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Celebrating Gandhi’s Birthday in India

 

October 2nd is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and a national holiday in India.  This year I had the honor of being in India on the special day known as Gandhi Jayanti.  Unfortunately I was feeling under the weather (literally, the pollution was getting to me) but I celebrated it anyway by watching the movie Gandhi on cable television and by following the other celebrations throughout the city.

The India people call Gandhi Bapu, which means father in Hindi.  He is considered the father of the nation, and for very good reason.  Few people have had such a profound influence on a nation as Mahatma Gandhi has on India.  He championed the resistance against Britain for independence and after decades of peaceful protests resulting in imprisonment, cruelty and genocide of the Indian people, the nation finally was granted independence on August 15th, 1947. 

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5 Ways that I Deal with the Poor Air Quality in New Delhi

Sitting at my desk, finding it hard to breathe and my head pounding, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt even worse than I did the day before.  I really couldn’t afford another sick day, but I called my driver anyway and headed home for the day, even though it was only 3:00.  I felt like I had a bad chest cold, but without the fever.  This is how bad pollution days in the Delhi area make me feel.  They don’t only affect me physically, but emotionally as well.  I find myself feeling homesick for blue sky and fresh air. Fortunately, after ten months here, I have found 5 helpful ways to deal with the poor air quality in Delhi.

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Dealing with the Monsoons In India

India has one of the most dramatic monsoon seasons of any country, and it looks like this one is finally over.  According to the locals, it was not a proper monsoon season.  To them, a proper monsoon season is when they get at least one week of pretty solid rain.  That didn’t happen this year, but still it was an experience I won’t soon forget!  The storms move in quickly and you can smell the rain coming.  Typically there is thunder and lightning before the actual rain starts.  Then when the rain does start it rains really hard! In fact, they often get a couple of inches of rain in only an hour! 

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15 Things Every Expat Should Know About Living and Working in India

India is a fascinating country, full of geographic wonders, rich history, unique cultural experiences, delicious food and adventures of all kinds, both good and bad.  Almost daily someone asks me if I am enjoying my stay in India, and the truth is, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  It depends on the day really. There is one thing for certain, if you are coming to India to work, be prepared for some serious culture shock!  Here are 15 things I wish I had known before coming here.

1. Workplace Culture:  Indian people are taught to respect their “seniors”.  Authority figures have tremendous power in India and their subordinates rarely question them. They typically do as they are told, no more and no less.  As a result, don’t expect your Indian coworkers or staff to speak up, give you great ideas or put in a lot of extra effort. On the flip side, they are a very social and hard working group of people and once you win their loyalty and respect they will work even harder for you.

2. Tardiness:  When we held our project kick off meeting everyone was late and we started an hour after it was scheduled.  I was horribly offended but soon learned that they mean no disrespect.  The traffic in India is atrocious (see number 3 below) and the simplest things (herd of cows in the road) can have a ripple effect that causes huge delays. The buses and trains are also often late for a number of reasons too which in turns causes their commuters to be late. In fact, I’ve yet to have a single interviewee show up on time for an interview. It’s just their culture.  If nothing else, India will teach you patience.

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Rishikesh India: Much More than Yoga, Vegetarian Food and Shopping! 

Playing my wood flute besides the Ganges River, watching the birds soar high into the Himalaya Mountains, I felt like I never wanted to leave. Rishikesh does that to people. I know more than one person that has showed up in the quaint village only to decide not to leave. The town is brimming with visitors from all nations, creed and color, and most come for one thing, health. Whether it’s to enjoy the holy Ganges River, the many ashrams scattered throughout the hills, or all the vegetarian cuisine, it’s a great place to chill out and find peace with the world. 

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Chandra Taal Lake: Dancing with the Whims of Nature at 14,100 feet (Part 3 of the series)

I stood there feeling high, not from pot, although it was readily available in the area, but from from the sheer ecstasy of the profound beauty before me. Or perhaps it was the altitude of 14,100 feet that made me feel high. Whatever the reason, Kirti and I had journeyed by car, then by bus up Rohtang pass (one of the deadliest roads in the world) and finally hiked about 6 kilometers to reach the khajana (Hindi for treasure) of nature known as Chandra Taal Lake. The soaring mountain peaks and lush green fields surrounding the lake made it look like a painting alive with the whims of nature.

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