That's my dupatta!

Diwali dance party. Above, Dave stole my stole and partied with it. Below, well, it’s the festival of lights, so clap your hands, everybody.

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Diwali lights


A few months behind, but we’ll get diwali festive now. This diya and rangoli art comes from the patio of my landlord.

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PaTake! (Fireworks!)


I attended my first Indian wedding at the end of October. I’ve wandered past and through a few wedding parties raging on the streets of Delhi, but this was a fancy shindig in a large open air ground with food galore, a DJ and hundreds of people.

And like any pukka Indian wedding, fireworks. Loads of fireworks.

Technically paTake refers to small firecrackers. The proper aerial fireworks have another name — atishbaji — though I’m not sure anyone would use it.

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So long, 2010; it’s been nice knowing ya…

Well, hello there 2011. You’ve got a hell of a lot to live up to.

As most people know, I started my whirlwind trip in late summer of 2009 and things haven’t really gone bad yet.

I started 2010 in the remote paradise of the Andaman Islands, far off India’s coast. I had just learned to dive and fell in love with the sport. Fish are friends, not food.

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Leopard skins and dancing shoes

Shuar dance party

Well, maybe a lack of dancing shoes.

Every Wednesday en la selva is family dinner night. The community cooks a traditional meal of fish, palm hearts and yucca. And then we dance the night away to Shuar music.

Admittedly, there’s only a couple songs on repeat, and the steps — particularly for women who really only do a modified bunny hop — get old quick.

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Delhi Street Jams, Vol. 2

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Two weeks ago I came home from a bike ride to watch crews set up what could have been mistaken for an Indian carnival tent on a sidestreet near my apartment: four walls of purple and orange curtains, without a roof and lit by generator-powered flood lights.

At first, I assumed it was a wedding and got excited to gate crash. Then, after speaking to our block’s chowkidar (watchman), I learned it was a pooja (prayer service), though for what I couldn’t quite understand. Decorum won out, and I respectfully decided not to interlope.

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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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≤20 Seconds: Delhi’s wonderful chaos

This is the colorful, chaotic India that is old Delhi. It’s also the antithesis of my slow, island life of the last couple (and next couple) weeks.

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Disconnected and loving it

The blog has gone dark for a reason: I severed ties to modern telecommunications for more than a week. And it was glorious.

When I came to Havelock Island for some reporting, sun and surf in a tropical Valhalla, I completely lost touch. Hell, for several days, the Internet was literally a half-hour drive from my hotel.

And when I finally did stop at a cafe, I (re)learned the painfully slow (glacier-like) reality of dial-up Internet 500 kilometers from anywhere. We’re talking pre-1998 data speeds.

So while I have had many thrilling adventures involving new friends, good food, tan lines, a deadly banded sea krait and one near-fatal (overdramatic: could have been fatal if I had freaked-out and acted utterly stupid) hiccup, the retelling of those tales will have to wait a bit longer.

I should be back to a bit more civilization (sadly) in a few days, so perhaps there will be time to recount my shenanigans then.

Happy Holidays to all.

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Get down with your Sikh self


Men and boys show off during the parade

Yesterday adherents to the Sikh faith paraded with pomp and circumstance through Paharganj. They were honoring their 10th guru, they’re spiritual leader, Guru Gobind Singh.

Free food was served from stalls along the lane; Sikh “warriors” put on demonstrations of fighting — Gobind Singh is known as a warrior poet — and dancing.

Sadly, the little Canon point-n-shoot doesn’t do the visual feast justice, but…

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