Peruvian Memories Captured

Between August and September this year, I spent about three weeks in this lovely Latin American nation called Peru. Apart from the time spent at work, I enjoyed learning about Peruvian culture and made some amazing friends. Here are some memories captured.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few thousands 🙂

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Why we must work on 02nd October?

Today is 02nd October 2017. In India we celebrate this as “Gandhi Jayanti” – to commemorate the birth anniversary of the “Father of our Nation” – Shri Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi). If you wish to know more about him, please look up here: https://www.gandhiheritageportal.org

The 02nd of October is generally a “holiday” in India. This year it is even more special because it falls on a Monday – (surprised?) – it makes this weekend what people refer to as “long weekend”. 🙂 So most people are on vacations and “getaways”.

A friend of mine and I decided to catch up to discuss work on a new research project that we have been wanting to kick-start since sometime now. As we met up and were discussing, another colleague of ours who saw us asked us “How we are celebrating Gandhi Jayanti?” – both of us smiled at each other! But after a second the immediate thought that occurred to me was – what better way to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti, but work. After all, was not “Mahatma Gandhi” one of the biggest proponents of “Karma” (action)?

So here we were trying to spend some time of today doing action (karma). Thanks to my colleague who asked this question. It led to this rumination and satisfaction.

Engaging in “Karma” will act as a mark of respect to a man who worked much of his life and sacrificed much of his life, so that many of his fellow country – men and women; can have a life.

Happy Gandhi Jayanti!

So much India in Guyana

Guyana is one of the 15 countries which form the Carribean Community. Guyana is on the mainland of the South American continent. Guyana has strong links to India. It appears that Indians landed here more than a 150 years ago (brought by the British) as indentured labourers. It is therefore not too surprising that a major part of the population is of Indian origin.

Some of the things that caught my attention and made me feel that there is so much India in Guyana are:

  • So many common Indian names pronounced the Indian way – ‘Ramesh’ (guy who sold lunch to us everyday); ‘Darmender’ (who drove us around); Preya (a colleague who participated in the training) and many more…
  • Three Indian Restaurants in Georgetown – ‘Taste of India’; ‘Maharaja’; and ‘Aagman’ (been to the first two; third scheduled for this week)
  • Two listed spoken languages: Carribean Hindustani and Tamil (spoken around here); At the above mentioned restaurants there were many who could speak Hindi.
  • I saw a poster of ‘Hanuman-ji’ and a few temples too
  • I saw some women wearing ‘saree’ the tRath Yatra Guyanaraditional Indian women wear. One of our participants in the training also told us that earlier this year the Indian High Commission had held a ‘Saree Draping Event’ to allow everyone to soak in the Indian culture. The local Guyanese seemed to like it so much.
  • The best thing I noticed while being driven to work – A notice saying that there is going to be a ‘Rath Yatra’ (check the picture in this blog).

So as an Indian from India, visiting Guyana makes you feel more at home than many other places, because you have so much of India here.

The country is so beautiful and that deserves to be written up too. I did a bit of seeing Georgetown (Capital of Guyana) and a little around the city. Hope to write some experiences in a separate blog.

But the fact remains – ‘there is so much India in Guyana’.

 

My First Visit to the Carribean

I have always been a big fan of the West Indies cricket team. Right from the days of Viv Richards to Chris Gayle – they entertain and keep us glued to the sport. With the onset of the ‘T-20’ format of the game, they have only shown how inherent a part of the game, they are! But never did I dream or wish to go there – but it all happened at short notice and kind of suddenly.

Here I am, writing this, sitting in the land of the West Indies – ‘The Carribean’ specifically in Georgetown, Guyana. My hotel room opens into the Atlantic Ocean. The country is green and the people are so fun loving. It has all signs of a country filled with aspirations to grow.

While I was on the flight from New York to Georgetown, I had two old women sitting on the same row. One was 89 and the the other was 70, both of Guyanese origin. They had so much life in them, so much aspiration, especially the older lady. I was so inspired by her energy and enthusiasm. She was engaged in some really small business (by global standards), but she never made it sound so. I liked the way she told me that she was building it. They gave me some tips on places to visit while I’m in Guyana and wished me well. I’m not ‘selfie’ crazy, else I would have posted one here with them.

My experience at the Airport amazed me. We got out of the plane, walked to a small hall where immigration, customs and baggage belt was present. Just outside the hall there were people waiting to pick their guests and of course some taxi drivers trying their luck. No order in parking, but no confusion either. It appeared to me the equivalent of a railway station in a small Indian town / village.

Our driver picked us up and we were on our way to the hotel. He drove quite fast along one of the three rivers in Guyana. It rained pretty heavily while we were enroute to the hotel and I got a couple of nice pictures. Here is one of them!First Look - Guyana

He stopped us to treat us to some ‘coconut water along the country side. There was a man who came out of his home and served us fresh coconut water. Indians comprise a large part of Guyana’s population. Georgetown itself has three popular Indian restaurants – ‘Taste of India’, ‘Maharaja’ and ‘Aagman’. In the last few days I’ve already had food at two of them. They are tasty and the people running the restaurants speak Hindi.

It is my first visit to the Carribean and it is my first time in South America. It has been awesome so far and I really look forward to knowing Guyana (and the Carribean) through its people and places. My work here also offers me this wonderful opportunity to know about the entire Carribean Community in one place!

How long do you take to poop?

Yes, it is really about the ‘big job’ that I am asking. Surprised! Read on – I think it is important.

Most of us do not take excretion as a serious business. Many have challenges in engaging in this task. I have heard people say they sit for hours (not minutes) on end in anticipation. Too many exert much pressure to reduce the anticipation – after all we all are so busy that we cannot waste time sitting. But pressure over time leads to complications! Ask people who go to gastroenterologists seeking help with excretion.  Only when this becomes a problem do realise how serious doing the ‘big job’ is, to life and healthy living.

Hence when I came across this interesting study, I could not hold myself from sharing. It appears from the research referred to below that if you are taking more than 12 seconds to get done in the morning – you take more time than what most mammals do.

While this is not a prescription for healthy living, I definitely think being aware is the first step in that direction. Read about this interesting research and you will know much more about pooping and also about how interesting a life in research can be.

Short Overview: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/04/heres-how-long-it-should-really-take-you-to-poop.html

General Overview (slightly longer): https://www.newscientist.com/article/2129081-most-mammals-big-or-small-take-about-12-seconds-to-defecate/

Research Article (published in the journal ‘Soft Matter’): http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2017/sm/c6sm02795d/unauth#!divAbstract