Brickmakers of Akurdi

Placing charcoal

Family of brickmakers

India’s construction boom requires bricks. Bricks are labor intensive. They are carefully molded and dried in the sun. Then they’re intricately stacked amid charcoal, for firing in what is essentially an open kiln.

Here, a family of brickmakers are getting ready to fire another batch of bricks (more photos below).

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Unexplored Andamans: A scientist’s playground


Click a photo for a larger view

More often thought of as paradise for beach bums and scuba divers, the Andaman Islands are also a scientist’s playground, an alluring cache of uncharted island biodiversity. The archipelago lies about 1,200 kilometers from India in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.

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Creatures of the Andaman deep

A full gallery of images from diving in the Andamans. All in one place. To accompany a story on India’s nascent diving industry, the unofficial headquarters of which is on Havelock Island, smack in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.

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Citizen journalism, old-school

Words for a people suppressed

The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre in Darjeeling proudly displays the old World War II-era hand press that printed the Tibetan Freedom newspaper for 32 years. The newspaper was started on the advice of the Dalai Llama, exiled to India, to spread word of Tibetans, their identity and their struggle against Chinese control.

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Dear India, thank you for inviting me to stay here forever




After 89 mind-boggling, frustration-inducing, grey-hair-propagating, bureaucracy-cursing, confusion-rendering days of limbo over my application for a permanent residency and work permit in India, the central government here in Delhi— lithe, agile and efficient as it always is (heavy sarcasm) — showed me the meaning of unexpected haste.

Though I was expecting the process to take months or more to complete (if ever), at 4:23 p.m., Monday, February 1, 2010, I, Adam Franklin Jadhav, officially became an Overseas Citizen of India. For nearly all intents and purposes, I now have dual citizenship and am free to do almost entirely as I please.

Hallelujah.

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Year of the clownfish

My favorite underwater subject

My favorite underwater subject


I’m going to be out of range of the Internet for a few days. As such, this week will be dedicated to photos from a story on India’s nascent dive industry. Above, is a standard, Western Clown anemonefish.

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The sea is a lovely, cruel mistress

A fetish to the sea goddess

A fetish to the sea goddess

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami wiped out a swath of fishermen’s homes on the beach near Hut Bay on Little Andaman island.

Five years later, I went there to see what, if anything, was left.

The fishermen and their familes have moved inland, afraid of the sea. The beach is scattered with garbage and little else.

A small temple was rebuilt near the beach, and fishermen worship there and at fetishes along the sandy spit for good luck as they head for their daily catch. Hanging from the fetish: bangles, earrings, hair and a comb.

The sea goddess is still worshipped because they know no other way. She is wonderful and terrible all at once, one fishermen said.

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Who needs baseball?

If I start a cricket team, the mascot will be the Cubs

If I start a cricket team, the mascot will be the Cubs

Indian men play cricket everywhere. Here, they’re doing six-a-side on the uneven ground once home to a fishing shantytown  on Little Andaman that was wiped out by the 2004 tsunami.

Locals haven’t rebuilt there; they say it’s unlucky; they say they’re afraid of the ocean.

But men will play cricket there, no problem.

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A year-in-review

2009 kinda kicked ass

2009 kinda kicked ass

This past year pretty much rocked. And the New Year came in fine manner.  No kisses, but a bonfire amid the palm trees (above), new friends, lobster, a decent cigar (thanks, C!), champagne and even the Harry Connick, Jr., band playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight (never leave home without the iPod).

I meant to post this sooner, but here’s a little look back at my new life (as chronicled on this blog):

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A stomp through the jungle

Flighty little bastard

Flighty little bastard

A few days ago, I went out hunting geckos and frogs and reptiles, oh my! with a team of researchers from Serbia/Croatia. The Andaman Islands, where I’ve been for a couple weeks, are relatively unexplored, scientifically. The researchers were doing initial scouting for a grant proposal. I was playing tag-along journalist.

I also managed to embed several spines from a random vine in my hand. Note to self: Don’t grab random plants in the jungle. They finally worked their way out today (four days later).

One key mission was to find the rare and largely unstudied Andaman Islands Day Gecko, but more about that later. In the meantime, enjoy this little guy, a common lizard.

Also, I was dark for four days, have one day near the Internet and will be mostly dark again (more scuba and remote beach time) for some time until January 8 or so. Happy New Year!

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