Tuesday, September 30, 2014

At work

For those who wonder whether I am just having fun here or actually working on the project, I am sharing a few pictures taken at work at Kalamandir.

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First milestone: Amadubi rural tourism site is on google maps now!

Amitava greets google maps achievement with applause 

Discussing the importance of branding with the larger group last Friday

Friday, September 26, 2014

Last weekend (20-21 Sept)

It is quite challenging to find the time and energy to keep our blogs up-to-date and not let days turn into weeks without posting...and I am not the best at it I have to admit. :)
But I thought before we get into the weekend, I should definitely post about last weekend. 

Saturday was a "Tata-day": in the morning we visited the Center of Excellence where we heard about the long history of  the TATA family, their values passed on from generation to generation and the vision of the company's founder Jamsetji Tata. 

In the afternoon we were invited to visit Tata Steel plant where we all had to wear safety equipment and we were not allowed to take pictures inside the plant. :( 
Sunday was more relaxing, in the morning we were invited by Ricky Surie (from Kalamandir) to Beldih Golf Course for breakfast, then he drove us around the city showing us some of the most important places in Jamshedpur.
The afternoon was a rainy one but some of us (the adventurous ones :)) still visited the zoo in Jubilee Park, followed by a laser show, both of which remain almost totally undocumented due to a) the weather conditions b) visitors are not supposed to take pictures of the animals c) difficulty to take acceptable pictures with my camera (and my skills :)) at dusk/in the dark.

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Sunrise from our hotel with the silhouette of Tata Steel plant

Ladies' tuk-tuk - our favourite means of transportation

Center of Excellence

The making of steel: quarry, prepare, charge, reduce, refine, cast, shape, trim, pack - sure I understood every single word of it:)

Magic picture

Some rest in between in Jubilee Park

The plant is huge
Casual Sunday breakfast at Beldih Golf Course
Preparation for the upcoming Durga Puja festival (more info will follow later)
In Loyola School's court
It's amazing how much effort women make at constructions
The turtle and us
Dino :)
Ready for the tour!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our project: Kalamandir and visit to Amadubi village

One of the things I am learning here is leveraging :) so instead of trying to summarize Kalamandir's mission and vision with my own words at this late hour :), you can read read a short summary about it below:
'Kalamandir is an organization that believes in preserving and restoring tribal art and culture. Kalamandir is engaged in nurturing a sense of aesthetics about tribal art among individuals, communities, organizations, and social groups. Kalamandir seeks to promote greater interaction and understanding amongst urban societies of the tribal traditions, their age-old customs and rituals, their faiths and values, their songs and dances, murals and martial arts, their love for nature and zest for life, their ballads and folk lore, in order to re-discover the wealth and the national relevance of the country’s tribal traditions and rich heritage. Kalamandir believes that rural and tribal populations are in the danger of losing their identities and cultures due to industrialisation and urbanisation. Kalamandir therefore engages in different ways to protect and empower rural and tribal communities.'

After some valuable discussions with the Kalamandir team, last Wednesday, we had the opportunity to actually visit Amadubi village to get a better understanding of the scope of our project:
'Amadubi Kalagram, an art village, was developed by the Jharkhand Tourism Department in association with the Village Tourism Development Committee (VTDC) and Kalamandi-The Celluloid Chapter Art Foundation to attract tourists and provide environmentally friendly and sustainable livelihood opportunities to the local people. The purpose was to develop Jharkhand as a tourist destination and promote the concept of sustainable rural tourism to safeguard and disseminate tribal and folk culture and tradition. Amadubi in Dalbhumgarh is located about 65 km from Jamshedpur and was inaugurated in Sept 2013 to mark World Tourism day. Kalamandir now wants to promote rural tourism to new sites, namely, Chiteswar, Janumdih, Pinderbera, Ghoranegi.'

Although very tiring, it was a great day, we could not only enjoy the calmness of the area but also the warm welcome and hospitality of the villagers as well as a truly interesting dance performance at the end of the day. 

On the way to Amadubi

Tata trucks on national highway nr. 33

Abandoned British airbase used in World War II.
With lovely kids

Welcome at the entrance

At the entrance of Amadubi village

In the museum


Future marketing pic.

Rural relaxing landscape

The 'white giants' :) also joined the dancers at the end of their performance


Friday, September 19, 2014

Meeting with our clients and Tata Steel

On Monday we had our kick-off meeting with our NGO clients.  Each of the 4 organizations we work with (Kalamandir, School of Hope, All India Women’s Conference and Family Planning Association of India) introduced themselves briefly, explained what they have achieved so far and what challenges they face. I could see a lot of passion for 'business' in the presentations of the volunteers which was very motivational for our team as well.

Amitava, Jahnavi, me, Ricky, Michelle, Kim
IBM business team in Jamshedpur has decided to host a dinner for the CSC team along with Tata Management team on Tuesday (16th Sept).  This gave us an opportunity to meet and interact with some of the senior executives of Tata Steel as well as with collegues from the local IBM team.

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Neighbourhood walk in Jamshedpur

First cow I captured in the streets of Jamshedpur

Barbershop :)

Everyone has their own parking slot

Bistupur market (Michelle's montage - thanks!)

Traffic (Michelle's montage - thanks!)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fun videos and traffic in India

Very funny and useful links a good friend of mine recently shared with me before coming to India:

Indian Headshakes | What do they mean?

What exactly is a dhoti or a mundu? 

And yes....I haven't mentioned Indian traffic yet although it was the very first thing that caught my attention when arriving to India: crazy traffic and cars honking. And all car-horns give the same sound! This is just about the only thing you’ll hear the whole day. It is just slowly but surely sneaking into your brains! Unlike in western countries, in India it is 'only' used to let other drivers and pedestrians know you’re nearby or just approaching.
Should driving on the left side of the road or trying to cross the road without being hit not be challenging enough, you have the honking to deal with wherever you experience traffic in India.

Incredible Indian Traffic - isn't it crazy?!

India traffic

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First days in Jamshedpur

I think the saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is very true, so instead of long descriptions (which you already had in my last post anyway :)), let me share with you some pictures from the first days in Jamshedpur.

On Sunday (14th Sept), we had a full-day orientation among ourselves where each of us introduced themselves by telling their 'life story'. We also had the opportunity to throw a surprise birthday party for Manju whose husband sent her a bouquet of roses and a cake to celebrate.

Darren, Mamtha (IBM CSR India), Shruti (Pyxera Global), Yves and Manju

First impressions of hospitality in India: more particularly in Hotel Alcor and also of Arnabe and his wife Sam who offered us these nice flowers upon arrival to the city
My first elephant :)
View from my room (pretty nice and green)

View from my room to the other side...

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About Jamshedpur

Better known as "The Steel City", Jamshedpur is the largest city in the state of Jharkhand. Jamshedpur is also nicknamed as "Tatanagar" because it is home to industrial giants Tata Motors and Tata Steel. Located in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkand on the Chota Nagpur plateau, Jamshedpur was founded by Jamsejti Nusserwanji Tata and hence got the name. The city of Jamshedpur is not only known for its industrial progress but also recognized to be one of the most well planned and well maintained cities. Because of the high quality of life, standard conditions of sanitation and roads and welfare, Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN Global Compact City. On the map.

Total geographical area of Jamshedpur is 14923km square. It is primarily located in a hilly region and is surrounded by the Dalma Hills running from west to east and covered with dense forests. Green cover is estimated to be around 33% of the total land area. 
Jamshedpur has a temperate climate, featuring a tropical wet and dry climate. Summer starts in mid-March and can be extremely hot in May and June. The temperature variation during summer is from 35-42 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature during winter is 8 degrees Celsius. The climate of Jamshedpur is marked by south-west monsoon. Jamshedpur gets heavy rainfall from July to September. 
As of 2011, Jamshedpur had a a population of 1,337, 131. Males constitute 52,1% of the population and females 47,9%. Tribals constitute around 28% of the population. Jamshedpur has an an average literacy rate of 85,94% (higher than the nation average of 74%). 
The major conversation languages are Hindi, Bengali, English, Santali though languages of other states are also spoken my immigrants. Tribal languages such as Santali and Ho are spoken in the city outskirts.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Heading to Jamshedpur

I am a bit behind with the blog but will catch up shortly, lets continue with Saturday afternoon when we left Kolkata to take a 4-hour long train ride to Jamshedpur, our final destination. At the railway station, a couple of eager porters were waiting for us, ready to negotiate a price for taking all our luggage and putting them to the train for us.
Passing by Victoria Memorial in Kolkata which I will have a chance to visit next time

Negotiation skills practice with porters

Porters in action
From left to right: Manju, Miguel, Sanjay (our guide in Kolkata), Mark, Udaya, Yves, Mamtha (IBM India), Jakob, Carol, Kim, Darren, Michelle + me + the big suitcases
A lot of good people can fit in a small compartment
 Tatanagar Railway Station

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