Over the next two days, we visited the ruins of an an ancient Indus valley civilization, learned about the Vedas, listened to a conert Sitarist, and learned some Bollywood dance.
Lothal, an ancient and prominent city of the Harappan civilization, contains the world’s earliest known dock along with some innovative architectural design for its period. The people of Lothal built paved baths, underground drains, and potable water wells. An assistant professor at IIT studies archealogy as a hobby so he gave us a thorough history of the Harappan civilization and architecture. The grounds are scattered with broken pottery pieces so we even got to secretly excavate a little and found a large part of a perforated dish.
After exploring Lothal, we got to listen to Srinivas Reddy, a professor at IIT but also a professional concert sitarist. Sitar is a stringed percussion instrument sort of like a guitar but with many more strings and raised frets. Srinivas played a few songs that were 100% improvised and centered around a theme like seasons or love. Because of the many strings, Srinivas could play melody and harmony simultaneously which created a beautiful and multilayered musical piece.
Srinivas is also a professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies so he gave us a brief overview of the religions of India ranging from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Islamism. Hinduism orignated from the Vedas, a body of texts that contain mantras that are meant to be recited. Hinduism in India though is more a way of life than an organized religion with a central authority. After learning about the religions of India, we got to learn both classical Indian dance and more modern Bollywood dance.
Unlike many students, I never had the opportunity to visit Caltech before enrolling. I had visited California once in elementary school, and the first time I returned was to move in for college. The only time I had ever left home before was for a week or two of sleepaway camp. Now, I would be moving across the country to a place I had never seen before with a bunch of strangers. Naturally, I was a bit terrified.
…Or, How a Disciple of Bethany Ehlmann, a Former Desert Militiaman, Moore Lab Subbasement Dwellers, Roblox’s Newest Intern, a Florida Man, and a Luminous Plasma Scientist Went to War with the Caltech Mail Center, Got Double-Crossed by AirGas Corp., Survived Three COVID Outbreaks, and Nearly Stranded Themselves in the Mojave in order to Send a Bag of Peanuts to Space (A True Story).
Every midterm week and final week, Page House Peer Advocates (PAs) put on a de-stressing event. This term for midterms, the PAs hosted a painting night in conjunction with a Page dessert night. (Every Thursday, the House gives $60 to a pageboy (a member of Page) to buy a bunch of dessert and snacks for the house for dessert night.). They provided canvases, paint brushes, and a variety of paint colors for the night. It was a really fun and relaxing time to stop working on sets or studying for midterms for a bit and hangout with friends.
On the weekend of April 16th, my friends and I participated in the first ever Southern California College Poker Tournament! The tournament was for college students in the SoCal area with a $0 buy-in that doubled as a recruiting event for quant and finance firms. A senior friend of mine (Vanessa, a fellow blogger) put together a team of five girls who had no interest in being recruited and just wanted to have fun playing poker.