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International Development in India

How Art Influences Culture (Or Does Culture Influence Art?)

HOW ART INFLUENCES CULTURE (OR DOES CULTURE INFLUENCE ART?) Whenever I visit a art museum or talking about art with a friend, the question comes up, “Do you even get it?” There is a lot of art that I don’t “get” or don’t like. (It’s okay to not like all art). Modern and contemporary art is often imaginative and unsatisfied. It often brings up difficult social issues and novel ideas without giving closure, allowing or forcing the audience to draw conclusions. In art, I appreciate skill, good observation of the world, and articulation of the […]

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Bangalore’s Art Scene

Oofta. It’s been some time since a post. Here are a few recent thoughts on art and culture in India (and some ceramics updates). Historically, art and craft have been synonymous in India. Artisans would make handicrafts, idols, and wood or stone carvings. Potters would create vessels purposed for storing water and grains. Handicrafts were not made to be original, and pottery was not a form of beauty but a form of function. Post-independence, the perception of art has been changing in India. Bangalore has a high potential for art innovation. This […]

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Miscellaneous Experiences

I have really enjoyed the last month in Asia, and I realized that I have not recently updated people. Here’s a few short anecdotes that capture some fun(ny) experiences. Ceramics: Each Saturday, I go to open studio at ClayStation. To get there, I walk for 10 minutes from my homestay to a bus stand, and take the bus for about 30 minutes (6 km) for 14 or 19 Indian Rupees (the price varies per bus, and equates to $0.25 USD). For one of my courses (and my last art minor […]

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A Small Bit of Knowledge is Dangerous

As a short preface, it is good to note the origin of the phrase, “A little bit of knowledge is dangerous.” On two separate occasions, my mom said it about a neighbor that has just enough gardening and landscaping knowledge to be dangerous. First, it is good to note that too much fertilizer can actually kill off most of the grass in your lawn. Second, keep in mind to not burn leaves too close to a tree, otherwise the tree may also burn down (in general, don’t burn leaves but […]

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A PERSPECTIVE OF HEALTH

What is health? As described by some of the students, health is the proper functioning of the body, mind, and spirit; it is both understood on the large-scale and individual-scale; health is a social, environmental, and genetic state that can be evaluated by statistics and science. It is the notion of being whole, and a state of being free from illness or injury. As noted from my public health professor, Dr. Shirdi Prasad Teku, we should seek balance of our health needs. Each area is either in excess, in deficiency, or in […]

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

During the past few days, I have been a bit cynical. Hopefully reflection on this list of fun, random, and interesting facts will help lighten the mood. ​ 1. The traffic won’t slow down for pedestrians, but will immediately stop if a cow even considers to cross a street. 2. Hinduism is greatly influenced by astrology and horoscopes. “The stars that you are born under” is one consideration for finding a marriage partner. 3. The year-round temperature in Bangalore is amazing, ranging from 70 – 85 F. ​ 4. Driving around Bangalore […]

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Cultural Comparisons: India & the U.S.

In-county comparison: 1.) The (historic) culture of tradition and minimal change; and 2.) The (current) culture of technology and a changing reality. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. This is the mechanical relocation of the second hand that I hear from my two favorite spots that physically and culturally a half a world away. In Minnesota, the clock is heard from my oak kitchen table where (if I were there now,) I would be eating a chocolate chip cookie and overlooking the anxiously ripening fall leaves. In India, […]

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While I’m Here (Public Health)

Unfortunately this past weekend, I contracted a sore throat, headache, fatigue, and allergy symptoms. During the peak of illness, my homestay mom had me participate in a series of homeopathic treatments to alleviate the symptoms. For the cold, I was told to heat water in a pan, take it off the stove, put eucalyptus oil/Vicks in the water, bend my head over the pot, put a towel over my head and the pan, and breath. This worked wonders! Next, I had lemon-ginger tea. Finally, our dinner was spiced with turmeric, […]

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Oh hey! Namaste.

Aside from food vocabulary, “Namaste” reaches the extent of my Hindi language skills. While in India, I am not actually studying Hindi. Instead I am studying the language Kannada (caw.na.da). This is the official language of my state, Karnataka, while the national language of Hindi is predominantly spoken in northern India. After one class, I am able to write and pronounce 36 of the 51 letters and greet people. In addition to Kannada, I am taking a classes in south Indian culture, international development, and public health. Unfortunately, there are […]

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Goodbye U.S., Hello India (Initial Observations)

I made it! After a very full travel day and a disorientation of my eating and sleeping schedules, I arrived in Bengaluru, India. (NOTE: Bangalore is 11.5 hours ahead of Minneapolis). There are several familiar and nuanced cultural points – I will focus on diet, hospitality, showers, transportation, and communication. 1. Diet From a high level, the Indian diet consists of curries, flat breads, and rice. I relived the Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan experience – this is highly recommended. I also strongly advocate that a daily tea(/coffee) time should […]

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Indianisms

There are two versions of English in India. There’s the British-English they adopted from England during the colonization, which still is taught in schools today. Some schools are taught in only English and are called English-Medium. Otherwise, English is taught in schools as a language requirement. Most Indians will know English, Hindi, their “mother tongue” language, which is their ancestral language and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with where they live, and whatever the local dialect is. There are upwards of 300 different languages in India. These languages mesh […]

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The Art of the Sale

There is a dance in India that is done in shops every single day. It’s the perpetual dance between the seller and the buyer, otherwise known as the ever-frustrating barter. India, I’m on to you. Being a white, American shopper in this country for a little over three months, I’ve done this dance enough to know the steps. Maybe not enough to do it gracefully, but knowing the steps will suffice. Craft is incredibly important to the Indian economy. There are scarves from Kashmir (Cashmere), shoes and leather goods from […]

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How To Eat

During one trip to a sugar cane farm, my friends and I were treated to sweet dosas and coconut chutney for breakfast. The farmers had a huge skillet, and made probably 50 dosas for 10 people. They placed one on our banana leaf in front of us and scooped a huge pile of chutney on the side. My friend Krissy isn’t a big breakfast person, and really doesn’t like dosas. Those are the two worst things that can happen to you while eating an Indian cook’s meal, one: you’re not […]

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My Big Fat Indian Wedding

There are some moments where I forget where I am. India is getting more and more normal to me and sometimes I forget I’m abroad at all. Then, there are other moments where I think, “yep, I’m in India.” I’ve been here for almost a month now and can officially check going to an Indian wedding off my bucket list. When the girl I’m rooming with and I told our host mom, Asha, that we’d like to go to a wedding our first week here she went, “Oh sure, I […]

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Landslide

We walked to the top of the hill and overlooked two man-made bodies of water and the green expanse beyond. I had my red and blue patterned scarf pressed against my nose so the smell wouldn’t cause my already queasy stomach to cough up my breakfast. There were burrs in my sandals but I didn’t feel like bending down to pick them out. The ground beneath me was one layer of dirt over 80 feet of garbage. For my study abroad, the U of M has partnered with the Environmental […]

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