Arriving into India I didn't know what to expect, but as we descended into Chennai Airport, it finally hit me that I was in India!
As we got off the plane, the humidity was overwhelming .....it felt like I was in a sauna.
When we went outside, it was almost like we were famous as all eyes were on us ......and still are to this day which is a surreal feeling but I am kind of getting used to it now :)
The 7 hour bus ride to Bannari Amman Institute of Technology was an experience I will never forget as it was our first time seeing the real India. There were people, vehicles and animals everywhere. Cows were in the middle of the road which is normal here and everyone looked so busy and in a rush like they were all on missions.
I also saw that some people still live the traditional way like living in huts, hand washing clothes in the rivers and using bulls and carts as a mode of transportation which I really admire as we never see that back home which is a shame. I wish we still had that but traditional living is non-existent anymore with the technology and everything there is these days ......if it does exist in NZ, it is very rare.
Although the bus drive to B.I.T was long it was totally worth it as the guest house is aaamazing and the staff are so nice and welcoming and the food is delicious.
We visited the Bannari Amman Temple the next day and it is so beautiful, I felt privileged to be there as it seems like a very sacred and spiritual place.
The next days we had orientation around the Institute and got introduced to the principal and teachers and met some of the students and even got to do the Lungi dance with them which was cool.
I really enjoyed seeing the snakes and scorpion ....that was the first time I had ever seen them in real life and may be the one and only chance I'd get so I'm soo glad I got to experience that.
We have been on a few industry visits .....spinning and weaving mills, garment factory, knitting, processing and dying and printing mills. Visiting all these places has really put things into perspective and I now have a better understanding of the whole process from fibre to yarn, yarn to fabric and fabric to garment.
Overall I have really enjoyed my stay thus far, it has been both fun but educational at the same time and has been an eye-opening experience.
I think I have a lot more to learn and look forward to that and the rest of my stay here.
I have so much respect and love for India and it's people .....it has been an honour being here and I am glad I got this opportunity.
Thank you B.I.T and India for having us and making us feel at home in your beautiful country :)
Arriving into chennai airport and wow! After 24 hours of flying and just a 7 hour bus ride to Bannari Amman Institute of Technology. During the 7 hour bus ride I loved seeing all the vibrant colours of the sarees, multiple temples and having my first vegetarian dish with a hint of spice (which I had enjoyed) Arriving at our accommodation at the institute guest house was a sigh of relief. All the hard travelling had all come to an end and I could finally start experiencing India.
First day we had brief tour of Bannari Amman institute. It is a huge institute and had made me excited and ready to learn. Breakfast I had a coffee, fruit, toast, rice and a curry gravy. Not my usual for breakfast but I am open to experiencing whatever India has to offer. First thing was first, sorting out our immigration papers. We had a brief tour of the campus and I had been overwhelmed at how big it is. One of the things that had been included in the tour had been visiting the fabric testing lab where they test venomous snakes and scorpions on fabrics. I had throughly enjoyed this because it had two things that I loved which were animals and textiles.
One of the first days we had set off to the bannari temple. Wow!!! My first time to a temple and was amazing!!! I enjoyed learning about the different gods, vibrant colours and receiving my first bindhi. I loved seeing how religion is important to India! The faith in their gods and how it brings everyone together. Going inside the temple was beautiful. We weren't allowed to take photos but the experience was overwhelming. Seeing people pray to their God, the golden monuments etc.
Next few days we had visited textile mills to gain understanding for the processes of cotton to yarn. Seeing the process of cotton fibres to yarn was interesting. In New Zealand we only saw manufacturing units online and on YouTube due to us having close to no manufacturing units at home. So to put what we had learnt at home into perspective was really interesting to see the process take place. Prior to the visit we had an in depth lecture at the Bannari Amman of technology on the process which helped me cemented and helped my understanding. We also had visited knit textile mills and learnt about the processes of dyeing fabric/ yarn, the production lines, the prep for dyeing, embroidery and as well seeing the conditions that the employee was working under. It was good to see that during these processes that quality checking thoroughly was taken very seriously from the beginning at the cotton mills to when it gets died. Embroidery and printing mills were amazing. The preparation to make sure colours match what the buyer/ client requests and the embroidery machines and being able to manipulate what you want the machine to do is very handy and time efficient if you need to make set of a bulk garment to be done during a certain time frame.
During these visits we had delicious food stops and my vegetarian diet has catapulted. I have enjoyed the authenticity of the food and my favourite soo far has to be the coconut chutney & rice that is served on campus. My stay so far has been amazing & I have loved how the people working here at the guest house and on the scholarship program has made our stay as comfortable as possible.
From Grace C:
When we first landed in Chennai, I can remember leaving the plane and feeling the strong heat. I didn't know what to expect as we were leaving the airport. outside, it was so crowded and humid, we were all exhausted from the long flights. We were waiting for our bus to take us to Sathyamangalam. As I looked around the colours surrounding were incredibly beautiful It almost made me forget how tired I was but still the fact that we are in India seems so unreal until we got on our bus and there was more colours! Colours everywhere! It was just so pretty, the contrasting of Sarees worked perfectly. We saw animals untamed yet relaxed, we saw goats, cows and dogs on the side of the road and that moment I slowly came to realise that I am in India.
Few hours later, we stopped for lunch and that was one of the highlights of our first day, tasting our very first authentic Indian dish. It was so delicious and satisfying
At 9pm Saturday on the 15th we arrived at Bannari Amman University which will be our home for the next 5 weeks. We were welcomed with smiles and roses. They made us feel so welcome, they made sure we were comfortable. They provided us with sim cards on the spot so we could contact and inform our family that we've landed safely. They didn't hold us up very long as they know we were all very exhausted from the long flights and bus ride and they also made sure we didn't go to bed hungry so they prepared a wide variety of delicious food for dinner, the kitchen staff were all so lovely considering they had to stay up a little later just to prepare dinner for 20 students.
First couple of days we had to fill some immigration form to confirm we had arrived in India.
3rd day in we all went to visit a temple about an hour drive away from Sathyamangalam. The pastels colours and art was so beautiful. You can tell by looking around that this is part of their culture and they hold strongly to it with respect. We walked around the temple and took some photos and we had our very first tilaka . That was quite a new experience for all students specially for me as I have been brought up by Roman Catholic parents.
As days passed, travelling from one place to another. I've come to realise that Indian women presents beauty and modesty wrapped in one with their vibrant colour Sarees, beautiful skin tone and long dark hair.
The first Wednesday was the day we had our first apparel and textiles lecture in the morning and after that we had our tour around the 200 acres campus containing 6,000 students and 80% lives in the campus supplies with meals, they had 4 separate cafeterias that holds few thousands of students. It's almost as if the campus is a small village!
Back to the first apparel and textiles lecture - it was very into detail, which was slightly confusing at first but once we started visiting factories and industries it all starting to make so much more sense. It gets interesting as we were visiting more factories. The process the cotton fibre goes through from combing - strength test - dying test. It requires so much time, care and precision. The information and knowledge was overwhelming. What blew me away was the sizes of factories here, it's nothing like I've seen or even imagine. I feel like unless you get to see the process of how a single fibre turn into a fabric you will never appreciate the beauty of making a garment.
Science and chemistry together created one of human necessities.
This is the part where I remember one of our tutors (Miriam Gibson) used to say "this is only the tip of the ice berg" whilst teaching us pattern designs.
Even though we've only covered 11 days of the 5 weeks learning apparel and textiles I feel like I've learnt so much already and I already have so many highlights of this trip within 11 days of experience. Two of the many few was when the junior fashion students welcome us and made us do the Lungi dance and few faculty staff and in house staff surprise me with a cake on my birthday, they sure made my week. I am still looking forward to learn more knowledge in this part of the industry and of course taste more of local delicious dish and explore the culture of beautiful India.