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Phoebe Bradley Class of 1974

Happy New Year from the Bradley-Browns
Email dated 9 January 2014
posted 11 January 2015

Dear Friends and family,

Hope this finds you all well, happy and surrounded with loved ones. It is hard to believe that another has flown by already. This past year has been full of happiness, challenges and several milestones for the Bradley-Browns.

Our oldest daughter, Thea 21, just graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Film and Media Studies. We are so very proud and thrilled with her exceptional academic rigor and commitment to her studies at Berkeley. She is planning on taking a year off to work and travel before applying to graduate school. She will remain living in Berkeley.

Chloe, our youngest, will be turning 14 in January. She is in 8th grade and has quite the passion for playing Lacrosse and Field Hockey. She is also doing extremely well in school and really loves both English and Science.

Sheldon has had another incredibly busy second year as Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD. Some highlights include: co-organizing, with the Smithsonian Magazine 'The Future is Here' symposium in Washington D.C., his 'Scalable City' was shown at the Moscow Museum of Multimedia and he was the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair at UCSD.

I am in great health and have been busy re-writing a science fiction novel and working on some new short stories. My biggest challenge last year was overseeing the repairs and reconstruction made on our house after we had a flood that damaged most of our floors.

In closing, we wish all of you a very Happy New Year's and our hope for the coming year is one full of peace, love, health, happiness, and well-being for all!

Phoebe, Sheldon, Thea & Chloe

March 20, 2007

Namaste Everyone!

I’ve finally had some time to sit down and write about our trip to India last month. Sorry this has taken me so long! Maf kijiye!

As soon as I found out that my husband Sheldon had been invited to speak at a conference in Delhi, I wrote to everyone I am still in touch with in India and told them we were coming! Then I started packing! Even though I knew we’d be going in the middle of the school year, there was no doubt in my mind that we’d be taking our daughters with us. I really wanted them to see India, to experience it, but I have to admit I was also nervous about taking them. This was my first trip back since 1976. How much has it changed? Where do I even begin? All the cars, TV stations, cell phones, invasion of American culture; McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway etc., the internet & tech revolution just name a few. Not only do all the scooter and rickshaw wallahs have cell phones, even some of the Sadhus have them as well! So how has it stayed the same? In a myriad of ways: its rich and expanding cultural heritage, the generosity of spirit that can only be Indian, its complex and chaotic movement through the human condition, its bureaucratic paralysis, and its ability to astonish you when you least expect it and the way it continues to do so even when you do expect it.

Deepak Sen (’74), generously invited us to stay with his family in Visant Vihar before Sheldon’s conference began. It was because of this that my family had a truly great experience of the ‘real’ Delhi, not just a tourist experience. It also helped to make us feel connected to Delhi in a way that we probably wouldn’t have if we had just been a hotel the whole time. In typical Indian fashion, the Sens made us feel like family from the get go! They have a beautiful home and a superb cook from Darjeeling! Their house is adjacent to the Tagore International School (TIS), where Deepak is the governor and his wife Madhu is the Principal. Their daughter Shivanee attends the British School. We had a lot of fun getting to know one another, telling stories about the good old days, listening to rock & roll, talking some about politics and just hanging out. They were extremely helpful to us in every way possible! After 4 nights with them, we moved over to the India International Center (IIC) for Sheldon’s conference. The IIC is right next door to Lodhi Gardens and was also designed by Stein, the architect of AIS/AES. Staying here felt like being on campus in a way.

Physically, Delhi seemed a lot more crowded, a little more worn around the edges and in some places, like it was coming apart at the seams. There is a lot of security present, particularly in Chanakyapuri, the government areas and even some public markets. You still see flocks of wild parrots flying around, tons of crows cawing incessantly, monkeys wandering through suburban neighborhoods along with the morning parade of wallahs passing by advertising their wares: "Pani Wallah" Dhood Wallah" "Chai. Still there of course, small children picking through the rubbish for something they might be able to sell and all the beggars that miraculously navigate unscathed through the streams of traffic to rap on your car window. The first thing I noticed was the traffic; you can’t help but notice it. Thirty years ago, with very few exceptions, all you saw on the streets were Ambassadors and Fiats along with tongas, scooters, & rickshaws etc. Today, you will find every make of car, van, truck, and SUV jam packed on almost every street, all jockeying for position and for the most part, ignoring the street lights with a vengeance. Now throw in the tongas, scooters, motorcycles, rickshaws and occasional cow and you get the picture. Driving in India is a trip! The horn is still the most important feature on a car, although long gone are the wonderful bulbous horns that adorned the outside of every ambassador cab and scooter years ago. Take just about any 2 lane street and you will find all of the above crammed 4- 6 abreast and all in high gear! Delhi has become a lot more polluted, but as everyone kept telling me, it’s a lot better today than it was 10 years ago. Still my eyes burned a lot and my throat felt coated with what ever is in the air. When we arrived there was a thick layer of dust/soot/grime that covering everything. Then after it rained, the sky turned a lovely pale blue and all the dust was washed away.

I took my daughters to visit AES and luckily I had arranged our visit ahead of time, because as Robin Murphy described, the security is so intense now, unless you are able to give a chronological history of staff and/or faculty, you WON’T get it. So much about our school has changed and for me personally, I wasn’t that impressed by the ‘modernization’ and expansion that has taken place over the years. The most tragic being the systematic removal of the old domes that were to me, the most essential ‘character’ of the school. Barbara Dow, the director of technology at AES, assured me that one of the domes would remain as the Joseph Allen Stein Memorial Building. Barbara had kindly arranged a tour of the school for us and I was delighted to discover that Alka Bajaj, the school secretary from way back when, was still there!! We had a nice reunion and then toured the rest of the campus and also saw Sharon Lowen (who is now the head of the Indian Studies Program) and Mrs. Bagnato. Mr. Uwe Bagnato, who taught social studies in the ‘70s, is now the High School principal! I’m sorry to say that Bandana Sen has finally retired! I did get to see her very briefly at the India Habitat Center.

We ran around from one end of Delhi to the other and tried to see as much as possible; Old Delhi, New Delhi, Quitb Minar, Lotus temple, Nehru Park, Green Park, Connaught and Hauz Khas. The girls loved Dilli Haat and Lodhi Gardens. Chloe especially loved visiting the Gandhi Smriti Museum, where we met up with Sunaina Suneja (’75), who gave us a tour of the museum and it’s textile training center. The center trains women to make Khadi [the home-spun cotton our kurtas were made of] and it has a small shop on site that sells various articles of clothing. Chloe and I got a lesson on how to spin the cotton and Chloe was actually pretty good at it. The museum itself is very evocative. It is housed in the Birla home where Gandhi was assassinated. The path of his last footsteps has been preserved in stone and walking along them is quite an emotional experience.

We had a wonderful time meeting up with Sunaina, her sister Dolly (Suneja) Narang ’71 and their lovely parents on several occasions. Sunaina is a clothing designer and works at the family's chic boutique in Hauz Khas Village and Dolly has a charming gallery also in Hauz Khas Village. Chloe and I spend an afternoon in Hauz Khas and toured the ruins with Dolly and later had a delicious dosa lunch nearby. BTW- I almost forgot- one big highlight of the trip for me was one night when we were staying at the IIC, Sunaina rang me up and asked me; “Aren’t you a big fan of Arundhati Roy?” When I replied yes, she said; “Well, you had better grab your coat quickly and run on over to the (IIC) restuarant, she’s having dinner near us!” I ran right over to join them for dinner, but I was way to shy to go up to Arundhati and speak to her. Luckily, thanks to Sunaina’s amazing gumption, as Arundhati was leaving the restaurant, Sunaina called her over to our table and told Arundhati I was a huge fan of hers and asked her if she wouldn’t mind giving me an autograph!! I blubbered on to Arundhati about this being my first trip back to India in 30+ years as she kindly wrote me her autograph.

After our great week in Delhi, we caught the Tag Express from Nizamuddin Railway Station and went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It had just rained when we arrived, so the Taj was uncharacteristically lacking in crowds and we were able to wander the grounds at our leisure. The city of Agra itself was a disappointment, but the Taj totally made up for that in spades. We also visited Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daulah (baby Taj) and Fatehpur Sikri. A funny side note, we stopped in at a Pizza Hut in Agra (after the kids had begged us for almost an hour) and halfway though our pizza, we were treated to an unexpected and highly choreographed dance routine to blaring Hindi film music by the entire wait staff!! It was fantastic, as Sunaina is fond of saying, “Only in India!”

From Agra, we caught another train for Jaipur, where we stayed at a nice heritage hotel called the Umaid Bhawan. Jaipur was a 3 ring traffic circus and jam packed with tourists from all over the globe. We tried to see as much as we could, the Amber Fort, Hanuman Temple, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal and the City Palace. We also hired a taxi (an old style Ambassador) and took a day trip to Pushkar, home of the ONLY Brahma temple in the world. Pushkar was a lovely little town, but has seen way too many tourists over the years and it shows (everyone was after us for money, even the priests!). One final day of shopping and sight-seeing in Jaipur and then we headed back to Delhi for our last night with the Sen's and our last day in Delhi. Sunaina treated us to a wonderful lunch with her family at the Gymkhana Club, which instantly brought back a flood of memories for me of Calcutta’s Tollygunge Club where my family had been members. Speaking of Calcutta, I also got to speak with another classmate of ours- Aloka Dalal ‘74, who is doctor and now lives in Calcutta. We chatted on Sunaina’s phone and she even gave me some medical advice about my daughter Thea, who was sick at the time. After some last minute shopping at the state emporiums, we spent our last evening at home with the Sens. Then around midnight; we headed to the airport to departed, as we had arrived 2 weeks earlier, in the middle of the night.

Our time in India went by way too quickly. I read a comment once by an Indian writer who said “visiting India for two weeks is like going to India for lunch!” It’s true, two weeks is way too short for India, but it was all we had and I enjoyed every single moment of it. The last time I had been in India, I was a teenager who was completely self absorbed, naive, carefree, indulgent, and adventurous (*read paagal- like the time Andy & I bicycled to Agra on a dare!). I was so relieved at how easily my spoiled American kids not only adapted to India, but how much they enjoyed it. Now when I start to talk about India, they stop me right in my tracks and start telling their own stories. I am so glad I got to make this trip! I only hope it doesn’t take me another 30 years to go back again!

Shanti~ Phoebe Bradley ‘74

See more of Phoebe's India pictures.

Submitted by email, September 2006
by Phoebe Bradley and Chuck Wells, (both AIS Class of 1974)

Mr. Takala





Sad News: "Mr. Takala was the reason I finally understood math. Sweet man, funny too!" writes Phoebe Bradley. Phoebe and Chuck Wells, both AIS class of 1974, sent in this obituary of their fondly remembered math teacher, Mr. Reino (Ray) Takala.

Reino Takala, 90, of Calumet, Michigan, passed away on May 19, 1999. He was born on April 12, 1909, a son of John and Katri Takala. In 1932, he married Viena Niemi. He taught school in Illinois where he was the head of Hinsdale High School Math department for many years. From 1970 to 1974 he taught at the American International School of India. From 1976 to 1978 he taught methods of Mathematics with the Peace Corps in Winneba, Ghana in West Africa at the ATTC Teachers Training College. In 1959, REino was named "National Teacher of the Year" winning a trip to the Scandanavian countries. Surviving are his wife; a sister, Mrs. Ellie Clough of Ypsilanti; a son, Edward Warren and Debbie Latvatalo of Houston; and four grandchildren.

Miscellaneous Houghton County, Michigan Obituaries

August 19, 2006

Phoebe Bradley Class of 1974

Phoebe Bradley
Phoebe in her studio, 2006. Visit her personal website for selected works.

After graduation in Delhi in 1974, I attended art schools in London, Minneapolis and the San Francisco Bay Area. I received my BFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute, where I met my husband Sheldon Brown.

I returned to India only once for 6 months in 1976 to study sitar and weaving in West Bengal. Later that year I settled in the Berkeley/Oakland area, where I lived for 17 years.

In addition to exhibiting my art in Berkeley, I wrote art reviews for the Berkeley Monthly Magazine and worked as a freelance media production coordinator for museums and many Bay Area companies for more than 10 years.

In 1990, we moved to Kansas City where I was hired by the University of Kansas at Lawrence to coordinate a documentary film series. In 1991 we moved to Chicago when my husband got a teaching position at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While in Chicago, I worked as a juror for Chicago International Film Festival. In 1992, we moved to San Diego when Sheldon was hired by the University of California at San Diego. Our first daughter, Thea, was born in 1993 and our second daughter, Chloe, was born in 2001.

Since my daughters were born, I have continued to make art; however until recently, only sporadically. In the early '90s I wrote a science fiction novel {still unpublished!}. For the past 4 years I have volunteered to teach art in my daughter's elementary school {as the state of California no longer funds art programs at the elementary level}. I have also worked as a private ESL {English as a Second Language} teacher for the past 8 years.

Phoebe's family in London
Husband Sheldon and daughters Thea and Chloe in London, Spring 2006.

Luckily, as a family, we have had the opportunity to travel abroad quite a bit lately {because of my husband's teaching and art careers}. This past spring we were in London for 10 days as Sheldon lectured at both London University and at Cambridge. Over the past several years we were in Italy, when Sheldon had an exhibition in Florence, in Barcelona Spain and we even got to live in Tokyo for two months. In the near future we are looking at the possibility of a teaching sabbatical in India {either in Hyderabad or Delhi}, as Sheldon is part of a new U.S./India academic collaboration in development through the University of California. Currently, we live in a small coastal town, Encinitas, just north of San Diego.

If anyone is interested, I have recently updated my personal website:

Shanti to all~


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