Thursday, October 19, 2006

A new activity

Today's issue of the Indiana Daily Student, IUB's student newspaper has my name on the front page. I've not been involved in any shady dealings, nor have I won a coveted prize. My first photo working as a photojournalist for the Indiana Daily Student, got published today. Little did I think that my photo would be worthy of being published that when my editor told me it was going to figure on P1, I was very excited, and when I found it to be the picture of the main story, at the top center of the main page, I was very very excited.

It was a picture for a story on a particular campus bus that students were complaining about. My job was to get a picture that showed students having to wait a long time, only to face a bus that was full (Buses have a capacity here, not like in India, where there practically is no limit on the number of people who can get into the bus). I stood at the bus stop waiting for that bus, a Canon EOS XT digital camera with a heavy lens hanging down my neck. I shot photos of people waiting and of the bus, standing at the bus stop. I also traveled in the bus to see if I can get a picture of people waiting, with the bus' front glass in the foreground, but handling the heavy camera on the moving bus proved troublesome, and didn't permit me to do much there. The photo that got published was one I took when a bus pulled in and people at the stop had to wait for people inside the bus to move back, creating space for these people to get in, and their body language suggested they were hoping they could get a place. You can see the picture here The editor told me she chose the photo because of the look on the face of one of the students waiting.

It was a seemingly simple assignment, but getting a good picture takes effort, and depends on a moment happening. My editor advised me to take as many pictures as I could, optimally, finishing two memory cards of 512MB each. That can mean some hard work, but I guess it was very rewarding to see my photograph in the newspaper. Photojournalism is interesting to me because photojournalists get to experience new situations and new challenges with each new assignment, and that can be exciting. While I am elated about my first photograph, I know that publishing more photos will definitely need effort, and hopefully I can pull it off.

Monday, October 16, 2006

How's Life ?

I am now the owner of an Apple Laptop. A shiny, used 15 inch Apple Powerbook G4. I bought the laptop and a used apple iCam webcamera for USD 1040. A second hand laptop for a grand, you might ask, and before you look upon me with the same feeling you had when you read about my 800 USD loss on Air India, let me clarify that it also came with an apple care warranty plan for one more year. Besides, second hand powerbooks were selling for about USD 1200 on eBay, and that made it a good proposition. The lure of the apple, you might also say, these machines are so good looking that you want to possess one. Well, at least I fell for them.

It's been two weeks now, and life hasn't changed drastically after I got my laptop, but I get to watch some movies, borrowing DVDs from the main library, I am more accessible than I was before, and I don't have to stop at the Library on Mondays and Wednesdays after my class that ends at 9, to finish any work for the next day. And, I can't get lost, not that I do, but with IU's wireless network over every corner of the campus, google maps is always at hand. The wireless access allows people to work at just about any place, and I think it's a pretty sight, people lying down on the grass, working on their laptop or rea ding a book, with streams of water, and trees around. The leaves are changing colour, and the trees are part yellow, part orange and part green, making it all the more beautiful. The weather's changing though, the temperatures are falling, and soon there'll be nobody on the grass. Last week saw the night temperatures fall below zero.

This weekend I was occupied with correcting papers for the class I am a teaching assistant for and a take home mid-term exam for one of my own courses. Last weekend was interesting.

On Saturday evening, I had dinner with my Bloomington family, the Engels. An organisation called Bloomington Worldwide friendship ties up international students with local families to promote cultural exchange, and they matched me with the Engel family. The dinner was nice and consisted of Macaroni with cheese, a dish made with corn, boiled vegetables, Cranberry jelly, sweet tea and ice cream with peach pie for dessert. We had nice conversations about family life, food, climate and culture in our respective places. The Engels were very generous and I returned home with a dozen farm eggs and more helpings from the dishes we had for dinner. Ever since I landed here, I was concerned if I might be narrow minded and not make many friends here, thanks to BWF and all the group projects at school, I am becoming less worried about that.
On the afternoons of Saturday and Sunday, I went to see the Lotus Music Festival, that brings musicians from all over the world to Bloomington. On Saturday, it was Lotus in the park, and musicians performed and taught in music workshops at a local park. On Sunday, it was the World Spirit concert, and there were performances by people from Tibet, Canada, Brazil and India. The Indian group performed Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, Carnatic and Hindustani music, and a much applauded piece consisting of a fusion of the Tabla and an Afghanistani instrument.

The weather looks dampening, but activities in Bloomington abound as usual. The Asian association has plans for Deepawali, and maybe there'll be some excitement during the festival.

Lotus Festival in the Park

The Indian performances at the World Spirit Concert