Mystery Solved? . . . .



One of the things that has confused and yes annoyed the students and  us is how Indian people stand in line or don’t, exactly.  Here is a picture which tells the story.  The concept of personal space does not exit, and I dare say Indian people have no idea about it.  As a culture, Americans stand one behind the other not touching others in line. Note the difference in the line in the image.  People butt in line and move up at will.  There never seems to be malice in thought or act.  It just is.

The question came up as to why the Indian parents don’t teach their children not to rudely stare or now butt in line.  It is a good culture lesson in that it is not rude to do those things here.  Period. It is India and there is a difference.  After six months in country, I have just understood the standing in line situation.   This is exactly the way they drive, scooting in out our of traffic, moving ahead, even going the wrong way to avoid the stopped traffic.  It is just the life in a country with over 1.2 billion people all squeezed  into a land mass  the size of 1/3 of the US!  The population is more than all the people in North America, Central America, and South America combined ! I think I have solved the mystery!  Do you agree?

images (2)


images from Google Public Domain

This Is Incredible India! 

What do you think? 

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Home Sweet Home. . . . . .


Troy’s downtown is rich with Victorian architecture. CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times

Curled along the Hudson River 150 miles north of Manhattan, Troy made shirt collars that could be detached and washed, back when such fashions were in vogue in the 19th century. When that look faded, Collar City hit a rough patch. But new stylish restaurants, quirky boutiques and a craft brewery in a downtown rich with Victorian architecture are helping Troy, population 50,000, become the latest Hudson Valley address to mount a comeback. A former department store is giving way to the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, a start-up incubator, which joins the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, a Beaux-Arts stage for comedy, bluegrass and Bach.

Lucas Confectionery Wine Bar

This elegant two-year-old hideaway, the creation of the husband-and-wife team of Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, pairs French pinot noirs with inventive dishes like six-minute eggs with confit mushrooms and shallots, while a bathroom-door sign, “Troylet,” cheekily owns up to the city’s derogatory nickname. The adjacent Grocery, owned by the same couple, offers fresh sandwiches, and next-door’s Peck’s Arcade, their more formal three-month-old restaurant, spins records nightly.

12 Second Street; 518-326-3450;

Rare Form Brewing Company

This spare but cozy craft brewery opened last May after the owner, Kevin Mullen, relocated from Seattle. Here locals sip Sabbatical Session, a rye-based ale, in full view of the silver tanks that produced it while nibbling on Chevrot goat cheese and smoked goose and duck prosciutto carved by their bartender ($6 per snack; pints, too).

90 Congress Street; 518-326-4303;


Rare Form Brewing Company; and Weathered Wood of Troy. CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times

Weathered Wood of Troy

This eclectic store, which opened last summer a few steps from the column-adorned hub called Monument Square, specializes in light fixtures, peace signs and coat racks made from Hudson River driftwood, which the co-owners, Katherine Hammill and Daniel Killion, say is less likely to crack than the ocean variety.

13 Second Street; 518-701-4094;


Trojans and out-of-towers alike are discovering this brownstone bank-turned-drug-rehab-center-turned- men’s wear store, which also sells trendy old-school men’s grooming products like straight razors, shaving cream brushes and plastic combs alongside dress shirts made by Penguin — with collars attached.

16 First Street; 518-308-8422;

The Shop

Downtown’s can-do, make-do spirit is taken to another level at this former hardware store that has repurposed hammers, wrenches and clamps as beer-head taps and art, and whose hearty menu features a lumberjack stew, with lamb ($18), and poutine, the gravy-and-cheese-curds Canadian favorite ($9). Wash them down with a Redneck (Pabst Blue Ribbon, vodka and lemonade, $6).

135 Fourth Street; 518-874-1899;

This Is Terrific Troy, New York 

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Mom, Pop and the Twins!

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This lovely picture was taken on the grounds of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Notice the orange triangular head scares that are mandatory for entrance.   But let me tell you the back story. . . . . We, as a group, were touring  a large site near Amdavad and after walking around in the blazing sun, we rested on some stairs shaded by the ruins  of a old palace to watch some Indian boys enjoying Cricket in a nearby field. There were some Indian men sitting and watching and resting , also.

One of  the men asked our rickshaw fleet leader Salim, “Are they all one family?”  When Salim translated for us, we hooted with laughter! There are 10 students in our Indian family!  And  as you can see from the image. . . several  nationalities  are represented.  Well I know that there are families who thorough adoption have similar families.  So we have adopted our large family and dbell has affectionately named Royd and Jhoan , “the twins!”

This Is Incredible India !

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Change in Amdavad

Last night we were invited to a dinner party with some professors of architecture as well as practicing architects.  One of the questions they asked us was what were changes we have seen in the city since our last visit in 2013.  Here is a major one. unnamed (57)


A car, a fence, a tree?  No, the blue trash bin!   This is a great first step to begin the huge task of trash and garbage in India.  Of course, more challenges arise to get people to use  them, keep them emptied, and  recycle for the environment long term.

I have to say I have not actually seen an Indian person put something into the trash bins around the city, but I have seen evidence of them being there. Many of the bins are full to overflowing, just sitting there waiting to be pick-up.  It reminded; me of Rome with filled to overflowing trash baskets on the streets.  That was in the 1980s .  Change is hard for all of us to make it a habit.  Another encouraging people is I have seen trash trucks on our travles and in Amdavad where workers are dumping the garbage into the truck.  I have also  seen flatbed trucks where women are sorting garbage. . . cardboard into tiled piles, and bottles into a bin.  Last time I only remember trsh trucks in Chenni!

The trash and garbage problem has just been so huge, it took monumnetal government  support.  We see people throwing  paper  on the streets all the time.  I even saw a women throw some trash over the rail of the roof terrace at the hostel. But I am very encouraged, that sooner or later this problem will be solved At the Alpha One Mall which is state of the art in mall consturcion is pristine in it’s appearance.  There are continuaou sweepers and cleaners , of course giving jobs for people who need them , but also keeping the mall “new” in its appearance even after 5 years of being in operation.

Last trip I wrote the following post about the continuous sweeping !

Well some change is good as solutions to problems become clear to all.  But another aspect of this problem of trash removal is  still solved with the morning burning of leaves  in the lane where we live.

Cough, cough!



This Is Incredible India! 

I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Something else I just thought to tell you. . . . . When we go to KFC or Domino’s, we pick up our trash to put it in the binds and someone always runs over ans says “NO!”  That is his job and he wants to  do it.  With over 1 billion people, there is an effort to employ as many people as possible. I have no idea the wages. . . . may just be food.  The funniest thing we have seen along these lines is at a toll booth on the highways, there is a man on the outside of the toll window to whom you give the money and  then he hands it to the man inside with the money box!   A job!   Anyway, I mention that because Indian people are not always used to throwing away their trash!   But they are learning.  I hope another job will be  available for thes people who will be out of work! Oh, I digress. . . . . from trash removal. . . . .

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Elephant Ride. . . . . Check!

Near the top of the  list of  desired adventures in India for the students was to ride an elephant.  Jaijpur is  the place to do it..   You can stand in line  for hours at the Amber Fort and have the dramatice ride into the fort.  We chose to visit the fort longer and go to the Elephant Village later in the day. There were all sorts of packages, feed the elephant, paint on the elephant, bathe the elephant for additional money  but our kids only wanted a ride on an elephant.  David and I did this last trip and once was enough, honestly.  Pretty uncomfortable lumbering along. Plus there was some uncomfortable drama with our elephant last time when she couldn’t see her mama in front of her. Loud, head back, trunk up trumping and turning to see mom.. Pretty scary from our position.  Anyway, I was going to ride  this time  if there was a single student who didn’t have a person to ride with , but it wasn’t necessary, and I was fine with the memory of the 2013 trip !  And of course, I had a chance to  meet  an elephant back in Abdavad!



Here are the students riding a Hati!

11070958_886817391370283_6352138825066337729_oSarah H. and her new friend.



Jesse and August. . .



Pelin and Sarah



Cassie and Sara

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Joyful Matt and Jhowan!

This Is Incredible India !


Any of you ridden an elephant?

Images from various students. . . . thanks!


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Music Monday from India

Featuring Instrumental music by Gayatri Mantra  with Flute, Sitar and Santoor

Great music for relaxation!


What do you think? 

This Is Incredible India !

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First Mistake. . . . Letting Them on the Property

March 23, 2015
From Health Impact News

Government Attacks Small Family Farm in Schenectady County New York


Unexpected Dangers of Farming

by FUSSYlittleBlog

Remember how I said I wanted to get more involved with local farms this year? Well, I guess it pays to be careful with your wishes.

A few weeks ago I met Joshua Rockwood for the first time at Bella Napoli in Latham. He’s the owner of West Wind Acres, a small but growing farm on the edge of Schenectady County in the town of West Charlton. Josh didn’t grow up a farmer. He has a background in construction, but he has gotten into farming for all the right reasons.

He wanted to grow healthier food for himself, his family, and his community. And he wanted to do it all in a sustainable way. So all of the animals are raised on pasture and the manure is converted into nutrient-rich soil. He raises chickens, sheep, pigs and cows and all of them are bred to thrive on pasture and endure our harsh winters.

Except this winter was harsher than most. How bad was it? Well, the city of Troy found parts of its main water line frozen several feet underground, and some Lansingburgh residents were without fresh running water for over a week. What does this mean if you have a bunch of pastured animals? Well, as it turns out, the animals are totally fine.


Farmer Josh on the other hand is trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.

It’s a long story, and you can read the whole thing on his blog. Fundamentally, Josh is a big believe in transparency. He has nothing to hide. Raising animals for meat isn’t always pretty, but if you want to see what goes on, Josh will gladly show you. That an admirable trait.

So when a police officer came by and asked Josh to show him around, he agreed. From there it gets a little complicated. Here’s the timeline.

Wednesday, February 25: Police show up and inquire about unlicensed working dogs, and Josh shows them around the farm. Uninterrupted, Josh would have been off to do afternoon farm chores. So the authorities observe the animals only have frozen water. Hydration tests are given and passed. Still, Josh is given a ticket for “failure to provide proper sustenance.”

Thursday, February 26: In an attempt to get ahead of future problems, Josh calls his veterinarian and makes an appointment for a farm wellness check.

Friday, February 27: The vet comes out, and files a report that all the animals are fine.

Tuesday, March 3: Police return with search warrant for the farm and the house, and Josh was informed that more charges might be brought up against him at court on the following Thursday.

Thursday, March 12: Josh finds himself facing 12 charges in Glenville Town Court that cover problems with drinking water in various frozen states, the lack of available feed, and absence of adequate shelter for the animals in his care. Because Josh still believes in transparency, you can see them all here.

Sunday, March 15: I wanted to drive up to the farm and see this operation for myself. Plus I wanted to buy a couple of chickens and help provide a little more income to the farm in order to defray some legal costs and increased vet bills. But when I arrived, there were more police, and a trailer. Without a trial, and with a clean bill of health from the vet, the authorities seized his horses.

The police want to seize his perfectly healthy pigs, but right now have no place to put them, so they have remained on the farm…for now.


You may be asking yourself, “What the heck is going on here.” I had the same reaction. So I asked a fourth-generation farmer who is also a lawyer (and who was not previously involved with this dispute). Aparently, Josh isn’t the first farmer of pastured meats who is facing this kind of challenge.

This whole thing is a problem for smaller scale farmers that pasture their animals and often have animals sheltered outdoors during the winter. There are many studies showing that animals can actually thrive outdoors in winter conditions so long as provided with adequate shelter and food. I can see this is baby calves who live in hutches outdoors. They actually are very bright and grow well and strong in calf hutches where they are protected from germy indoor barn conditions, drafts. Yet, if a non-farmer sees a calf living outdoors in a hutch during the winter, they freak out.

There are also some proponents now of keeping herds of dairy cows in semi-shelters and outdoors. So, if this is done, will we then face easy prosecution by local busy bodies who think animals should be indoors all the time? We also have the pastured pig movement where it might be an option for farmers to make some money and some good local meat. I saw Stephanie Strom of the NY Times tweeting a few weeks ago about how great it was to see pigs on pasture using their snouts to break ice to get water. OK, [but the] same comment in Schenectady County could land the farmer in the prosecution situation!!!

The irony of all this is that Josh is being charged with cruelty to animals and not providing them proper sustenance. Yet in many states it’s perfectly okay to keep pigs in gestation crates. Here in New York, it’s standard practice to keep chickens in unthinkably small cages. And I don’t even want to get into what passes for animal feed. The care and feeding that Josh’s animals get don’t seem to be the issue.

It would appear that what’s happening here is that his way of farming doesn’t look like the way it is conventionally done.

I don’t know if you are outraged by what feels like government overreach and a miscarriage of justice. But if you want to help, you can do a few things.

1) Reach out to Josh and West Wind Acres over social media just to voice your support. This is an incredibly difficult time for him and his family, and it’s reassuring to know that people are behind him.
2) Visit the farm this weekend and see the animals for yourself. Just call ahead to make sure there isn’t another police action on the farm.
3) Buy his meat. Amazingly, though all of this, the farm is still making deliveries to Delmar, Latham, Rensselaer, Troy, Clifton Park, Schenectady, Malta, etc. Of course, you could also buy some while at the farm.
4) Finally, Josh is hoping some people will show up to his hearing at the Glenville Town Hall March 24 at 5:30 pm.

Farming can be dangerous. Mrs. Fussy grew up in a farming community. People lose eyes, fingers and limbs. Tractors roll over and crush their riders. And let’s not forget all those deer ticks. Lyme disease is no joke.

But this legal handwringing isn’t the kind of thing anyone signs up for when they make a commitment to honor the land and try to improve the health and wellbeing of us all.

Talk about a thankless job.

Read the full article at


– See more at:

Talk about a police state!  But sadly, that is what New York  is all about! 

This Is America Today !

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