Gujarat Put The Modi in Immodium

I started writing this post on June 11, 2015, and didn’t finish until Jan 3, 2016, because…. well, no reason. Just because.

Well here I am pulling shitty splinters from various parts of my body and layering antibiotic gel on the affected skin.  Fun, right?

Well how did this happen? Well you may recall that the apartment I am staying in during my tenure at the IITGN in Ahmedabad is literally across a field from my office. However, every morning a car comes and picks each of us up from our homes and drives us the 5-10 minute trek to work. A quick scamper across the field would get me there in seconds, literally.

So why don’t we take this obvious short-cut?  Well, first, the temperature is almost literally scalding. Even a few minutes walking in the open will render any fully clothed person to be dowsed in sweat.

And second, the field is strewn with questionable products, including human (and non-human) feces.

The field of strewn feces

The field of strewn feces

Still, that did not stop me, today, from attempting to cross the field on my return trip from my office to my apartment. Clearly, I’m an idiot.

I’m fast approaching my personal semi-centennial. Yet, in my brain, I’m a spry and athletic 25 years old. This delusion was put to the test as I climbed to the top of the half-meter stone wall separating said field from the campus. Then I jumped to the grass…. and promptly fell on my face.

Yep, on my face, on the field of shit.

It doesn’t end there. My skin was pricked and pierced with various sharp objects, and Zod knows how many points of entry into my bloodstream various bacterial colonies discovered.

Hence my current state of being bathed in antibiotic gel.

As they say on TV, kids: don’t try this at home.

This will be my last blog post from IITGN in India. If you’d like to see the photos of our adventure, click here.  And you can see the videos I recorded here. Lastly, you download a free PDF of the abstract booklet created by our wonderful students here.

What follows is a taste of some of the memories of our stay in Ahmedabad…

With a special group of students with whom I worked closely on a research project:

The children of workers building the new IITGN campus. I wonder if they will ever get a chance to attend a university:


Modern India in one view… labourers in the field, a Hindu temple, and a nuclear reactor:


With an annoying but persistent tout in Rajasthan:


A taste from the Ahmedabad newspaper:


Why is Ben Affleck wielding a laser gun?


A drawing in our guesthouse kitchen shows what looks like a primordial Dalek:


Same guesthouse with a drawing of what appears to be a break dancing Mork from Ork:


Our penultimate meal with the students featured traditional Gujarati food:


One of my many unscheduled roommates:


What’s that? The Raywat school for girls?


A local politician makes a scene at Fatehpur Sikri:


We photographed a German dude with a turban… then saw him later at a restaurant.  Proof!


In Rajasthan, re-enacting my favourite scene from my favourite movie, The Temple of Doom:


Our keen students during a break-out session:


One of the adorable puppies scattered through our neighbourhood:


A great photo of the children of the workers at the current IITGN campus. The university has set up a special day school for these kids, to help give them a little bit of an advantage in the cut-throat world they are about to enter:


And here’s a taste of what peacocks sounds like. That’s right. Peacocks. They sound like mewling cats:

That’s enough, right? Can’t believe it took me almost 7 months to complete this blog post. Clearly, I originally had a lot more to say. But I’ve forgotten much of it. Instead, I am left with warm memories of brilliant colleagues at IITGN, new friends from the University of Saskatchewan, and dedicated, warm and lovable students from all across India, who attended the IITGN summer program. I hope to go back soon!