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VloMo08 : day20 - empowerment and laundry

my laundry is back - this trip I had bad luck with laundry - it's taken 3 days to wash my clothes, which meant I ran out this morning. it's my own fault really - I should have asked for the form on the first day, and I should have either brought more underwear or put the clothes in to be washed sooner.

the first day the form was missing so when I came home in the evening there was a note saying they couldn't do the laundry as I hadn't completed the form. fair enough - I was half expecting this to happen but thought I might be lucky. they left forms and I filled one in and submitted the laundry again yesterday.

the second day, yesterday, I came back in the evening one of my shirts was on the bed with a 'customer confirmation' note asking me to confirm that there was a hole in my shirt. it's an old shirt, so yes there was a hole. I called them and said it was ok / confirmed and they collected the shirt, but said this had held up the whole wash. so instead of washing the other clothes and leaving this shirt out, none of my clothes were washed.

which meant I'd run out of clothes for today! so I was washing underwear out this morning in the sink and drying it with the hairdryer. a fun way to spend the morning!

in thinking about this - it is similar to many other things that happen here. people don't seem to be as empowered to make small decisions. I've seen it at work in various departments and also whilst out & about & at the hotels in many visits to india. there seems to be one person to do one small task in the chain of an overall task, and they can't complete their step without approval. which means there's delays further down the line or something is passed on without being checked / worked on. at least the hotel notified me of the problem! I read similar behaviours / scenarios in the "Globality" book as I was flying to India so I don't think my experiences are unique. it sounds like it's a common experience for many companies doing business here. some people get really annoyed & angry about it. I think it's best to understand the reasons for it and try to anticipate what might happen, then give the people the empowerment to allow them to complete their tasks. otherwise, the business might end up 'drying their underwear with a hairdryer' as a work around (so to speak) too!

tonight I arrived home and my laundry was there - all beautifully, if not, redundantly (!!) individually wrapped and hung. beautiful presentation.

20/11/2008

http://blip.tv/file/1489192


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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!!

19/11/2008

http://vimeo.com/2289033

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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

18/11/2008

blog post :
http://www.aliak.com/content/vlomo08-day18-2-hotel-quirks-hare-krsna-con...

http://blip.tv/file/1481873

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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)

18/11/2008

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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 :
http://www.aliak.com/content/women-india-book-related-links

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

17/11/2008

http://blip.tv/file/1477706

blog entry :
http://www.aliak.com/content/vlomo08-day17-book-purchases-whilst-india

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urban knitting - graffiti knitting

deputy-dog blog has posted an article about urban / graffiti knitting & the knitta please crew who do graffiti knitting around their towns. check out the tree cosies below

Knitta began in August 2005, when the soon-to-be-Knittas were discussing their frustration over unfinished knitting projects: half-knitted sweaters and balls of yarn gathering dust. That afternoon, they knit their first door handle. Then it dawned on them ... a tag crew of knitters, bombing the inner city with vibrant, stitched works of art, wrapped around everything from beer bottles on easy nights to public monuments and utility poles on more ambitious outings. With a mix of clandestine moves and gangsta rap - Knitta was born! Today, Knitta is a group of ladies of all ages, nationalities, and ... gender.

there's a video of them on youtube :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=9wVfUwVQhS8

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Frances Goodman's Sculptures - Toilet Graffiti Embroideries

- thanks Avital for the links!

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craftzine.com has a cool Motherboard Dishtowel Embroidery article - embroidery of motherboard circuit boards

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Lion Brand Yarn Studio looks like a great space! I love their stash shelves - they're like an artwork in themselves, and functional too

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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

http://vimeo.com/2260235

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

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

Senthil Kumar posted a video on WADI facebook group called "Arjuna the Archer : AD 2008"

he's also posted it to youtube :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=h-UPtfEkl_o

there's now a facebook page for 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 an equivalent to multi-media, or even video blogging from a few hundred years ago. multiple paintings / panels on scrolls (equating to video frames?) 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, West Bengal & Bangladesh. 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 made a video for VloMo08 day16 explaining how I found out information about Patta Chitra Katha :

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

read more for information about this special artform ...

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mumbai digital arts, new media & urban research links

looking for digital arts, new media & urban research projects or exhibitions in mumbai - I'm only here for 2 weekends so might not make it to any festivals. here's some I found so far - some are past projects & some are not strictly mumbai based but I came across them whilst following links for mumbai related items

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Comet Media & COSMOS
a non profit group working in educational communication & new media. they have festivals, projects & publications
http://www.cometmedia.org
http://groups.google.com/group/cosmos_mumbai
upcoming events
aliak.com Comet & Cosmos page

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Digital artists - THE WEBMUSEUM CYBERCULTURE RESEARCH LIBRARY page
http://www.lastplace.com/page177.htm

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CRIT
http://crit.org.in

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brain neuron vs galaxy

Mike Ambs on vimeo vlomo group made a video in response to this picture.

the images sort of remind me of fractals ... is the brain modeling the universe or the universe modeling the brain???

and speaking of the galaxy - google SKY !!!!

http://www.google.com/sky

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VloMo08 - Videoblogging Month November 2008

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2008
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

15/11/2008

blog entry :
http://www.aliak.com/content/vlomo08-day15-dhobi-ghat-mumbai-public-laundry

http://vimeo.com/2258924

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.

14/11/2008

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

blog entry :
http://www.aliak.com/content/vlomo08-day13-delhi-tap-water

http://vimeo.com/2233526

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

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