VloMo08 videoblogging month 2008

VloMo08 : day19 #2 - lunch time rick

lunch time rickshaw ride to the restaurant. there wasn't too much traffic, so there's not crazy driving like you can see sometimes. the fumes from the rickshaws are pretty strong so they're best for short rides / distances only - they use CNG / compressed natural gas. it cost Rs1.40 - so cheap!!



VloMo08 : day19 - lunch time rick from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day19 - taxi drive to work

this is the drive to work in a local taxi. I should have kept the camera running as he overcharged me and wanted me to use him every day to & from work. the drivers always ask this. they ask how long you're here for then tell me they'll give me their number so I can call them. the previous 2 nights it's cost Rs50 to drive home - in peak hour traffic in a local taxi. this ride cost me Rs250. but I got a handwritten receipt from him. I forgot to ask / check that the meter was running. usually if the driver doesn't try to rip me off I give them more money, just for being nice. I shouldn't complain too much, Rs50 is about $1.50 and $250 is $7.75 so both are very cheap, it's just the multiplication factor - this morning's taxi driver was 5 times as expensive!

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VloMo08 : day18 #2 - hotel quirks + (hare) krsna consciousness

a quick look at my mumbai hotel room, plus one of the quirks of Indian hotels - I'm not really complaining about them, it's almost a 'game' to work out / discover what's missing each night (yes, small things amuse me - sometimes there's not a lot to do in hotel rooms on business trips :)

I stayed in india for almost a year in 2006 then lived in other countries and forgot some of the quirks, or rather differences here compared to home, so this video just mentions a couple so I can trigger my memory again - notes to self really. I know I shouldn't think these sorts of things are a big deal & i don't really, especially when I think about how some of the people are living outside, and here I am talking about missing towels... & most of these things are very stereotypical. if I was reading them on someone else's blog I'd wonder what the big deal is. so perhaps in writing them down / videoing them it's like therapy for myself to enforce that things are just different - no better, or no worse in than home. I'm hoping they'll be a future reminder / wake up call for me to remember how lucky I am and what a priviledged life I lead and to try stop being so consumer centric when I get home and get comfy in home life again and these memories fade. the people here are really nice - some of the nicest I've ever met, and that's more important than these quirks in the end.

things like crossing the road and almost getting hit by cars every time - at least for the first couple of weeks till you get used to it then you don't notice any more and have no fear and walk in between cars & rickshaws & their traffic tetris driving skills - every day could be your last here! you get used to it and don't notice after a while, until you go away then come back. the pace is different, the value of life is different. things happen here that don't happen elsewhere.

today we had lunch at a hotel restaurant (they have better hygene standards so there's less chance of getting sick afterwards). I had a toasted cheese & tomato sandwich and some chips (thin french fries). they put tomato sauce in a little container on the table, so I spooned some onto my plate to dip. after we'd finished, I noticed they cleared the plates, but put the tomato sauce container into the cupboard where the menus are kept - I think they might reuse it for other people! this isn't probably the end of the world, but then I remembered I sacrificed my tomato sauce & mustard containers to a family of flies during lunch at the hotel pool on the weekend. there were too many flies around as I was outside and it was really hot. so I pushed the sauces over to the edge of the table and the flies went for them instead of my food (obviously I wasn't having the sauces). so I remembered this and thought "oh no, I hope they don't reuse the sauces at the hotel I'm staying at or someone's (possibly me!) is going to be dipping in sauces that flies have been walking in & eating from" - & u never know where the flies have been before that as there's plenty of horrid things for them to crawl in by the side of the road!! I had sauce tonight, but I gave it a good checking over first. I'm sure it's not reused, but when you see things like that it brings out the worst thoughts in your mind!

it's just the little things in life.

back to the video - then I show the books found in the drawers here - the Gideon Holy Bible which is pretty standard in most hotels, except those I stayed in Jerusalem which had the Torah / Tanhk instead. and the Bhagavad-gita - which is the Hare Krishna book on krsna consciousness - this is the 'as it is' version ie non-interpreted Indian version, presented 'as is'. I like the pictures :) I've been reading this out loud and recording it tonight. it's strange reading out loud - I hardly ever hear my voice, only the voice in my head reading. my pronounciations are shocking! especially of the sanskrit words (or perhaps they're hindi? I'm not sure) I thought reading out loud might help with that.

and yes, I do understand and can see the irony in posting about quirks here and then reading the krsna consciousness writings & philosophy

VloMo08 : day18 - hotel quirks + (hare) krsna consciousness


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VloMo08 : day18 - on chai (tea)

the guys in the office explained chai (tea), one of the most popular drinks in India. the spices (masala) are different in different regions so chai tastes different wherever you are. for 3Rs a pop, it's a bargain too! mmm masala

when I was in Turkey/Istanbul, tea was called cay & pronounced the same as chai. so it's interesting to see the commonalities in language / phonetics too.

VloMo08 : day18 - on chai (tea)


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VloMo08 : day17 - book purchases whilst in India

I actually recorded this video on 09/11/2008 but it was a large file and my computer's been playing up during exporting so I've only had time to compress it tonight.

these are the books I purchased at Mid Land Book store whilst in Delhi. I always buy the annual Sarai Reader - a collection of research papers & project documentation from India and around the world. they always have something that I'm not familiar with - different issues are covered - urban issues, social issues, resettlements, voices of local people, keeping or documenting traditional methods in art & social / community circles + more. the books are available online as pdfs so I've read some of the chapters but I like to have a paper copy as I find them easier to read.

the bookstore owner recommended other books for me to try - mostly feminist books & topics! there were so many that looked really interesting & informative, but I chose one from each publishing house so I can buy more later. some were part of a series on varying topics.

I have a blog post on my site about (some) women in india links + details on the books in case anyone would like to find out more or read them too :

I'm not speaking very clearly in the video - I'm not used to talking & filming at the same time and I should have collected my thoughts a bit more before I started, but I don't have the energy to redo it so it is what it is :) & pulp fiction is different to the graphic novels (both were talked about at sarai i-fellows conference - but it's not clear from what I said in the video). the book "Delhi" is written by Khushwant Singh - sorry! I forgot his name whilst recording the video :(

I'm part way reading through the interviews with women writers & the short stories & the tamil pulp fiction books. yet to start the others - it might take me a while to finish. so far they're all great purchase choices! the interview book is especially interesting as it seems there were many topics that women were 'not meant to write about' in india up until, say the 1990s. I might have to find a collection of younger writers to compare with - though I note there's been quite a few younger Indian writers winning or being nominated for various international writing prizes.

VloMo08 : day17 - book purchases whilst in India



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VloMo08 : day16 - Patta Chitra Katha - traditional folk art of storytelling using visual language

today I watched a video Senthil Kumar posted a video on WADI facebook group called "Arjuna the Archer : AD 2008" - it was based on the techniques of Patta Chitra Katha

I wanted to find out more about this artform and technique, so I googled (without much luck, due to googling the wrong things) and asked the Sarai reader list and received lots of helpful information from many people. after reading about it, it reminds me a bit of the multi-media of a few hundred years ago. multiple paintings / panels on scrolls are read and music played whilst they're read, so there's a mixture of images, music, text, written / spoken word. the artists travel to different villages - equivalent to the communication methods / networks of today transmitting the multimedia messages & works. originally the works were made on cloth using vegetable based paints but these days modern paints are used and most works are done on paper. I hope the traditional methods are not lost completely! the style of painting comes from Orissa and West Bengal. modern artists use both traditional, classical topics as well as current topics & stories - they are trying out new variations of the art too, to keep the method alive and to learn new techniques & skills.

I wrote a blog post (ongoing) about Patta Chitra Katha @ http://www.aliak.com/content/patta-chitra-katha-traditional-folk-art-sto...

VloMo08 - day16


VloMo08 : day16 - Patta Chitra Katha - traditional folk art of storytelling using visual language from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 - Videoblogging Month November 2008

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November 2008 is Videoblogging Month. this year, videos from participants around the world are posting videos to http://www.mefeedia.com/channels/vlomo08. there is also a Vimeo group @ http://vimeo.com/groups/vlomo

the idea is to post one video each day in November. it doesn't have to be fancy - just as long as it moves.

sometimes it's hard to post every day, but you can always catch up later. it's good to capture what was happening during November each year. I've found it interesting to look at the previous year's videos / blog entries - I was traveling then too but in different countries so it seems many of my videos are along similar themes.

this section of the site has my videos. they can also be found in the VloMo08 category on www.aliak.com.

VloMo08 : day15 - Dhobi Ghat Mumbai - public laundry

Dhobi Ghat is a public outdoor laundry where clothes of the local people and hospital & school laundry is done. it's cool to watch - hard work. I asked if the women do this too and he mentioned they wash on other days but that it's heavy duty work so is mostly done by men. it's one of the icons of Mumbai. it's next to a train station where you can see the old trains with people hanging out the doors on weekdays - another iconic image of Mumbai.

VloMo08 : day15 - Dhobi Ghat Mumbai - public laundry


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VloMo08 : day15 - Dhobi Ghat Mumbai - public laundry from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day14 - Mumbai clear skies & hotel

the only place I've seen clear skies whilst in India this trip has been whilst flying above the clouds. often when you're above the clouds you can still see glimpses of the ground whislt there's still light - but the Delhi - Mumbai flight I took 14/11/2008 had a constant thick blanket of smog.

another thing to be lucky for - back home the skies are so clear and blue. this is going into winter in India so there's usually less blue skies, but the smog seems heavier than I remember from 2006 - perhaps I've been away too long.

Mumbai airport is really nice - I thought I'd taken a video but can't find the clip. the hotel I'm staying at is not far from the airport and has an amazing, grandiose foyer - each room opens to the foyer. it's the Intercontinental "The Grand" Hotel. owned by a wealthy, prominent Indian family / company - when you turn on the tv you see a documentary about the owner's life & the story of how he built hotels, and manufactured cars + more.


VloMo08 : day13 - Delhi tap water

tap water in Delhi - it looks the same as home but I get sick if I drink any of this. they have free bottles of water to drink & brush your teeth with at the hotels. the hotels have extra filtration systems, but I'd rather not risk it.

in Delhi water trucks drive around the streets and people take plastic bottles & buckets to fill up once a day. in some villages / hutments (slums) the communal tap only works for an hour or so twice a day - early in the morning or later at night. whilst India gets a lot of water in monsoon season - some cities flood - there's problems with the quality of water. in people's homes there's usually a water filter for a special drinking tap separate to the main water feed. so whilst at home we take it for granted that the water from the tap is safe to drink, in some places it's a luxury.

(trying out the zoom like in the other water tap videos - I don't seem to have a macro setting, or if I do I haven't found it yet)

actually I liked the sounds of the different streams of water as it went down the drain

VloMo08 - day13 - Delhi (Gurgaon) tap water

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VloMo08 : day13 - Delhi tap water from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day12 - Palms Town & Country Club Gurgaon

VloMo08 : day12 - Palms Town & Country Club Gurgaon, near Delhi, India

a quick video of room 105 at The Palms Town & Country Club in Gurgaon, where I'm staying this week. off to Mumbai / Bombay next week for a couple of weeks.

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VloMo08 : day12 - Palms Town & Country Club Gurgaon from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day11 - K2 Korean dinner

VloMo08 : day11 - K2 Korean dinner

I went to dinner tonight with Ricky from work - he took me to the Korean / Chinese restaurant K2 in Gurgaon. & he explained the dishes we had. I had battery problems so some of what he said wasn't saved. the food was very tasty! there's also a karoke room but we didn't do this! others had booked the room

K2, Gurgaon, India

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VloMo08 : day11 - K2 Korean dinner from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day10 - driving home - Gurgaon

driving home in Gurgaon - it's a 35km road leading up to a toll way and it takes about an hour to reach the toll in the evenings. even the motorbikes have problems getting through. maybe a 4wd would have better luck

VloMo08 - day 10
Gurgaon, India

(I'm a couple of days late - was in transit and had missing luggage problems & conversions on pc haven't been going to plan)

- this one's shot using the sony hdr-cx12e (pal)
- converted to avi on windows xp using voltaic hd (win) -> the windows version converts to either avi or wmv but it fails wmv on my pc as something's missing
- then avi converted to mp4 in SUPER (erightsoft.com/SUPER.html)
- then selected 720 size in QT pro (windows) to scale screen display

I think the HD camera did well shooting at night through the car windscreen - this is using lights from the cars.

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VloMo08 : day10 - driving home - Gurgaon from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day9 - off to the bookstore @ South Extension I & home again

VloMo08 : day9 - off to the bookstore @ South Extension I & home again

went for a drive to South Extension I to find Midland Books to buy the Sarai Reader 07 (sarai.net). I ended up buying a few other books too. and some sights out the car window. it's amazing - I recognised many of the streets of Delhi, some things don't change

Delhi's much more smoggy than I remember from 2006 when I was last here. it's the start of winter so there's fog as well at times. but visibility is low.

this time I'm staying in Gurgaon - it's in the next state to Delhi called Haryana. it's where some of the high tech companies have setup offices, and home to many of the Delhi call centres. they're building the Delhi Metro - a modern, air conditioned electric train line that travels throughout the city. many buildings are being constructed. so the dusty streets have more dust than usual.

Gurgaon is a newer satellite city in the state of Haryana, seperated from Delhi by a toll booth where cars pay 21Rs. previously this was a rural area with lots of farming land and villages. this causes traffic jams as people try to find 1Rs or wait for change. trucks wait by the side of the road much of their time as they're not allowed to drive in delhi at certain times. there's an anecdote in the book "Globality" that I read on the plane on the way here (I'll find the quote tonight) (& I asked one of the guys here) that a trip that should take 8hours in a truck to deliver goods from one city to another can take up to 36 hours - much of the time the driver is parked by the side of the road. road conditions are also a factor too.

the city is less than 10years old - the architecture here is much more western and many of the buildings are modern highrises. there's new apartments too for IT workers though they are expensive to buy at 50lakh + (1lakh=100000 rupees). it's a 'cybercity'. there's not a lot of infrastructure for the people though eg you need a car to get to one of the new malls. there's less street stalls where most people in india buy their food & household items. the metro is planning to be ready to Gurgaon before Commonwealth Games in 2010, though it doesn't reach all areas in Gurgaon. the people like the metro as a 30km journey can take ~20mins as opposed to 1-2hours in a car/motorbike (depending on time of day/traffic/road conditions)

sarai members/fellows have done studies on (amongst a wide variety of other things!) the malls and people in india and relocation issues. their publications are available online free to read, though I like to buy a printed copy whenever I come to delhi.

(I'm on hotel internet which is very slow so have only uploaded these to vimeo so far. I'll try upload to blip -> mefeedia soon)

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VloMo08 : day9 - off to the bookstore @ South Extension I & home again from kath on Vimeo.

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VloMo08 : day8 - flying to Delhi via Singapore

VloMo08 : day8 - flying to Delhi via Singapore

just a few clips from the flight SYD - SIN - DEL on 08/11/2008

it was a very tiring couple of flights

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VloMo08 : day8 - flying to Delhi via Singapore from kath on Vimeo.

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