It seems wholly appropriate that Grammy-nominated artist Chandrika Tandon has released the first track of her new album Shivoham – the Quest, in August, the month of Ganesh Chaturthi, the birth of the beloved God of New Beginnings.
Author Lavina Melwani
The tea had a special earthy flavor in this cup and the fact that the clay container would once again become one with nature seemed a beautiful idea. After all, aren’t ancient civilizations traced out by the clay remains of their days?
Our civilization of course will probably be remembered by the piles of plastic containers and garbage stuffed landfills we will leave behind! So the idea of the reborn clay utensils really appealed to me.
This isn’t Kashi or Prayag but thousands of devotees clog the streets, dancing and chanting as Ganesha’s Ratha Yatra takes place – in Queens, New York. Yes, this pilgrimage spot happens to be in Flushing, Queens, and people came to celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi from as far as California, Florida, Texas, Atlanta – and even India!
It is Lord Ganesha’s birthday and everyone is invited to this giant block party. Over 50,000 lunches are prepared; there are hundreds of pounds of sweets and hundreds of gallons of rose milk. About 20,000 people turn up over the course of nine days at the Hindu Temple Society of North America. (Photo: Chirag D. Shah)
Her transformation from an “It” Style Girl to a Buddhist nun is so complete that people who knew her earlier do a double-take. She admits, “It was hard at first because your sense of identity is tied to how you look and your look determines your self-worth. As a renunciate you shave your head, use no makeup, perfume or high heels – but the beauty of wisdom that adorns you is far more beautiful than any couture dress.”
Would you be willing to give up your life, your family and your name? Would you renounce love, marriage and parenthood forever? Could you live with the prospect of never seeing your father and mother again?
Bhavesh Choksi, 27, has done exactly that.
This high-achieving young Indian-American, forsaking all, has taken ‘diksha’, monastic vows, and is on his way to becoming a swami in BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a socio-spiritual Hindu organization. For those of us still embroiled in the trappings of the material world, this decision can be wrenching. Breaking all ties with his past life and giving up even the smallest of luxuries, he is turning his back on what most people fight tooth and nail for. Bhavesh is following his dream, walking into a joyous light which most of us cannot even comprehend. He is obtaining ‘moksha’ and guiding others to find it too.
India’s Freedom at Midnight – Sixty Years later. This piece was written in 2007. Now…
How do you create sweet things and also sweeten life for others? Ask Surbhi Sahni – the mithaiwalli of New York. A Michelin-starred chef, she recently became the pro-bono Director of the Tiffin Project operated by the nonprofit organization SAPNA NYC through which low-income South Asian immigrant women train for marketable jobs in the culinary industry.
Lord Krishna is the Cosmic Cowherd, the mischievous deity that Hindus love the most for his pranks, for his butter-thievery, for his melodious flute, for his romantic interludes with Gopis, the milkmaids.
He fought demons, danced on the mighty serpent’s head and lifted Govardhana Hill with his little finger, using it as an umbrella to protect the people from torrential rains.
One of the most anticipated festivals in the Hindu calendar is Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan, the Festival of Threads. This is the day when brothers and sisters renew their bonds and sisters receive money and gifts from their brothers. Now which little girl can argue with that? Lucky are the sisters who have several brothers!
Indeed, if you are Hindu and have a brother, no matter where you are, you will try to meet up with him on Raksha Bandhan which falls this year on August 29. This is an ancient Hindu festival which occurs in the month of shravan on the full moon. Sisters pray for their brothers health and well-being, tying the sacred Rakhi thread on their wrists, and brothers pledge to protect their sisters.
These are the littlest citizens and they seem to have a real hold on President Obama, and he on them. Look at these charming images clicked by Peter Souza, the Chief Official White House photographer and you’re bound to smile. The most powerful man in the world and Commander-in-chief of a mighty nation can baby-talk, snuggle and hug and cuddle and exchange high-fives with the best of them.
Warning: Do NOT Separate an Indian from his Onions! It’s the one ingredient that no self-respecting desi cook would want to be without; whether you are whipping up a Mughal feast or a poor man’s meal – onions are absolutely necessary. In fact, a shortage of onions can cause a near revolution in India!
3638 people reached on Lassi with Lavina Nandita Godbole, Shagun Mehandru and 42 others Roshni…
A law degree has been the avenue for a number of Indian-American women who have done very well in corporate America and private legal practice. It has also been the building block for a handful of strong women who have entered public life via this route as judges, attorney generals and lawyers in the public sphere, this having an impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.
f you’re a woman, ‘Lipstick Under my Burkha’ will certainly speak to you, no matter whether you’re a big city girl or a small town woman. After all, we all may not have worn physical burkhas, but nearly every woman has had to wear a mental burkha – a metaphorical confinement, a cover to who she really is.
1897 people reached on Lassi with Lavina Rita Sharma, Nita Anand and Tej Gursahani like…
Indeed, the maharajas had an appetite for every kind of jewelry: when the British refused to let them wear western-style crowns, they simply wore tiaras over their turbans!
Once in a blue moon, these stars descend to earth and actually come and mingle – somewhat – with the common man, the diehard fan. This happened in the hot month of July, when IIFA came to New York and New Jersey with a whole gaggle of stars from Salman Khan to Katrina Kaif to Alia Bhatt.
In a changing economy & environment, it helps to have always been creative with very little. Every day at lunch break at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in Delhi, India, hordes of ink-stained white-uniformed schoolgirls would surround me, salivating for a taste of my home-made lunch: aam ke achaar ke sandwiches.
Jyotsna Singh, grand-daughter of the Maharaja of Patiala, recalls a bygone time: “Naniji was exceedingly beautiful and at a young age she was married to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and had two daughters Elsie (my mother) and Angela (her younger sister). The English names were given by the English governesses who could not pronounce the Indian names of the children. And there were a lot – 52 siblings, a pack of cards my mother would tell me…..Though the mothers lived at the palace and spent time with the children, the children were really brought up by the governesses. My grandfather lived in the main Motibagh Palace with his wives and his older children.”
When immigrants came to America, they bought their home cures and folk remedies along, a legacy of mothers and grandmothers. It is surprising how many families still turn to ginger as the first remedy for coughs and colds, and even motion sickness. Ginger has certainly been around for centuries and everyone from the ancient Greeks to Confucius to the Emperor Akbar is supposed to have been a fan, not to mention the sage Vatsyayana – author of India’s famed sex manual, Kama Sutra, who recommended ginger as an aphrodisiac for lovers.