Saturday, November 21, 2015

Happy Diwali!

I digress, it has been a long time! Alas, I have been quite busy with final presentations, tests, and enjoying every last minute in India that I have.

Much has happened since travel week, including Halloween, my final field visits for research, Diwali, an epic cricket match and an awesome cooking class.


Per Tom's suggestion, Halloween ended up getting very creative this year. In addition to a few small pumpkins, we carved watermelons, and it was delicious. I think Smriti ended up putting over 5 pounds of watermelon pieces in her fridge by the end of the day. Picutes below.

The carnage!

We're cute...Happy Halloween!


As far as field visits go, one of our last class field visit was to the DOTS center in Udupi. DOTS stands for Directly Observed Treatment, Shortcourse and is one of the World Health Organization's best public health interventions to date. DOTS is a public health intervention of treating Tuberculosis, or TB. In India, it is estimated that over 2 million people have TB, and tens to hundreds of thousands more are infected every year. It is a life-threatening disease characterized by a fever, pains, and severe cough. The good news is that TB is curable and treatable. It takes months of regimented antibiotics and maintenance of health, and this is where DOTS comes in. DOTS requires that a health care provider observe the infected person physically taking the antibiotics two to three times every week until the disease tests negative via a sputum sample. This accountability ensures the full course of treatment is taken so the person is fully healed and antibiotic resistance does not occur. Overall, DOTS has worked to continuously reduce the burden of death and disease felt by TB in many countries.

What a #publichealthparty!


My field visits for my independent research wrapped up as well! This time, Prashanthi and Sushma helped me with translation at the Padubidri Primary Health Center. This field visit helped to further solidify the conclusions I had been drawing from my previous interviews throughout Udupi Taluk. Sarah also went along for this visit, and to show them our thanks, we went out for lunch afterwards, and it was a riot! They are fun people. I am soon going to turn in my final report and I am excited about the conclusions I have drawn.

Sarah, Sushma, Prashanthi, and I outside of PHC Padubidri

Research Squad 2015


Happy Diwali!

About a week ago, it was a joyous time all around Manipal and India because of this famous Hindu celebration. Diwali signifies the "festival of lights" and is a time where people appreciate togetherness with their family, friends, and other loved ones (see "Diwali" in 'Useful Links'). Many people go home, though we were lucky enough that our friends in the Geopolitics Department stayed around, and were nice enough to invite us over for a party. We dressed up in our sarees again, and had a great time. The next day, we continued the celebration by participating in Manipal Univeristy's "Illuminaire", which is a gathering where we lit lanterns and sent them floating into the sky. If you have ever seen the Disney movie "Tangled", it most definitely resembled the famous canoe scene. It was absolutely beautiful. Pictures below.

Rangoli with dias (lanterns) placed in the middle

Happy Diwali! :)

Extremely fun party at Hamsini and Saketha's apartment!

Entrance to Illuminaire

Tom, lighting our lantern so it could float up into the night sky

Emilie and Tanzy about to send their lantern up!



There was no way any of us were leaving India without trying cricket! Smriti set up a match in the field behind our building, pitting us against the Geopolitics Department. In cricket, you hit a ball with a flat, wooden stick, and instead of running around bases, you run to and from a line as many times as possible. If you hit it far enough, you can also get 4 or 6 points (depending on how far you hit). We lost by a long shot when it was us vs. the department, but when we mixed teams up a little bit, the match was a close one! It was such an event that even some of our professors played... I really appreciated learning how to play India's favorite pastime.

Booking it for the team!

Cricket with the best


This last Tuesday, we attended a hands-on cooking class at Manipal University's School of Culinary Arts. We were set up in a huge kitchen and taught to make dishes such as chicken curry, aloo jeera, palak paneer, carrot halwa, and dal shorba. It was really great (even if we labored for over 3 hours) to see how Indian food is normally cooked and the passion of our student chefs were extremely evident. My student chef and I bonded over our love of baked goods and for the movie Ratatouille (to be perfectly honest, I I felt like I was in that movie throughout the entire night). I especially hope I can make the deliciously sweet and buttery carrot halwa and the savory chicken curry when I am back in the U.S.

My chef! He was fabulous and I hope to try his cooking/baking again one day

Makin' chicken curry

I felt like a pro (even if I wasn't)

Everything about this meal was aesthetically pleasing!


Intently watching educational videos during Sunday morning volunteer fun with the energetic kids at Bijapur slum


The days since travel week have flown by, and I am still enjoying India to the fullest extent. I can't believe I only have one week left in Manipal and two weeks left in India itself. It is going to be very weird going back to the U.S. after all this time, and seeing my country with, I expect, much different eyes than before. I do not think the fact of going back has settled into me yet, so I will just have to see when it hits. This upcoming week will be finals, enjoying my favorite people and things about Manipal, and the closing ceremony.



P.S. Happy 18th Birthday to Kyle this last week and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this upcoming week!


Me, at the beginning of painting class! I am now only one more session from finishing my Ganesha :)


The answer to the last question: "Who is the current Prime Minister of India" is Narendra Modi. Shah Rukh Khan is arguably India's most famous actor, Jawaharlal Nehru was India's first PM after Independence, and Pranab Mukherjee is the current President of India.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment! ~



  1. Hi Kara, We'll have to try a Indian dish you create when you get home. Love Dad

  2. Oh My!!! Life got too busy last few weeks and I couldn't get to spend much time here. But, look how many posts already. Gottu catch up :)

    Just this post has me excited and smiling wide :)
    Watermelon carving? :O Superb idea that :D
    Diwali with lanterns..a game of cricket ..a cooking class so professional..Wow! Honestly, you have done so much in few months that a person wouldn't in years, especially if one is local. Sigh! I need to get inspired and do some of it. My trip to India is approaching..will be there on the 5th. Yayyy!!

    1. Ashwini, I missed your uplifting and insightful comments, and I am so glad you had the chance to read therefore :) It so happens that we will be in your beautiful home for 2 days together, until I depart from Delhi on the 7th...have a wonderful time here...I can definitely understand why you miss it.

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