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Showing posts from September, 2009

Not Allowed Out!

There was a very interesting comment from fellow blogger Charmine of My Favourites and Travel It's Fun on my last post. She was saying that among the families of the upper strata of Indian society, the daughters of the family are generally not sent out to celebrate feasts in other houses. This was in reference to my post on the Durga Puja festival, when Durga devotees need a quorum of nine girls and a boy to feed in honour of Maa Durga. From the time my daughters were born, and at least a year old, I remember I have always been inundated with invitations for the girls to come and eat the sacred meal (prasad). I always found it extremely odd that when any of our neighbours came to invite the girls to the feast, they always insisted on speaking to no less a person than my father or mother in law. They would adopt an extremely humble attitude, beg permisson of my in-laws to invite their granddaughters and my in-laws would graciously acquiesce. I would wonder why they didn'

The Goddess is Back!

The Durga Puja is a special Hindu season to worship the universal Mother which takes place at the onset of spring and autumn. Well the autumn Durga Puja is upon us again. There is a special way to worship the Mother. A special Puja or worship ceremony is performed in the homes of devotees. As far as I can make out, in order to effectively worship the Mother (or Maa, as her devotees affectionately call her!) it is necessary to feed nine girls. If one boy joins in, it is also very auspicious. The ceremony is generally performed on the eighth or ninth day of the Navratras (meaning 'nine nights'). Devotees are finding it difficult to get exactly the right number of girls and boys. The usual number is something like five girls and three boys. My daughters are usually inundated with invitations for this Puja and they have to go to maybe ten houses in two days. Before Mel became a teen and 'grew up', she was beginning to have severe problems with this. "I'll go to on

After the Weekend

Yash reached home safe and sound on Monday morning after having attended the ceremonies appertaining to the death of his aunt. He actually had quite a positive experience. He reconnected with a lot of family members whom he had not seen in a long time and was able to swap mobile numbers and email addresses with them. So - no excuses for not keeping in touch now! It is just too easy. Monday was a holiday for the Muslim festival for Eid. During the day Yash made several telephone calls to his Muslim friends to greet them and wish them a happy Eid. There is one couple we know - Afzal and Sameera. Afzal used to travel to work by train with Yash some fifteen years back until he got a job in our city. Five years ago he got married to Sameera. Mr. Afzal informed Yash that neither he nor any of his family were taking part in any formal holiday celebrations. The reason for this was the fact that his family has suffered several bereavements in the past year. It is considered very d

Unexpected Developments

The kids are on holidays! Again! On Monday the boys came home from school and announced that they had holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday as the teachers were doing some training course. So the girls went to their convent as usual and the boys stayed home. And on Wednesday afternoon the girls came home and announced that Thursday was a public holiday, the Vishwakarma Puja. Vishwakarma is the Hindu god of workers. I suppose it was a sort of Labour holiday. Yash, my husband, was off too. We're having lovely family times at home these days. Time to myself on the computer is a rare luxury now. Even if I grab it for half an hour, Mel wants to play Farmville or her father wants to check his email. And Friday was the start of a holiday weekend! Until Tuesday! Sad news in the family. My husband's aunt has died. This aunt was someone we met rarely but I vividly remember her. When our first child Neil was six months old, Yash participated in a refresher course in Delhi. I

Danger - Meme Ahead!

I have been tagged for a meme by my fellow blogger Ramanaji from Pune here in India. He has a very nice blog called Rummuser . Check it out, it's worth a read. And the meme is probably one of the easiest I've ever received. All you have to do is pick up the book nearest to you. Open it on page 161. Done that? Great. Then you copy the fifth sentence. Well, what is the nearest book to me right now? Let me check! Yes! "Three Men In A Boat" by Jerome K Jerome. What am I doing with this book? I bought it for my son. Why? An excerpt from this book was featured in his 7th Class English Reader. He found the book too heavy however. In fact, a dumbed down version of the very same book was on his booklist for Class 8. So he has left the book to me. It seems to be a piece of comic writing by a Victorian hypochondriac and it is funny. I actually started reading it in June but got somewhat distracted by all the comings and goings. So I'm starting it again

Katora Cut

When we were kids, my sisters and I used to laugh ourselves silly at people who sported what we called 'bowl haircuts'. You know what I mean. The type of haircut which looks as if the hairdresser put a bowl over their head and cut around it. It leaves you with a bowl-shaped helmet of hair. When my kids get their hair cut. Yash brings them to the roadside barbers for basic treatment like their father gets, and his father before him. Yeah, Yash gets his hair cut there too. It's really cheap. Five rupees a head. Literally. Oh, yes, simple living and high thinking, that's the best thing! Why go to one of those fancy hair salons where you'll be charged two hundred rupees each? When all the kids can have their hair cut for twenty rupees. But not on Saturdays. My father in law will not allow anyone in our house to get their hair cut on Saturdays. Something to do with the planet Saturn, if you please! Well, my daughters Mel and Trish wouldn't be caught

What is Happening?

What is happening to Blogger? I could only access my blog with the greatest of difficulty. I cannot leave comments on Blogger sites. And hardly anyone is visiting me! Well, whatever it is, I hope they sort it out. Soon. Yours in bewilderment, confusion and general disorientation, gaelikaa

Fifteen Minutes of Fame!

A few years ago, the Congress Party swept to victory in the general elections here in India. As the party had won under the leadership of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the Italian born widow of the late Rajiv Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of the country, she seemed likely to become Prime Minister, like her husband and mother-in-law before her. There was a very emotional, open debate regarding whether it was right for a foreigner to become Prime Minister. To tell the truth, there were very convincing arguments both for and against this. Meanwhile, I received a telephone call from the local offices of a national newspaper. They had got my telephone number from a journalist who had interviewed me for a feature on foreign wives living in India. They asked me a couple of questions about whether I, as a foreign wife, could say I felt like and Indian or not. And they asked me if I felt it was possible that Sonia Gandhi felt like a true Indian. I don't comment on the politics of this country. Whe

Hectic Social Life...

Last Monday morning, Mrs. Meira Bajpeyi, one of the matriarchs of our neighbourhood, came around and invited my mother-in-law to the birthday party of her grandson. Along with whoever else she wanted to bring. I hardly noticed. I had a lot to do that day. In the evening I was planning to bring Neil to the doctor to get him looked over before returning to school after two weeks of illness. I also needed a medical certificate to submit to the school office, in order to get the medical leave sanctioned. Around 4 pm my mother-in-law called me and told me that as she was feeling unwell and therefore unable to attend the party, she had decided to send me in her place. I had no interest in going and rather felt irritated as I was busy. But I decided not to rock the boat and just go, as the party was a mere five minutes from home. I could show my face for forty five minutes or so and slip out again, having handed over the ceremonial gift (a decorative envelope containing 101 rupees!

And The Award Goes To...

I’ve been awarded the coveted ‘Splash Award’ by the wonderful Mimi , who, like myself is an Irish blogger, albeit one who actually lives and writes in Ireland. When I say ‘coveted’ I mean coveted by me! I’ve seen that award around and thought it would look lovely in my sidebar. And now it’s mine, to display and to pass on to nine nominees. Thank you, Mimi! I have a very broad taste when it comes to blogs. I visit Irish blogs, Indian blogs, NRI (non-resident Indian) blogs, expat blogs, mama blogs, writers’ blogs and even teen blogs. I don’t like to limit myself to just one type. I feel that every type of blog has something interesting to say and something good to offer. On receiving the award, it is advised (not ordered) to mentionand link the blogger who nominated you, nominate and link up to 9 blogs to receive the award whose blogs amuse, allure, bewitch, impress and inspire you and Inform the bloggers you have ‘splashed’ in their comment boxes. The nominees to whom I would to pas

Not a Wordless Wednesday!

Neil went back to school yesterday. After a ten day sick leave. He has a tough time at school. He is in eighth class. He'll sit for his junior Boards examination at the end of Class Ten. There's a very tough syllabus to follow and he's not overly fond of reading, but he's a sincere and hardworking boy. Believe it or not, his favourite subjects are chemistry and history. Some combination! I always tried to make a reader out of him, thinking that this would help him to cope with the syllabus, but Neil is a cricket and video game fan! In spite of this, I am optimistic that his hard work will pay off in the end. Sadly, his school doesn't give the children much breathing space! There are constant tests. Every third week is a test week. This is in addition to two examinations a year, half-yearly and finals. It's a bit too pressurised for my liking. Mel and Trish are in a famous convent school, over a hundred years old, founded by Irish nuns, would you