Life in India: The Auto

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with transport in India, actually for anyone, familiar or not with the concept of the auto, please let me share with you my latest fascination.giphy

In fact, I am writing the post fresh from an auto ride. I think it may have been the closest to death I have ever been in my life and I promise you I laughed so hard I cried (subconsciously this could have been out of sheer exhaustion or terror, but we’ll go with the comical experience I chose to interpret it as).

It is 9:30pm and dark out here in Bangalore, and we were on our way back from a pub (so maybe a combination of tipsy as well). We had a bit of a hard time getting an auto driver to agree to take us to where we are staying, let alone do so for a fair price. We ended up settling on a driver who agreed to take us to Johnson Market for 100 rupees (basically the equivalent of $1.50 USD, but we were gypped nonetheless as the trek was really only worth 75 — but that’s not the point). Oh, and he was permanently cross eyed (I promise this adds important context).

Now, before I get too detailed let me explain the concept of the auto as best I can. Also known as a tuk tuk or rickshaw, an auto is basically the Indian equivalent of a taxi, at least purpose-wise. It has 3 wheels. Here they are often yellow and green. No doors, and a bench that fits up to two or three people — or sometimes even entire families — in the back. Three of us tend to fit into one very snuggly, however. They run on a meter, but more often than not (especially since we’re foreigners) they ask for double to triple what the meter would cost. Sometimes the moment we tell them where you want to go they speed away and we have to try upwards of 3 to 4 more to get one to let us in. They are our main mode of getting around this city and have, without fail, provided us with new experiences each day.

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I will not be able to describe the most recent ride with justice. Imagine if you were living out a video game in real time. A roofed four wheeler weaving through the busy city streets at night going far beyond an acceptable speed, and you the helpless passenger left to cringe (or in my case laugh hysterically) in the back. If this is still seeming like a “had to be there moment”, let me at least share with you a stream of thoughts that will hopefully help you get the picture:

  • So this is what it’s like to play chicken…
  • That’s 3 rounds of chicken in a row that we have won. (For those of you who may be unfamiliar, chicken is when two cars speed toward each other head on to see who will be there first (or last) to avoid hitting the other).
  • I wonder how fast we’re going.
  • Looks around the interior for the mandatory displayed registration: Nope, no license. This is safe.
  • I wonder how impossible it would be to tuck and roll into all this chaotic traffic?
  • These breaks are absolutely amazing!
  • I can’t believe we didn’t just hit that person, that family, that cow…giphy-1
  • At least I get the ATV experience while living in the city.
  • I can’t believe we didn’t rear-end that person… What, is that a mere 6 millimeters to spare?
  • The U-turning abilities on this thing are unreal.
  • Seriously sir, you’ve asked 5 people hoe to get to our location, please just let us get out and start over.
  • No English at all?
  • How on earth are we still alive?
  • How on earth have we not witnessed an accident? Perhaps the U.S. should switch up their traffic patterns: purge-style seems to be quite efficient.
  • When crossing the street: Hit me, you won’t.

This is my stream of conscious everyday, multiple times a day. Here’s to making it a full week without being hit by a car, only 9 to go!

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, imgur.com, autogearcar.com, live.ac.uk

Coping with Conflict in Israel

Coping with Israel Conflict

“Would you like your drinks before or after we go to the bomb shelter?” With unwavering calm, a waitress coolly inquired after our drink orders as incoming rocket fire compelled us to flee our oceanside table for the local Tel Aviv bar’s shelter. To quote the 2003 cinematic classic “Bad Boys 2,” shit just got real.

After growing up in the Midwest and spending two years of college in the Georgetown bubble (where the greatest threat to my survival was Tuscany’s closing), I have found the gravity of the conflict in Israel difficult to fully fathom. While rockets have sporadically threatened Jerusalem, warning sirens echoed through Tel Aviv at least five times a day in the past week. Even in the relative safety of Jerusalem, I still consider the blaring of the alarm bells terrifying. I am not alone: Fearing an escalation in conflict, many universities have evacuated their students from Israel.

Unaccustomed to such a threatening environment, many students in my group have turned to humor in order to cope. From setting a picture of the Iron Dome demolishing a rocket as a Facebook cover photo to complaining that the bomb shelter doesn’t have Wi-Fi, humor provides the best medicine. By jokingly thanking Hamas for timing their missile firing during class time, we conceal our greater fear that the classroom — our supposedly sheltered cocoon of learning — cannot escape the looming menace of the outside conflict.

Yet, I wonder if this treatment of the crisis unfairly diminishes the suffering and fear both sides have experienced. Since I am a foreigner staying in Israel for only a short period of time, I can brush off the frightening moments I have confronted as an adventure, which will impress the SFS hotshots when I get back on campus. For most people, however, this is their home: Innocent civilians in Gaza have been killed and displaced, while various Israeli cities experience continued rocket attacks. We must remember this is no laughing matter. In order to reduce hostilities and begin to mend the widespread mistrust, it’s going to take more than a few one-liners: Both sides need to express a commitment for peace.

Jessica Tannenbaum is a rising junior in the College. Check out her other posts about her experience at Hebrew University this summer.

Photo: rt.com

When One Door Opens, Another One Closes…

Philosophy DoorsSometimes, when you’re having a bad day, you start to ponder the big questions. The meaning of life, where you will be in ten years, what to eat for dinner, etc. All the head scratchers. So, like anyone asking the right questions, you probably end up finding yourself wandering down the mysteriously quiet hallway that makes up the philosophy department.

Turns out, you came to the right place. Philosophy professors have exactly what you need taped to their doors: some good ol’ philosophical humor. We’ve decided to save you the trip and post our favorites.

First there is Professor Linda Wetzel, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in philosophy, who has a friendly reminder that you are not in this alone, at least if “this” is a newfound fascination with Kantian philosophy.

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That, and the friendly reminder to check for aliens before crossing the hall.

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Oh, and don’t forget this one. It pretty much speaks for itself:

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We also owe a big thanks to associate professor Francis J. Ambrosio for reminding us that this happens even to the best of us.

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So does this. (And if it does, it might be a sign you need to relax.)

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Last but not least, at the door of professor and Kennedy Institute Fellow Nancy Sherman, a healthy dose of “real talk” reminds us that everything will be okay … and that professors keep their doors closed for a reason.

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Photos: Julia Kieserman|The Hoya, And Be There

Front Page Fakeout: Corp begins taking orders at new tattoo parlor service, CORP INK

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The Corp has recently announced that it is merging its existing printing service to include a new service, Corp Ink. This new storefront will offer Georgetown students a convenient on-campus location to get tattoos in lieu of getting them out in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The Corp, while best known for its coffee and bagels, has been making strides to diversify the types of services that it offers. Corp Ink has already begun taking orders and has offered its first 20 customers a 50% discount off their tattoos for serving as training subjects for the new fully student-run staff.

When interviewed, an anonymous new staff member at Corp Ink stated, “I don’t really know anything about tattoos or design, but I got rejected from UG and Vittles so I figured this was my next best alternative. I’m just here to learn!”

Corp Ink will be open Sunday-Wednesday in the afternoons and will be open with extended hours until 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A representative from Corp Marketing stated:  “After doing the research, we learned that 68 percent of the tattoos administered in the United States were done so between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We are still stumped as to why this is, but we are conducting more research to look into this inexplicable trend.”

Some of the most popular orders Corp Ink has already received are the famous Georgetown “G”, J.J eating a balloon, the classic lower back butterfly and a variety of Chinese characters that reportedly translate to “kumquat”, “chapstick”, and “otter.” (We at The Fourth Edition believe that these meanings were not the intention of the customer but will be permanently etched onto their skin anyway)

 

Notice: Front Page Fakeout is a parody post in which a 4E writer takes a story from the front page of The Hoya and puts an exaggerated and false spin on it. The Front Page Fakeout uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

Front Page Fakeout: Georgetown University Suspends All Student Activities

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Notice: Front Page Fakeout is a parody post in which a 4E writer takes a story from the front page of The Hoya and puts an exaggerated and ENTIRELY false spin on it. The Front Page Fakeout uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

 

After numerous fraternities, sororities and other unofficial Georgetown groups weren’t allowed to table inside of the Student Activities (SAC) Fair on Saturday, Georgetown University officials have decided to terminate all student clubs, groups, and activities until further notice.

According to an anonymous source in University President John J. DeGioia’s office: “The chaos at Saturday’s SAC Fair approached a level [comparable to] a Walmart full of overeager Christmas shoppers on Black Friday. Students were talking at an above ‘indoor voice’ level. As a necessary consequence to these unprecedented actions, we have decided to permanently halt student participation in campus activities.”

A detailed memo released by the Office of the Provost explains the timetable of activity shutdown: “All activities must cease by January 20, 2013, and all documents correlating to student groups must be burned, shredded, or tossed into the Potomac in a frantic and unstable manner by that date.” The memo from the provost also threatened that if any clubs are not in compliance with the timetable, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright will quit the faculty and personally burn down the Rafik B. Hariri Building.

Despite the impending stoppage of the more than 200 student groups on campus, students seem to be taking the news in stride. Georgetown University Student Association senator Jane Hoyason even seemed pleased with the activities halt. “To be quite honest, activities aren’t a big part of life here at GU. The students here are some of the laziest, most unsuccessful people in the world. So really, who gives a flyin’ hoot and a half?”