Our Gang, Thevara (February Favorites)

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The passerby, known as a neighbor by now, aka something like “perambulating portrait person,” senses a few patterns: one youngster, perhaps four years old, is a gigglebox at all times; another, same age, is the village notification siren (SAIPE!); and a few always mix their moves like karate chop Bollywood extras. Continue reading

Wordsmithing: Walkabout

For anyone who has seen the Nicholas Roeg film, from 1971, that takes this word as its title, the definition is visual.  You could watch that film with no sound and understand this word.  Try it.

Or you might start with the OED definition and etymology which notes that this noun is of Australian origin but begins with a generic, modern catchall meaning and gives specifics on the origin second (after the jump; of particular value, see the last sentence of the 1979 reference):

1.  A person who travels on foot, esp. for an extended period of time; a swagman or traveller.

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Our Gang, Thevara (#6)

The stance is familiar to anyone of North American, Cuban, Central American or Venezuelan heritage.  But it is not what it first might seem to anyone from those places.  An anglophile, indophile, or carribophile will immediately recognize the bat our neighborhood friend is gripping.  On any given day, on any given street in the country that currently holds the trophy as world champions in cricket, you are likely to see something like this. Continue reading

Thekkady’s Streets

Although I thoroughly enjoy viewing street photography for its spontaneity, diversity, and ability to display the flow of life of any culture, I generally refrain from partaking due to a generally awkward disposition and inhibitions around strangers. Being unusually tall (to Indians) and quite white, I also get a lot of stares as it is, and waving a camera around at people certainly does not make me go unnoticed. However, in areas more frequented by ‘foreigners’ such as Thekkady, a tall Caucasian isn’t all that exciting, and many locals are in fact enthusiastic to have their pictures taken.

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Yes, spotting wild elephants on a mountainside is exciting. Agreed, a field full of flowers that blooms once every dozen years is a heart-warming sight. But not everyone who loves and appreciates nature has the time or money to travel to places where such phenomena can be experienced. Many people who live in cities – myself included – complain about not being able to connect with nature the way they would if they weren’t urbanites. However, I recently had an eye-opening (or re-eye-opening, rather) experience in Chennai, a city proportionally larger and less vegetated than Cochin, where I live, which showed me that nature is never far away.  Continue reading

What the Trees Read

Without question, the section of Cayuga Lake’s Inlet that receives the most traffic is a small area of shoreline at the corner of the second tendril extending east from the Inlet into Ithaca. Community members and college students are attracted to this little spot on the Inlet, known as Steamboat Landing, because the Ithaca Farmer’s Market spends its weekends there, sheltered under a long wooden pavilion topped by a green metal roof. Dozens of stalls are laden with earthly, culinary, and artistic crafts; more than a couple hundred people a day visit each of them to browse and purchase these locally produced goods.

This quaint market is surrounded by a mixture of modern development and natural shoreline that I could not have noticed from the Inlet’s waters—only by walking around Steamboat Landing was I able to understand the spot’s significance to the Ithaca community, and connect elements of Henry David Thoreau’s and Aldo Leopold’s writings with the history of the place. Continue reading

The High Line

Notice where the railway used to enter the building

The High Line railway was originally designed to bring shipments straight from the Hudson to manufacturing warehouses in Manhattan. The train cars could run packages from wharves to upper-level floors of these industrial buildings without having to obstruct street traffic or be carried up several stories manually (freight elevators weren’t a common sight in the 1930s, whether for safety, efficiency, or invention reasons I don’t know).

In 1980 the High Line trains stopped running, and construction of the new park design started in 2006 (after seven years of planning). The first section opened to the public in 2009, and the second section in 2011.

I first heard of the High Line Park this summer, while doing some browsing about the city online. I was immediately struck by the ingenuity of converting what had once been industrial space Continue reading