Reimagining India with IndoGenius

Latest posts from the group

  • Gaining perspective
    Over the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of talk of coming to terms with a “new normal”. Life changed as we knew it and we had to adapt to big changes very quickly. It has now been a few weeks since we got back from India and I have found myself thinking, again, about what constitutes “normal.” It is very easy to assume that…Continue Reading Gaining perspective
  • Runway Ready
    Indian fashion is exploding with vibrant colours and styles, the options are endless! When buying a traditional Indian outfit it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. Here are my top 3 tips to a stress-free shopping trip for women. Pick a style of dress There are many different styles of clothing for women to choose from. Depending on the region of India, and the occasion, different…Continue Reading Runway Ready
  • People and places in India
    At times in India, I felt like a fish out of water. I loved getting to experience and appreciate India but I definitely felt like a foreigner at first, often unsure how to get from A to B. We were on the move a lot during our trip, visiting new and vastly different cities every couple of days. I found myself thinking a lot about conversations I had with my…Continue Reading People and places in India
  • Readjustment
    Readjustment When I search “reverse culture shock” google tells me it is a “common reaction to returning home from studying abroad. It is an emotional and psychological stage of re-adjustment, similar to your initial adjustment to living abroad.” I keep on toying with the word: readjustment There is something about it that acknowledges a changing situation and all the tensions and difficulties that arise. But  there is also something about…Continue Reading Readjustment
  • The Rise of India
    As part of our trip in Delhi, the IndoGenius team organised for us to attend an event at the New Zealand High Commission. I tried to get together some traditional Indian clothing that I could rock to the event. I remembered I had a kurta and pyjama that I bought back in Pondi. I put them on, thinking it might be a passable look for the occasion. I ran it…Continue Reading The Rise of India
  • Throat Chakra is Stuck
    I’ve never been very good at reflective writing . I struggle to articulate my experiences in elegant words. For my final blog, I thought I would express myself through a medium that I’m more adept in. I’ve chosen some images that I think capture the essence of India, as well as my experience there. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words right? Location: Amer Fort, Jaipur Time: 10:24 am,…Continue Reading Throat Chakra is Stuck
  • First Impressions
    Day five of our six week journey through India starting in the south and heading up to the north. It has already been packed full of all sorts of interesting and wonderful experiences shared with our group of 21 students. Our trip started with a delayed flight resulting in our third flight being missed, so we ended up spending our first night in India in Delhi airport. When we finally…Continue Reading First Impressions
  • It’s the journey, not the destination
    People say life is about the journey, not the destination. With over 60 hours of the past 6 weeks being spent on a bus travelling between cities, we’ve learnt how to make the most of the time resting and reflecting on the exciting things we’ve seen and experienced. With destinations like the Taj Mahal, the Ganges River, Amer Fort and various palaces, it was easy to dismiss the time in…Continue Reading It’s the journey, not the destination
  • Inspiration for a sustainable future
    My childhood is filled with memories of tramping in the Waitākere Ranges and constantly being surrounded by nature. This led to an inevitable love for our outdoor environment and being involved in different environmental and sustainability groups such as Generation Zero, The Sustainable Future Collective and Forest and Bird Youth. Seeing the scale and diversity of sustainability throughout India was inspiring and an important reminder that sustainability stems from a…Continue Reading Inspiration for a sustainable future
  • Goodbye India. Thank you for all the memories.
    Well here it is. The last blog post for the trip. What a fantastic 6 weeks it has been. The journey has definitely not been easy, but I feel I’m all the better for it. Some of the most basic things that I have learnt include; Some of my highlights from this trip has been; There it is. It’s Friday the 3rd of March, and I’m just finishing the feedback…Continue Reading Goodbye India. Thank you for all the memories.
  • Final update
    This trip has truly been life-changing. I have met so many beautiful people who smile at you with their whole being and welcome you with open arms. I have seen phenomenal architecture with intricate artwork that you would never believe was made hundreds of years ago. I have interacted with a range of intentional communities who are changing the world one initiative at a time. I have been in awe…Continue Reading Final update
  • Mid trip update
    We are now officially 3 weeks into our trip! A concept that has been on mind my a lot during the last couple of weeks is Anekantavada. Anekantavada is a term coined by the Jains in ancient India that means ‘many-sidedness’ in Sanskrit. It states that there is not one ultimate truth, and that many perspectives and realities can be true at once. Every person I have spoken to so…Continue Reading Mid trip update
  • First week highlights and heartfelt interactions
    What an insane first week it has been! After nearly 46 hours of travelling due to delayed flights, we made it to our first resting place, Pondicherry. Pondicherry was a French colony until 1954 when it became an Indian union territory. Much of the town still has French influence in its architecture, restaurants, and language. The town feels very peaceful and has the most vibrant and colourful temples. A highlight…Continue Reading First week highlights and heartfelt interactions
  • Places of Worship in Delhi
    While we stayed in Delhi, we visited a number of different places of worship and religious significance to a number of the different religions communities of India. Given that in New Zealand, religion is not something that is often talked about, nor an aspect of day to day life that one would often see publicly, it was interesting to see the variety of different religions that people follow in India, and…Continue Reading Places of Worship in Delhi
  • A Digital, Public India
    My experience working at Kiwibank showed me many different points of tension for the general public, when it comes to digital public infrastructure. People get upset because of the difficulties with privatisation of the financial industry, and the different banks who often try to make it a living nightmare to try and work in harmony together. But others find conflict in the central government requirements for identification and privacy compliances….Continue Reading A Digital, Public India
  • Auroville’s Hierarchy?
    11/1/23 – 13/1/23 Auroville was? Good? Bad? Open? Closed? Loud? Quiet? Well, one word can sum it up, and that word is “preternatural,” funny enough. Auroville is supposed to be a globally united community centered around diversity and unity. But around the entire community was, and rather than expecting country-inspired people, everyone dressed and acted the same. Rather than being a member of the community, I felt I was being…Continue Reading Auroville’s Hierarchy?
  • Why I don’t ride
    When we visited Jaipur, we had the opportunity to go to Amer Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exploding with rich history and architecture, I struggled to take in the beauty of it all, as my experience was tainted by this place still offering tourists the chance to ride an elephant to the top. Being super passionate about elephant conservation and elephant welfare, seeing this going on was quite upsetting…Continue Reading Why I don’t ride
  • Pondi As The Locals Call It 
    9/1/23 – 13/1/23The blog would be way too long if I were to label off every one of our activities and what feelings they brought out of me. So instead of each blog, I will write about our locations and the most impactful events we encountered. Someone else in the group perfectly encapsulated our thoughts with Pondicherry (Pondi). “Stimulation Overload.” The pacing, vibrancy, sounds, smells, and every one of our…Continue Reading Pondi As The Locals Call It 
  • Final goodbyes – Ep 10. Tea with Tia
    It’s the final episode!! It feels a bit surreal to be posting this from home, but here we are. I had a salad for dinner, and lettuce has never tasted better. Thank you to everyone who guest-starred on the podcast; I really appreciate it! I look forward to seeing how my friendships and learnings progress!…Continue Reading Final goodbyes – Ep 10. Tea with Tia
  • Some Beautiful Indian NGO’s
    Throughout my six weeks in India, I had the privilege to visit some wonderful NGOs making a meaningful impact in their local and wider communities. Each NGO we visited was a unique and inspiring experience, and these are the top 3 that stood out for me. Sheroes is an NGO that supports survivors of acid attacks. Unfortunately, acid attacks are still happening in India (and around the world), often committed…Continue Reading Some Beautiful Indian NGO’s
  • Observing India
    In India, the sunset looks hand painted by God The colours blend seamlessly as the golden hues hold the last breath of warmth. The sunrise is a slow and steady breath an exercise in patience as the sun decides what it wants to be purples, yellows, pinks, oranges and blues colour the sky an articulation of its indecisiveness before it settles into yellow, hand in hand with the fresh breath…Continue Reading Observing India
  • Before the Sunrise
    I have a confession to make. Dawn and I are not the best of friends,  In fact we rarely see eye to eye  – I love to sleep, you see  And this clashes with the sunrise, a time of day I often miss  – However today was different.  I woke up before her,  She was still asleep, and the night sky still clung to the horizon, wrapped around the moon and…Continue Reading Before the Sunrise
  • Holly’s Packing Guide for India
    Hand Sanitiser  Snacks  Tissues  Converter/ Adapter  Mosquito Repellent (DEET)  Jandles/ Sandles /Slides Portable Charger  Headphones …Continue Reading Holly’s Packing Guide for India
  • She Heroes – Ep 9. Tea with Tia (ft Holly and Taryn)
    ** TRIGGER WARNING: this podcast discusses violent topics (including acid attacks and sexual violence). Welcome back to another episode 🙂 Today I’m joined by Holly Stokes and Taryn Farr to share some trip highlights and then discuss our experience visiting the Sheroes Cafe in Agra (the only cafe in the world run by acid attack victims). We explore some cross-cultural differences in the reasons behind acid attacks and desensitisation to…Continue Reading She Heroes – Ep 9. Tea with Tia (ft Holly and Taryn)
  • Underrated and Unexpected Highlights of India
    Though arguably low on the radar of “Top 10 things to do in India”, Ahmedabad has proven to be a favourite of mine. Hosting a plethora of culture, history and youth, this city has proven to be a favourite of mine as a result. We started off our adventures in Ahmedabad with free time, featuring Nic, Abby, and I jumping in an autorickshaw and zooming across the city; the intended…Continue Reading Underrated and Unexpected Highlights of India
  • Sun, Water and South Indian Spirituality 
    Kia Ora! I am writing this post at the end of my first week in India. I have so many thoughts, feelings and experiences that I’ve been exposed to in such a short amount of time – so it’s hard to articulate them in a manner concise enough to make this blog post enjoyable. So I will start with explaining the atmosphere right now.  I’m currently lying on floor bed at…Continue Reading Sun, Water and South Indian Spirituality 
  • Mumbai Moments
    I had long anticipated our visit to Mumbai, the financial and entertainment capital of India. Over the years, I’ve watched many films set in this city, from very famous ones like Slumdog Millionaire and The Lunchbox to more obscure indie films like Bombay Summers. I’ve also watched travel vloggers explore the city on YouTube and gushed over its beautiful monuments and architecture on Google Images before I left for India. …Continue Reading Mumbai Moments
  • In the moment with the usos – Ep 8. Tea with Tia (ft Daniel and Brandon)
    Hello! We’re up to episode 8?! Today I’m joined by Daniel O’Brien and Brandon Jost-Turei. We talk about some trip highlights and then share our views about living in the moment vs the challenges of wanting to document your experiences. We determined that it’s hard to get that balance, especially in this program where everything is happening all at once! Post-recording, Daniel mentioned that you can, in fact, do both:…Continue Reading In the moment with the usos – Ep 8. Tea with Tia (ft Daniel and Brandon)
  • The Colour of Joy
    I have always considered joy to be a warm yellow. The kind of yellow that catches the sunlight in the afternoon and glows so bright you have to look away.  I always thought of joy simply, I think. A yellow hue that feels both nostalgic and futuristic. ~ Today I saw joy in every colour under the sun.  We were under the sun; we danced, we sang, we chanted, we immersed ourselves…Continue Reading The Colour of Joy
  • NGO stands for Not For Profit Organization – Ep 7. Tea with Tia (ft Alex and Morgan)
    On today’s episode I’m joined by Alex Johnson and Morgan Koster! We discuss some program highlights (gotta love food) before exploring our views on some of the NGOs we’ve visited and what it means to be selfless vs selfish….Continue Reading NGO stands for Not For Profit Organization – Ep 7. Tea with Tia (ft Alex and Morgan)
  • Foreigner Paparazzi – Ep 6. Tea with Tia (ft Aria and Cornelia)
    Hey, welcome back! I’m joined by Aria Gardiner and Cornelia Sartie to discuss some past experiences from the trip, and then our thoughts on being (asked and not to be) photographed as a foreigner in India….Continue Reading Foreigner Paparazzi – Ep 6. Tea with Tia (ft Aria and Cornelia)
  • Things I Enjoy Thinking About…
    I know this programme will change my life in some way. I don’t know how, in what way, or to what extent. That’s exciting. But, I enjoy thinking of ‘future Morgan,’ who knows exactly how her life changed because of this experience. I can see her thinking of me (who doesn’t yet know), thinking of her (who does know), and that’s kind of cool. *Context* Gilles is one of our…Continue Reading Things I Enjoy Thinking About…
  • Ramblings from a Ramblin’ Soul in India…
    A bad poem about airports Airports- a liminal space where Humans of every race rush as one to a place of their own People scurry my vision is hazy, clarity fading, my mind grows daisies, Time got lazy I have the airport crazies Bodies are estranged from brains, they flew away on planes and we float in terminals, waiting to go but can’t escape the traveller’s limbo. Playlist of feelings:…Continue Reading Ramblings from a Ramblin’ Soul in India…
  • Week 3 and 4. Highs and Lows.
    Hello!!! I wish I could be more upbeat, but if I’m being honest, the trip has had some highs and lows. Although I’m very, very grateful to be on this trip, I sometimes do wish I was in New Zealand. I’m definitely starting to feel homesick, but I’m also having an amazing time. I thought I might share some highs and lows because I really dig the numbering format. Highs…Continue Reading Week 3 and 4. Highs and Lows.
  • Standards of Beauty in India – Ep 5. Tea with Tia (ft Abby and Claire)
    Today I’m joined by Abby Wong and Claire Kang to discuss Indian beauty standards! (Inspired by our encounter with a cosmetologist in Bangalore). We also talk about some of our trip highlights (bit of food this time haha)….Continue Reading Standards of Beauty in India – Ep 5. Tea with Tia (ft Abby and Claire)
  • Dog dog dog – Ep 4. Tea with Tia (ft Anneka and Mai)
    Hello!! Today I’m joined by Anneka Hyde and Mai Ly to discuss some program highlights and then our thoughts on the stray dogs in India (perfect excuse to include cute animal photos haha)….Continue Reading Dog dog dog – Ep 4. Tea with Tia (ft Anneka and Mai)
  • Exposing love in Rajasthani palaces and glass skyscrapers
    Buildings are an expression of what we love. Love is worn on facades, demonstrated through circulation, or exposed through materiality. The built environment subconsciously forms social connections, circulation decisions, or even attitudes toward nature. Therefore, architecture is a powerful expression of love and a formation of love. Applying a (value: architecture) output ratio to the extremely diverse range of architecture I’ve experienced is fascinating. Here is a summary of how…Continue Reading Exposing love in Rajasthani palaces and glass skyscrapers
  • Disunity and Unity
    Dharavi – Mumbai The division line could not be any clearer; the smell of incense hit us as if we were crossing a threshold. More obvious signs of Hindu identity became quickly clearer; swastikas and a mandir (temple) all came into view as we turned the corner out of the dark and narrow streets from the Muslim quarter – an area equally marked by flags with crescent moons and men…Continue Reading Disunity and Unity
  • Elephant rides – Ep 3. Tea with Tia (ft Chloe and Meera)
    Welcome back to another episode! Today I’m joined by Chloe Phillips and (Dr) Meera Patel. We discuss some highlights of the trip and then delve into our thoughts on elephant rides and how humane they are. Here are some links from Meera’s research that we discuss:…Continue Reading Elephant rides – Ep 3. Tea with Tia (ft Chloe and Meera)
  • Interview with Myself, Thoughts on Going Abroad
    Is this your first time abroad? This is not my first time overseas. I have been lucky enough to travel with my family to Fiji (2014), Australia (2015), Hawaii (2016), and Vietnam (2017). My parents love to travel by Cruise Boat, so I have experienced many of our holidays on cruise ships, stopping off at different ports and exploring a different city each day. What made you want to go…Continue Reading Interview with Myself, Thoughts on Going Abroad
  • 6 lessons from the West End Hotel
    The West End Hotel is a 1948 Art Deco masterpiece in Mumbai. It’s an institution. Some workers have been there for over 30 years. I interviewed them, and even got a private tour around the whole hotel! Here they are: FrancisYears at West End: 16Favourite thing about West End: good hours and he gets to go home on time NairYears at West End: 32 Favourite thing about West End: the…Continue Reading 6 lessons from the West End Hotel
  • Please Remove your Shoes
    I have been reflecting on some of my childhood memories, particularly ones when I was a bit of a headache for Mum and Dad. There were countless times when, Mum especially, would have to tell me to stop picking different things off the ground from the pavement. “You don’t know where it’s been”, was a classic counter-argument to keeping the long tree branch that I had just found, or the…Continue Reading Please Remove your Shoes
  • A Taste of India
    My first week in India!…Continue Reading A Taste of India
  • Willpower (and mountains!) – ep 2. Tea with Tia (ft Annelise & Nic)
    Welcome back to another episode of Tea with Tia! I’m joined by Annelise Basham and Nic Ackland (be sure to check out their blogs as well aha). We discuss some hot takes on our time at an Ashram in Coimbatore, and then some holistic thoughts on mountains to round off 🙂…Continue Reading Willpower (and mountains!) – ep 2. Tea with Tia (ft Annelise & Nic)
  • Senses of India- Colours of Pondicherry
    There are an infinite amount of words to describe our first week in India, but one that comes to mind after exploring the streets of Pondicherry is colourful. From vibrant greens to rich golds and bright whites, we’ve been surrounded by every colour on the spectrum in our adventures in Pondicherry and Auroville. Pondicherry is located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. There are over 76 million people living…Continue Reading Senses of India- Colours of Pondicherry
  • Pilot – ep 1.Tea with Tia
    (Haha, you get it? Pilot? Cause this is the first episode but also planes hahaha 🙂 I’ve designed my blog to be in podcast format! Each post will include a 10-minute voice message and then some photos of recent travels and activities)….Continue Reading Pilot – ep 1.Tea with Tia
  • Flying high and flying low in India
    Kia Ora! My name is Mai, and I am on the PMSA IndoGenius Reimagining India study tour!  I have decided to write an overall reflection on this past week and cover some of the major questions and highlights alongside new things I’ve learnt in this short period of time!  Our journey started off with more chaos in the midst of travelling than I’ve ever experienced! Though day 1 of our…Continue Reading Flying high and flying low in India
  • First Taste of India
    They say that India is an assault on the senses. For my first blog post, I thought I would share my first week in India with you through the sense of taste.  Our first destination was the city of Pondicherry, which was a French colonial settlement until the mid 20th century.  Pondicherry actually remained a colony of France after India achieved independence from Britain. You can still see remnants of the…Continue Reading First Taste of India
  • Unity in Contrasts
    We landed in Chennai after a couple days of flying, all tired but excited for the journey ahead (importantly, not a journey on a plane). We were greeted by a massive Indian flag in front of the airport, flapping lazily in the soupy warm South Indian air – it was our first proper look at India.  It became very obvious over the following days how true the cliché of India…Continue Reading Unity in Contrasts
  • First Impressions: Chaos, Culture and Creativity in India
    It has been one week since I arrived in India with 20 other New Zealand students. We’ve spent the last week exploring Pondicherry and Coimbatore and, as we travel to Mysore, I’ve taken some time to process all that I have seen so far and unpack my first impressions: 1. The chaos One of the first things that stood out to me was how busy and chaotic India is (especially…Continue Reading First Impressions: Chaos, Culture and Creativity in India
  • Diversity and Culture shock
    Culture shock: Culture shocks tend to be the things we can’t prepare for or foresee experiencing. Before embarking on the journey, I had done research and tried to keep an open mind. I roughly knew what the culture was like, the style of cuisine, and the level of poverty. I knew cows were sacred, dogs roamed, and to not trust street food. India is full of life, abundant with diversity,…Continue Reading Diversity and Culture shock
  • What my Family has Asked me Since I Arrived 
    How long did it take you to get to India? We took: 1 shuttle taxi from Hamilton to Auckland airport, 1.5 hours 3 flights  1 bus ride from Chennai to Puducherry, 5 hours … which finally took us to Puducherry, India! It was over 45 hours of travelling since leaving Hamilton. A longer trip than expected, with a delayed flight, a missed layover, and having to spend the night in Delhi airport! …Continue Reading What my Family has Asked me Since I Arrived 
  • Soy Milk Roof (an architectural analysis of Pondicherry)
    What an outrageous time in Pondicherry! Pondicherry is in South-Eastern India, Tamil Nadu state. It was a French colonial settlement until 1954; therefore, its architecture has an eclectic French-Indian twist. Over the past few months, I have been exploring what radical generosity looks like in the public space. There are many kupu (words) in Te Reo Māori for generosity, illustrating the diverse ways generosity can be experienced. These kupu describe generosity…Continue Reading Soy Milk Roof (an architectural analysis of Pondicherry)
  • India’s Desktop
    My annual habit to start a new year is to try and organise my desktop. Clean it up, organise it better, and have a system so that I know exactly where each file and photo should be logically and efficiently placed. However, no system has been perfect. Grey areas appear, laziness emerges, and I end up trying to create a completely new system the next year.  What is even more…Continue Reading India’s Desktop
  • Before,During,…
    Pre departure (5/1/23) It’s a few days before I traverse seven thousand KMs across the planet, and I surprisingly don’t feel anxious at all. I’m quietly confident in conforming to the Indian norms, and the fact that we go as a large group puts a lot of my stress to ease. There are obviously still some nerves with travel preparations, whether I have the correct E-Visa and what vaccinations I’m…Continue Reading Before,During,…
  • A Ponder on Pondicherry and Lessons for New Zealand 
    Namaste! Vaṇakkam! Hello! It’s been a few days into the trip. Here are a few interesting things I’ve found so far as a health sci student, which I think might be interesting and potentially be some cool initiatives for New Zealand to consider! One of my favourite moments was going to the Aurobindo Ashram. An Ashram is kind of like a convent or nunnery. When going to an Ashram, similarly…Continue Reading A Ponder on Pondicherry and Lessons for New Zealand