Browsing: Features

Faith
13 Indian, Young & Spiritual in America

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.

Faith
9 2017 Janmashtami – The Birth of Krishna

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.

Faith
4 Rakhi, the Brother-Sister Festival

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.

Cinema
1 Lipstick Under My Burkha – Brave, Bold & a Box-office Hit

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.

Cinema
0 Bollywood takes a Bow at IIFA in New York

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.

Lifestyle
14 Maharaja of Patiala’s Legacy – A Grand-daughter Remembers

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.”

Lifestyle
24 My Own Private America

I came to the US in the 80’s, as an immigrant via India, Hong Kong and Africa, and landed in Astoria, a gritty Greek neighborhood in Queens. I fell in love with the prosaic neighborhood with its heart of gold, and it was here that I discovered my own private America.The part which never fails to amaze me is that when I take the N subway from Manhattan to Astoria – glancing at my fellow passengers I see a virtual United Nations – Latinos, Chinese, South Asians, Blacks, whites all wedged together, sitting side by side on the Great American Journey. If Lady Liberty was to see them, she would definitely shed a tear – because this is exactly what America is all about. And on this day after the Fourth of July, with the firecrackers still ringing in our ears – we can say amen to that.

Fashion
7 Ashdeen and the Magic of Parsi Gara

Few things are as beautiful or have such a convoluted history as Paris Gara – the gorgeous embroidery which came to India by way of Persia and China through the Parsi traders dealing in opium in China. These traders who journeyed to China in the 19th century discovered distinct hand-embroidery and carried it back to India.

Features
23 Indian immigrants’ lost world

New immigrants in ethnic enclaves tend to have a stronger support system but once they fly the coop into the prestigious suburbs and into Americanization, there is a chasm of distances to overcome between friends. We are monetarily richer but are we poorer in friends?

Features
11 The Big Fat Indian Wedding in America

A majestic decorated elephant lumbering down the streets of Washington DC, with an Indian bridegroom ensconced like a maharajah on top; scores of chanting, dancing wedding guests causing a traffic jam on New York streets as they accompany the bridegroom in the ‘baraat’ or wedding procession, dancing the bhangra to the beat of village drums. Hundreds of guests in a man-made Gujarati village in New Jersey especially set up for a wedding celebration, with stalls, carts and even mud huts!

Yes, all this has come to pass as Indian immigrants have brought their Big Fat Indian Wedding to America.

Cinema
4 Review: The Big Sick – Rom-Com Across Cultures

‘The Big Sick’ is a story for our times and what makes it kind of cool is that it’s a real life story – it actually happened and is not the figment of someone’s imagination. Yes, immigration, love, breakup and marriage, sickness and coma, terrorism and multiculturalism all come into it but it’s always upbeat, always funny. Big ambitious topics for a sweet little romantic tale but ‘The Big Sick’ pulls it off.

Lifestyle
65 Adoptions from India – Everything You wanted to Know

Some stories have so much power – and there’s such a need for them! I had done this in-depth story on adoption four years ago & I’m amazed readers who are looking to adopt come to it even today for information. So I thought I’d share it again and would love your input and personal experiences with the process of adopting children from India. I do intend to revisit this topic in the coming months and would love your insights.

Lifestyle
8 Everything You Wanted to Know About Surrogacy but were Afraid to Ask

Many couples are not aware of their options and that surrogacy is a possibility.This is an issue that a lot of South Asian couples need to be more open about in sharing their experiences. Komal sat down for a detailed Q and A with Lassi with Lavina as she feels it is an extremely tough process for couples and the more support they get the better.

People
2 Life Lessons from Chandrika Tandon

Cocktails and Conversation with Chandrika Tandon was a small informal event organized by CHI’s junior board CH2 through which young professionals get started in helping the less privileged and creating a future for them through education.

Dance
4 Indian Classical Dance – Past and Future

The first thing I spotted was rows and rows of footwear lined up outside the door, neatly stacked. I dutifully shed my sandals too, and going inside found an Indian-style behthak in progress with silk cushions scattered on the woven carpet.
Arts lovers, some with babies in tow, were already sitting cross-legged, facing the empty expanse of a large wooden floor. Musicians were tuning up their instruments, in anticipation.

The space is the Anamika Navatman Studios, an innovative organization for South Asian Arts and the production was Bhinna Pravaaha: Memories of a Performing Artist – Maya Kulkarni. This is a first undertaking to record and pay tribute to the noted artists of the past.

Lifestyle
1 The Interpreter of Communities

He breaks into people’s homes. And if that’s not outrageous enough, he even opens their refrigerators and checks out the contents! He makes middle-aged Indian men remember their youth – and young Indian kids conquer the world.

So who is Rahul Walia and what does he really do?

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