Tamil Television (Part 1?): Bigg Boss

I was going to write about three or four different shows in this post, but had too much to say about just one. I'll try to continue the series with more U.S.-perspective insights on the fascinating world of Tamil television. ------ Tamil TV exists in a variety of genres: news, soap operas (known here as …

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Cultures of Gift-Giving

As an eager young freshman at the University of Rochester, I had my heart set on a degree in Anthropology and enrolled in Anthro 101 my first semester. To this day, it stands out as one my favorite classes in college, and I continue to believe that Anthro 101 should be a required class for …

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Learning to Live in a Joint-Family System

Living with my in-laws during this Pongal trip has meant experiencing the joint-family system first-hand. It is a way of life that is so foreign to the individualistic, capitalistic society of the United States, and though I can appreciate the values of communal living and tend to disavow individualized capitalism in principle, the practice of …

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Even Buddhist Weddings Need a Little Drama

So far I've written about the Indian Special Marriage Act registration process, and the excitement of planning a Buddhist/Tamil wedding in three months. This chapter is about our Buddhist wedding ceremony, including traditional rituals and unexpected drama.... We were supposed to meet at the marriage hall at 6pm, for the ceremony to begin at 6:30. …

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