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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008


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As promised:

My Dearest Banaras,

Thank you so much for being your insane self- I learned so much with you that I never could have learned in any other place. Honestly, sometimes i was rather disillusioned with you- when i couldnt escape the smell of burning garbage or would have given a kidney just for one day free from the calls of rickshaw drivers or sketchy men- but all in all, i couldnt imagine living for 2 months in any other place. kolkata is cool, but our group would never be what it is now without you.

I love the ghats and the river- watching it sink instead of watching the leaves fall at home and how it looked when the moon was rising over it that night we walked to mark-ji's, and i love the wierd fire-twirling hippies and the funny internet guys at tiwari who always ask about my running and how gossip flies like wildfire ("i heard that 2 girls from dragons SMOKE cigarettes!!") and more than anything, i love my family and how i feel totally comfortable and at home in a place that i didnt even know existed several months ago. I can give directions to godoli like im giving directions to the shaws at home- casually, like its no big deal, because it isn't- and have a good argue with a rickshaw driver over the price of a ride to lanka- in hindi. its like there is this sweet, dirty, noisy corner of the world that ive made my own and it feels really... empowering. i love the conversations i have with sophia on the ghats and i loved the first boat ride we took that night when it finally sank in that i was here and doing what i'd literally day dreamed about doing ever since i was 16 and got back from guatemala- looking at the catalogue and drooling over this program. i had such a different picture in my head and it seemed like 13 weeks was SO long and i cant believe i've actually done it and now it will be over in a day. ive made one of my dreams into reality and its actually better than i'd envisioned.

so thank you, banaras, for being my home away from home, complete with touch of light carrot cake and avid games of backgammon. i hope that at the very least i will always be able to remember how you changed me and how i felt while i was with you- but most of all, i hope that i embody the changes and realizations i had- that they dont have to be remembered because they are a constant and active part of my life.

love,

katie

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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Letter to Banaras

Katie Tomai,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

As promised: My Dearest Banaras, Thank you so much for being your insane self- I learned so much with you that I never could have learned in any other place. Honestly, sometimes i was rather disillusioned with you- when i couldnt escape the smell of burning garbage or would have given a kidney just for […]

Posted On

01/9/09

Author

Katie Tomai

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Well, dosts, it is weird to be writing a yak without sweating in the internet cafe while the powers out or listening to people skyping away next to me or dealing with the sify notification that I only have about 5 minutes left until I'm out of credit for the millionth time.... Here I am instead, sitting in a bed that actually feels more like a mattress than a wood plank and yet writing under these conditions is somehow less comfortable. The fact that I'm writing it for you guys and not the 'folks at home' ( though I love you too!) and that I'm not about to go meet you for some of Kumlauti's chana masala may have something to do with it but, of course, I'm not about to succumb to those negative emotions. So now that I'm (almost) done rambling, here may I present the contents of our group journal that three likne walas worked on.... Please enjoy!

Page 1: Mission Statement

- open mind

-less criticism

- stayin present

- do the do

- allowing yourself to be

- supportive/ communication

- being aware

- honesty w/ self

- unconditional support and help for others; like family

- don't suppress anything

-flexible- accept uncertainty

- embrace the unknown

- accept feedback w/out taking it too personally

- change eachothers' experience w/out impairing it

- harmony

- interdepndence

- be real, be honest

- perseverance

- embrace every emotion because seeing what bothers you about others is in self

Page 4: What is Development?

- Progression towards something

- Teleographic: moving towards certain goal

- comparrison

- "buzz word"

- idea didn't really exist before WWII

* first world: technologically advanced, fortunate (USA and allies)

* second world: soviet

* 3rd world: everyone else

" Good Life"

  • stable government
  • family, personal connection
  • security
  • food and water
  • shelter
  • comfort
  • health care
  • peace
  • love
  • opportunity
  • human rights
  • music and entertainment
  • freedom
  • education
  • choice
  • environmental health
  • spiritual well being
  • responsive and accountable govt.
  • individual space
  • community
  • economic stability
  • organization
  • mental health
  • health

FINAL FOUR:

1. LOVE

2. PERSONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

3. PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

4. OPPORTUNITY

Page 6: My Favorite Parts of People by Katie

Genevieve: her patience in answering the millions of questions I ask whenever I'm with her. And her fabulous shopping and salwar picking advice/ skills.

Bryan: when he talks in his "salty old sea man from another century" voice. And whenever he talks philosophy/ tibetan buddhism/ life in general.

Liz: when she plays with my hair. And how she always seems to ahve the perfect quote for any given moment.

Bantu: When he says silly things that totally take me by surprise. And how he takes care of us on so many different levels with his Benares knowledge/ hookups in little ( and big) ways in such a quiet way.

Joey: When he plays guitar and how he always has such a unique way of saying things.

Jennie: When she laughs, especially when its something funny in her head. And how she's just so damn kind.

Jackie: how she always sees the best in situations and how she is constantly surprising me with her many different facets.

Maud: When she's really happy and her face just lights up. And watching her take pictures.

Donny: his laugh and his Thomas Merton talk, and how he always has something to make me laugh.

Hannah: her different faces ( and clicking mouth noises). And how she always seems to have a grasp on what's going on.

Sarah: when she get's really excited ( which is a lot) and her face radiates enthusiasm. And how people who like tool AND radiohead make her so happy.

Lillian/ Lakshmi: all the different phases and ideas she cycles through ( nun?) nd her strong independent nature.

Sophia: when she wears her high socks for all of trek. And how she's always craving sweets. And how she's someone I always feel like talkin to.

Will: when he says " good ole____ ( insert name here)" when he thinks your being ridiculous. And how he is always wonering over to different people just to ask how they are.

Amanda: when she's feeling good and in her groove and it shows. And how she's such a strong willed woman without even knowing it.

+ for katie ( by jennie): how she can see the most beautiful things and put it into words so naturally (see above) and when she has her adorable mom moments ( peeling apples). And the fact that her heart is so purely good and her spirit so damn awesome.

Page 9: What I Love Most about our Group In India ( so far) by Sarah

What I love most about India is the random insane events that occur on an alarmingly regular basis. On any given day people get "gored" by cows, harassed for money, hear musical danyavads, see religious processions and are climbed all over by Anandi and Babu. Pictures are taken of babies with kohl-rimmed eyes, dogs missing patches of fur, and insane rickshaw drivers climbing trees. The air in Benares is filled with the sickly sweet odor of gulab jamun, the overpowering scent of curry, and the stench of urine. At the program housewe are told to touch our feet to our heads "slowly slowly", asked if " I can rub it?" ( thanks, Binitji) and fed delicious dahi and subji.

Upon rereading this, I feel like I've just written the stereotypical love letter to Beneares that we vowed not to write. I have become the pretentious westerner dressed in Indian clothing that I vowed not to become. And yet I can't help it. I am so happy here. And I really feel that I owe that in part to our group ( ooh cheesy). IN al seriousness though, the craziness of Benares can get to be alittle much for me ( I think for all of us) and the only thing that alleviates my frustration, fear, or anger is having my dragons to run to and explain my entire insane experience, complete with mim and voice imitation. It is such a releif to walk in the morning or whenever and share all our stories of crazy experiences ( and these stories are always available in abundance). Everyone has had low moments when they've felt like they just can't do it any more, and being able to feed off of each other's highs and lows helps so much. INdia is a crazy place, and it's only going to get crazier, but the next time a man chases me down the street screaming "bella!" I know who to turn to.

Page 11: Jennie's Official Likne Wala entry by Jennie

October 23, 2008

So I'm sitting in the very room that was the site of what I would consider our incredibly successful D squared ( Dosa and Dance) party last sunday, dreading the imminent momentwhere I will be unable to refuse the eggs currently being 'specially' prepared for my dinner. The thing is, I really really don't like eggs. And I've seen the eggs they sell here on the streets, definitely not Grade A. But when we made those lists of greatest hopes and fears one of our first nights here in lovely Varanasi, I vowed to be open to new experiences, to everything really. So I'm being oh so brave and facing the eggs.

But the reason I'm sharing this irrelevant and definitely embarrassing information in this rather sacred/ public domain is because while this is an incredibly small and petty reflection of how I feel I've learned to take some sorts of risks here in India, I really feelt hat I would be far less inclined or maybe even unable to live this way at present were it not for the fact that I happen to have 12 incredible ( there's not really a better word however overused it may be) people who have- wihtout knowing it- helped me get here.

Alas, THank you. Thanks for being who you are- for letting that 'you-ness' bring you to ze visions of india fall 2008 semester and being generally awesome. For saying and doing and feeling and showing and jsut living the way you each are, because all of it, all of you have brought me to a place in my life ( or maybe situations a better term) where I'm not afraid to take these "visions of india," appreciate them, and- the part I never really thought would be hard but in hindsight couldn't have done without all of you- breaking down the bubble isolating these visions and actually experiencing India, and- deep moment- life...

I don't want to sound like a crazy person, but I think being crazy is much more fun than the alternative. And if I'm being honest, then I'm just going to risk ( aha, you see what an impact you've had on me!) making a complete fool of myself and hope you understand that I really am just grateful simply for all of you being you. Katie's descriptions were 100% perfect- so good job universe/ brahman, you've managed to procure at least 12 great/ bahut bahut bahut utcha people, and I couldn't be happier to have these three months with them.

So like Sarah said- thanks for eing there with your stories and smiles and sometimes your complaints. I am not afraid to be cheesy because with the prospect of these eggs looming in my near future, cheese- even the weird processed variety- is a most welcome thing.

DANYAVAD( music please)

Peace, Love, and Happiness,

Jennie

So that's it for now!

Miss you all loads,

Jennie

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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The astoundingly impressive group journal

Jennie "the Paparazi" Bernstein,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Well, dosts, it is weird to be writing a yak without sweating in the internet cafe while the powers out or listening to people skyping away next to me or dealing with the sify notification that I only have about 5 minutes left until I’m out of credit for the millionth time…. Here I am […]

Posted On

12/17/08

Author

Jennie "the Paparazi" Bernstein

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Namaste from Cambodia!

Man, I miss you guys and Banares so much. My travels here through Thailand and Cambodia are wrapping up and boy its been a pretty big culture shock already. I keep finding myself wandering towards the Indian resturants and asking "Ap Hindustani hai?" Then hoping that I can use my limited Hindi with them and have them send me back a few weeks to thebanks of the Ganga.

But, the reason that I'm writing was that today after I did a tour of Angar Watt (YOU GUYS HAVE TO GO) I stumbled upon a copy of The Economist and they have a big article on India in it. Banares is even mentioned in one of them. So, I choaked up the 6 USD (yes they use USD here its kind of wierd to go to the ATM and have it spit out some bucks at you) and just read it over a plate of french fries. Read it! It's really good.

Talk to you guys soon. God Bless.

-Dhoni

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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The Economist

Donny Ryan,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Namaste from Cambodia! Man, I miss you guys and Banares so much. My travels here through Thailand and Cambodia are wrapping up and boy its been a pretty big culture shock already. I keep finding myself wandering towards the Indian resturants and asking "Ap Hindustani hai?" Then hoping that I can use my limited Hindi […]

Posted On

12/17/08

Author

Donny Ryan

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To the place that has become another one of my homes,

Thank you.

In your streets I made the journey to places within myself that I knew existed, but could not touch. The program house at sunrise - my yoga salutations, giving thanks for being alive; the internet cafe where I struggled to deal with home issues, and the first hints of cultural backlash leapt from facebook into me, and where I also yak-ed about things worth writing about, spinning stories and telling people bits of my discoveries as I picked them out. The rickshaw rides - bargaining, sitting on top of the world, feeling white, feeling vulnerable, disgusted, sick, sad, sympathetic, independent or confused; seeing things that were sweet, funny, weird, gross or heart-breaking. In your rickshaws I wrestled with issues of humanity, allowing myself to be pulled by another, see-sawing between over-paying out of pity, and outrage at being overcharged - these issues led me to bigger ones: why am I this white privileged passenger, and not this barefoot, thin, desperate man? So I don't have an answer, but I'm thinking, which is even better. Sitting in the guru's room, feeling young and ambitious and motivated. Wanting to learn and seek out things and take in all the advice so graciously being given to me.

Becoming comfortable with silence.

Home. My kitchen table, my room, the front little porch- sitting in the evening, eating, reading, drinking tea... nowhere else to run to, nothing to divert my attention from just being there in my Indian house. No computers or parties or phone calls. These people, who, really, I don't know very much about, they are my family here. Last night, Nishi fed me with her hands, Dalli held my hands, Kumlauti's daughter painted my hands... I have touched so many people here, gotten gross stuff on them, used them as utensils and TP, written things with them... My connections with this city are undeniable, and it's HARD to let go and process that I'm leaving.

I love this city. I'm excited for my home city, but in you I have discovered things about myself- what I want to do, who I want to be, how I want to see the world - what could possibly be more valuable? I'm leaving things behind: my family, my fears about germs and awkward silences...

But mostly I'm just grateful. Grateful to have had such a life-changing (maybe I should say life-influencing) experience, to have gotten a better sense of who I am and what I believe in- all in you! A city that I never dreamed I'd actually make it to, or could have imagined.

So I'm sad to go, because separating from the people and places I now associate with these changes in me is painful. But I'm happy, too, because this has given me more than I had hoped, and I will always know that this holy city has impacted me on a truly divine level within myself. My life is my own. Om namah shivayah.

Love, Henna

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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Letter to Banaras

Hannah Judge,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

To the place that has become another one of my homes, Thank you. In your streets I made the journey to places within myself that I knew existed, but could not touch. The program house at sunrise – my yoga salutations, giving thanks for being alive; the internet cafe where I struggled to deal with […]

Posted On

12/15/08

Author

Hannah Judge

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Ok, here's the Sutra (Buddhist text) I found on the streets of Calcutta on the last day of our program. Call it coincidence, but I think it really captures something about our little band of Dragons this fall. Enjoy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

~Thus have I heard~

Once the Bodhisattva was residing in Assi Ghat, when a radiant Deva appeared before her eyes. In awe of the heavenly being before her, the Bodhisattva, with palms pressed together, exclaimed: "praise tell, oh Splendid One, to whom in this life should we give thanks?"

To this, the Deva replied:

"Homage to all Beings of the past, present and future. In the vastness of what Is, all beings emerge fully awake, perfected and liberated. To all beings, large and small, seen and unseen, born and to be born, we give thanks.

Homage to Space, the groundless ground in which all things exist. Cradle of the Universe, Mother of all, pregnant voidness of life, to you we give thanks.

Homage to Water, the liquid nectar flowing across continents and through rivers both within our bodies and without. The blood that flows through our smallest capillaries and the salt in the greatest of oceans have but your one taste. To Water, we give thanks.

Homage to Earth, to the soil, plants, trees, and rocks. Our only home and our one true body. The great Earth only knows how to give, it asks for nothing in return. It gives even as her most powerful children forget her most basic limits. To this Earth we both ask for forgiveness and offer our thanks.

Homage to Will, the gentlest soul in a world that so often shoos our gentleness away to make room for what is harshest. King of blue dining tent games, lover of art and chicken chili, Better Midler's best friend. Deep thinking, understated, and always understanding. Will, to you we give thanks.

Homage to Amanda, so curious about the way this world is put together, so ready to go out and make it more beautiful. Penetrating thinker, future development expert, Home stay escape artist, Bryan's tennis partner, quiet but never silent. Always ready to exchange pain for love. To Amanda, we give thanks.

Homage to Jackie, the oldest of our twelve, the one who traded hot arizona sun and even hotter tanning beds for something so radical as India. Amazing singer, Anandi's big sister. The one who said she wanted to "make a profession out of happiness," always fun, always real. To sweet-voiced Jackie we give thanks.

Homage to Hannah, heart as big as the Ganges and nearly as tall as the banyan trees that line her banks. At times, a cow, a student of ayurveda, a yogini, a disco queen and yet always a friend to all. Undeterred by sketchy gurus, asthma-inducing peaks, or a lack of tonsils. Hannah shined and India shined back, and to Hannah, we give thanks.

Homage to Sara, with more energy than the Gods at the moment of creation's birth. Sara, who seeks both the dancing flux of the world as well as the possibility of a stillness beyond it. Master plug-in baker, brilliant thinker and diligent downward-dogger. To Sara we give thanks.

Homage to Donny, the true embodiment of a karma yogi, chopping vegetables and offering smiles as the path to God. Donny is, as he was once told, "a true spiritual dude." Transforming into a night club king at the turn of a dime, not losing himself to his surroundings, stable, hilarious, to Donny we give thanks.

Homage to Maud, fearless in her pursuit of truth, mercilessly slaying the 9-headed demons of illusion without losing the quirkiness of her humor. The artist who found her voice in paints that Anandi mixed together, the one somehow so pleasantly European and yet totally Californian at the same time. Sassy when she has shoulders, courageous even when she doesn't. To Maud, we give thanks.

Homage to Lillian, true seeker and artist. If she only knew how talented she is. Finding Christ and meaning in the slums of an ancient Hindu city, seeing "God in emptiness and emptiness in God," I'm gonna rule the dance floor in a sequin top and be a poet," friend to all who cross her path. To Lillian we give thanks.

Homage to Joey, the 2nd best dressed man in Assi Ghat, losing hair throughout the journey, returning home looking like a world-weary Chinese monk. The funniest one in the world when decked out with a Flintstones canteen, yet still searching for that liberating truth he's seen before in psychic vision. Taekwando master, Papu's best friend, to Joey we give thanks.

Homage to Katie, brilliant, penetrating eyes seeing the wonder and horror and humor of this world while always being just who she always was and always needs to be: just Katie. Buddhist boy-chaser, Binit-ji's star student. So totally grounded, and just, well, totally pleasant to be around. Katie of the blondest hair, to her we give thanks.

Homage to Sophia, wise far beyond her 17 years, caretaker of small children and even smaller dogs, patient with jewelry gurus and creator of her own beautiful work. Joy from Calcutta's secret crush and Shivani's greatest benefactor. Did I mention wise far beyond her years? To Sophia we give thanks.

Homage to Jennie, the one who could laugh and not cry when India landed its one thousand and first sucker punch, appreciator of monkey hats and men who climb in trees, champion of the fragile river, deeply deeply interested in the whos, whys and whats. Whether Berkeley or NYU, photographer or writer, always somehow smiling, to Jennie, we give thanks.

Homage to Liz, the one who left too soon. A beautiful being both inside and out. So true to herself, so true to those around her. Veteran rock-climber, Varanasi first-timer. Unlikely flautist, most likely to be smiling. Earth mother, mountain queen, journal master, friend forever. To Liz, we give thanks.

Homage to Genevieve, India wizard, whipping ashen covered babas and bizarre back alley Varanasi gems out of a hat big enough for Kali. The devotee of the Goddess, mantra master. The one who lets India in and still sees the laughter behind the sadness. The best dressed woman in Assi Ghat, with the saris and gold to prove it. The one who needs to marry a philosopher-musician. A big sister, a true friend, to Gen, we give thanks.

Homage to Devendra Pandey, our one and only Bantu-ji. The one without whome none of this whole drama would have been possible in the first place. The best dressed man in Assi ghat, master planner and true guru-ji, to Bantu, we give thanks.

Homage to Ganga-ji, river beyond all rivers, dream-time flow of tradition and change, receding banks and the light that's there at sunrise. The ultimate survivor, the ultimate savior. To Ganga-ji, we give thanks.

Homage to Banaras, most sacred city in a land overflowing with sacred cities. Heart of the world. Home to Lord Shiva. Home to crying street dogs and ecstatic prayer. Home to pandits and liars, joy and pain, birth and death, the beginning and ending of all things. Our second home, our inner guru, to Banaras, we can only say, thanks."

With those words, the Bodhisattva raised her head, tears in her eyes, disbelieving that twelve young royals had escaped the palace walls and seen what lay beyond. Then she said, "In a world so full of greed, hate and delusion, how miraculous it is that such a thing is even possible. And yet what will become of these twelve once they return to their kingdoms?"

To this, the Deva replied:

"They will return to their kingdoms, but their gates will be shattered, the guard houses shuttered. The palace walls no longer possess them, the myths of their homelands no longer control them. To the extent that they can see this, they should know the following: they are free."

With this the Deva bowed, and all beings bore witness to the miracle of this Truth.

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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The India Fall Semester 2008 Sutra

Bryan Newman,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Ok, here’s the Sutra (Buddhist text) I found on the streets of Calcutta on the last day of our program. Call it coincidence, but I think it really captures something about our little band of Dragons this fall. Enjoy. ———————————————————————– ~Thus have I heard~ Once the Bodhisattva was residing in Assi Ghat, when a radiant […]

Posted On

12/11/08

Author

Bryan Newman

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I dont know why you say goodbye i say hello.

Hello. Hello!

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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Hello.

Joseph Lipman,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

I dont know why you say goodbye i say hello. Hello. Hello!

Posted On

12/9/08

Author

Joseph Lipman

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    [post_content] => My name is Aviva Fiske and I was a student on this semester in the fall of 2007. Right now I'm up at an ungodly hour of the morning writing a paper for one of my classes. I'm exhausted, and it's cold and snowy outside. I stopped writing for a moment to think just now and I remembered something. I remembered one day sitting in the telephone booth at the internet cafe near the program house and I said to my Mom, "I'm so much more grateful for my education now. I really want to use it for something. Now when I'm up at 2 in the morning writing a paper, I'll know why." Well, I'm up at 2 in the morning writing a paper, and I became afraid that I was losing sight of all that India gave me. I decided to read a few of your Yak Yak postings, and suddenly everything came flooding back. The main street of Assi Ghat, the man I used to buy chai from every morning, my host family, the constant ringing of the bells at the temples, the water buffalo, the colors, the smells, the crowding, the noise. And although I'm still exhausted, all of these things reinvigorated me and reminded me of why I want to make everything I can from what I have. Thank you all for reinspiring me with your reflections. Your words have reached around the world! I assume at least some of you are headed back soon, so welcome home! 
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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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From a tired college student…

Aviva Fiske,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

My name is Aviva Fiske and I was a student on this semester in the fall of 2007. Right now I’m up at an ungodly hour of the morning writing a paper for one of my classes. I’m exhausted, and it’s cold and snowy outside. I stopped writing for a moment to think just now […]

Posted On

12/8/08

Author

Aviva Fiske

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-12-07 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

oh god, this is emabarassing.

im sitting in an internet cafe crying. i cant help it. i was sitting at a computer doing the instructor evaluations- a bummer for us, because the last thing we want on our last full day together as a group is to be cooped up in an internet cafe for HOURS typing them up- looking around youtube for something for my ears to enjoy while i grudgingly completed the forms.

for some reason, this group has had a real thing for alanis morisette this whole trip- she's one of the artists we always seem to revert back to singing, almost subconciously, and you know if one person has it in their head its just a matter of time before the whole group starts humming it.

anyway, i figured some alanis would be nice right now. so i plug her nameinto youtube and the song "thank you" comes up- i forgot she wrote that song. so i hit play.

and thats when the tears start. i'd totally forgotten that the lyrics feature this fabulous country we are in right now. they go like this:

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

how bout me not blaming you for everything
how bout me enjoying the moment for once
how bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
how bout grieving it all one at a time

the moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle
the moment I jumped off of it
was the moment I touched down

how bout no longer being masochistic
how bout remembering your divinity
how bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
how bout not equating death with stopping

what could be more appropriate to describe our time here? the terror and disillusionment of finding yourself in this new place with people you will spend all your time with for the next 3 months? the silence of bodhgaya? the learning and experience that comes with letting go and letting this country into your heart and mouth and eyes and ears and pores?

and all i can think is, god alanis is right. I am so f***ing grateful. so grateful i even feel the need to type a scantily covered explitive to add some force and power to what im saying.the evaluations have been so difficult for me to write for precisely this reason; it has been such an awesome experience that its hard for me to want to change anything. anything done differently would lead to a different experience and i feel like mine was perfect- evenwith all its imperfections. or maybe because of them. coming to india with dragons was literally the best choice ive made- oneout of billions- in the 20 short years of my life. how often can anyone say that with conviction? the best choice ive ever made. and now i can, hands down. ive feltreally alive more times in these 3 months than i have in the course of my whole life so far. joey was telling us about a graduation speech he heard in which the speaker told them that in his entire life, he'd onlly really been alive for a minute and 30 seconds of it: the lump sum of memorable times in his life, like getting married or when his children were born. kind of inspiring and terrifying all at the same time. makes you wonder: how often am i really alive? really living? it scares me witless to realize that its not nearly as often as i think it is. i have a hard time remembering what i did yesterday. but at the same time, it inspires me to sit up and pay attention- this is my life, damn it! and when i think about the times when i've done the most living, it has been in india. and its all thanks to this wonderful crazy assortment ofpeople and circumstances thatflowed togetherto make it what it is. its thanks to this country. thanks to these amazing people i came here with and the amazing ones i met while here.

i feel a bit of a cheese ball being so unabashedly in love with this program, company, country, and group of people. im young- im supposed to be more critical or something, right? but i dont care anymore. i dont even really care all that much that im crying in my seat right now. its funny, i used to HATE crying in front of people. im a crier, but i prefer to do it out of the public eye- until india. just another way in which this country has opened me up and made me a more honest and authentic person. its addicting, this honesty. its just the right amount of thrill and reward to keep you coming back for more.

anyway, now i am going to stop crying. im going to click the "submit" button and walk out into the bustle of calcutta. i'll probably treat myself to some coffee and contemplate my next move, all the while trying to not to be sad that its the last time i'll ever file a yak away under the "in-field" section of the posting board. but binit-ji said it best: "meeting and parting is the way of life." and now, no matter what happens next, i have this amazing experience and an entire group of people that i love and who love me back. thats all that i could have asked for.

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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tell alanis morisette i say thanks

Katie Tomai,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

oh god, this is emabarassing. im sitting in an internet cafe crying. i cant help it. i was sitting at a computer doing the instructor evaluations- a bummer for us, because the last thing we want on our last full day together as a group is to be cooped up in an internet cafe for […]

Posted On

12/7/08

Author

Katie Tomai

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-12-05 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Namaste friends and families,

This is just a quick note to say that the 12 of us (9 students, Genevieve, Bantu and Bryan) arrived safely and happily in the "city of joy," Calcutta, this morning at around 11 after a very cozy overnight train ride from Varanasi. We will be exploring the city as well as doing lots of wrap up stuff here before Bryan heads back with Joey, Maud, Sophie and Hannah on the morning of the 8th, while Donny, Sara, Lillian, Katie and Jennie all go off to their next adventures.


As always, we are keeping a very close eye on the security situation here, but have no immediate problems here at the moment.


Thank you!


~Bryan and Genevieve

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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Arrived in Calcutta!

Bryan and Genevieve,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Namaste friends and families, This is just a quick note to say that the 12 of us (9 students, Genevieve, Bantu and Bryan) arrived safely and happily in the "city of joy," Calcutta, this morning at around 11 after a very cozy overnight train ride from Varanasi. We will be exploring the city as well […]

Posted On

12/5/08

Author

Bryan and Genevieve

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    [post_content] => 

Dear Parents,

Below is the last leg of the return international itinerary. It's hard to believe that your students will be home so soon. We hope you are excited!!

December 8th

Amercan Airlines

LPB - MIA

7:45am - 4:05pm

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

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Return Flight Info

Dragons Admin,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2008

Description

Dear Parents, Below is the last leg of the return international itinerary. It’s hard to believe that your students will be home so soon. We hope you are excited!! December 8th Amercan Airlines LPB – MIA 7:45am – 4:05pm

Posted On

12/4/08

Author

Dragons Admin

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