It’s hard to write a lot right now. Our school is on a “trimester” system, so our semesters are only twelve weeks long. Everything happens fast in the trimester, especially in advanced classes where the content has to match up with AP or IB standards. This is the twelfth week of school, so all grades have to be done, all work students have procrastinated comes in, all the grade-anxious students suddenly care and try to find out if there’s anything they can do to get an extra point for their GPAs. On top of that, my main class I teach is IB Economics, with 82 students this year; not that big a deal except everything they do is essay-type work. They’ve just finished a required work that has to be around 700 words and graded this week. 700 words times 82 students – you get the idea. Then they just had a test last week that most wrote 5 or 6 pages of answers. And then there’s the final exam they haven’t taken yet. So blogging suffers a bit while I try to do my real job.

A related topic I was telling my sister about the other day is that this version of my blog has turned me into a real attention hog. I check tthe number of page views all the time. In big-time blog standards, there isn’t much to write home about, but when I get 75 or a hundred views, I think it’s really cool. A few days in the past couple of weeks I’ve gone over 150 per day, and I get really excited about that. There was one day in India, before I had to go dark a couple of days (due to lack of internet) that I had over 400 views in a day. So I’m addicted to having readers, and I admit I try to find things I can put up sometimes just to try to keep you interested. Pretty shameless, but that’s the way it is.

Finally, an odd India story in today’s news. While we didn’t get to Lucknow or anywhere very close to the Ganges, we did see quite a few Hindu pilgrims.

I find myself paying a lot more attention to nearly any news story that mentions or involves India. I check out what city or state it is from. I try to put it into context based on what I saw and learned. And so this story caught my eye,and I’m reminded of the difficulties that many Indians face in their lives.

Here’s the story I saw:

LUCKNOW, India – A stampede killed 16 Hindu pilgrims and injured about 50 during a religious ceremony Tuesday on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India, an official said.

The stampede at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh state was triggered when some of the pilgrims tripped and fell while those behind continued to push forward, government spokesman Amit Chandola said.

Thousands of people had converged on the river banks for the prayer ceremony in Haridwar, a temple-filled town at the foothills of the Himalayas where the Ganges enters the sprawling plains of northern India. It is about 300 miles southwest of the state capital of Lucknow.

The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, Chandola said.

Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit Haridwar every year for bathing in the Ganges, which they believe will cleanse them of sins and free them from the cycle of life and rebirth.

Stampedes often occur at Hindu pilgrimage sites, where authorities often are unable to cope with the rush of devotees.