Posts related to India
India BLOG POSTS
“A ‘learning-exchange’ was taking place all the time as the boundaries of age, culture and socio-economic background simply vanished in the process of our mutual friendship.”
– Vipul Shaha
A little over a year ago, Vipul Shaha was living in the United States and had just completed a degree in educational psychology from Harvard. In the eyes of many, the world was his oyster—filled with opportunities to start changing things for better. Yet Vipul himself was not so sure about this. Despite his desire to be constantly learning about “‘cutting-edge’ theories and innovative models in education,” he had a sense that his learning edges were to be found elsewhere. So he decided to embark on a self-directed “Year On” adventure in his native country of India.
Recently, my friend Manish Jain asked me to write some reflections about the relationship between resilience and jugaad, a Hindi term for ingenuity, an invitation to the imagination to play and invent new solutions using whatever is right in front of you.
It brought to mind for me a scene in the movie Apollo 13, when the NASA engineers realize that they have to construct a carbon dioxide filter using only materials available on the spacecraft—and that they’ve got a mismatch between, literally, a square peg and a round hole. They dump a mass of random material on the table, and the lead engineer says, “The people upstairs handed us this one and we gotta come through. We gotta find a way to make this [square cartridge] fit into the hole for this [round cartridge] using nothing but that [materials on the table].”
On August 13th, we celebrated the festival of Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi for short. The official narrative behind rakhi is that it is for sisters to tie a sacred thread, symbolizing love, around their brothers right hand and the brothers give money and gifts to their sisters with a promise to protect them. (Here in India, sisters and brothers also include cousins, but as the nuclear family concept spreads this is also changing.) The practice can be seen as quite patriarchical on one hand, and quite beautiful on the other, as there is a festival which actually honors the sacred bond between brothers and sisters. Read More »