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.
Usually, while writing this post, I would be at Caltech playing volleyball. I begin school eith preseason, which for those unfamiliar (or are planning on joining women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s waterpolo, or cross country) is a 5 week long period before school begins where the sports teams I listed before practice and compete. My life during preseason is basically volleyball 24/7. Two practices a day (during school only one) and game days three days a week. No school work to worry about, spending time with my teammates all day, a nice refresher before school begins.
Every year, the Caltech Society of Women Engineers attends the National SWE conference to network with other SWE Chapters and to hustle for jobs. Last year, the event was in Minneapolis, and the year before in Austin. This time around, it’s in Anaheim which is much more convenient for us. Since it is much closer, we were able to send many more delegates to attend and miss fewer classes in the process of doing so.
It’s truly Autumn in Scotland now. It reached 0 degrees Celsius today, or 32 Fahrenheit for you yanks. They’re setting up the Christmas market downtown (as thanksgiving isn’t a thing here they just skip directly from Halloween to Christmas). Snow isn’t falling, but it does seem to be raining every other day. And it’s pleasant, quite pleasant. The rain turns Edinburgh into even more of a dramatic and beautiful city than usually is.