Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pizza...not so mmm these days

Today was another day of feasting on pizza. Last week I had pizza every day. This week has been better, today was my first time (its only Wednesday). So those in charge at the SID program almost always get pizza (because it is the most feasible), from the local pizza joint, for our meetings, seminars, and other random gatherings we have. Lately, as many students especially international prep to go home, mutterings about weight gain have slowly taken precedence over the crap happening in the world, from men and women! It's no surprise with our high consumption of pizza, like the one in the photo, which yes I did have 2 slices of today.  I did some googling and found that one slice of cheese pizza has 230 calories ( I would say in each sitting we average about 2 slices (for me 3 if there's enough). So thats 460 calories in one sitting and with our massive workload and utter exhaustion many of us don't make it to the gym. Even patting down the pizza in efforts to get rid of the grease is apparently proving to not be enough. You know what, for the time being the mutterings will continue until the next slice comes our way, because hey, until us starving graduate students start making money, we'll take the FREE food any day. Cheers to the next slice! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is TEXAS size heat!

I think everyone in the Boston area wishes they were this duck today. It is a whooping 90 degrees here!!!! Thats worse than back home, which is at a cool 72. But I'm not complaining. I'll take this heat over freezing any day! 

The photo was taken during my first trip to D.C. in Oct., 2008. The duck was taking a dip in the reflection pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I would love (and hoping) to move to D.C. once I graduate from this place. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Funny The Way It Is"

I took this photo in 2003 while in undergrad with my old school film SLR. I was learning/experimenting with composition of photos. I like how this one turned out. The only connection of this photo with the title of the post is that the title is Dave Matthews Band's new song, Funny The Way It Is, and he plays the guitar (not this one, but a guitar). : ) I definitely recommend the song. Can't wait for the new album coming out this summer. Here are a few verses from the middle of the song: 

Funny the way it is 
And if you think about it 
Somebody’s goin’ hungry 
And someone else is eatin’ out 
Funny the way it is 
Whether right or wrong 
Somebody’s heart is broken 
And it becomes your favorite song 

The way your mouth feels in a lover’s kiss 
Like a pretty bird on a breeze 
Or water to a fish 
But a bomb blast brings the building crashin’ to the floor 
Hear the laughter while the children play war 

Funny the way it is 
And if you think about it 
One kid walks 10 miles to school 
While another’s droppin’ out 
Funny the way it is 
No matter right or wrong 
On a soldier’s last breath 
His baby’s being born 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I have nobody in particular to ask this techy question to to the general public (as if anyone I don't know reads this, but just in case) How come photos I post on the blog are losing the vibrancy of their colors and how do I fix that???


So Spring is FINALLY here in Boston. Slowly people are coming out from hibernation. The streets are more active day and night and I've noticed people smiling more or at least I like to think so. Walking down Mass Ave. yesterday to get to the train station on my to school I saw this tree. I love how some of the branches have leaves, marking the spring, while the other half is still struggling to leave winter. A perfect display of the tree's battle against winter. I'll be watching this tree to see how quickly it progresses towards winning a full spring bloom. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Changing Gender Roles

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago during my first trip to NYC. My friends, Lilis and Lier, and I had been walking around all day in Manhattan on a chilly Friday morning. After walking through Soho and doing some jewelry shopping we went to curry hill to have some Indian Food at this great restaurant with an all vegetarian buffet. We were so hungry that we literally did not talk for the first 15 minutes as we were stuffing our faces. It was after we had finished and were unable to move that I noticed the South Asian family sitting across the way. As the man was feeding his daughter and the mother was eating, I slyly (at least I hope so) took his photo. There is something very loving about seeing a man interacting with his daughter.

I'm currently working on a paper about how to measure empowerment. One of the key measurements for empowerment is the changing nature of the relationship between men and women. I would say this photo illustrates that well. I wonder how many men would take the time to feed their child, especially their girl child. I'm sure there are quite a few and I'm even more sure that we still have a long way to go, but for now at least I've captured one. Slowly, but surely the gender roles will evolve.... at least I hope so. : )

Monday, April 20, 2009

No Title

The picture speaks for itself. Taken in Gujarat 2008, near my parents villages.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No more Snow...YAY!

Sadly, heading back to Boston today, but am SOOOO glad that there's no more snow! I won't get to take any more photos of the snow, but I can live with that. : )

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Not Cherry Blossoms

Last week I went to New York City for the first time. One of the things I was excited about seeing were the cherry blossoms. At the time my friends and I thought these were it, but later realized that they are magnolias, still incredibly beautiful. Eh, next year I'll try to see the blossoms, this was the year to see pink magnolias... : ) 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I took this photo this morning of our incoming new neighbors. Tearing down beautiful healthy trees in the name of development, the other kind of development, the development that we as development practitioners are quick to judge as negative, as environmental poachers. But then I started thinking is our development of increasing the choices people have that much different than the development of constructing buildings? Are we not just as responsible for the destruction of the earth with our attempts to build new schools, hospitals, and other socially responsible buildings? Grant it what development practitioners do is not for the gains of profit and this new motel coming in is for profits, but when you look at it, it is providing a need, a service. I know we can build green now, but does it really make much of a difference? Shouldn't we be re-doing the buildings already in place, at least whenever possible? Who says we always have to build new? 
Consumers. We as shoppers are quick to say we want something new. We negatively label refurbished as used, unwanted. We want a motel thats new, not one thats been around and re-modeled. We want new clothes, not those discarded by someone else. A new car, new electronics, new new new. While the used is torn down or thrown out. Though we can't all always afford the new, there are plenty of people who can, contributing to the massive amounts of garbage this world accumulates. We clear land on the one side and pile up junk on the other. 

There are so many uses of the word, idea, people, buildings, land, etc. But they all boil down to the creating of something new, of advancing. I just hope that one day the idea of creating something new from something old becomes more widespread and is stripped of its negative connotations. As they say someone else's trash is another's treasure. 

I wonder what these trees will be made into...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All Gone

I took this photo at a bar in Cambridge. A few friends and I decided to head to the bar after classes to take a break. The glass once full of cool beer has been downed by somebody. I sometimes wonder when I see an empty glass of alcohol who drank it and why...was the person sad or celebrating; did she or he have one or many; where do they live and what do they do??? So many endless questions about people I don't know, but I wonder sometimes. I easily get lost in such thoughts. Some of my friends know that when we go out to restaurants I like to sit where I can see people. I like to think up stories of what they are talking about and feeling. I think this time the person who drank this beer was taking a moment to relax and get away from the hectic life outside the bar. Everybody needs a space to take a moment, with or without beer. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

cross your fingers and your toes

I woke up this morning to dark clouds and the roaring thunder. Thankfully, that passed within a couple of hours. I just took this photo of the green green grass outside while listening to India Arie's "A Beautiful Day". I love this song. Here are the lyrics to the first verse...

Life is a journey,
Not a destination, 
There are no mistakes, 
Just chances we've taken 
Lay down your regrets cause all we have is now...

Many of my friends and myself seem me to be feeling discouraged by our futures. So much of our lives is up in the air as we transition into the next phase of our lives. We should be feeling excited, but I think at this moment we are feeling anxious and unsure. Personally, I hate that this process is not in my control. I've done all I can and now just have to wait for someone out there to believe in me and take a chance on me. I've got my fingers crossed for my friends and myself because as India Arie sings "There are no mistakes, Just chances we've taken." 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Idled Thinking

"You cannot plow a field by turning it over in your mind." ~ Author Unknown

This photo was taken in 2008 in Andhra Pradesh, India. I rode past it on the back of a scooter on my way to a community meeting. Returning from the meeting, I asked my friend Maitreyi to pull over because I had to take a picture. Made me think of the movie Shrek when they are in the field of sunflowers talking about how people are like onions. : ) 

As I try to pack my life into a suitcase, yet again, I came across my old quote book. I started keeping this book a few years ago, but I haven't written in it in a year. It's a space for me to write down things that I read or hear that I think are meaningful. While I was going through it tonight, I found the quote above. I feel its quite fitting at this moment. So many of us spend relentless hours thinking about the things we want to do/need to do, that we become too tired or too discouraged to actually get anything done. My fear is will constant idled thinking lead to losing out on something important? I personally am tired of inactivity, of sitting in class listening to lecture after lecture about what I should be doing out in the field...I want to go to the field and actually do it! But today I've become even more tired of waiting for another to stop thinking, but then again maybe I'm in the wrong...maybe I'm mistaking silence for thinking and not action. Choosing to be silent is taking an action and perhaps I just need to learn to take a hint. I wish, at this moment, I could return to the sunflower fields when I was a bit more hopeful. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mother and Baby

Walking around Heller lately, I have seen so many pregnant women. I can barely juggle the school work, I can't imagine being pregnant and in school. It made me think of the photo above, a woman and her newborn, 15 days old. I took the photo in India in 2009. When I took the photo, we were in their one room house and her eldest daughter and the neighbor's kids were running around. I love the photo because with all the commotion, contributing to the movement in the background, the mother and her child were completely still and kept their eyes on each other. It was as if they were in their own world, speaking their own language with their eyes. The bond between a mother and her child always amazes me...

Monday, April 6, 2009


This photo was taken on my birthday of the flowers given to me by my dear friend Bhavik.  I love the soft feeling of the photo. It really doesn't have a story behind it other than I have a friend who cares. 
: ) 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Working Title

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and green is emerging. YAY!

I want to share this photo because I feel you can feel the warmth of the sun from the photo and I sure do need some warmth back after my first horrendously cold Northeast winter. 

This photo was taken on the steps leading up to the South Platform in Monte Alban in Oaxaca Mexico with my Canon point and shoot camera. I went with my mom to Oaxaca and Mexico City in June 2008, shortly after I returned from India. We've always wanted to visit our neighbor to the south, but always put it off for destinations further away, thinking Mexico is so close we'll eventually get to it. Well, 12 years of living in Texas and we FINALLY DID!

Monte Alban is one of the largest pre-columbian archeological sites in Mexico. It was the economic and political centre of the Zapotecs. I sometimes dream of being an archeologist trying to piece together stories of the past. But I always wonder when I go to historical sites, how much of the information is true and how much is speculation. We can sadly never know the whole truth of the past. All I do know, is that they were innovative and knew how to use their natural resources. For instance, I've been to Incan, Aztec, and now Zapotec ruins and have consistently found remains of rainwater harvesting structures. They knew not to let precious water go to waste and here some of us are watching rain fall and waste away without catching it for use. I'm no environmentalist, but that is sad. We should be promoting rainwater harvesting. Its low cost and can provide water for washing and bathing, leaving potable water for drinking only. Its a great idea, I think, for everyone, especially those living in desert regions where every drop counts. Its possible to catch water on rooftops and pipe it to a tank that has a simple filtration system. Hopefully, with time and people's support these ideas from the past will catch on again. More information on the pyramids is provided by my dear friend Wikipedia

Saturday, April 4, 2009


This photo was taken when I was home over the summer, 2008, during a family bbq. It's nothing special, just limes, but I LOVE limes : ) and I can't wait to go home and have a Texas size bbq! Only 1 more week!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

r a i n

It's a rainy morning in Boston. I love waking up to the sound of rain. This morning made me think of the time I slept in a hammock in the rainforest in Bolivia. That was a great night with all the sounds: the rain, the birds, the bugs....perfect bliss. 

This photo was taken on another rainy day in Ramapuram village in Andhra Pradesh, India. I was working briefly with Stree Sanghshema Trust photographing their activities. While I was there it rained frequently. I can still hear the drops falling on the dirt roads and all the trees, so soothing. The only bad thing about the rain was the number of snakes that emerged! I took this photo after the rain had stopped, but a drop remained...  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

For Women Everywhere

Mangi devi is the woman in the photo. She was punished for years for something not in her hands, endless miscarriages. But with support from friends, in particular Aruna Roy and everyone at the Barefoot College, she fought for her rights over her own body and as a woman and has now been working with Barefoot for the past 20 years. She didn't abandon her family, but worked and fought with them to win their support. Mangi devi currently advocates for human rights and trains other men and women as night school teachers, while continuing her work in the fields and at home. On top of it all, she inspires women like myself. 

This poem represents all the women I've met so far who have struggled against their husbands, their family, their cultures, and the world to prove that they are human. It inspires me and I hope it inspires you. 

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted  lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns, 
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high, 
Still I'll rise. 

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops, 
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words, 
You may cut me with your eyes, 
You may kill me with your hatefulness, 
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A man and his friend

I had a friend who saw this photo and suggested I start a travel blog. Though this isn't a travel blog, it is one of my favorite photos. 

It was taken with a Canon Rebel SLR, not digital! This was my first SLR camera that my dad gave me when I was in high school. When he gave it to me he said he hoped that one day I would open up my own studio, alongside my 'real' job of course! 

The photo was taken in 2006 during my first trip back to India since I was 6. I went after graduating from undergrad to work with the Barefoot College. I took this around October of that year when the weather was starting to cool down and I was adjusting to life in a village. I had only started learning Hindi in August, so I did not catch the fact that there was a sheep shearing camp happening that day. As I walked around the campus, I wondered where everyone was and then I saw the buzzing crowd. It was just a sheep shearing camp, but it was the first ever solar powered sheep shearing camp! Members of the government of India were visiting various Rajasthani villages to promote sheep raising. Many farmers preferred goats over sheep because they felt that shearing sheep was too expensive because one had to go to someone else to sheer the sheep. The purpose of these camps was to show that sheering sheep isn't that difficult and could be a fruitful endeavor. They invited the few sheep herders around to demonstrate how to shear sheep. Barefoot learned of the camps from flyers and took up the opportunity to promote solar energy by connecting the shears to solar panels.  

This was my first time seeing a sheep being sheared. I was intrigued by the relationships between the farmers and the sheep. Barefoot asked me to go to Kotri, a nearby village, with the government members to visually document the camp for the day. It was a loooong day surrounded by sheep. One of the first farmers to come to the camp was the man in the photo. He had about 40 sheep, but out of those 40 the one in the photo was treated differently. I watched the man for a while and noticed he would hit the other sheep with a stick to get them in line, but he never laid a hand on this one other than to pet it. It was apparent that this was the farmer's favorite because of how the farmer interacted with the sheep. I love this photo because the sheep walked away from the herd to the squatting man and took the position in the photo. I saw it as a very loving and warm show of affection that even the sheep felt. 

Some people have dogs and cats and some have a sheep! 

: )