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Jill Jepson's Blog

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Feb.12.2013
  I've written about some of this before, but it bears repeating. And it especially bears repeating right now, just as I work on the final stages of another novel, standing on the threshold of one of the most difficult times of a writer’s life: The sending-stuff-out part. When we put our...
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Feb.11.2013
No collection of Indian photos would be complete without some of the rich, colorful, and complex spiritual life of India. For my last set of pictures, I'm going to focus of that aspect of our Indian experience. Then, tomorrow, I'll get back to writing about writing. Contrary to the images of...
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Feb.07.2013
India is making amazing economic progress. It has become a country of upscale malls, high-tech companies, and a growing middle class. But it is also still a place of narrow, crowded lanes, tiny shops, fruit and vegetable stands, ramshackle buildings, dirt roads, and shanties. My students spent our...
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Feb.06.2013
As I was continually reminding my students, our trip to India wasn't a tour, it was aclass. That meant a lot of reading, writing, class meetings, and discussion. But it didn't mean we didn't have fun--a lot of it. Once we got back to the States, I got email after email from students telling me...
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Feb.05.2013
A baby water buffalo in a village in Rajasthan.   One of the things my students noticed immediately in India was the presence of nonhuman animals. Wild animals never seen in North America, such as monkeys, are ubiquitous on the streets of many Indian cities. Homeless animals, especially dogs...
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Feb.04.2013
A potter makes traditional unglazed clay tea cups. I boarded the plane in New Delhi feeling exhilarated, exhausted, satisfied, energized--and just a tiny bit smug about having been one of the few members of our group who hadn't gotten sick. "Pride goeth before a fall," my Mom used to say and, in...
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Jan.30.2013
When a novel has been reviewed by the New York Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, USA Today, and 5,239 people on Goodreads, a review of it on this blog is beside the point, so I have no intention of providing one.  However, since one of my latest goals in life is to promote contemporary...
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Jan.28.2013
  "The brightest, most brilliant, funny, moving, and remarkable authors come to Jaipur each year." So boasts the website for the renowned Jaipur Literature Festival, an  extravaganza held every year in the capital of India's exotic state of Rajasthan. Started in 2006 with 18 presenters...
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Jan.26.2013
I've heard people use the word "hodgepodge" to describe the crazy blend of Hindi and English heard on the streets of New Delhi and Bombay, in Bollywood movies, and around Indian dinner tables. It's been called a jumble, a mess, a corruption of English or Hindi or both. Linguists have a technical...
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Jan.24.2013
  "These people are very backward." That was the way Dr. Singh introduced us to the village in northeastern Rajasthan, where, among his many duties with the Center for Development Research and Study, he oversees a small school for girls. We had taken the 3 1/2-hour bus ride through the...
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Jan.21.2013
When I started doing book reviews on this blog, I made two promises to myself:  1) I would only write positive reviews. This isn't because I love every book I read--far from it--but because I am averse to publicly lambasting other people's writing. I decided that, if I don't like something I'...
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Jan.20.2013
When Purnendu Goswami invited parents to send their children to the free school he had opened with his brothers, he expected them to jump at the chance. Education is hard to come by for poor children in India. The families he approached were mired in poverty--some were homeless--and he was...
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Jan.17.2013
"Be careful of the monkeys," our guide told us as we arrived at our ashram in the small city of Vrindavan. We had just gotten off the bus after a 30-mile bus trip that took 2 1/2 hours. "They will steal your glasses if you're not careful," he said. Thieving monkeys, it turns out, are the city's...
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Jan.16.2013
We spent five days in Delhi, then jostled our way to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal and the astounding Agra Fort, where Shah Jahan--the emperor who had the Taj built--was imprisoned by his own son. My students stared and were stared at, took in the stunning beauty of the sights, and took photo after...
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Jan.12.2013
  On Friday morning, we drove out of the cramped, noisy, and polluted monstrosity that is Delhi past fields of sugar cane, lemon-yellow mustard flowers, sturdy black bullocks and thin white cows to the sprawling campus of BPS Women University. My students have met many Indian women in the...
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