Monthly Archives: October 2012

Durga!! Durga!!

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Durga!! Durga!!

Durga! Durga!

Indian Exclamation (particularly Bengali) of saying O My God.! Though all Indians swear their words with God, but I just love the way a Bengali says–Durga Durga.  It sounds like–Dugga! Dugga!.

Rich Red–Color of strength..

I love the richness of culture that the people of my country bring in together.
There are characters (millions) each unique, with their own values, their views, their own feelings & expression.

People fill a land with vibrations.  An old Indian saying is, “Feelings make a stone turn into  God”. Meaning, a place of worship is sacred because of the feelings that are attached to it..

Day before yesterday was the last day for Navratri and fortunately I got the opportunity to visit the Puja Pandal  i.e. the community celebration of Bengali Hindus to worship Goddess Durga.  The first thing that hits when you enter an Indian worship place is ‘smell’.  The strong smell of Dhoop (a complex mixture of powdered wood with Indian sacred plants) enters yours nostrils and reach deep in.. It was all smoky, dense and mystical.

Bengali Celebrations are quite musical (well so are most of the other Indian celebrations) .  The devotees were tapping their feet and swaying in the loud, soul-churning music of Dhol and Kartaal.  

swaying crowd

It started with slow beats and kept on rising, rising..

Men & women were dancing.  Even the priest was matching the beat while swaying the  Diya (fire lamp) in circular motion to the Deities.

I felt like dancing myself.  Difficult to control a beat so powerful.  Unfortunately, I was not carrying my camera and thus I missed some beautiful shots.

It was almost a forty minute long puja. Amazing I must say.  An experience must to have.  I  always believed that if we don’t feel religious we shouldn’t do all these rituals.  But to experience the spiritual aspect of a thing, we need to let go of ourselves with the swing.

Forgetting of who you are and what you are doing at the present moment lets your soul  Feel.

With this blog I am trying to do the same. I am closing my eyes to the world that my eyes see and let my soul perceive..

Some may feel I am  overly in love with my surrounding. But that is what I am.

Loving the city that I once wanted to leave and settle elsewhere.

Loving the celebrations that I used to avoid as a teenager.

Loving everything that I missed out seeing and experiencing while being too busy becoming a person.

Good Day to All!!

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Taste of Jaipuri Sweets–LMB

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Taste of Jaipuri Sweets–LMB

Welcome to the most favorite and world famous shop of traditional sweets in Jaipur, LMB the Laxmi Misthan Bhandar.

Phirnis  and Ghewar

Authentically Rajasthani Sweets.

Misthan as in Hindi means sweet dishes.   This store opened its door with this Brand name in the year 1957.  And since then it has been the landmark of Jaipur.

I bet every tourist that visits Jaipur, comes to LMB.  This picture shows the pile of Phirnis in front and Paneer Ghewar behind.

These below are traditional Rasgullas.

Rasgullas

They are small balls made of freshly curdled milk and flour, then soaked in sugar syrup.

A variety is available throughout India. Different version and different shapes are found in various parts of the country.

Here first in the row is Rose flavored, second is plain white, third is Kesar (Saffron) flavored and the fourth is a brother of Rasgulla— Gulab Jamun.

Glimpse of the shop.

I was accompanying a group of friends from Mumbai and was mesmerized as always.  Though my frequency to the shop is like twice in a month(minimum) but I am always happy going there.  Colorful Mithais, lovely crispy savories they have so much to offer.

Apart from sweets they have a full restaurant serving traditional meals.

This shop is situated in Johari Baazar, the whole of  market has either traditional Saree shops or Jewelry shops.  Johari in Hindi means Jeweler.  The master plan of the city that took its initial shape sometime in the year 1727, has three parallel markets. The Johari Baazar, the Chaura Raasta and the Kishanpol Baazar .

Wish to see the colors… Come and see here.

This  click is from one of the many many Saree shops that you’ll witness in Jaipur.

Traditional Indian Wear–Saree.

See the colors.

Colors compliment the sandy background of Rajasthan.

For us colors signify the essential beauty of life, which has uncountable shades.

These are traditional Leheriya sarees-a tie & dye method in which a mustard seed is used to make intricate designs and patterns.

Jaipur’s another famous thing– the Gota Work, i.e. borders made of golden colored threads.

Traditional Gota Patti Work

It is widely used in all ethnic wear.

Again something very typical of Jaipur.  The artisans work really hard to make these beautiful designs.

The Gota Patti Work

Festivals here are all about sweets and colors…  wear beautiful colors, eat and be merry..

Happy Day!

Confusions in the middle of festivals..

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Confusions in the middle of festivals..

Festivities are never at ease in India.
Festival holidays are much more than the total number of Sundays in a YEAR.

Ya! You are reading right..

Now as the Navaratri begins, quite a number of communities are involved in making preparations for upcoming religious ceremonies.

Nava-ratri are literally two words–first nava which is a Sanskrit word that means NINE and ratri means NIGHTS.

Nine Nights of Puja (rituals) and Celebrations. Though the Deity that is worshiped is same Devi Durga (Goddess of Power), but it takes different celebration in different communities and groups.

For the Gujrati Community Navaratri means Garba (Traditional Dance festival); for Bengali Community the Durga Puja is all the most important; for Punjabi Community nine day Sthapana (bringing the idol home and doing the rituals) of the Goddess.  Same is for Jaipur, for nine whole days the Goddess is worshiped in almost every hindu household. On the ninth day a feast is prepared and nine girls that symbolically represent the Nav-Rupa (nine-forms) of the Goddess are invited and offered food and gifts.

It is much more confusing to be there in the middle of these festivals and almost COMPULSORY celebrations, than what I’ve tried to write above.

Honestly, the celebration fever here is so high and so infectious that I bet if anyone can resist..  This is the time that the city witnesses the most heavy tourist traffic.

The markets are going colorful.

The houses are repainted.

The temples are being decorated.

The deities are smiling.

The ladies are busy making traditional festival sweets & savories.

The news papers and magazines are trying to compile best recipes for the festive season.

Everyone seems necessarily happy.

Well, the list is tooooo long. I can’t write in one post, look for my upcoming posts.  Also I’ll be trying to bring some pics of city’s celebrations colors.  As India is nothing without its colors and surely nothing without its CELEBRATIONS…..

Have a Happy Day!

Shraada and the food for the departed Souls..

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Shraada and the food for the departed Souls..

Greetings Everyone!  Namaste

This time of the year is significant for Indian Hindu Community in many ways.  The fifteen day long Shraada Paksha is ending and Navratra is to begin with the next new moon.

The Hindu Calender is different from the World Calender.  It varies and has a complex system to determine the days of different occasions, festivals, etc.

Shraada Paksha are the days to remember the family members who have passed away and offer traditional delicacies to the spirit world.   The meals are strictly vegetarian and special.  Though, we keep in mind some personal favorites of the person whom we are remembering, but major part of the menu is common in every household.  It is then first offered to a Brahmin (usually a temple priest) and then shared amongst the family members.Though this is not a complete 'Thali' as it lacks a few more delicacies, but this is picture of simplicity in our food. .

Interestingly, a share of the meal is offered to a crow, as Indian Mythology states that after death the human soul first gets into the life of a crow.

And so this not-so-happy looking and not-much loved bird get his day and his share of royal treatment.  Surely for 15 full days in a year!!

But the best part is to find a CROW and make him have his meal!! As they seem to be holidaying in some unknown place-where men are not running behind their lives to have PURIES.

Though,we all enjoy these days as this is not a mourning time.  But yes it is not considered auspicious time for anything: be it shopping, be it partying, be it MARRYING, or be it starting a NEW VENTURE.

Well, Well, Well!!!

Don’t worry, at least there is one good thing.

FOOD.

So enjoy!

Have a Great Sunday!

The Importance of Self Improvement-Part2

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Went for an early morning walk.

The much required thing for me (at least).  It is a quiet time and usually un-interrupted.  Except for a few dozen of cows that stray on the street munching, mooing, waving their tales incessantly.

And those brown skinny Indian dogs–with waging tales.

Well for (most) people of India that’s not an interruption at all.   I love these ever cheerful dogs, these multi-coloured cows with saintly looks.   And keep wondering what goes inside their heads. One thing is for sure–they don’t seem unhappy.

So are they happy all the time?

  They must be!  They don’t seem to spend on fitness centers, organic exotic vegetables, Protein Shakes to become fit looking, supposedly happy entities.

Seems like they are at least happy with their physical state.  Have you ever seen an ugly, fat or skinny cow?  They all seem to look the same–plump and content with life.

Why there is so much pressure these days to be GOOD LOOKING?

Don’t Know.!

Does anybody know?

But we believe,  just like that farmer who was carrying a baby goat on his shoulder and met four different people who told him that he should be crazy carrying a dog on his shoulder.

He couldn’t disbelieve four people.

So do we believe, that looking GOOD has everything to do with our happiness.

No offense against the fitness lovers.

But concepts take a fashion shape these days.

Everybody wants to follow.

And moreover, wants everybody to follow.

And so we believe.

Osho says, “There is nothing more suicidal than belief.  One thing you have to definitely understand is that to believe, to believe blindly, to accept silently with closed eyes, has been the basic reason why your lives have been crippled until now.”

So today, I just wish to relish my breakfast and feel peaceful- just as that cow who would rather count the flies she shooed off her belly than counting the calories she is eating.!

Happy Breakfast !  Good Day!

The Importance of Self Improvement-for mothers part 1

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In the era of ‘Investment’  we all tend to invest in money, in relationships, in our children, in education and what not all. Life is all about investment-from birth to death, we keep thinking about it and its desired RETURNS.

In relationships-we invest our time, our faith, our love and desire a return of sense of security of ‘being loved’ by an outer entity.  And most of the times, for most of our lives we feel deprived, either by our partners or by our children.

Cooking is definitely a form of short term investment–but it has wider effect on our lives.  The whole world thinks about only a few things every day and food is one of them.  That’s where the role of mammas come in.  I am not saying that Daddy don’t pitch in for meals but a mother has wider perspective of food.

It is a everyday investment but again it is simply for others.  It is more about sharing and investing our care into our loved ones. But our day to day life doesn’t let us feel this beautiful bond.  When the mornings start we are in a hurry to leave and cook our breakfast as fast as possible and leave the special menu for the off day.  The lunch is either in the cafetiere or with the lonely lunch box.  The dinners are tired and full of everyday frustration and next day anticipation.

Here comes in the importance of Self Investment.  And I am daring to let myself sail on this journey to know the ways of self investment.  For everything that is around me depends on how much strength I’ve got and that comes only from Self Investment.  That will eventually improve our family lives.

I hope to interact with mothers in this very crucial part of our motherhood and wish to share our daily food to enrich our cooking and undoubtedly eating experience.  Because if we aren’t happy what we are cooking, it is unlikely our children would like to eat.

Good Day & Happy Cooking.

Teaser Tuesday 9/25/12

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I tossed it on the pile of toys in the corner. The only gift I didn’t toss on the mound was Rahim Khan’s leather-bound notebook. That was the only one that didn’t feel like blood money.

 

‘The Kite Runner’-by Khaled Hosseini

Jessica Boudreaux

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser

“His first effort involved trying to move his hands, which were pulled behind his back. He raised his eyebrows when he felt what appeared to be a full range of motion; his captors hadn’t bound him.”

Serpent of Moses by Don Hoesel

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