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Showing posts from December, 2009

Family Crisis

My father-in-law's health has been declining badly in the last year.  But in the last three months, it has declined so badly that it is quite shocking for me to see.  He is eighty three years old.  Up to last year he was amazingly fit for a man of his age.  Three years ago, his hearing deteriorated so badly that my basic communication with him became almost impossible.  His vision is quite badly impaired too, I've noticed.  He is now unable to sit, stand walk, eat or drink. This morning my husband and his brother took their father to the local hospital and got him admitted.  His inability to eat or drink meant that he needed specialised care.  He is also suffering from some kind of skin complaint which makes it impossible for him to maintain a reasonable temperature.  He is so cold all the time.  His skin irritates him constantly. My husband is spending the night in the hospital along with his father.  My father-in-law's sister is also present there.  My mother-in-law,

Relative Positions.....

When I attended a family wedding recently, the marriage of my husband's first cousin's son at a distant location, I was astounded to learn that I am already a grandmother!  That's right!  I was introduced to several new children in the family as 'Nani' (mother's mother).  How did this happen? In north India where I live, the father's mother is known as 'Daadi' and the mother's mother as 'Nani'.  In fact, not only the father's mother, but all her sisters and sisters-in-law are to be given the same respect.  Likewise with the mother's mother.  Not only she, but all her sisters and sisters-in-law are also known as 'Nani'.  This is how I got this honour.  My children were thrilled to learn that they were already uncles and aunts.  My fourteen year old son was delighted to be introduced to several little ones as 'Chachaji' (father's younger brother) and 'Mamaji' (mother's brother).  It didn't bothe

Me and My Dupatta

I've just come back from visiting a lovely blog in Pakistan and it got me thinking.  The blogger Sheeza was discussing the dupatta, and it's significance in the life of  Pakistani women.  The dupatta, by the way, is the long scarf/veil which is worn with the shalwar suit. The shalwar suit is worn in Pakistan and north India, and has become popular throughout India.  I didn't grow  up wearing shalwar suits or dupattas but I adopted that dress when I came here in order to blend in.  I'm here to tell you that if I ever go back to live in Ireland, I don't know how I will go back to wearing western clothes.  The truth is, when it comes to dress, I'm completely converted to sub-continental style.  I could probably do without the sari (although I love it!)  but I don't know how I could do without my shalwar suit - nor the dupatta.  I can't leave home without it!  The dupatta, I mean The jeans/kurti ensemble, which is an indo-western fusion, has become popula


By way of this blog post, I am announcing that I have adopted Ramanaji, of the very interesting and readable blog Ramana's Musings as my honorary brother.  In Indian terms, this is known as a 'rakhi brother'.  If an Indian lady  refers to a gentleman as her 'rakhi brother', everyone here knows what that means.  It is a most honourable and serious relationship in which a man thereafter considers the woman as his sister and extends to her all the privileges of that relationship, such as support, protection, etc.  In a society in which women often find themselves facing obstacles, it is a very precious relationship indeed.  Women with brothers often find themselves in a position to be more confident than they would otherwise be. On the festival of Raksha Bandhan women tie an amulet known as a 'rakhi' on the wrists of their brothers.  This festival usually occurs in August.  During Ramanaji's recent blog post 'Flame and/or Flamer' I mentioned i

This Week's Post for LBC......... on my other blog.  It can be read here .  It is a bit lengthy for my diary, you see. So, (in alphabetical order!), Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Helen Mac, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, Marianna and Ramanaji (I know you've already visited, Ramanaji), and not forgetting Anu and other who follows our Loose Blogging Consortium, if you've come here to read the post, just click on the link and it will take you right over. See you there!

New Fashion

I saw an elderly, sari-clad woman as I was walking down the road the other day.  She's the mother-in-law of a neighbouring housewife.  All dressed up for a winter walk in a cardigan - then I saw.  Them!  Under the sari, she was wearing a pair of sports shoes.  Yikes!  Reebok types.  All laced up. A little further down the road I saw another woman in the same outfit.  Sari and sports shoes.  I never saw that before in my life.  Until that day when I saw it twice.  Up to then, I only ever saw saris worn with 'chappals' - slippers like what we called 'flip-flops' in Ireland - a type of open-toed sandal.  I often saw ISKCON (Hare Krishna Devotees) women wearing buckled sandals with heavy socks in the Irish winter weather years ago - but nothing like this! Then on Sunday our friend Dr. Sumitra, on a visit to our city - dropped by wearing - you've guessed it - laced up sports shoes and a sari.  "Is this a new fashion?"  I asked her.  "Yes!  And very

In This Day & Age.....

I'm sad today, really sad...... I've mentioned a neighbour's daughter, Chitra (not her real name), a young woman in her early twenties who got married a few short years ago, is now the mother of a baby daughter and finds herself stifled by tradition.  I still remember Chitra cycling down the road on her bicycle in her school uniform calling out "Hi Gael Aunty......"  Well, I met Chitra yesterday.  She is home on a visit.  There is another sad story to tell. She recently found out she was pregnant for the second time.  That's okay.  Two children is perfectly acceptable by Indian standards.  (I have four, but being a foreigner, I am allowed my little (!) eccentricities).  Her husband is abroad, and she was spending time at her parents' place.  She informed her husband and in-laws of the pregnancy by telephone.  They were not happy.  One day, the parents-in-law appeared at Chitra's parents home and insisted on taking her away.  Her parents, in no mood

Songs and Rhymes from Childhood

A few years ago, my youngest son Nitin (now 6, then 3) was ready for pre-nursery school.  In north India in general,  some form ofp pre- nursery education is necessary, as the children have to face a tough syllabus once they join school.  So I went down the the local nursery school where all my children with the exception of Neil, the eldest, have received their nursery education. Mrs. Radha Agarwal (Radha Ma'am!), the proprietor of the school, was only too happy to  welcome Nitin into her school.  She also suggested that I also join the school as a teacher.  How could I teach, I asked, with no training.  It was, she assured me, the easiest thing in the world.  All I had to do was teach nursery rhymes to three to four year olds(the pre-nursery class)  in perfect English.  For me, that should be no problem at all.  I went home and thought about it.  I always said that I'd like to return to work when the children got older.  This might be a very good opportunity. Yash was total


Today is Friday! I usually do my Loose Bloggers Consortium post on Friday evenings, and I'll be doing the same this evening, at 8.30 pm Indian Standard Time. But this is my diary and I wanted to mention one or two things which have happened to me or around me today. Firstly, I'm shocked that my friend Judy Harper from Alabama in the United States has become a crime victim. She was injured in a carjacking incident. I've come to know this amazing woman through her two interesting blogs " Sixty Is Just The Beginning " and " A Creative Writer in Progress" . We are both members of the "Tuesday Morning Writings" group and the "Loose Blogger's Consortium". Judy's posts for both these groups can be found on her "Creative Writer" blog. She has lived a full and interesting life, she has been in the US Military, has successfully raised a daughter and is currently working as an accountant and is a loving grandmother to h

Married Heroines Are In!

Formerly, Indian film actesses retired after marriage, but that has changed nowadays.  Ten years ago, the Indian actor Kajol, then the reigning queen of Bollywood, at the age of twenty four, married a fellow actor Ajay Devgan.  When asked, she was silent on whether she was planning to retire from films or not.  Everyone (well, everyone who is interested in the film world!)  was shocked at her decision to marry when her career was at it’s peak.  Bollywood actresses, until then, generally married only when their career was past it’s peak as marriage meant sudden death for their careers.  Married heroines just didn’t sell seats in the picture halls. I remember a debate going on in the newspapers:  “Should Kajol give up films now she’s getting married?”  This all seemed very strange to me, coming from the west, when Hollywood movie stars like Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman were starring in major films and were not only married, but mothers as well.  I was just amazed at some of  the a