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I learned to use the potter’s wheel in America. When I visited India in 1985, my newly developed interest in pottery took me to the potter’s colony in Jamnagar, Gujarat. There, I met this above featured 77 year-old potter. He showed me various hand positions used to make British style pottery that he had learned from a British man in the 1940s. I requested to use the wheel. Confidently I started to center the clay. But no matter how deftly I tried, the wheel touched the ground, screeched, and came to a stop. Quizzically I looked at the potter, who explained that the old style wheel did not have ball bearings to distribute the force more evenly for an amateur.

Dhruv Joshi teaches chemistry at Chabot College in Hayward, California. Teaching, meditation, and writing are his main interests. He can be reached