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December 2012
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February 2013

Research for India Trip: SBS Doco Welcome to India

So as I prep for my trip to India besides needing to catch up on all the Bollywood hits, I have been watching SBS's documentary series Welcome to India. It is this three part doco on how Indian pragmatism, entrepreneurship, and thriving in situations of economic precariousness. There are three things I like about the series thus far:

  1. The ethnographic perspective is that of the Indian lower-classes and precariously middle class. You get a clear sense of the economic uncertainty the families face but also the great joy people have in their families and making the lives of their children better.
  2. It is constantly showing the global interconnectedness between India and the rest of the world. One man salvages ships from Japan for recycling. The tallow melter's products are found in the lipsticks and mascara's all over the world.
  3. It keeps it real in terms that people have to struggle to make their daily bread, but they do so with a sense of agency.

This the first part of the series.


This the second part of the series.


Getting an Indian Visa

So it took only a few days to get my visa for India. The best part is their SMS system that keeps you informed of where your application is in the process. I just got a text telling me that the authorised person has picked up the visa. It is amazing the kind of smart phone communications and tracking are available these days.

Dori's 2013 Design Rock Star India Tour

When I was studying anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, my fieldwork site was going to be India. I have always been fascinated by India. It is a place where binaries like modern, traditional, socialist, capitalist, etc. does not make any sense as binaries or even extremes. Perhaps in a place that is said to have 330 million gods diversity in forms and expressions is the norm.

So I am excited to be traveling to India for the first time in February. Like all my trips abroad (See my China trip in 2012), it will be a crazy schedule full of lectures, workshops, dinners, and various events. I will get to meet people whom I love and new people to love. So here is the preliminary itinerary for the trip:

07 Feb Depart MEL to Mumbai (8:35 flight departure)

08 Feb
Travel Mumbai to Pune, visit Indi Design and city. Dinner with Indi Design staff and local designers. 1/2 hour speech
09 Feb Public lecture organised by DYP DC school of Design for all six design institutes in Pune, part of iMark product event sponsored by the India Design Council
10 Feb Visit Pune and Travel from Pune to Ahmedabad

11 Feb
Lecture at National Institute of Design
12 Feb Lecture at Center for Environmental Studies and Architecture
13 Feb Travel from Ahmedabad to Jaipur

14 Feb
Lecture at Indian Institute for Craft and Design
15 Feb Visit Jaipur, Lecture at TBD Design Institute
16 Feb Travel from Jaipur to New Delhi, afternoon meeting with local designers 

17 Feb
Day trip to Agra-Taj Mahal
18 Feb Travel from New Delhi to Bangalore

19 Feb
Lecture at either IIT-Hyderabad or IIM-B in Bangalore
20 Feb Visit to host's, Uma Chandru, field sites in either Hampi or Lepakshi or Mysore
21 Feb
Travel from Bangalore to Mumbai, Travel from Mumbai to Melbourne

New Year's Reconciliations

 Being a super nerd, I looked up the definition for resolutions before I thought of writing them. The definitions emphasized the notion of "strong will and determination" (American Heritage Dictionary 2000). That is all well and good, but I thought I would try a different take because willfulness has never been a weakness of mine. So instead I want to write New Year's reconciliations whereby I have to "bring myself to accept" (American Heritage Dictionary 2000) certain situations and contexts.

Reconciliation #1

No matter how compassionate or empowering that I try to be towards others, my force of nature will frighten and intimidate people.

In most situations that I am in, I'm a change agent. I just can't help it. I like to make things happen. This means that I am going to have haters just because people fear change and if you are perceived to be the source of that change, haters are going to hate. People hating me just because I do what I do, or even just because I exist really bothered me this year. The amount of attempted character assassination that I put up with in 2012 was outrageous. So reconciliation #1 is to accept the fact that to try an empower people who only want to take you down is stupid. You may not need to smote their asses. You should remain compassionate, because under all that hate is fear. But you should not empower them.

Reconciliation #2

What is important to me is not what is important to others, even if they sometimes claim it is.

I am passionate about many things, but I prioritize quite rigorously. Not everyone does that. People may say that your shared passion is a priority but things change for them and for you. Do not get disappointed by these changes in priority. In 2013, I shall accept this and devote my energy to those who do share the same priorities. At the same time, I will not neglect to communicate to others, in their own language, that their priorities may also be mine.

Reconciliation #3

Everything that happens to me and through me is a gift of the universe.

The last two years have been challenging as I have sought to build future possibilities, but every turn has been to my benefit. The challenges of building the Indigenous Knowledge specialization allowed me to build these amazing relationships with the local Aboriginal community in Melbourne. The general shenanigans of the office has tempered me yet also given me to opportunity to see how the seeds that I have planted within my young colleagues have blossomed beautifully. I can say that the year of 2012 was certainly blessed for me. I deepened the relationships with people whom I love. I met new and amazing people that I will come to love deeper. So my final reconciliation for 2013 is to continue to live as though everything that comes to me is an opportunity to love more, share more, and grow more.

I am looking forward to more loving, sharing, and growing in 2013.