In a bad economy such as here and now, 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.
Posts Tagged ‘Hindu’
While Christmas is important to Indian Christians as a celebration of faith, many non-Christians enjoy it as a secular holiday in ways small and big. Indeed, Christmas is such a huge, high voltage commercialized event in America that few can escape its allure, be they Christians or not.
One person who takes Christmas very seriously is Mohina Josen, a second generation Indian-American who grew up in New York. The family sets up not one but two elaborate trees and hosts a rocking holiday party with Santa Claus, elves and all the trimmings – and even a pre-Christmas party to start up the festivities! Sharing an evergreen Christmas story which has become a tradition at Lassi with Lavina.
She’s a captain in the US Military, has served in the war-torn hell-hole of Iraq and been awarded several honors, including the Bronze Star – but she has never fired a shot. She was in the combat zones of Northern Iraq for 12 months, surrounded by the cacophony of bombs and mortar attacks – yet she has never carried a gun.
She says simply, “My defense is God.”
Meet Pratima Dharm, 42, the first-ever Hindu Chaplain in the US Army. She has served five years in the US army, has been deployed in Iraq and gone wherever her soldiers have gone. While they have safeguarded the country, she has safeguarded their souls, offering them spiritual strength in tough situations.
“I look down at my hands and admire the intricate pattern of henna applied on my palms for Karva Chauth, the social and seasonal festival for the welfare of one’s spouse.
On the evening before the big day, women were getting their hands hennaed for the big night. Those who couldn’t pick up the snacks and eat due to the wet henna on their hands were being fed by friends whose hands were dry. Rima popped a potato wedge in my mouth and came back a while later with a rasgulla to feed me. I had never been fed by strangers but it didn’t feel like she was one.”
Guest Blog – Chatty Divas
The fireworks still explode in the memory, and the taste of nuts and cream and sugar still linger on the tongue. For immigrants from India, the childhood memories of Diwali are strong, for it is a time when India transforms into one glittering celebration. Public buildings are illuminated with neon lights and every home, no matter how humble, is ablaze with earthen lamps. In fact, entire villages are turned into fairylands, dotted with millions of lamps, glowing in the dark of night.
Diwali in America is all about innovation and creating new traditions and each family follows its past rituals but also adds in new ones. Indeed, Floyd Cardoz, the celebrated chef of North End Grill in Manhattan, is a Catholic married to Barkha, a Hindu, and is an avid celebrator of Diwali.
“Even though Floyd and I come from different religious backgrounds, our kids are lucky and blessed to be able to celebrate both holidays,” says Barkha. “They absolutely love Diwali – we do Lakshmi puja in the evening and then it’s followed by the food that is a tradition from when I was a little girl – Pooris with aloo rassa, makhani dal, a paneer dish, gobi sabji, lots of mithai and then the all time favorite – sabudana kheer.”
(Barkha Cardoz with extended family at the Diwali table)
Some things never change. Lord Krishna played holi with Radha and her sakhis in the lush groves of Brindaban in timeless time – and now we are still playing it in the 21st century, not only in India but across the diaspora – even on board a ship anchored off New York city, no less!
Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, is here heralding spring, joy and togetherness. In India, the streets are turned multicolored with every hue imaginable. At private parties there are pichkari-fights as revelers get splashed with color, dunked in pools full of colored water, and splurge on sweets and gets intoxicated on thandai, often laced with bhang. We share a wonderful video of the late great showman Raj Kapoor whose Holi parties were legendary. Enjoy!
“She may be mythical to many but I have not yet learned to control the free flow of tears when I look at her killing the demon with the spear, in a trance -like environment created by the sound and movement of the Dhakis, traditional drummers.
To me she is a modern day working girl – our Ma Durga! Created with the fire of the Trimurti, she works diligently to kill Asura – the ‘demonized’ image of everyday evils that we need to deal with in our lives. In a world where women’s subjugation still is an agenda to be dealt with, it is mesmerizing to see multitudes of strong powerful men bowing their head to the divine Ma.” GUEST BLOG – Chatty Divas
Want to make some spiritual gains and rub shoulders with Gods and Goddesses? The place to go for darshan is the Brooklyn Museum because here you get to meet not one, not two but all ten avatars of Vishnu, Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior.
“Vishnu – one of Hinduism’s most important and powerful deities – is the Great Preserver, vanquishing those who seek to destroy the balance of the universe,” writes Joan Cummins in ‘Vishnu – Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior.’ Indeed, the time looks ripe for Vishnu’s avatar to come to earth…
A chat with Joan Cummins, who is the Curator of South Asian art at Brooklyn Museum.