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Julia cliff dives in Rishikesh. Photo by Paula M.
Julia cliff dives in Rishikesh. Photo by Paula M.

We're Back From weXplore!

Dear TGS Community,

This past week our students and staff uprooted from Mumbai and traveled in three different directions to explore India even further. We refer to these activity-based outings as our “weXplore” week.

Each of the modules had a different focus, theme, and part of India to explore: E-Commerce module went to Bangalore and Pondicherry, India’s Path to Sustainability went to Delhi, Rishikesh, and Varanasi, and finally, Zero to Infinity went to Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur.

The E-Commerce weXplore offered an opportunity for students to hone their business skills in a  “Shark Tank/Dragon’s Den” setting with business students from Christ University. In addition to that, students had a chance to visit various business and companies and even got to practice their surfing skills!

India’s Path to Sustainability weXplore offered students a chance to explore issues centered around water in India by examining the river Ganges, from its source in Rishikesh to its heavily polluted parts in Varanasi. Students had an opportunity to explore the holy city, test water quality, and even do some white-water rafting.

Zero to Infinity went on a hunt for mathematical concepts through photography. Students used their camera lenses to capture interesting points, lines, and angles found throughout Agra, Jaipur, and Delhi’s famous forts and monuments, including the Taj Mahal.

Please enjoy the following student reflections, which offer personal insights into the various trips.

Adnan

-tion

by Ava Ploeckelman

“It is not a place to see, but a place to feel,”

The place to feel has three names,

And two rivers meeting one,

And twelve people looking for something,

And a few people finding it in 5+ packets of coffee

And at the bottom of the test tube,

We found it,

We knew what we were trying to find,

Confirmation.

  

In the place before,

The place where statues stand tall next to dams,

We were looking for something,

Six people were looking for friendship, four for adventure, two for coffee,

We found tiny stories, and we walked for a second,

Then were pulled back onto the bus,

Because it was deemed we would not find it there.

Information.

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The Week I Never Thought I’d Have

by Lily Waimarama Edwards

To say that I floated down the Ganges river, through the Himalayas in Rishikesh India, is something I never thought I’d be able to do, especially not at 16.

To say that I toured the holiest city in the world, visited the tree in which Buddha got enlightened, along side some of my best friends, was something I never thought I’d be able to do.

To watch as a man brushed his teeth with the sacred water of Mother Ganga that’s which is packed full of dangerous pollutants and to be able to understand and justify why, was something I never thought I’d be able to do.

To be able to deal with conflict, disagreement, changing of plans and be optimistic about the spontaneous nature of our weXplore, is something I am surprised and proud that I was able to do.

To be able to observe as 3 very different religions that each believe in contrasting and often opposing views learn to coexist in one, chaotic yet inspiring city is something I never thought I’d be able to witness, yet understand.

To be able to capture the frustration, laughter, tears, amazement and exhaustion that we experienced throughout this crazy week Is something I’m happy I did.

 

Image Credit: Igor Ovsyannykov
Image Credit: Igor Ovsyannykov

The Five Senses of India

by Corinna Olson

I see cows in the street digging in trash.

I see boats on the river and sailors worshipping Mother Ganga.

I see a bright, pink circle in the sky, lightening the 5am sky.

I see people bathing themselves in the dark, murky water.

  

I hear drums and horses stomping to their beat during a wedding parade.

I hear the hymns of a monk during a fire ceremony on the river.

I hear the trees blowing with the mountain winds and the faint sounds of river rapids.

I hear car horns. All the time. It never stops and it never will.

  

I smell the sizzling vegetables in a street food kiosk.

I smell the pungent odor of trash and animal droppings on the road.

I smell smoke from the candles and large fires set off at a ghat ceremony.

I smell the hot coffee being served in the middle of a hidden cafe on the ganges river.

  

I taste the warm masala chai and all the spices within it.

I taste the metallic tasting water from the “best bottled water in India”.

I taste the simple cheese pizzas bought from a roadside restaurant at 10pm.

I taste the creamy peanut butter, a TGS student’s essential snack, eaten on a rooftop overlooking skinny alleyways and the banks of the river.

Image Credit: Devesh Uba
Image Credit: Devesh Uba

In the Shoes of a Woman from Jawhar

by Zara Garcha

I walk and walk with a pot on my head,

So my children can go to school and sleep in a bed,

My back hurts and my head aches,

To get water, this is all of what it takes.

My sari drags on the floor,

As I try not to wake my husband, as I shut the door,

The sun has awoken as it hits my face,

I must hurry up for getting water is a race,

I must be faster so I can fill two whole pots,

Oh my back hurts and my head lots,

I pump the water and fill the pot,

Up to the brim, like I had been taught,

I now must head home,

For I am in this all alone.

Image Credit: Jyotirmoy Gupta
Image Credit: Jyotirmoy Gupta

Zara Reflects on Her Path to Sustainability weXplore

by Zara Garcha

What a week. The first thing I did when arriving home (oops I mean the hotel), was lay flat on my bed for a solid twenty minutes doing nothing. Nothing, it felt energizing to do absolutely nothing. Four hotels in five nights, in three different cities. The trip really pushed me to be flexible, adaptable and do develop my ‘go with the flow’ attribute which I at times, greatly lack.

Something I had noticed greatly on my trip, was how home became the ‘Executive Enclave Hotel’. Home became a place we were comfortable with, a place with routine. Home gained a new definition for me. It shocked me just how ‘home’ was formerly known to me, as a place with three dogs, three siblings, mom and dad. A place that constantly smelt of incense and that I grew up in, was replaced in my mind with a cramped hotel room. Home doesn’t have to be the place your siblings live in, or the place you grew up in. Home can simply be a hotel room, a place where you know where everything is, and a place that when you are forced to be flexible and adapt to sudden change, you long to return to. A big lifelong take away from being a nomad for the week, was that home can be anywhere you want it to be. Important lesson learnt, for my many more TGS travels to come.

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Kien Reflects on His Path to Sustainability weXplore

by Kien N.

The weXplore trip has offered me an opportunity to study more about water situation in terms of culture and society as well as to explore India.

Landing in New Delhi, the first thing we did was to get on a bus and made our way to the Centre of Science and Technology, where our guest speaker Ms. Ranjita Menon explained to us the problem concerning septic tanks, a tank used to purify waste water, in Delhi. The problems that concern me the most is the fact that many households in Delhi are not having any septic tank and are sharing septic tank or the fact that the septic tanks are of poor quality because these could lead to low-purified contaminated water, which eventually cause sickness among the community and child mortality. Additionally, the financial of a family may be heavily affected as they need to go to the hospital and buy medicine.

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People are forced to bathe in sewage
People are forced to bathe in sewage

Environmental Concerns in India

by Ava Ploeckelman

During our short time in Varanasi, we went to a university to listen to a guest speaker talk about water, the Ganga, and Indian culture. He explained that 80% of the waste polluting India’s life line is sewage, a failure of the government and not the people. He questioned why ‘clean the river’ campaigns focused on direct use as opposed to treating the sewage flowing into the water. Some sewage is treated in an STP (sewage treatment plant) but there are not enough to treat all of the waste. Citizens do not get to choose this aspect of their life, as many do not have the resources to make a better choice. The Ganga river, called Ganga-ji by the people who live there, is very sacred, however, it continues to be polluted because the government cannot keep up with the population.

 

From Spinning Wheel to Fiber Optic Cable

by TGS Educator Nicholas J. Martino

The economics and e-commerce module set out to understand the new age of Indian economics. Over the past five weeks students have learned and experienced the entire economic spectrum of India, from rural to urban and from low-tech to high tech. The student experience mirrored India’s economic transformation from spinning wheel to fiber-optic cable. This past week students did a deep dive into the world of high tech India in India’s ‘Silicon Valley,’ Bangalore. This photo essay will share our experiences.

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Photo by Chelle Marshall
Photo by Chelle Marshall

Paula M. Reflects on Her Path to Sustainability weXplore

by Paula Marquina Gurrea

Rishikesh is the place where the purest water for many falls from the Himalayas and joins five  other rivers forming the renowned  “Ganga-ji” or “Ganges river”. For those who don’t know, the Ganga river is one of the most important figures for many religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. It  flows mainly through Rishikesh and Varanasi… two of the holiest cities in India.

In Hinduism, there is the belief that if you bathe in the river, do morning and evening rituals,  and cremate on the shore those who’ve passed away and spread some of their ashes in the river, their Karma will improve. Which’ll bring them closer to god, making their next life better. This practices happen mostly in Varanasi, because the four pillars of Hinduism are present there at the same time. People pray for life and for death in the same place, to their god. In Hinduism this god has many manifestations, he is The Creator, The Protector, and The Destroyer. This god is believed to have given life to one of the oldest cities in the world by providing the most essential resource for life; water.

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Photo by Chelle Marshall
Photo by Chelle Marshall

The Game Changing Power of Education Based on Inquiry

by Julia Guizar García

The way people go about exploring fundamental questions forges their daily habits. When people delve into questions like “Who am I?” and “Who are we?” they generate traditions that conceive and foster cultural identity. Each question can only be analyzed through the lens of the other in order to achieve balance in the individual and the community. The second quest revolves instead around the pursuance of growth through developing our efficiency and effectiveness and expanding our knowledge and capacity to act. This process is assisted by the exploration of “Who can I be?” and “Who can we be?”. Examining the point where the two questions align to point in the same direction molds mutual definitions of success which allow communal and individual efforts to aim for a coincident objective. When we cease to navigate with these crucial questions in mind, we become travelers without a compass or map. Left disoriented amidst our quest, we become unable to move/paralyzed and are shipwrecked in an unknown place to be devoured by time.

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Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Apply now