own. Charla is a business and Spanish double-major from Roanoke College currently studying abroad at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) in Mexico.

I did a lot this week. I worked with the Preschool, I visited some churches, I learned the basics to Cumbia, and got my Zumba Instructor certification. We talked about the baroque style of architecture in Puebla. I learned the custom of childbirth here is to have a C-section. I learned that girls have their ears pierced at birth and events aren’t usually planned on a Tuesday the 13th (no weddings, no baby births, etc) – here, that’s bad luck. I could go on and on telling you what I’ve learned since I’ve been here, since the beginning of…

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The First “Goodbyes”

I hate to say it, but the goodbyes have begun. After a week of dreading these moments, they snuck upon me so fast! Today some of my best friends departed for their final travels, and I found myself unsure about how the handle the day. With final studying and packing, where is the time to celebrate and create final memories? I found that a pit began to form in my stomach as the day progressed and gray clouds covered the sky to match my quiet mood.

I should have known that the most memorable part of the day would be at tea time.  🙂 Almost a dozen of us sat around a table of four with our chai tea and biscuits sharing usual bits of conversation and laughter. Brooke, being the amazing person that she is, began a trivia game about all of us, that brought on fits of giggles! The questions started out pretty standard, testing how well we knew each other:

  • What are the names of Emily’s sisters?
  • How many cousins does Rachel have? etc

But then they got silly, full of inside jokes and quirks:

  • How many pieces of toast does Harper eat at breakfast (when she actually makes it to breakfast)?
  • What is the rate of speed in which Gilly chews her food?

There was such bonding, such camaraderie in that moment. The trivia encapsulated our entire semester together, how well we have gotten to know each other and experiences we have shares. And that’s when it began to really sink in…gawl darn I am going to miss these people! I am going to miss their stories and laughter: I am going to miss Brooke’s words of encouragement. I am going to miss Gilly’s blunt and sometimes goofy opinions. I am going to miss Anna’s childish laughter. I am going to miss braiding Harper’s hair and her sarcastic attitude! I am going to miss Marianna’s warm words. I am going to miss Connor’s awesome personality! I am going to miss Emily’s Appalachian slang and amazing storytelling. I am going to miss Rachel’s tall hugs. I could go on and on— How I wish I could have stopped time in that moment, lingering over chai and laughter for hours more.

But goodbyes were in order. Of course, it didn’t feel real in the moment. Hours later, it still does not feel real in many aspects. I have a quiet room without Emily, and these next few days will get quieter as more and more people leave Tagore. But I am not ready to say goodbye yet. I have one more week to live life at Tagore, on the U of H campus, and in Hyderabad!

But first, one more final exam-

A dose of Ayurveda

In order to begin the official week of finals (and taking advantage of Groupon India), Brooke and I woke up this morning at 5am for an Ayurvedic Massage appointment! We thought a dose of ancient relaxation methods would suite us well.

Again, to reiterate the hastle of Hyderabad. We walked across campus at 5:30, made it to the bus stop at 6:00, took Bus 217 to Masab Tank, then walked to another bus stop, getting on Bust 49 to GVK Mall, then we picked up a rickshaw for the last few kilometers, but he got lost despite the landmarks we gave him. We finally arrived just after 7am! Hoof-dah!

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Anyway, get this deal: Head massage, spine massage, full body massage, facial, steam bath, and shower for 500 rupees (for a 2000 rupee experience)! And it certainly was an experience!

For my 21st birthday in December, my mom and I got massages in the U.S- my first one. In preparation, one undresses, puts on a robe, and then upon entering the massage room, the therapist leaves the room to allow you to de-robe, lay on the bed, and cover your body with a towel. Then the therapist is very respectful in keeping parts of your body covered while working on different aspect of your body.

Well, this experience was the exact opposite! Once called into the room, my therapist gave me a cubby to put my things and told me to undress. I waited a few seconds waiting for her to exit, and then realized that she was not going anywhere. “Oh gosh!” I thought to myself. Taking a deep breath I undressed and turned around, subconsciously covering myself with my hands. The therapist gave chuckle. “First time?” She asked, and I nodded. Then she pulled out a paper loincloth of sorts to cover my lower body- haha!

Before she began the head massage I was surprised to witness my therapist offering a prayer. I should have known, all forms of art and ancient medicine are closely related to the Hindu religion. She brought her hands together in prayer, whisphered a few words (in Sanskrit I assume), and then touched my forehead, nose, and ears.

Ayurvedic massage is designed to detoxify and cleanse the body by boosting the effectiveness of the human immune system. First, I sat on a stool while the therapist massaged oil into my scalp, forehead, and neck. Then we moved to the table. I laid on the wooden bed, face down, and my therapist placed spongy pillows under my joins for cushion (elbows, knees, ankles). She poured oil up and down my limbs, the smell of sesame and coconut filling the air. The warm oil was massaged into my skin. Turning over onto my back, I felt myself sliding on the wooden table, good thing there were edges so I didn’t slide off! Next the therapist washed off my face and applied a rose-scented lotion, working the moisture into my skin through circular movements. She applied a neem face mask next that tingled as she applied it with a brush.

Then the therapist helped me rise from the bed and walk (without slipping) to the steam bath, which is not what you expect! An Ayurvedic steam bath is a steam box that you sit in with your head sticking out! A towel is put over your head to keep the heat in. Here is a picture from the interwebs:

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I felt like I was melting as the oil soaked into my skin and the steam cleansed my body. When I was let free, I was shown to the shower to wash off. Neem was running down my neck and I was completely slicked with oil! Despite water and soap, I dried off (with a hand towel made that resembled cheese cloth) and found that I was still sticky with oil. Similarly, my hair was greasy and tangled, but I felt so clean and refreshed!

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With fresh clothes on, I thanked my therapist, and entered the lobby once more. Here I received a small cup of juice to cleanse the blood cells. It was not very tasty, actually. It was more like a vinegary shot of wine. Yuck!

I hated to got out into the heat and grime of the city after feeling so clean but I was happy to have plenty of day in front of me to study and nap 🙂

On the agenda this week: Hindi final exam on Monday. Good byes on Wednesday. 😦 Film & Lit final on Thursday. And freedom from academics from there on!

Here are some pictures of Ancient Ayurvedic:

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Hyderabadi Biriyani

My blog would be incomplete if I did not mention the famous biriyani of Hyderabad!

Biriyani is a rice dish traditionally made with meat (chicken, mutton, or lamb) and spices. The way I understand it, the meat is marinated in yogurt and spices overnight. Then the meat is layered with long-grain basmati rice and cooked in a sealed vessel.

It is a delicious concoction as saffron, cardamom, and coriander infuse their fragrances throughout the tender meat and rice.  The dish is served with a spicy gravy called mirchi ka salan, made of curried chili peppers, peanuts, ginger, garlic, and spices. Raita or yogurt sauce is served as well to add a nice cooling effect.

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The final perfection, eating biriyani with raw red onion and lemon juice!

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In Hyderabad there is a restaurant called “Paradise” that is known to have the best biriyani in town. Therefore, as a final hooray, I planned a dinner for all of the students of Tagore to convene at Paradise for a “final meal” before people begin heading home.

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There were almost 30 of us that packed into cabs and headed to the restaurant draped in saris and bangles!

Brooke, Anna, and I decided to split the Chicken Biriyani, and I am glad we did. We each received portions of this size:

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We spooned mirchi ka salan and raita over the steaming rice and dug in, hands first of course. Wow- that is good biriyani folks, however, I must stay that our hostel has a recipe that is just as good.

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This recipe looks pretty authentic if you want to try it out at home: http://www.sailusfood.com/2010/02/14/hyderabadi-chicken-dum-biryani/

The heart was filled with joy as I enjoyed an fantastic meal with the people that have made this semester worthwhile! Yet, I could not help but feel a touch of sadness that these meals and times of laughter are coming to a close. Regardless, our memories will live on!

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Harper and I

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Harper, Maria, Emily, Brooke

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Me and the boys: Julian & Connor

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Brooke, Maria, Rachel B

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With Brooke…what babes 🙂

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Rachel B & I

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1 Month Reality Check

On Jan 30th remember blogged about my first month in India! That 1 month marker seemed like and eternity. Now I look at the calendar, see that it is April 18, and realize that I only have 1 month left. Where did the time go after that first month?

The reality check is starting to set in. In a week, finals will be over, and most students will be leaving Hyderabad for one last week of travel. Then they will return to the University for one last goodbye before flying out around May 6th. However, my plans are a little different. I will be staying at the University until May 1st before heading out for a two-week journey to NE India, returning on May 17th to fly back to the U.S. Our hearts stopped beating this morning when we all realized that we would have to start staying our goodbyes next week!

While I have finals to study for, I am thankful that the pressure is low, allowing me time to cherish the friendships I have created here. After all, my courses here are worthless compared to the experiences I have shared with my new friends this semester.

Our recent extravaganzas have been all about shopping in Hyderabad! Last weekend we made it to Laad Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in Hyderabad. It is located around the base of Charminar. If you recall one of my first blog posts, I was amazed at the hustle and bustle that surrounds the area. You can find virtually anything there: fruits, kitchen utensils, fabrics, and even underwear! But we were after some particular items, Hyderabad specialties: bangles and pearls! While you can find carts on the street overflowing with the colorful jewelry, but walking down a side street the entire lane is lined with shops selling bangles exclusively. The lane sparkled as the sunlight hit colorful bangles, blinding you with a rainbow of light! The choices are overwhelming! Traditional Hyderabadi bangles are molded of lac and studded with glass pieces of various colors, but you can also find metal bangles, studded bangles, and pure glass bangles.

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Next we went searching for pearls! It turns out that there is a small village outside of Hyderabad called Chandanpet, almost the entire population is engaged in the delicate art of drilling pearls. Therefore, Hyderabad is known as one of the largest drilling centres in India, hence, “the city of pearls.” Being a proud member of Alpha Gamma Delta, I have my fair share of pearls. I was not planning on making an investment, but after seeing their beauty, I ending up with some earrings. After all, a woman can never have too many pearls and these would last me a lifetime!

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Another find… attar! Attar is natural perfume oil. Did you know that in ancient India, attar was made by placing precious flowers and sacred plants into a water or vegetable oil?Slowly the plants and flowers would infuse into the liquid and be used as a fragrance.The sellers have the different scents lined up in glass bottles: rose, marigold, water lilly…and jasmine, my favorite! They poured the yellow aromatic liquid into a small glass vessel and placed it into a red velvet bag. Pearls and jasmine- I felt like a queen!

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In the meantime, I was checking out l the fresh fruits on the side of the road; bananas, oranges, pomegranate, and mango! Yes folks, we have entered mango season. In addition to green raw mango, the fruit is just beginning to ripen. We have received some at our hostel and I have been surprised at the sweet and sour taste. The fruit will continue to sweeten as the month progresses. I also encountered this type of mango:

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It is the size of grapefruit and tastes kind of like pear. Yum 🙂

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Indian biscotti? 🙂

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Anklets

With 1 month to go…this is going to be the best one yet! 🙂

Indian Godparents

After meeting Taranjeet and Raman Samra for the third time, I have decided that I need a “title” for them! When people ask where I have been or who they are there is no easy way to explain our connection (the brother of the owner of the Indian restaurant in Oregon that my aunt and uncle go to and his wife). Usually I just say “my friends in Hyderabad” even though they have become to feel like family. But after today, I have come to the conclusion that they have become sort of like godparents in India. You have heard me rant and rave about their hospitality over and over and you are going to hear it one more time! They have made me feel welcome in their home to share wonderful conversation and food. Is this not what good friends and family represent?

Emily joined me today. We were amazed to find the morning cool and breezy, a nice break from the heat. Catching an early train, we practiced our Kuchipudi hand gestures on the hour long ride into the city. From there the Samra’s picked us up and took us to their humble abode at the Public School. Breakfast consisted of paratha, scrambled eggs, curd, mango pickle, and chai—a traditional north Indian breakfast. Since Emily had never been to the campus, we took a short walk around the grounds, again, relieved that the sun was holding some of the heat back today.

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For lunch, Raman taught us how to cook some Punjabi fare. Our main dish was kadhi—a gravy, of sorts, with pakora. The gravy is started with hot oil, garlic, and onions (of course!), along with curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds.

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In another bowl, curd (or yogurt) is blended with besan (graham) flour and turmeric. This liquid mixture is then added to the pot with water. The mixture must simmer on the stove for around an hour. I was very curious about this process because normally you wouldn’t cook yogurt on the stove with other ingredients!

Then we made the pakoras. As I have mentioned before, pakoras can be made hundreds of ways, but the one aspect that stays consistent is the batter made of chickpea flour. Our mixture consisted of chickpea flour, finely chopped onions, garlic, cilantro, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and water. Then we dropped spoonfuls of the batter into the oil to create small, fried dumplings.

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In serving, the pakoras are added to the gravy and served over rice. Upon completion of the dish, I realized that we have eaten something similar at Tagore, but this version was amazing!! The gravy had a light, richness. You could pick out the tang of the yogurt yet it balances well with the spices. Yum! Tarangeet mentioned that there are not many times of the year when fresh vegetables are not available, but during that short time, this is a common dish that they make.

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For dessert, Raman showed us how to make basic northern halwa. The halwa that we have eaten at Tagore is like a sweet relish, made with shredded carrots or bottle gourd, but this version was simply ghee, flour, and sugar. Raman cooked the flour and ghee like a rue until it was light brown in color. In another pot she simmered sugar, water, and cardamom. Upon adding the sugar syrup to the rue the mixture thickened up and Raman stirred hard. Finally she took it off the stove and we ate some right then and there! It was warm and caramely, a perfect amount of sweet. We ate some more later as well. The mixture hardened up just slightly to the consistency of a soft caramel. Needless to say, I left very full, once again!

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I felt a little sad leaving Taranjeet and Raman, knowing that I may not ever see them again. However, I do trust that our paths will cross again someday. Currently their son is in Canada, their daughter is in New Jersey, and Taranjeet’s brother is in Oregon! There could definitely be an opportunity. Plus, who knows how soon I could be back in India 🙂

Until then, their warming hospitality and knowledge will live in my heart!

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Ugadi

Happy Ugadi!

Today is a holiday, also know as the Deccan or Telugu New Year (because the Telugu people come from the Deccan Plateau.) Ugadi literally means, “the beginning of a new age.” This holiday is celebrating differently in depending on the region. In Andhra Pradesh…people wake up early and use Sesame oil to massage their head and body, then wash their heads before visiting the temple to offer their prayers. The celebration also includes cleaning of house, decorating entrances with green mango leaves, and buying new clothes for family.

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Bhavani, my Hindi professor, invited our class to her home for a small celebration! On the short bikeride to her house, the road was busy with locals. All the women were dressed in new sarees and kurtas as they walked to the temple bearing coconuts. Upon arriving at Bhavani’s each doorway was decorated with yellow and orange flowers along with mango leaves. Some even had rangoli in front of their doorstep. As is tradition, Bhavani’s home was spotless. On the kitchen counter sat a brand new clay pot in which to make Pachadi. This is a special drink made for Ugadi. The special mixture consists of:

  • Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying Sadness
  • Jaggery for sweetness, signifying Happiness
  • Chili powder for its hot/spicy, signifying Anger
  • Salt for saltiness, signifying Fear
  • Tamarind juice for its sourness, signifying Disgust
  • Unripened Mango (shredded) for its tang, signifying Surprise
  • Also, coconut powder, a handful of chana daal, and fennel for added taste

Drinking this mixture symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences, which should be accepted together at the New Year. The juice is served as is with added water. It is a very unique taste that I cannot even describe!

After Ugadi, the claypot is used throughout the year to keep water chilled!

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People make delicious food on this for their friends and family. At Bhavani’s we shared some sweet and salty snacks, then went to Tagore for a proper lunch. We were served more Pachadi as well as fresh mango chutney, mango rice, assorted curries, and bobbatlu (or Polelu). This is a sweet roti that is stuffed with a paste made of jaggery and cardamom.

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The Long Awaited Cultural Performance!

With my feet and hands stained red and my eyes rimmed with remnants of eyeliner, I wonder if last night’s performance was merely a dream. After weeks of practice and preparation, the night was over in hours. Despite all of the chaos and stress that led up to the event, it was one of the most magical moments I have taken part in on campus.

The Cultural Performance is put on by the Study in India (SIP) students every semester and has come to be one of the biggest events on campus. Some of the acts are consistent for every show: Kuchipudi, Tabla, Sitar, Bollywood, and Kathak, because they are all classes. But the rest of the show is up to the talent of the students studying in the given semester. We ended up with a pretty great variety of talent including songs (in both Hindi and English), Slam Poetry, Bluegrass tunes, and Poi!

As students we put together the program, worked with faculty to get sound equipment, etc. I assisted Claire in her Stage Manager role and once again was jostled to experience this in India. For example, some administrative person thought it would be a great idea to schedule a conference in the same auditorium before the performance. Therefore, we did not have access to the space until 4pm…with a performance at “6pm.” Fortunatley, we were able to practice our Kuchipudi dance in full hair and costume, but all the other acts only got a few seconds to begin their talent before being cut off.

However, for us Kuchipudi dancers, our preparation began at 1pm. Well, actually, it was 2pm by the time all of our accessories showed up. Our costumes were distributed and luckily, we had a women to help us figure out what piece goes where!

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Next came the wigs, yes, wigs. These are long black wigs that are tied on to our heads. Our real hair is braided into the wig hair. Then all the accessories are added. For 5 hours of wearing this headpiece I had the worst headache of my life…but the wig stayed on tight!

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I was surprised that these men were our hair and make up artists!

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To accentuate our feet and hand gestures our feet and hands were painted red!

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Make-up was the last step. Upon seeing all the “community” make up laying out on the table, I closed my eyes and prayed to the Lord that I would not wake up with eye herpies in the morning!

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Only a picture can describe the final product:

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Do you recognize me? (I’m the one on the left) Haha!

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Roomies: Emily and I 🙂

Finally, after the hustle and bustle, it was showtime!!

The show opened with this Video -produced and filmed by Connor Thompson

The three girls: Anna, Brooke, and Gilly, were the hosts or EmCs for the night. We spent all day Saturday filming! Everything was shot in our hostel so hopefully it will give you a good idea of where I am living!

I think you will understand the video, but the whole premise is that it is suddenly the day of the cultural performance and no one is ready…but All is Well! And then, the performance starts!

Next was our Kuchipudi performance. Before showtime, we were all standing backstage watching the clock slowing tick…6:10…6:17…6:22…We were waiting for Aruna, our dance instructor, but we were not sure why. Finally she comes in bearing all the items for a pooja. This is crazy, I thought, we are going to do a pooja when the show is literally about to start? We all joined hands, closed our eyes, and began reciting our opening prayer. It was an amazing moment. I could hear the opening video begin to play and the people around us begin to rustle, but somehow in that moment of anticipation, there was peace and unification. I found it not only  to be a moment to thank Lord Shiva for our dance, but to thank my God for the gifts he has bestowed upon me and remind myself to use my body to glorify Him!

Aruna smashed a coconut on the floor, poured the juices over our bells, and we attached them to ankles. A big squeeze of confidence from Aruna and we were walking onto stage. I cannot describe how thrilling the experience was! After weeks of intense practicing feet, gestures, and head bobbles, my body was able to move naturally and intuitively. The emotion of dance took over my body and I was in pure bliss…making me realized how much I miss performing! Though it is an 8 minute dance, it seemed like 8 seconds. Check out these amazing photos taken by the University:

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Upon finishing the dance, I stripped down and struggled to get my massive wig off before my next act: singing “Ek, Doh, Tin” with Rachel B and Rachel S. We just sang a small portion of this Bollywood song from the 80s with cheesy choreography. Though I totally missed up the timing, we had fun grooving around.

My final act was a duet with my fellow theatre major at Tagore, Sarah.

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We had had big plans to do a jazzy Broadway number with amazing choreography…but alas, time and resources got the best of us. Finally we sat down and decided to choose a Disney song that we knew by heart and in which we could use YouTube karaoke. Upon coming across The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World,” creativity struck! Here are the lyrics we came up with:

Look at this stuff, Isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl, The girl who has everything?

Look at this trove, Treasures untold. How many wonders can one country hold? Looking around here you think, sure, she’s got everything.

I’ve got saris and kurtas a-plenty. I’ve got bindis and toe rings galore. You want bangles? I’ve got twenty!

But who cares? No big deal. I want more.

I wanna be where the people are. I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’. Riding around on those – what do you call ’em? Oh – rickshaws!

Eating here we have lots of spice, Chilies, and garlic, and coriander. Eating a bunch of those – what’s are they called again? Samosas!

Here where they walk, here where they run, here where they sweat all day in the sun. Drinking their tea – glad I can be, Part of this world.

What would I give if I could live in Hindustani? What would I pay to spend a day warm at Charminar?

At the bazaar money goes far, As long you know how to barter. Homeless doggies, croaking froggies, monkeys galore. 

I’m ready to know what the Brahmans know. Ask ’em my questions and get some answers. What is a yogi and why do they – what’s that sound? “Om.”

This is my turn! How I love, love to explore this colorful world? Drinking their tea—Glad I could be. Part of this world. 

The power of the Disney orchestra paired with the words of the song really hit me in the moment.  It sounds super cheesy, but I felt very emotional afterwords. In that moment I realized that this performance was a culmination of our semester…which is winding down so quickly. Though we poked fun at some of the quirks of India, I will miss every single one of them.

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After the show, I was happy to find that the audience loved the parody as well. It was an aspect that bridged the gap between the international and local students. Even our SIP Director, Aparna Madame, whom has never talked to me came up to me to thank me for contributing the song.

As a whole, I think all of us from SIP were very pleased with the event and how it progressed! I wish you all could have been there, but alas, this world is too big. However, there were some folks video recorded the performances! Here is a video for you to watch! I am front and center in the green outfit. (There will be a better quality version coming. I will post them once I have access.) For more pictures of the performance click here. And here is an article posted by the UoH Herald.

Today, I am feeling very nostalgic. It is the pit in your stomach after a performance high. I must admit, I have not felt this way in a long time. At NWU, we get 8 performances of a show before closing so usually I feel ready to end the show and move on to something else. But here, we had one chance. It is a reminder that the preparation and work put into these type of events means so much.

I am so blessed to have danced under the direction of Aruna Bhikshu. She is an amazing women with a love for Kuchipudi that bursts out of here. Yes, she can be strict and harsh. But also became a friend and major support. Aruna was impressed with how well I was able to pick up the moves and make them my own. Already she is talking about trying to continue my training over the internet! While I don’t see that concept panning out very well, I am honored that she is so willing to continue my training in classical dance.

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Also, my friend, Ayush was able to attend the performance and even got up on stage! After hearing that he would be in attendance, the EmCs decided to use him for one of their skits in between acts. I was touched that Ayush was so willing to get off work early to attend the performance and meet all of my friends!

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So, with the performance behind us, it is time to study! Classes are over but the exams and papers are creeping closer and closer but I will forever hold on to these memories!

Harper’s Story

Since Harper has finished her blog of our travels together, I thought I would share her side of the story 🙂

http://harperganick.blogspot.in/2013/04/rajasthani-holi-day.html

Enjoy!

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