For podcast I  decided to profile the community of cab drivers in New York City. My multi-media project is on immigrant community living in New York and the fact that 99% of cab drivers are foreign-born makes them directly relevant to my multi-media project.

To make it topical and newsy, I tried to find out the impact of economic recession on the community.I have already interviewed a very articulate campaign-head of the New York City Cab Driver Union who has himself been a cab driver for more three-decades. He knows the profession inside-out.

Got interesting details and by Tuesday, I propose to put on air my third-video and podcast assignment.


A change in electoral preference among Muslim American community

Video profiles a change in electoral preference among Muslim American community from Republican party supporter to Democratic party. I tried to incorporate the changes suggested by my instructor duo -Adam and Matt- during the viewing of my rough-cut. I was able to interview a Republican turn Democrat youth to substantiate my story idea as suggested by Adam. Also I was able to enter polling booth on November 4th, 2008 in an immigrant dominated area of Brooklyn borough of New York City to build my visual narrative as pointed out by Matt.

Explaining the curiosity

 Explaining the curiosity

Many students in my Guirella class are curious to know as to why all my videos are based on such intense political themes. The essence of Marxian thought was that Man’s actions were driven by economic environment. As a person who will like to describe himself as a democratic institutionalist I have serious differences with Marx and his followers. Man’s action is a product of several factors including the political and social situation in which one has grown or worked.

Thats’ the basis of my argument to dialectically explain why my videos have a strong over doze of politics. I grew up in a family where discussing politics was not merely a pastime activity. Conversing and writing about politics was work and a source of living for us. As a journalist my focus has been covering conflict-related issues between India and Pakistan. This interest has build my network pool among journalists, academics and scholars working on conflict related issues across the world.

Being a Fulbright media fellow I have been able to expand the network here in New York. Not only I have pursued my interests but further broadened my horizon about the issues relevant to me. Each Fulbright fellow brings her or his specialization and an area of interest. Besides the skills upgradation of the fellows through the academic program, the purpose of the Fulbright fellowship is also to promote the interface between the fellow and his U.S. colleagues where both sides learn from each other. Its’ an opportunity for both sides to understand that there are diverse perspectives and each perspective or experience is important and has to respected. We must agree to disagree.

An immigrant’s never-say-die attitude

Life is a marathon not a sprint
Sixty-four-years-old Ranjit Das finished his 15th New York City Marathon successfully. He completed the race in four-hours and thirty- minutes. After the race he was energetic and showed no signs of tiredness which almost seems to delude the fact that he had run the first marathon of his life at the age of forty-eight.
Ranjit Das, 64, a successful immigrant entrepreneur from New Jersey ran his first race in the fall of 1993. A 15-year-old boy, taught by him, as part of his community service, challenged him to run a marathon.
“I causally mentioned in the class that ‘with hard work one can do anything in life’ the boy responded ‘Can you run a marathon’. I was puzzled by the question and evaded the reply,” recollects Ranjit. Ranjit after a long thought finally decided that he was going to accept the boy’s challenge and will run the New York City Marathon which was due in six-month time.
Five-feet -four inches tall with brown complexion, Ranjit discussed his plan with his wife, Chabi Das who was skeptical of his potential to run a marathon. “He(Ranjit) had never run a marathon in his life. I was doubtful,” says Chabi.
But Ranjit was serious and determined to succeed. He quit his job as a community centre teacher to devote time for his training and he asked one of his friends to replace him so that students do not suffer.
Ranjit decided to train and get ready for the marathon. He spoke to some of his friends who had run marathons. They advised him to join a Gym for weights training and then gradually increase physical stamina by following a 16-weeks training schedule.
In the first week on Tuesday he ran two miles and on Thursday three miles. And on Sunday he ran 22 miles. This regimen continued till the last week before marathon.
In 1992, Ranjit ran his first New York City Marathon in four-hours and thirty-five-minutes. But he continued to improve every successive year. In 1993, he completed in four- hours and twenty- minutes and in 2000, he clocked three-hours and fifty -three minutes, his best timing so far. Ranjit missed New York City Marathon in 1998 as he applied late. To compensate this, he ran for Philadelphia Marathon in the same year.
Ranjit credits his family members who have encouraged him to run. “Family is a great support structure in the face of challenging situation.”

Ranjit came to U.S. from India in 1978 as a qualified electrical engineer. He worked for private companies for 16 years and then he decided to become an entrepreneur.
“It was a difficult decision but my family and friends supported me.” He founded Delphinus, a consultancy company which specializes in nuclear technology. There were few financial setbacks in the beginning but Ranjit had the determination to succeed and family’s support.

Success soon smiled on Ranjit as his company was able to get prestigious contracts. Now the same company founded by him employs over 300 people with branches in Northern Virginia, California and Washington State. U.S. Navy is the prime client of the company as it designs protypes for the Navy’s submarines.

“We are proud of our father as his life proves that with determination anything can be achieved. Age is no barrier,”says Ranjit’s thirty-five- year-old son, Arijit Das. Arijit owns a multi-media company and has recently completed a 30-minute multi-media animation on alcohol-abuse, a project which was funded by federal government

Ranjit sums up his life-experience by giving the analogy of a marathon-runner. “Life is a challenge and to be successful one needs to be disciplined, persistent and have patience. Life is a marathon not a sprint.”

Third Video

Countdown starts. So was editing Sunday evening till 10 P.M. Well I started editing my third video as i could not get hold of the computer which has the software through which I edited my second video. Like a true journalist who is possessive of his sources and exclusive stories I won’t disclose much about my third video. I propose to finish it by Friday so that I could show a rough cut to the class.

US elections and the world

US elections and the world, an article I posted for a website

I think it will be relevant to the immigrant community living in New York