India

On Wednesday night, India didn't stay up late to watch the Olympics. Its team hadn't won any medals yet. And the sports where there was a chance of medalling — like field hockey and rifle shooting — didn't result in any trips to the podium.

When some Western musicians picture life in India, they seem to think you can't turn a corner without someone blasting you in the face with brightly colored powder.

Growing up in India, I learned to ride a bicycle on my dad's 22-inch bike with no training wheels. I was 8 years old. I couldn't get on the bike without a boost from my father or an older kid. And once I was in the seat, my feet didn't touch the ground. I could get off only if I stopped next to a raised platform, a step or something I could rest my foot on.

Wilbur Sargunaraj eats and drinks his way through his father's home village in his video "The Village Way: Food." And he's clearly having a good time, even when he downs some very hot "pepper water"!

(Perhaps the antidote is Goli soda, South India's favorite carbonated drink, with a marble sitting atop the bottle to seal in the bubbles.)

One day in the summer of 2013, 25-year-old Seteng Horo found herself on a bus to the nearest public hospital, about four hours away from her remote village in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. It's not a trip she can afford to take often — buses are infrequent, the journey is long and the cost of about a dollar roundtrip is not insignificant. But she had no choice. She was running a temperature and had been bleeding for days. The reason: an unsafe abortion performed by a village midwife.

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