Sunday, March 9, 2008

long time

hard to believe it's been six months since we've written on this blog. (i've been more diligent with my other blog.) not sure if anyone still looks at this one, but i feel like writing so here goes. let's see... well, we've had some great trips in the last several months. more south india travel (hampi, shimoga, gokarna, cochin, kerala backwaters) and sri lanka (colombo and unawatuna). we are hoping to take one final trip to delhi and some yet-to-be-decided-upon beautiful hill station. it looks like we're headed back to the US at some point during the month of june. it's a perfect time to spend a few weeks in the tristate area and take a road trip down south. who wants to join us?

by the way, this photo was taken in hampi: soldiers from the vijayanagar empire ate at these thalis in the 15th century.

surabhi has been loving her work and is continuing to impress everyone with her kannada skills, which she has been using brilliantly in trainings on qualitative data collection. i'll let her tell you more about that...

my work has picked up tremendously, and i'm learning a lot. i'm still language editing part-time, teaching private lamaze classes, being a doula, and participating in the bangalore birth network (BBN). we (the BBN) applied for a grant and i just got the word that we got it. our priorities are getting materials on normal birth adapted and translated into kannada and tamil, creating a website, and holding awareness-raising events around bangalore. all very exciting. oh and we organized a very successful film festival, the review of which you can read in the hindu by clicking here.

what other news? megadeth is coming to bangalore soon and serena williams played in some big tennis match here over the weekend. didn't get to see the match, unfortunately, and have zero desire to see megadeth. the new airport is scheduled to open in a few weeks, which everyone is pretty much dreading because it's so far away and, because public transportation is abysmal, it will be wery, wery inconwenient.

otherwise, i think we're both starting to mentally prepare (or at least try) for saying goodbye to india (for now). needless to say, we both have very mixed feelings about leaving.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

pondicherry, birth classes and other ramblings

this was supposed to be my first day teaching a once-monthly childbirth class at an upscale mama/baby store called apple of my i in indiranagar. despite my and AOMI's advertising efforts, no one registered. too bad, considering the amount of work i put into preparing for the class, and how excited i was about it. oh well. hopefully, it will happen next month.

in the meantime, i'm keeping very busy. here's what i'm working on:

1) being a doula. as you may have read in a previous post, i attended my first birth as a doula in india. it was fantastic. i've met another couple who are interested in hiring me, but first need to figure out where they're delivering and whether i will be allowed in the room. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

2) convening the bangalore birth network (BBN). my good friend nora (an american midwife) and i have been trying to recruit folks to be a part of the BBN, which you can read about over on my other blog by clicking here. some items on our agenda are (a) addressing the widespread inhumane treatment of birthing women in both private and public hospitals (e.g., women are made to labor alone, no concept of informed consent, rampant abuse by nurses and doctors, over-use of routine interventions, etc.); (b) organizing a childbirth film festival in bangalore; and (c) ultimately opening a birth center.

3) writing articles. i've written one article for a website called chillibreeze, and they've asked me to write a feature for their expat newsletter about expats giving birth in bangalore. i've done three interviews and hope to do one more, and then i'll start writing (after a torturous patch of writer's block i'm sure).

4) copyediting. i've been working for macmillan as a freelance language editor. i edit articles written for science journals. this may sound like an easy job, but it's not. they have included such exciting topics as retroviral gene tranfers of tPA targets thrombolysis in vitro and in vivo; tamoxifen pharmacogenomics: the role of CYP2D6 as a predictor of drug response; endocannabinoid system and cardiometabolic risk; and thiazide-induced subtle renal injury not observed in states of equivalent. good times.

5) traveling. surabhi and i spent a lovely weekend in pondicherry. besides the nuisance of flies and mosquitoes, it was very relaxing. we stayed at a beautiful old colonial guest house in the french quarter, where one can walk down the streets without fear of death. we enjoyed a couple of amazing meals, one at an eco-beach resort called the dune, and the other at auroville, "an ideal township devoted to an experiment in human unity." i'd definitely like to go back and spend some time there. i've read about a home birth midwife at auroville but i can't seem to track her down.

we are starting to plan our ten day trip to kerala at the beginning of november. if anyone has any tips about where to stay (we're thinking a few days on a houseboat, a few days at the beach, and a few days in wayanad?), please e-mail us! speaking of kerala, here's an article in today's new york times about keralite migration.

finally, judy is coming! for two months! even though she won't be in bangalore for the whole time, i'll be happy knowing she's nearby.

okay, if you're reading this and you're our friend, or even if you're a stranger, please feel free to say hi in the form of a comment, will ya?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

blank noise in the news... again!

here's an article about the blank noise project and sexual harassment in india generally. we were involved with blank noise during our first few months in india. we're seriously missing you, jasmeen!

Monday, August 13, 2007


on saturday, four sixteen year old girls attempted suicide. three died, one survived. they left a note saying, among other things, "we could not live together in this world. we wish to be together at least in death." what does that sound like to you? call me crazy, but to me it sounds like they were two couples in love with each other. yet here's what the newspapers are reporting, even two days later:

What pushed the four SSLC students to enter into the suicide pact? It's still a mystery — a day after three of the four died after consuming poison and pills.

the whole article is about what a mystery it is, and how the parents can't imagine what the motivation for the suicide was, and how the sole survivor has given "ambiguous" statements. here's what a senior police officer said:

"The girls have intelligently drafted the suicide note. They have tactically hid the real reason in the letter," he said.


suicide is the single largest cause of all unnatural deaths in bangalore. it seems every day you read about a suicide in the paper -- women setting themselves on fire to escape a violent husband, adolescents hanging themselves due to humiliation at school or poor exam results, or lesbians poisoning themselves because they know that being with a woman is simply not an option. fortunately, there are groups like sangama, whose lesbit (lesbian, bisexual, transgender) arm does amazing crisis intervention.

i don't know what's up with stupid blogger, but i've been trying to fix this funky formatting for awhile but to no avail. please excuse.

finally, here's a cute pic of sunil and me, taken yesterday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

my first birth in india!

i got a call yesterday at around 6 am from my clients, a lovely french couple who have been living in bangalore for 4 years and were pregnant with their second child. she had been having contractions since about 3 am. i figured it was early, but headed over to their house. there are so many details, but i will just say that mom did beautifully, and dad was an amazing support person. she delivered naturally, as she had hoped to. i was nervous at times, but am pretty proud of the way i trusted my intuition. she wanted to labor at home as long as possible, and when i suggested we go to the hospital, part of me was a little worried that she was earlier in the dilatation process than she was hoping to be. i was afraid she'd get discouraged. by the time we got to the hospital and the doc checked her, she was 9 centimeters, fully effaced, with a bulging bag of waters. it was truly an amazing moment!

there were some pretty disturbing and disappointing moments (newborn procedures, staff attitudes, etc.), but for the most part it was absolutely perfect and amazing and i think they are very pleased, which is, for me, what is most important.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

paige's new birth blog

i know it's been awhile, and i'm not proud of that, but wanted to let you know that i have a new blog that will focus on current childbirth and parenting-related topics. there you can find my recommended reading list, links, my bio and more on the services i offer.

promise to write soon about all of our adventures in new york and new jersey, and my adventures in texas, which have mostly involved my amazingly brilliant and hilarious niece, genevieve, pictured above.

p.s. now i know what it feels like to be SERIOUSLY misquoted in the press! check out this article. NONE of these quotes is accurate, as is obvious i'm sure. it's quite pissing off...