Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Professor Marjorie Silver - Winding Down in India

So I’ve figured out how to maximize one’s bargaining position: open your wallet and show the shopkeeper that you only have X number of rupees left. It has worked pretty well for me a couple of times now—it also means I’ve come home sans rupees more than once!

As I said to Marianne on the way back from yet another shopping spree, I believe I’m done with my shopping—at least until I buy something else. It’s absolutely an addiction here. Only way to cure it, I fear, is to return to New York. But I am the proud owner of several exquisite pieces. Including my first Thangka!

Things are certainly winding down. Students are distracted by exams and plans for afterward. The level of commitment in class—at least in my class—has certainly fallen off considerably from where it was the first three weeks. Three students absent yesterday, with nary an explanation. Five today (one, Daniel, was actually ill). The explanation is fairly clear to me—they figure they can cut my class to study for their other exams with minimum repercussions, given my take-home exam for which they have had half the program. There is, however, the professionalism component to their grade for my course.

Despite that, there has been a sufficient critical mass to keep the discussion in class both flowing and interesting. Still, it is a disappointment.

Out and about:

On Sunday, Marianne, Doug and I hiked up to Dharamcot, via Bhagsu. We didn’t mean to take the Bhagsu road, and wished we hadn’t—the traffic was horrible, the fumes spoiling our “walk in the woods.” But it was a good workout, and the return trip from Dharamcot a lot more pastoral. Sunday evening, Ved, Catharine and I checked out a traditional Tibetan music hour, a sort of fundraiser for a benefit of vague description. One announcer, one performer, two instruments, some singing, some dancing. More quaint than compelling. At a school with another great vista, however. Oh, those snow-capped mountains!

Marianne and I walked the outer road around the Monastery Monday. It’s magical—great vistas, interesting Tibetan carvings and paintings on the rocks, a small temple here and there. And then had another terrific pizza at what Marianne calls the Dalai Lama’s pizza parlor. Who knew some of the best pizza anywhere was to be found in McLeod Ganj!?!

An elephant walked through town yesterday, accompanied by old men with beards and begging bowls. Happily, I spotted it from a distance on Temple Road and was able to capture its approach with my Flip. Click here to view the videos.

By Professor Marjorie Silver, Touro Law Summer Abroad Program in India

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