Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Using Indian Jargon as an Outsider

Jargon, for those who don't know, is wording used by a specific group of people, typically in a specific company. It's often misunderstood or baffling to those who are not familiar with the terms and is often best avoided.

I fell into the trap of thinking that doesn't apply to me with my new found place in the Indian landscape of life. I often catch myself using words like "NRI" in my real life. While I didn't find it disturbing to have to explain this to non-Indians and those with no ties to India, I did run across something else that shook me a bit.

Hubby and I were at one of our favorite eateries and there was an Indian guy working. I used the term NRI in reference to my husband and the guy thought that was just hilarious, how I had started using terms like that and he said it in a very condescending tone. It was as if he meant that he didn't think I knew anything about it, that I was some kind looney for thinking I had a right to use it, etc. I think you get the picture.

This left me baffled. I've heard, seen, read and known many Indians to use the term. I've never had any of our Indian friends think it was odd for me to use it. Even in India, I never had anyone respond to my use of Indian terms like this. I wasn't sure what to make of it but for months, I avoided the term like the plague!

What had I done wrong? Nothing. My guess would be this guy was a Jai Hind Indian who didn't feel like a foreigner had any place discussing 'his India.' I've had some comments from people like this in the past. I just didn't think that these things still happened in real life where there was no anonymity or protection of the world wide web. Turns out I was wrong.

Have you had any experiences like this?
How do you react when someone thinks you don't have any right to talk about their home country?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Forgotten India: Ancient Power Source Resembling Modern Day Batteries

There's a lot of talk in the scientific community about alternative sources of energy. There's even been many conversations about free energy that I've ran across lately. (Yes, I get bored in my car and watch documentaries and conferences on subjects like energy. Some good must come from this right?)

I was listening to a podcast recently in which Chris Lesley was a keynote speaker. You may not recognize that name but that's okay, neither did I and the name isn't what's critical. He spoke about many things but the one thing that stuck out in my mind was his "Ancient India Batteries." That got my attention! I had to do more research.

His research led him to a passage in the Agastya Samhita (click the link and download it free - it's in Bengali). Agastya in essence means mountain thrower. This is the name  given to the Siddhar (or sage) who wrote the book. In it is recorded what is the earliest known recorded description of a battery-like power source. The book was written in approximately 4000 BC. The technology for modern day batteries wasn't discovered until 1791. (There was talk of a 2000 year old power source discovered in Baghdad but it has not been deemed as a type of battery.)

Though on a grander scale, this excerpt from the Agastya Samhita describes how to create a source of energy that resembles how batteries are made today.


"Place a well-cleaned copper plate in an earthenware vessel. Cover it first by copper sulfate and then moist sawdust. After that put a mercury-amalgamated-zinc sheet on top of an energy known by the twin name of Mitra-Varuna(cathode-anode). Water will be split by this current into Pranavayu (oxygen) and Udanavayu (hydrogen). A chain of one hundred jars is said to give a very active and effective force."

Find a visual tutorial, for those of you who are visual learners, at The Infinity Foundation.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe Ancient India had knowledge we've not yet caught up with in today's society? Are there other discoveries like this you've heard of?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mini-Vacations


I wanted to write a little about the mini-vacations I sent my husband on during his first year here. I try to be clear with this blog and I wouldn't want anyone thinking that I just took him on surveillance and let him see the roads as we passed by. I did take him with me on surveillance quite a bit and in addition to these trips he's been to Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Tennessee and North Carolina. He's also been hiking and to the beach a few times each. I'm saving all the truly fun (and funny) stuff for bigger posts but

Vacation 1 - Lewisburg, WV
This city was dubbed as the coolest town in the US in 2011. It is quite beautiful and they were having an art show. Hubby got a little excited at some children playing in a fountain in the park in the center of town as we arrived.

(Picture of a fish with a wine bottle inside, part of an exhibit to promote knowledge of how throwing trash in the water affects underwater life.)

His reaction was a bit interesting as we saw a board full of fish like the one above. As most of you know, trash is thrown out carelessly in India and it's often eye-opening to see just how it could wind up inside of a living creature. As most of you know, Hindu's frown on harming living creatures. So hubby had a pretty strong reaction to seeing this.

Vacation 2 - Some random location with my dad
I thought it may be good to let him get out and see things with someone else. My dad wanted a companion to go hiking with in the woods somewhere and take photos. I figured it was a win-win situation. So off he went for 4 glorious days, woman free.

On day 2 my dad took him to Maa's house. Maa is a relative my dad still takes care of. She is 89 and he mows her grass and such. He took hubby with him and taught hubby how to drive a riding lawn mower. Maa, like a good southern mom, stuffed hubby with 3 plates of home cooked food and when he almost puked from eating too much, she lovingly packed him a plate to take with him when he went home that day. This seemed to be the highlight of hubby's trip.

On day 3 they went on their hike and he got tired but liked it. He was all too happy to post the pictures all over his Facebook lol. I didn't hear much about this trip but I know my dad out-hiked him and they both laughed about being worn out.

The remainder of his time with my dad they watched TV shows and talked and ate out. I didn't hear any complaints from him.

Vacation 3 - Washington D.C. with my family
I had to work in the D.C. area so I took the family with me. While I was at work they took the metro and ran all over downtown D.C. They went to the Smithsonian Zoo, the Air and Space Museum and had breakfast and lunch out. By the time I got off work they were begging for me to come get them and hubby was certain he was going to have blisters on his feet from so much walking.

This was a good bonding experience for them all and they came back with a funny story about a waitress demanding a $6 tip when they tried to leave without giving her one. The food was horrible, the service was terrible but she was hounding them and demanding it and blocking their path so they couldn't leave. Hubby seemed very tired, but fairly happy afterward. Just FYI, but this was his second trip touring D.C. since he's been here. He's already been to the White House, the National Mall and several other tourist attractions. That time I got blisters for real.

All three of these vacations happened within a  2 week time frame. This is why I specifically mentioned in a previous post to slow down your vacations. Poor hubby ditched me and stayed him with his TV for a while after that. I didn't intend to wear him down but I wasn't thinking about it. I just wanted him to experience America more and not get bored. Turns out, even my husband who is typically anti-boredom, sometimes wants to be bored.