Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Qawwali at the new AIIS center in Gurgaon (Day 8)

Today was supposed to include a trip to the Sariska wildlife preserve, but do to a recent increase in poaching, our passes were revoked. Damn poachers...

So instead we headed back to Dehli by way of Gurgaon. When we arrived, we took a tour of the relatively new AIIS Center, which is architecturally appealing from both an appearance and energy conservation standpoint. It features open courtyards, rooftop verandas, photovoltaic panels, plant life, a fountain, a humidity and temperature controlled room, a library, and much, much more. I ended up having a lengthy conversation with the employees in the Digitization area, where we talked about photoshop, then their work, then the internet, then India, then America, then everything else. In due time I was retrieved and taken to the cafeteria on the top floor, which had been transformed to serve as the music hall. A popular ten-person qawwali band played a long set list. The drums and vocals were absolutely incredible. Chilling, even. After the program, they served dinner outside on the verandah. In attendance also was a group of teachers from the Philadelphia area who were visitng on a Fulbright. Their coordinator, Sunila, was someone I wish I had found more time to talk to. On the drive back to Delhi, Lee, Christy, Maria and I broke out the tablas and clapping and had our own sort of concert on the back of the bus. Delhi never sleeps, which was easily noticed in the large number of people out wandering around. I love it.

Shout out to Dave from Chomsky - your girlfriend misses you much. =P

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