Thursday, August 17, 2006

Finishing Up in India. Busy.

We've visited a bunch of cities the past week, and I'm kind of sick of traveling. Which is okay, because I land in SLC on the 22nd. I've got a lot of coursework to cram in the next few days, including transcribing some interviews, finishing my footage notes, and writing up my World Religions and Cultural Proofs work. This is going to take some time.

Oh well. Here are a couple photos. First, from Sravalabelagola (say that five times fast - Kem just decided to pronounce a bunch of random syllables and hope people understood). This is a statue of a Jain deity, I've been told. Or he may have just been a Jain saint, a 'skyclad' ascetic who seeks spiritual progress by rejecting all material things. Notice the vines around his arms. I was unable to find out why they're there, but I wonder if they represent a union with nature, or maybe that he stood there for so long, ascetically, that vines simply grew around him.

Second, the palace at Mysore. A pretty romantic sight - too bad we're on a field study and that public displays of affection are pretty taboo in India. A few Indian guys were playing tag on the grass, and Marc and I joined them. They were a lot faster than Marc and I expected, and we embarrassed ourselves by tripping and falling down. But it was a nice place to be anyway. The guys we were playing with were really cool.

Finally, two photos of something called a Temple Chariot at the museum on the campus of the University of Mysore yesterday. Fascinating stuff - full of carvings meant for public education on religion, historical figures, and even health practices. I've included one photo of special interest to much of our group - a lot of the students were really interested in public health and/or women's health. The carving represents childbirth at the time, the woman giving birth supporting herself on two other women, and the woman behind putting pressure on the belly as the baby comes out. From what I understand, these chariots were used for one village or a group of smaller villages and served as their own sort of social education programs. Very interesting.

Okay, well I'm gone. I'll prolly update one more time before we leave India, and then from the good ol' U-S-of-A. Thanks, everyone, for keeping up with me this summer. I'll have things to write about as the semester goes on this Fall, especially about editing, so be sure to keep checking back. Maybe writing samples, film ideas, etc. I've gotten such good feedback on a lot of my writing that I figure I should keep it up. So thanks. See you soon.

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