Portfolio Reflection

Dear Portfolio Assessment Committee,

I’m writing to you today to express what I have learned in the course “ENG101- This Place Called India.” To accurately prove that, I will refer to several pieces I have authored over the course of the semester, including My Writing Reflection (MWR), Bruffee’s Collaboration Summary (BCS), The Tales of Hanuman, An Article on Rhetoric (TOH), Contrast (C), Coincidences of an Indian Immigrant (CII), and The Day my Tongue Journeyed to a Firey Hell (JFH). The learning outcomes of this course are to “read, think, write and articulate critically, practice writing as a process, produce work in various genres, learn conventions of academic writing, and talk and write about various aspects of India, etc.” which I believe I have done to the fullest extent.

When I began this class, my writing lacked depth. Even between my first post and next few there is an immediate change in style and sophistication. In the first piece I wrote, my writing is clunky, awkward and very informal “We were allowed to write about absolutely anything so I thought about what kinds of topics I hadn’t explored yet and what kinds of things I find interesting before settling on gambling” (MWR). I learned the most from the “Understanding Rhetoric” book, especially when it came to pathos, logos, kairos, and ethos. I also learned more about different literary tools like diction, consonance, metaphors and others, which I used in my review of Indian comic books.

“Additionally, Pai uses diction often to emphasize the fortitude of the characters and the objects about which he writes about. The word “mighty” is used on almost every other page to describe the way Hanuman roars, the breadth of the ocean trying to be crossed, beautiful elephants, and even vicious snake arrows. The word is repeated so often to show the significance of the object being described in relation to the story and it also evokes a variety of emotions in the reader. Even the descriptive words Pai uses to describe the end of a battle before the beginning of “Hanuman to the Rescue” denote the importance of the event: “The evil enemy had been destroyed. Virtue had won over greed and lust.” The generous words and assonance used in these frames alert the reader to the gravity of the event” (TOH)

In this review, I had to work on rhetorical analysis. The lowest grade I received in this class was on the initial partner thesis for this project, and that was because we ignored the word “rhetorical” and wrote a thesis like the ones we were so used to in high school. We together had to rewire the way our brains automatically settled on a literary review to be open to different kinds of analysis.

I’ve also learned to write in multiple genres. In high school, I mainly wrote literary essays based on assigned books, but in this class I wrote in every genre imaginable, even a short essay about genre itself. I’ve never done a photo essay before, so my piece on Contrast was a new experience for me. It forced me into a space I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with, but it ended up being one of the pieces that I’m most proud of this semester. I was most worried about not being able to identify a theme because of my lack of a base knowledge of Indian culture, but after flipping through some of the collection I noticed the subtle social, racial, economic, and plain color contrasts. This class has helped me pick up on the simpler details in scholarly works that I wouldn’t have noticed before. I’ve also learned to write for different audiences, I’ve had to present to my classmates, to a corporation, and to the general public via my blog. Writing in all of these genres has broadened my horizons and expanded my skills as a writer.

One of the skills I’ve developed the most in this class is revision. I used to give my essays to my parents, follow their editing advice and then turn in my work without reading it all the way through, as mentioned in MWR. The structure of this class necessitates revision through peer review and submitting multiple drafts, which is where I’ve learned about my writing the most. It’s in these revisions I catch little grammatical errors and endless run-on sentences I normally wouldn’t see until my assignment has been graded and I’ve lost the points. Reading my papers over again also lets me see my sometimes shallow arguments. When writing a paper, you never think your argument is wrong since you have it fully thought out in your head; however, when reading a paper, it is much easier to spot holes and catch thin reasoning. For this reason, my writing has become deeper and more thoughtful than it used to be. Revision is necessary in good writing, it’s impossible to write a perfect paper in one draft.

In this class not only have I learned about my writing, but about India as a culture. I’ve read short stories, intellectual arguments, advertisements, scholarly journals, and pointed interviews about different aspects of Indian life. I’ve learned about cuisine, religion, history, and many more areas. It has definitely piqued my interest, since India is a nation I’ve never visited but always wanted to. I feel as though this semester I’ve been immersed in such a rich culture and the only way to find closure in this course would be to visit India, a tough challenge, but one I will complete one day. I found this lack of experience especially difficult in the Ad Campaign project, where I had to advertise to tourists and make them want to visit India. It felt wrong to advertise for a country that I’d never been to myself, yet it was still one of my favorite projects as it combined multiple genres of writing together into one portfolio-like submission.

I’ve also learned more about critiquing others work, be it scholarly or peer work. I didn’t used to know how to intelligently string together thoughts when summarizing others’ work, but this class has taught me how, especially with Bruffee’s piece on collaboration, “At the end of the day he believes every student should understand that to truly know something, they must be able to write about it intelligently enough to satisfy their community of peers, emphasizing the meaning of social learning” (BCS). This was an extremely difficult read as it was lengthy and written at a professional level, but after reading it through a few times the arguments shined through. I also have learned how to edit my peer’s work. In this type of revision, I focused on constructive criticism. With an academic journal you can agree or disagree with the author and it’s perfectly acceptable, but with your fellow students critiques are more about how to improve each others’ work.

I truly believe this class has benefitted me as a writer, and will serve as a base knowledge for the rest of my college career and even beyond. Without this class I wouldn’t be as knowledgeable about writing in other genres and rhetorical composition, critical thinking and analysis, and self reflection.

Sincerely,

Shauna Brandman

 

Advertisements

Interview Process Reflection

This piece was a very different piece compared to the ones we’ve done in this class previously. It was a sort of combination of the photo essay and the mock interview. I knew immediately when we received the assignment that I would be writing about my best friend’s mother who had immigrated from India as a child. We grew up as neighbors and I was always at their house eating Indian food and dressing up in her sari’s, but I never had heard her full story. We talked on the phone for an hour and a half. After writing it all up I had triple the word maximum for the project and had to delete things, stories including myself, random information like her favorite holidays and others that I didn’t feel fit into the vibe of my profile. I wanted it to sound authentic, not like one of those magazine five sentence introductions. In choosing my stories for the multimodal project, I knew I wanted to combine her childhood with the childhood of my friend, as well as her yoga experience as it was clearly very important to her. I did this by relating it all to how she keeps India with her today. I’m very proud of this project overall and had such an amazing time throughout the process.

The Day my Tongue Journeyed to a Firey Hell

Rating- 2.5/5

Don’t take the title too literally, Chaat Patti has decent food, but you must beware of the spice. Chaat Patti is a vegetarian Indian restaurant tucked in the Patel Plaza in Decatur, Georgia that opened 24 years ago. The restaurant has very vibrant colors, with bright orange decorations hanging from the ceiling, multicolored stripes all around, and neon flashing lights draped on the walls. The atmosphere is very friendly, even though it seems like the restaurant is mostly filled with people of Indian ethnicity, the staff welcomes you right when you walk in. We immediately noticed the paper towels and plastic utensils at each table, denoting the lower quality of the restaurant which gave it a slightly tacky vibe.

I have not eaten a lot of Indian food in my life, and neither had my partner in this task Kaitlyn, so having the pictures on the wall behind the counter was very helpful, as well our server was very kind in helping explain the different kinds of snacks that we could try. We ordered the Mixed Appetizers platter and the Mixed Veggie platter.IMG_1490.JPG

The veggies came first as pictured above, a divided tray with chickpeas (red sauce), eggplant (green sauce) and roti to dip in. Personally, I’m not a fan of chickpeas and eggplant so I mainly tested the sauces and their flavors rather than the vegetables which I was not a fan of. The chickpea sauce was delicious with an herbal flavor and a tinge of spice, dipping the roti in it was a perfect combination. The eggplant sauce was sweeter and thicker, almost powdery and good, but not as good as the chickpeas. The presentation was nice and kept the foods from mixing when you didn’t want them to.

IMG_1492Next we ordered the mixed appetizer platter figuring it would be a good way to try lots of things and our server assured us nothing was too spicy in it. We started with the potato samosa was delectable, the outside had a nice crunch and the inside was just spicy enough to taste and warm. Next was the Mirch Chaat which was a deep fried green pepper covered in chickpea flower, which made Kaitlyn turn a hellish shade of red. After seeing her almost in tears at the spiciness, I decided to skip this one and go for the Daal Vada. This had very little flavor, consisting of fried spices, herbs and dough rolled in chickpea flour, with a very spongey texture. I tried dipping this into the green chickpea sauce which made a great crossover dish! Next up was the Khaman Dhokla, chick pea flour cakes. These were very buttery and had a strange texture and smell. After that was the Potato Vada, I found this to be very spicy as I bit into a pepper flake. This dish was fried potato, but missed the crunch of a good fried dish! Then we had the Methi Gota, made from besan chickpea flour and benugreek leaves. I started off by calling this my favorite, but as I took more bites, the spice crept up on me. I enjoyed the initial flavor and texture, but soon described my tongue as having “third-degree burns.” I nearly cried as I drank all of my water in one swift motion and ate a piece of roti plain to try to cover it. The pain in my tongue did not recede until we arrived back on Emory’s campus unfortunately. While I was traumatized, Kaitlyn kept moving so I caught up to her with the Kabudana Kichadi, what seemed like chewy gummy balls, with a slightly herbal flavor. I asked the server what they were and did not recognize any of the ingredient’s names. Last was the Patra, a curled green colocasia leaf which we both detested very much, whose flavor reminded me of burnt rotting vegetables.

Overall, when I liked the food it was great, but 3/8 of our appetizers were extremely spicy and I only enjoyed 2-3 of them. Give me a chicken tikka masala any day and I’ll be a happy girl, but the combination of vegetarian and Indian cuisines is not something I plan to ever revisit.

Coincidences of an Indian Immigrant

The first documented Indian immigrants to the United States were recorded in 1820. Since then, there has been a huge surge of them since the 1990’s. The US is the second most popular destination for these immigrants, behind the United Arab Emirates, with as many 2 million residing here in 2013, around 5% of people born in foreign nations in the US. The Tri-State area, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, is the most common destination for Indian born immigrants, hosting over 300,000.

I’ve known Alka Kaminer for almost my entire life. I lived on 126 Mill Spring Lane in Stamford, Connecticut between the ages of 1-5, right next door to my lifetime best friend Alex, Alka’s firstborn. Alka has been a second mother to me for my entire life. I’ve known her my entire life and yet never heard her story, until now.

Alka was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Her parents both originally came from the town of Borivali, outside of Bombay, but migrated after the Partition. Her father’s family moved to Jaipur and her mother’s to Lucknow. Alka’s family originates from the Land of the Sindh, a culture that branches off Hinduism and has it’s own culture and language. While explaining the ideals of Hindu and Sindhi culture, Alka revealed something to me: “Before the British came to India, there was no religion. Hinduism is more about a faith of morals and values, which makes it different from typical religions.” In the present, Alka practices the spirituality of both “religions” more than the faith based practices. She incorporates the morals into her daily life and passes those on through yoga. Alka teaches yoga classes and in these she speaks of the philosophical ideas and ways to improve one’s life by focusing on spiritual values. She believes in the idea that all of our lives are connected in unique ways, and that no coincidence is merely a coincidence. She has some psychic abilities and believes that anything she sees and everything that happens to her happens for a reason. Her life experiences have been too “coincidental” to just be by accident.

Alka’s father came to America when she was 5 years old. He was traveling to see Alka’s grandfather, who was in a coma at the time, when he was stopped by a palm reader who told him that “very soon he would have an opportunity to travel to America and that he must take the opportunity, as that is where his success would lie.” He didn’t think much of it until he arrived at his father’s bedside and the man woke up and told all of his children that soon opportunities would be made available to them and they must grab them immediately. He died shortly thereafter. Her father’s cousin called him soon after and asked if he’d like to join him in America, and her father decided that the world was telling him to go. He sent for Alka, her sister, and her mother a year later. They lived with their family in a Manhattan apartment for another year before sending for her grandmother to watch her and her sister so both parents could go to work, and another year and a half after that before they could afford to send for her 3 brothers, who were 10, 12, and 14 when Alka left India. Of the journey, Alka remembers not feeling sad, but rather excited. Her young mind didn’t really understand the idea of leaving behind one’s home for ever, and she had never before been on a plane before. There were no direct flights to India at the time so they stopped in Frankfurt, and none of the three girls spoke any English or German. This made their trip difficult, but after many hours they landed in New York.

In the middle of the interview, Alka paused for a moment before saying “Your article is going to be essentially the same as the first chapter of my book!” I asked her what book she was talking about, and she told me that about a month ago she had decided to write her story. Her philosophy of non-coincidences had lead her to this. For the past ten years, many healers, psychic mediums and others, all who didn’t know each other, told her that she should write a book. For all of this time she brushed it off, thinking she was a bad writer and that people wouldn’t be interested in what she had to say. Until recently she got her healing certification and her instructor did a guardian angel healing on her, and immediately told her that her guardian angel was insisting that she write a book. She finally decided to take charge and do it. Alka told me she wanted to help the world notice their own unusual coincidences that can mean so much more in the grand scheme of things. She seeks to teach people how they can manifest abundance through seeing connections. She was one month into the process when I called and asked her to do this interview, something I like to call another fateful occurrence.

As the interview continued, I learned how all of the things we’ve learned about affected her, like how the Partition forced her family to move. I brought up my article presentation topic, the changeover between the 500 and 1000 rupee notes, to the new 500 and 2000 rupee notes. Immediately she had plenty to say, “In India people stuff cash in their mattresses, their mattresses are their money supply” she told me. We talked about the corruption and off the books economy that India currently has, and it’s clear that even from over 7,000 miles away that Indian current events were very relevant in her life.

One of the questions I originally came up with dealt with how she incorporates her Indian culture into her family’s lives, but I came to realize I grew up right in the middle of it. I wore borrowed sari’s to all of her sons Bar Mitzvahs, an interesting collision of culture to experience, I’ve practiced yoga with her, something Alka says connects her deeply with her heritage, and I’ve to the Hindu temple on Long Island that her family helped start along with other New York Indian immigrants so many years ago. Alka spoke fondly of the time before this temple, a time where “we rotated apartments within the group of other Hindu families to host a weekly Sunday get together, filled with chanting, singing, praying, meditating, and deep philosophical discussions.” When living in New York City, this practice felt normal to her, and the melting pot that the city was becoming felt truly like home. She didn’t feel left out walking the streets knowing she might look or sound different than other people, because everyone was from another unique and interesting place; however, Alka moved to Mount Kisco after a few years and began to mentally retreat into her own shell. Mount Kisco had no diversity and no room for an immigrant family like hers. She was teased and left out in school, which she accredits to a long period of introvertedness in her life. She had gone from such a welcoming and vibrant city to an all white exclusive suburb, truly gaining experiences from both ends of an immigration spectrum unfortunately.

Alka’s experience is in some ways very similar to the typical experience growing up in America as an immigrant, but her overall story is unique. It is because of fate and coincidences that she believes she ended up in America, and I wish her the best as she continues to follow that path.

Reflecting on my Interview

To write this piece, I began by thinking about my interactions with the interviewee, and where I saw the connections to her Indian culture. I found it in the food we ate together, the clothes I wore to her family’s events, the Hindu funeral for her father that I attended, etc. I used the culture I had witnessed to inspire questions about what I didn’t know- how her yoga practice connected her to her ethnicity, how her transition had been as a child, and more. When I actually got to speak to Alka, I had even more questions than I began with, and unfortunately time cut us off after over an hour. Everything image she described was so vivid that it made me want to know more.

After recieving feedback from Ms. Patel, an Emory writing center tutor, and my own mother, I realized the piece was too much in my own voice. I tried to separate myself except for a brief introduction to our history. I also included facts about Indian immigration as a whole in the United States to give the reader something to compare to. I went through my piece cutting out things I knew were unnecessary to the specific assignment. Overall, I’m very proud of the extensive work I have done on this interview profile.

“Swades”

The film “Swades” begins with the story of the typical American dream- man comes from foreign country (India in this case) and succeeds in his field. Produced and directed by Oscar-nominated Ashutosh Gowariker, “Swades” is a movie about hope, love, abandonment, and trust. Internationally over its lifetime it has grossed ₹342.6 million and recieved 4.5 stars from Indiatimes Movies

Mohan Bhargava is the protagonist (Shah Rukh Khan), an ordinary immigrant working as a successful project manager at NASA. He longs to see his childhood nanny, Kaveri Amma (Kishori Ballal), who took care of him when he was a youth in India, so he takes a short leave from NASA to venture to his homeland. Upon his arrival, he realizes she has left and sets off to Charanpur. There he meets Gita (Gayatri Joshi), who moved Kaveri in with her after her parents death. Gita fears that he will take Kaveri away from her, but instead she slowly falls for him. As Mohan explores the villages, he notices the rudimentary technology and detrimental separations of the castes and sets out to help. He extends his leave to bring running water to the village after being shunned for helping a certain lower caste man get water. As he does so, he slowly falls for Gita as he watches how caring and kind she is to everyone in the village. She gives back through providing education. Unfortunately, he returns to the US without his love as she refuses to part with her home country, but after finishing his project at NASA, depressed and lonely, travels back to India to be with Gita. He gets a job with the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center were he can work alongside NASA and everyone lives happily ever after.

This story was inspired by a Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, two foreigners who lived in India and helped build schools in far out villages. They set up pedal-power generators to fuel the off-the-grid centers, making technology and education more accessible for many.

“Swades” takes many twists and turns, but does not follow the expected ending. As the story begins to unfold, most audience members can see Mohan falling in love with Kaveri and bringing her back to America, but that is far from what happens. He falls in love with a different girl and travels across the world for her. The climax and aftermath of the story are very unpredictable, which makes “Swades” very interesting for its extreme length of 3 hours and 23 minutes.

The Diasporic Life

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines diaspora as: “the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland.” In the sections of “Interpreter of Maladies” given, Jhumpa Lahiri tells the reader two stories. One of a couple returning to the land their parents came from, and another of a man who left the land he grew up in. Both tell stories about traveling to or from India, and the acclimation to differences there. In my opinion, his portrayal is realistic. The diasporic life only means the life of someone who has left their home, and since everyone’s journey is quite different there is no one meaning of the diasporic life.

In the first story, Mr. Kapasi, a chauffeur of sorts, is assigned to drive the Das family for the day. He takes them around Konarak, stopping at the Sun Temple for a tourist visit. As the day goes on, Mr. Kapasi realizes he is falling in love with Ms. Das, a blunt, slightly bitter woman who doesn’t seem to care for her husband or kids too much. It is clear that the Das family wouldn’t be in India if their parents didn’t move to Assanol to retire. This is the reality for many people who immigrate, they must know it is likely their children will have no attachment to the place they spent their own childhood. While some people have deep connections to their parent’s, grandparent’s, and so on’s roots, others could care less. It is clear that Ms. Das is one of the latter. She brushes off her children, pays little attention to her husband, and even confides in Kapasi, a total stranger, about how she has fallen out of love with him.

The second story is also very realistic, it is the stereotypical story of the American dream. Man travels to America for job. Man saves money up until family joins him. Family slowly integrates to American lifestyle as their own culture slowly slips away. The smallest details are what show the changes that the unnamed protagonist goes through. He accustoms himself to a breakfast of cereal instead of last nights meat and rice leftovers. He learns the way of the Americans. It seems as if he takes more time getting used to living with his wife than he does to America in general. Lahiri chose to leave this character unnamed to represent the thouosands of immigrants that lived through this story, maybe not down to the exact details, but very close. This story can be related to by many.

While the story of Kapasi and Mrs. Das is more specific, the story of the unnamed immigrant represents the reality of a diasporic life better. The Das’s were not themselves immigrants, where the unnamed man’s story is about him adjusting to a strange new life in a foreign world. Both are very realistic interpretations, but the second story does the idea of a realistic diasporic life more justice.

Disconnectedness of NYC

Central Theme: Disconnectedness of NYC

Dylan – Interviewer

Shauna – Interviewee

Dylan- What’s your favorite place in our neighborhood to eat?

Shauna- Pier I Cafe

Dylan- Mine’s Sushi Yasaka

*We realized neither of us had been to each other’s favorite restaurant

Dylan- Do you have a “spot” in the neighborhood where you can go and sit, read, hang out?

Shauna- I love Riverside Park. I bring a blanket and a book when it’s nice out and can lay there for hours relaxing.

Dylan- I almost never visit Riverside Park! It’s so sad! I don’t spend that much time in our neighborhood.

Dylan- What is your favorite area of NYC and why?

Shauna- I prefer the downtown neighborhoods like Chelsea, Meatpacking, and Soho because they are a little less corporate. I love the townhouses and shorter buildings, and the general creative and artistic vibe you get walking through the streets, seeing the different vendors and boutiques. But, I’ll always be true to the Upper West Side

Dylan- I spend a lot of time in NYC’s Manhattan Chinatown, where I used to teach English on Sunday mornings. I’m half-Chinese, and when I’m in these areas I feel connected to my culture.

Dylan- What do you dislike about NYC

Shauna- I HATE TIMES SQUARE. It’s really not that great. All it is is some extremely bright LED billboards, insane traffic, and a ridiculous amount of people taking selfies with the stupidest stuff. Walking through I can barely keep myself from screaming at the top of my lungs “MOVE SLOWER I DARE YOU”

Dylan-  Haha I also hate Times Square. Also, though, I hate how competitive New York City is, as well as how disconnected from others I felt while living there.

Dylan- When speaking of politics and diversity, what are the differences you’ve noticed between your NYC high school and Emory?

Shauna- well my high school was incredibly more diverse than Emory. Emory likes to talk about how proud it is to have such a diverse student body, but truly everyone is very cliquey within their cultures/races/ethnicities/etc. Whereas my high school actually supported better bonding between different social groups and encouraged more conversations about ethnicity and diversity

Dylan- How has living in NYC affected your sense of self?

Shauna- Living in NYC has greatly influenced my outlook on life, as well as my sense of self. Coming from one of the most progressive, populous, and cosmopolitan cities in the world has made me a more outspoken person, but also made me really reflective. It’s amazing how you can feel so alone in such a big city.

Dylan- I know you’ve lived in other places, how does NYC compare? How have you been affected by the disconnected, hustle-bustle nature of NYC?

Shauna- NYC is very busy. Everyone has somewhere to be and something to do at all times, and I’ve found myself sinking into that mold as time goes on. I used to think New Yorkers on the streets were so rude, but now I’m one of those people. I was born in New York and lived here for two years as a baby, so I guess I’ve always had it in me. Paris was a busy city, but much more of a pleasant vibe. Before that I lived in Connecticut which was absolutely the stereotypical Wall Street wives with white picket fences and three kids and a purebred dog. It was pretty snobby.

Dylan- What do you think Atlanta and NYC have in common?

Shauna- Both are composed of very different neighborhoods (Upper East Side, Soho, and Wall Street vs. Little Five Points, Virginia Highlands, and Midtown) that make up one big city; however in New York the neighborhoods are right next to each other where Atlanta is more spread out, and NYC has a bigger population and is therefore busier.

Dylan- I’ve also noticed that New York City and Atlanta are both home to an extraordinary diversity of people and cultures. There are many ethnic neighborhoods in both cities.

General Question- How did you guys meet?

Shauna- Well the front desk lady in our building, Gabby, likes to know the goings-on of all the residents. When I told her I had decided on Emory, she told me about Dylan! I’d never seen him before, which was funny to think about. I friended him on facebook and kept an eye out but never saw him. A month later I ran into him at the NYC Emory Meet Up and introduced myself, and he clearly had no idea who I was!

Dylan- It’s totally true unfortunately.

Shauna- So he asked to friend me on facebook and I said “I friended you a month ago and never heard back,” which was pretty funny.

Dylan- So August rolls around and it’s time to go to Emory. Shauna and I hadn’t communicated at all. The first week she comes up to me to say hi and sadly, I don’t recognize her and ask her for her name.

Shauna- So I told him how I was the girl in his building, who he’d met before.

Dylan- This goes on for the first six times I see her (and we had a class together).

Shauna- Needless to say it was disappointing that after five times this kid couldn’t remember that I literally lived in his apartment building!!!

(More conversation followed after the formal interview)

Disconnectedness of Living in NYC –

Summary: Shauna and I both discussed our experiences living in New York City when I interviewed her. Although Shauna and I lived in the same building for many years, neither of us had any idea that the other existed until we came to Emory. Additionally, while Shauna and I went to similar high schools, we still had no knowledge of each other and few mutual friends (even on Facebook).

While both of us have many commonalities, our experiences living in NYC have differed greatly. We both have different neighborhood restaurants and stores we like. Moreover, Shauna and I realized that we like to spend our time in different parts of the city.

Over the course of our conversation, however, Shauna and I began to notice that we had both experienced feelings of isolation and disconnectedness while living in New York City. Although both Shauna and I had good friendships in high school, our circles were relatively small. We both felt that people in NYC are often hesitant to interact with others outside of their social circles.

Shauna and I feel that the Emory bubble could serve as a microcosm for New York City life, for a variety of reasons. Although Emory students are surrounded by an amazing diversity of people, both faculty and peers, most tend to stay within pre-determined social circles, or make friends predominately with people sharing a similar background. For example, many Emory students from the Northeast tend to stick together; some come in with already-formed friend groups. These trends have been replicated in Emory’s Greek Life, which is often criticized for lacking diversity.

Many freshman students have a fear of feeling disconnected or feeling out-of-place. In trying to find “community” at Emory, we may have subconsciously ended up forming friend groups with people already similar to us. After the interview, Shauna and I realized both realized that we had met multiple people from NYC (who we’d previously had no knowledge of) after coming to Emory, including some who lived within two or three blocks of us.

Reflection on Remembering Partition

In “Remembering Partition,” the author, Gyanendra Pandey, works to establish a definition of three separate partitions under the overarching Partition of India in 1947. He asserts that a division is not often seen between the three, which I strongly agree with because before having read this article, I thought the division of India was made up simply of tragic mass killings due to religious tensionPakis that lead to the partition, but there is much more to it which Pandey explains well. The author explains that the story is told in many ways by many different people but doesn’t seem to have any bias for one explanation. He does stick mainly to the Hindu/Sikh “Indian” version but that can easily be argued as him trying to stick to the more commonly known history.

The First Partition is the most important in my opinion as well as seemingly Pandey’s, the official partition of Pakistan and India which was argued from 1940-1947. The main issues that occurred foreshadowed the second and third, Muslims in India didn’t want to leave home and the same went for Sikhs/Hindus in either province of Pakistan. Nobody felt it necessary to leave their “vatan,” or homeland, which lead to major violence. The worst event that came as a precursor to this partition was the Day of Action in 1946, in which several thousands were killed in four days after the Muslim League attempted to propose extra-constitutional actions and abandoned negotiations with the Congress of India. This is the most important of the partitions as it represents the cause of the literal Partition between India and Pakistan, and Pandey backs up the gravity of this partition with endless places that hundreds and even thousands of people were killed as a precursor and then in the aftermath.

The Second and Third Partitions are also important, as they are less recognized issues. The Second was the splitting of Punjabs and Bengals, when all of the the Sikhs and Hindus were evicted from West Pakistan and the Muslims from the East. This cause riots and killing sprees as well as people tried to cleanse their regions and others fleed in fear of the stories of beatings, burnings and battles between religions. The central focus of the Third is the overarching refugee crisis that happened as a result of the partitions. People were forced to leave their homes in search of their religion’s designated province. This is clearly the silent hell story of the Partition. It’s easily relatable to the current situation with Syrian refugees fleeing in fear of being killed, and the US now not accepting them and refugees from five other states. The provinces closed their borders, including the UP, Kalka, and Pakistan.

Contrast

Flipping through the photos, it easy to see a general theme: Contrast. Be it racial, color, or opinion based, everyone in the photos is in contrast to something else in a way. During the British Raj, the main example of contrast would be between the native Indians and the British elite, but contrast can be found in such smaller thematic places. There is contrast between the well dressed and the homeless, between the night and the light, the water and the dry, etc. as the following photos will show.

SC01196683.jpgThree white men are guided by two locals, the differences between the groups clearly highlighted by their position (outside/inside), their attire, and even their body weights.SC01196763.jpg

A wish of good health for the “King Emperor” light up on the side of a nice building. This image shows the message of the wealthy, distinctly bright against the dark night.DP00097495.jpg

White men sit at desks, learning and reading, as Indians stand back. Here contrast is show in their clothes and in their positions, standing in the back of the room rather than sitting at the desks.SC01197439.jpg

People wade through floodwaters, moving items to higher ground. The wet and the dry are portrayed starkly differently here, as those on the stairs, those higher up, are obviously the ones with more fortune and luck.DP00097511.jpg

A wealthy family’s portrait is taken, dressed in their finest sport clothing, as an Indian boy peers in from the background.SC01197433.jpg

Opinions clash as two men duel, the crowd gathered to see which side will prevail. SC01176120.jpg

A well dressed white man plays tennis dressed in bright white clothes, distinctly contrasting the dark black background.

SC01197564.jpgA poorly dressed bearded man is singled out and surrounded by a better dressed crowd.