Category Archives: Pune (India)

Ganesh on the Internet

Ganesh Chaturthi, a celebration of the elephant-headed Hindu god, is in full swing. In honor of the Ganesh festival (which began on September 11 and runs until September 22), a couple items:

– A article I wrote about the 2008 festival has finally found its way to online publication

– Some stunning pictures of the aftereffects of the festival are online here

Ganapati Bappa Moriya!


Navigating the mean streets of India

Where are we?

I’m not claiming that no one ever uses maps in India. And – for the upper classes at least – the increasing popularity of iPhones means that GPS is just a click away. Still, on the whole, people in India get around in a way that constantly challenges detail-oriented, map-obsessed folks like me. My advice (really more directed at myself than anyone else): let go of excessive advanced planning and be prepared to ask for directions at every fork, T and bend in the road. Continue reading

FRO Woes

Continuing with the retrospective, here’s a sorry tale of Indian bureaucracy from my early days in Pune.

Originally emailed to friends and family on July 18, 2008

Not at the FRO (but gives you an idea of Indian crowds)

Ted and I recently felt the full wrath, or rather the indifference, of Indian bureaucracy. All foreigners staying in India for more than 180 days have to register with the local government within fourteen days of their arrival. I was warned that the process could be complicated, but I blithely believed that, having navigated the drawn-out visa process, I could handle this small task. Continue reading

First Impressions

As a kickoff to this new website, I’m sharing some material from my first stay in India (June 2008 – December 2010). Read below my musings on life as a foreigner in a foreign land, written when I was still bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and flushed with cash from the U.S. State Department (thank you, William Fulbright!).

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Originally emailed to friends and family on July 18, 2008

I am three weeks into my nine-month stint as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Pune. My project is entitled “The Philosophical Roots of Indian Environmentalism.” I’m not quite sure what that means yet, but my research will likely entail reading about Indian religions (there is little secular Indian philosophy; instead there is Hindu philosophy and Buddhist philosophy and Jain philosophy), interviewing with activists and professors, and working with environmental NGOs. Continue reading