Kadama 11:Dog Days of India (Literally)

Trip Start Jul 12, 2012
Trip End Dec 01, 2012

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Flag of India  , Andhra Pradesh,
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

During these past few days, I have been relaxing and enjoying my time here in India as well as allowing my body to recover and adjust to the time change. On Monday I went to my Kuchipudi Dance Class from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. - It was great! For the first 15 minutes we danced around the room to Indian Music to provide the instructor a visual of what she is in for during the semester. At times we all felt as though deep inside she was making fun of us hopping and prancing around the room but it was all in good fun. We did a few leg stretches and beginning steps of the dance which is mainly focused on sharp body movements. Kuchipudi is all about hand gestures, storytelling and movements of the dancer. I am starting to learn the mythology of the dance such as the Hindu Trinity (Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the perpertator), and Shiva (the destroyer) which is what  this dance revolves around. We also touched on the Veda's which are the Hindu Religion scriptures consisting of the Yajus, Sama, Rig, Atharvana and the fifth veda the Panchama. Luckily, my Global class I took as a Sophomore at Thiel taught me the basics about the Hindu religion. I have to admit, Global was one of my favorite classes and it is refreshing to see my knowledge tested down the road (or across the world!). My instructor, Luna, also talked about Natya which means "drama". There are four types of Natya which are as follows:

1. Angika - The physical part of the dance including gestures, posture and facials
2. Aharya - The costume and attire which identifies the character
3. Vachika - The verbal drama which can be expressed as a song or dialogue the dancer performs to
4. Sattvika - The cognitive drama which is the mental involvement between the dancer and the higher power in which she is telling the story to.

If you cannot tell already, I am extremely excited about this class. I love to dance and express myself through lyrics and movements. Monday I learned the hand gesture for the lotus flower and the deer which I automatically thought of my sister, Sara. To make the deer gesture, hold your hand flat in a "stop" motion, put your middle and ring finger down and voila - you have the Hindu symbol for deer!

After dance, I came back to my room for a little me time, went to lunch, and then went to Basic Hindi to test out the class to see if I liked it. Turns out - I loved it as well! Hindi is such a beautiful written script and I would feel terrible to pass up this opportunity to learn the language. I was skeptical at first because my Arabic class last summer was very fast paced and intense, but this course is twice as long and we are learning how to write it and speak it. I have already learned the vowels, half of the consonants, and the standard greetings! Ap kaise hai?

Following Hindi, Emmy, Shannon and I walked to the shopping complex on campus which is about a 40 minute walk. I picked up some notebooks, pens, note cards, Pringles, and Potato Chips. I had to give in - the food here gets pretty bland at times and I needed a little crunch.
On the way back, we passed a number of cows drinking from the flooded campus. It is amazing at how fast it floods here. Granted, I come from growing up in a flood zone so I am used to this but after 1 hour of rain one night, the dam was overflowing and the fields around campus were flooding. While the cows were drinking the water, the Indian workers how are building the roads on campus were digging trenches to bring water to their homes on campus. It is amazing at how Indians use their resources wisely and literally do not take anything that nature gives them for granted.

This morning (Tuesday) I had my first Yoga class in the SIP building. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to learn yoga while I am here. The yoga that I am learning is not about the physical, get fit, aspect that we as American's are used to. (that is the westernized version of it) I will be learning about myself through yoga. Today we had to assess ourselves, what we liked most about ourselves, what we need to work on, and what brings us happiness. We are going to be learning how to breathe in order to clear our minds and how to focus on ourselves as individuals. I cannot wait for the class to begin. Numbers 4 and 5 on my India Bucket List state "4. Learn Yoga  and 5. Find my inner strength" both which I can achieve through yoga.

At 11:30 a.m. I went to the Management School to talk with a suggested professor about my Independent Study that I was interested in. Just my luck, the professor was teaching a class for the next hour, so I ventured over to the class schedule again to try and find another professor to speak to. Turns out that my bad timing was just what I needed to find a class that I was interested in! International Marketing is  being offered every Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. by Dr. Sapna Singh. I found her office and she invited me in to have a chat about the class. I will be taking her first class on this coming Friday and I could not be more thrilled. She is a very nice lady and has had SIP students in the past. I can understand her English and Professor Miller back at Thiel has approved the class to pass me for graduation! What a great day!

My day continued to get even better around dinner time because my keen smells from the balcony of the Tagore House caught a whiff of BBQ. I did not say anything to anyone because I did not want to get any hopes up, but when I walked through the mess hall doors, there laid grilled vegetables and grilled chicken! What a nice change from the spicy, overly flavorful Indian food I was getting used to. Then to top it off, we had vanilla and chocolate ice cream! By the way, I do not think I have mentioned it yet but chocolate here in India, whether it be in chocolate cereal, or chocolate ice cream, is AMAZING. You can actually taste the cocoa bean and not artificial flavoring. I am positive that I will not be able to eat chocolate when I return because it will taste like chocolate wax. Sorry Hershey's!

Another perk of my awesome Tuesday was getting to Skype with my Thiel Admissions ladies! I have missed seeing all of their smiling faces everyday! Also, Kate still has my schedule up on her white board and I was scheduled for work 2-3 p.m., so I had to make an appearance one way or another!

Well folks, that is all for now. Just in case you are wondering, I have not been able to find postcards ANYWHERE. So please do not think I have forgotten about you. I am hoping to find some on my excursion into the surrounding cities of Hyderabad this Saturday but I am not sure on how successful I will be. Until next time, God Bless and Stay Safe!

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Kathye on

I took 10 weeks of yoga from a private teacher...I loved it and was able to" feel, get, accomplish "...all that the lessons taught...when I go to the doctor even now and I am getting ready to have my blood pressure taken...I concentrate on calming myself......I regularly practice slowing my breathing....taking long deep breaths.....another thing....I was totally in love with Eat, Pray Love....wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all have that adventure for ourselves....learn well young grasshopper...lol....I am so enjoying your blog....your excitement and zest.

Denise Urey on

Audrey - love the blog, pictures and all your details. Sorry to hear that the food hasn't been agreeing with you; hope that gets better for you. Sounds as though you are really enjoying your experience. Keep up the good work; can't wait to ready your next entry. ENJOY!

Debbie Schreiber on

Wow Audrey - your blog is amazing! You're a terrific writer! After reading the latest blog, I had to start at the beginning. It was so interesting - I couldn't stop reading. And the colors in the pictures. I don't know if I'll ever get to India - so I can experience it/live it through you!

audreyrattay on

Thank you all! :-) You inspire me and keep me motivated to tell my story through words and photos. Enjoy!

Lori Lee on

Hi Audrey. I am Tommy's Aunt. I seen his post and thought I'd check it out. Wow! What an amazing adventure you must be having. Love the blog and look forward to reading more.

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