tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Himalaya Redux

Khangchedzonga (8598m; 28,200ft), south face from Thangsing valley, 12 Oct 2010.
To view full photo gallery click here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's in Your Tiffin? [a.k.a. A Week's Worth of Lunch]

Lunch time is tiffin time--the lovable, stackable, put-it-on-your-headable lunch pail of India. Everyday at work around two it's waiting for me in the canteen. PREM's kitchen staff keeps me well fed, sometimes a little too well. Here's a pretty typical week.

Roti, rice, potato-garbanzo curry, mixed-veg curry, dhal, cabbage curry, omelette.

Roti, fish curry, rice, aubergine curry, fried green beans & potatoes, dhal.

Roti, rice, onion omelette, fried beans & potatoes, bitter gourd & potato curry.

Potato-aubergine curry, green bean curry, dhal, rice, omelette, roti.

Roti, tomato-gourd curry, omelette, dhal, green beans, rice.

Peanut butter! By the spoonful. A man doesn't live by curry alone.

 Out on the street for some mutton kebabs. Tomorrow is another tiffin.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Education Programme of PREM at a Glance (VIDEO)

Part 1 (above) and Part 2 (below)

Behind the Scenes:
This two-part film highlights three of the education programmes--Primary & Secondary School Hostels for children from remote areas; Child-Based Community Development (CBCD) preschools; Vocational Training for Youth--of People's Rural Education Movement (PREM) in Orissa, India.

The DVD film, the first for PREM, was produced to send to current and potential donors as well as partners.

Resources were limited to a single camera without an external microphone, and a trial version of a do-it-yourself editing software. And we were up against a tight deadline: we had a two-week window before an important potential donor would be visiting to discuss entering into a long-term funding agreement on initiatives like the ones we’d be filming.

We had two weeks to shoot at a half dozen different locations in three districts of Orissa, plus interviews at PREM’s campus headquarters.

Although my colleagues enjoyed touting me, sincerely, as the director, my role wasn’t to make the film so much as to get them to make the film. In that regard I fought the urge to take over any creative control to make production a collective effort.

Location filming took place at 4 different CBCD centres in Kandhamal district 3 hours north of PREM’s facility in Mandiapalli; then at 2 different vocational institutes in Puri, across Chilika Lake to the northeast; and finally at a pair of youth hostels in Mandiapalli just outside of Berhampur.

On-camera interviews were shot over two days at PREM, with a day off in between when most people couldn’t get to work because of an unbelievable downpour that flooded the entry road into PREM’s campus, forcing us nearly to miss our deadline.

I was hesitant to write a script, preferring the interviewees to speak from the heart. But--possibly due to their uncertainties with English and their anxious debut at the sharp end of the camera lens--my colleagues requested a script. Script turned into cue cards, and well, the rest is there for posterity.

(The president--whose wooden comportment on camera is no indication of his actual personality--didn’t ask for a script, and only gave us one take’s worth of his time to get his introduction.)

In the end, it came together to the satisfaction of everyone in the organization, and seemed to be a hit at its unofficial launch. 

YouTube link Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKP_Tp5sCTk