Each of the fifty American states has a state bird, a state flower, a state motto…now, what about a state film industry?
In a country where thousands have no food to eat and no roof over their heads, let alone electricity, it appears that there is one good which all consumers must possess regardless of their income bracket. Even the housemaids and the homeless have it. They call it, simply, the "mobile."
Remember Career Day in elementary school? We were told that we could each be whatever we wanted to be when we grew up, from an ice-cream vendor to the president of our nation.
On Friday, countless Indian Ph.D. students took time away from their classes, jobs and paid internships to applaud their professors and cut a cake for them.
It started when we arrived at Bengaluru International Airport and stumbled into the customs line at 4 a.m.
Dear Monsoon, It's over? So soon? I've been in India for a year, and I've thought about what to write in this blog for many months now. But how can one fit the salient features of a year-long experience into 300 words, when the lack of suitable clichés is the only cliché suited to a country like this?
Every country has its own, sometimes unrealistic, perceptions about what it is to be beautiful. India is no exception. In Bangalore, there is a long unwritten list of requirements for "beauty" – and it pushes people to their limits.
We're having an Indian summer in Bangalore right now.
The college craze: it's an inevitable part of life for high school students and graduate school applicants all over the world. To make matters more difficult, there's a stigma associated with not going to a great college in any country.
That is the question. The 50th anniversary of the Tibetan rebellion recently passed: March 10, 1959 marked the day when the uprising of Tibetans against the Chinese government officially began.
Beats me, but it probably took him half an hour to get to the other side.
At a glance, you wouldn't recognize the Metro station in Bangalore as a Metro.
At midnight if you listen out the window, you can hear the neighbors playing table tennis. During the Olympics, they celebrated every night with their television turned up to maximum volume. They're Chinese immigrants and they live next door in an apartment complex full of Buddhists. There's a statue of a Hindu idol outside the gate.
Indians aren't heavily into sports. In Bangalore, it's mainly just cricket, badminton...and surfing. Channel surfing, that is. Indian television is almost like American television, except sans WETA phone-a-thons and with a few twists.
Last month I saw a beggar woman sprinting down the street. She had stolen a businessman's laptop, hoping to make a quick buck by selling it - and he was at her heels. But not all lower-class Bangaloreans are thieves. Many are generous and charitable despite their financial situations. Random acts of kindness aren't extinct in Bangalore quite yet.
In India, the regular rules of the universe don't seem to be in effect. Take, for example, the laws of time and space. Einstein stated unequivocally that they can't be bent, yet this country proves otherwise. "In a minute" to an Indian can mean anywhere from an hour to two days.
What, really, is the dress code on Bangalorean streets? Well, when in Bangalore, do as the Bangaloreans do. For one thing, wearing "revealing" clothing like shorts above the knee is generally taboo. Yet sandals are a given for both men and women in Bangalore - whether on a walk in the park or at a formal gathering.
Bangalorean dinner parties are seriously time consuming. If you've ever been to one, you know what I mean. Here's the basic schedule...
There are few places so totally in harmony with nature as Bangalore. South Indian parties and "functions" feature meals served on banana leaves, the perfect disposable plates. Cows roam the streets freely and motorists tend to give them the right of way.
Well, since we're finally in 2009 (the year before the year of all years...ONE-OH) here's a little something from SCO to you: the official unofficial guide to talking like an Indian! Practice speaking with these "Indianisms" to be as hip as those "Slumdog Millionaire" characters.
India is a kaleidoscope, a tapestry woven of 17 languages and a billion people. And it's people who give the country its color: the seemingly ordinary, unsung heroes of everyday life, the blue-collar workers.
"My, how THIN you've gotten! Come in and eat something!" Every Indian has heard this upon visiting the home of a long-lost relative. Whether or not one has actually lost weight is irrelevant. If someone asks you if you want more food at an Indian meal, it's a rhetorical question.
Every day is Black Friday in Bangalore. Comic Russell Peters proudly proclaimed to the world on one of his shows that "all Indians are cheap." And while that's a bit of a blanket statement, most Indians are, truthfully, pretty frugal. It's part of the culture. Why go all the way to the grocery store when there are door-to-door vegetable vendors? It's easier than Peapod and more affordable, too.
When I entered the austere, white concrete reception hall at the Times of India (ToI) printing press in Bangalore, filled with plastic chairs, I stopped in my tracks for a moment. Could this press, I questioned, really be the largest facility of its kind in all South Asia?
The Indian metropolis of Mumbai is home to over 12 million people. This week, they bear witness to a terrorist attack that left 195 dead - including several police officers, American tourists and at least two journalists - and over 300 injured. On Nov. 25, terrorists disguised as students held victims hostage in two famous hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, then set fire to the former. Shots were fired and explosives set off around several other Mumbai landmarks. The tragedy lasted for three days as captives remained trapped in the city and the death toll rose seemingly without end.
This week I finally got to, and I'll never look at IT the same way again. There's been a lot of buzz about the information technology (IT) boom, call centers and outsourcing in India lately. I had heard a great deal about the India-based software and technology company Infosys in the past, but hadn't realized until now the extent to which companies like it are revolutionizing the face of India.
Well, not me in particular, but a surprising number of people are. Allow me to explain. The other day I was reading an Indian magazine and two pages of tiny print after all of the main articles caught my eye. It appeared to be a classified ads section. Upon closer examination, I realized I had been right. The ads were all classifieds…for people.
All the usual signs of the holiday season were visible in India last week. Fairy lights were strung along houses, roads were congested with seasonal traffic and ancient television specials were being aired over and over. The fire marshal limit had long since been exceeded in most gift shops. I almost believed it was December instead of the middle of autumn.
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will be holding its first annual Back-to-School Fair on Saturday, August 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville. The rain date for the event is August 23.
For Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students, a new bus policy proposal means it may be time to get out the old walking shoes. Current MCPS bus policy states that high school students who live within two miles of their schools must find alternate transportation, as must middle school students who live within one and a half miles of their schools and elementary school students who live within one mile of their schools.
The foreign language academic support classroom is perpetually jam-packed during lunch as students filter in and out, looking for a teacher to help them. The environment seems chaotic – that is, until the commanding presence of Spanish teacher Dora Gonzalez enters the room. She hands each student the material that they need in a businesslike fashion. Then, noticing a former student complaining about his work, she addresses the classroom jocularly as her smile belies her seriousness. "If he had taken a class with me, he would have experienced a lot of fun," she says.
It's happening: M. Night Shyamalan has finally redeemed himself. From the filmmaker who has been in a recent slump (think 2006's muddy "Lady in the Water") comes "The Happening," a film that will pleasantly surprise Shyamalan skeptics and recalls his better earlier work, like "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs."
An unidentified Bangalorean mobile user plays a game of cricket.
Student enthusiasm levels are high, but supplies and funding often run low at local public schools like the one shown above.
Alas, these unsuspecting mangoes on a local tree seem destined to be the next victims of the neighborhood children.
...or a young monk shooting a toy gun at his playmates.
This was probably the last place one would have expected to see a monk wearing Crocs…
The illustrations of Buddhist deities on the walls closely resembled Hindu idols seen most often in India.
The view of the temple's interior was breathtaking.
Visitors surround a temple with a picture of Rinpoche mounted on its exterior.
The golden entrance gate to the Nyingmapa monastery outside of Bangalore transports one to a different world.
Bangaloreans running evening errands attempt to make their way across a crowded road.
It's all good in the 'hood - this neighborhood, from where I write these words, is comprised of people from myriad backgrounds who coexist peacefully and happily.
"Get off the sidewalk right now, son! And don't ever let me catch you using it again!"
The Barbie on the left models the Gujarati style of draping the sari, India's national garment, while the one on the right models the style most common in Bangalore.
Guests at an Indian dinner party get talking.
A contradiction in terms: the cow trimming someone's lawn in this picture probably went on to eat someone else's non-biodegradable garbage immediately afterwards.
This flute vendor in front of the Mysore Zoo in Mysore, a city near Bangalore, tried to play English nursery rhyme tunes on his flute in order to sell us the product.
Bargains in India aren't always easy to find amongst highly specialized shops - this store, for example, deals only in embroidery, "fancy goods" and car decorations.
Small fireworks like this "chakra," or wheel, are a popular alternative to its larger, louder and more dangerous cousins: rockets.
Gonzalez dispels the rumor that she is intimidating with a wide smile.