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Archived articles, posts, images, videos & podcasts about arts, culture, people, food & spirituality through an India prism.

0 Encountering Ganesha

Lord Ganesha enters people’s lives in mysterious ways – sometimes it can even be just a chance encounter on a busy New York street! When photographer Shana Dressler passed a bookstore in Manhattan, she stopped in her tracks. In the window was a photography book which had on its cover a striking 20-foot high plaster of Paris statue of the elephant-headed God in the water, being splashed by a small army of men.

12 India Tales: It was a dark & stormy night in Bombay…

What happens when there is a massive power cut and Mumbai’s trains stop running? The buses are jam-packed and cabs are at a premium. Can one walk three hours to the suburbs? On a dark and rainy night, nameless people become friends and it’s all about the kindness of strangers. Guest Blog post from The Chatty Divas.

1 Ganesh Chaturthi – Celebrating the God of Prosperity

The most beloved god in the Hindu pantheon is surely Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is the God of Auspicious Beginnings, the one whose presence assures the success of any venture. Whether it is the birth of a child, the opening of a new business or even the buying of a new car, nothing begins without the blessings of the Elephant-headed God. He is beloved by students too because a prayer to Him ensures better grades in an exam.
So it is no surprise that Lord Ganesha’s birthday is a time for great joy and celebration. Ganesh Chaturthi is the 9 day festival celebrating the birth of this joyful deity and is one of the most colorful Hindu festivals. This year the festival is celebrated from September 11 to 20th.

3 The India Blog: Munching India

I was in the fabulous Udaivilas in Udaipur, enjoying the morning breakfast feast, when my eyes lit up. No, it wasn’t some grand Rajput jewels which had so excited me, though these gems I speak of were a rich golden orange and came wrapped in a delicate outer covering of gossamer beige.

4 Fashion’s Indian chant with Sheena Trivedi

That Indian sensibilities of style can merge seamlessly into the Western vocabulary of fashion has been proven by many international designers – but new Indian-American designer Sheena Trivedi puts her own stamp on this east-west marriage – and has tremendous fun doing it.

Trivedi presented her Fall/Winter 2014/15 Collection at the Empire Rooftop to a packed hall with models ensconced on top of light boxes, dressed in a collection which could be described as edgy New York with tribal Banjara touches – suitable for both Soho and the Rajasthani desert.

4 Aam Aadmi’s Tale of the Magic Jharoo

Growing up in India, I found that the jharoo – broom made of grass – was ubiquitous in daily life. It was used in all homes, rich or poor, to restore order and beauty to the surroundings. Years have passed but the jharoo is still very much a part of daily Indian life, even being used in fancy resorts. In fact, it is even available in Indian stores in the US for those who still need their Indian broom! So it is fitting that the Aam Admi party has embraced this humble tool as a symbol to clean up the country.

2 Newtown: The End of Childhood

“But this week, they are preparing to bury 20 children, a wrenching task that includes helping secure tiny coffins and eulogizing lives that had just begun.” – The New York Times.

It was their time for toys and games, for fun and fairy-tales – not for coffins, eulogies and funerals. In fact, these four words – ‘children, schools, guns and death’ – should not even be in the same sentence together. Yet this is exactly what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on that horrific day when Adam Lanza , 20, went on a violent rampage shooting 27 people, 20 of them children between the ages of six and seven. For these kids, life ended before it had even begun.

0 The Indian Thanksgiving Elves

Last call – the Thanksgiving countdown has begun! But what if you’re a klutz in the kitchen and would rather not be performing stomach surgery on a turkey? What if you’re tired of the traditional turkey taste and are yearning for some spice and fire in your bland holiday meal? The Indian culinary elves are at your service with Thanksgiving dining and takeout options.

7 Ayurveda – an American Story

Will students be heading to American universities to get their degrees as Ayurvedic doctors? Will patients seek out practitioners of this 5000 year old system of medicine from India when next they have health problems? And will Ayurveda form the basis for new health and beauty products, even of restaurant menus, in the US?

2 Finding their Place in the World

In the 1990’s, tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalis living in Bhutan were stripped of their Bhutanese citizenship. Born and brought up in Bhutan, they were ruthlessly expelled by the government, compelled to live in a wasted no-man’s land, in seven crowded refugee camps on the outskirts of Nepal.Difficult as their situation has been, the one silver lining has been the offer of the United States to resettle up to 60,000 of the 106,000 refugees. About 8,000 of them have arrived in the US and will be given government assistance to settle down. I checked out a Little Bhutan which is beginning to bloom in the Bronx.

0 Fashion Conscience

You have to hand it to Myna Mukherjee, Director of Engendered, the small but spunky human rights organization dedicated to gender, sexuality and minority rights. She not only talks about these difficult topics in the South Asian diaspora, be it HIV-AIDS or sexual orientation, but also makes them more accessible through music, dance, movies – and now fashion.
‘Positive’ by Manish Arora, who is one of the biggest names in fashion, was a tribute to the resilience of AIDS victims: “I chose color to signify ‘positive’ because that is a sign of happiness for me – and I took ‘positive’ to mean happiness – I love happiness! It doesn’t take much to make yourself happy.”

6 Breaking Bread with Barack Obama

When Bhairavi Desai met President Barack Obama on the receiving line at the Administration’s first State Dinner at the White House, she introduced herself as the director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. Obama smiled his high voltage smile and bending down, confided: “I was an organizer too!”

“It was such a thrill to hear him say that – it was such a nice endorsement of my profession,” recalls Desai, who is a fearless advocate for the rights of New York cabbies. She and co-founder Javaid Tariq were both guests at the glittering dinner with celebs and politicos, a party which possibly America’s entire population wanted to attend but to which only 320 guests were invited, not counting the gate-crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi.