Saturday, July 31, 2010

Khaandaan Ka Paandaan...cont




Wedding Games

An Indian wedding is marked by its fanfare, colour, blaring music, brass band...a blend of the traditional and modern. That's how most Indian weddings are. And then when the rituals and rites are through you'd think its over, but there's another think coming up...there are wedding games to be played! Well, when I say 'games' I mean games.


I learned about these games when my elder son got married. A few of my friends from Rajasthan got the newly wed couple to play a few 'power games.' What was especially amusing about the activity was that the maximum wins decided who would wear the pants around the house! So it was obvious the bride would try her best to beat the groom.


I gathered that this was introduced to alleviate the anxiety the bride might be feeling. In India arranged marriages are usually the norm, so a girl doesn't really know the boy very well, much less the family. Besides an Indian girl doesn't just marry a boy, she marries the whole family too! It would certainly be tough for her to walk into a household of strangers who are now her family. But to come back to the games....


The first one was - searching for a ring in a thali (a big, deep, steel plate) of milky water. A ring is immersed with a lot of almond shells and rose petals. The couple have to search for it using just one hand.

The second one was - untying knots with one hand. A thick thread (dori) is tied around each one's wrist. Then the ends are knotted several times. The knots have to be untied using one hand. The winner is decided on who unties all and how quickly.


The third one was - find the cotton. Little balls of cotton are hidden on the person of the bride and groom. Hiding places could be their clothes, hair, behind the ears etc. The couple take turns locating these.


Since we don't have these games in our Christian wedding ceremonies, it was fun for us. Can't say about the couple, it was well into the wee hours of the morning and they had had a long day. Our wedding receptions are usually dinners that go on and on and on....weddings don't happen everyday, and thank God for that.


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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Khaandaan Ka Paandaan....cont

"Looking for your face'......."Recognizing your face"......"Welcome."


That's my laptop's way of greeting me every time I switch it on. Makes me feel great. It's almost like a baby looking around for a face it knows, recognizing it and welcoming it with a smile of relief. Ever seen a baby do that...I remember how I used to feel when my babies did that, my heart used to melt.


And it makes me think. Don't we also look for a face; A special face in the crowd? At the railway station, airport, in a strange place, at weddings and parties, we look for a face in the crowd; and when we recognize one the welcome erupts in a million ways.


Waking, sleeping, dreaming...yes especially while in that sub-conscious to unconscious state, I look for faces. Faces from the past, faces from the present...faces that reassure me; that tell me "all is well." It doesn't matter from how far this assurance comes, from beyond the blue or from over the miles and seas and oceans, they comfort me. They are faces I seek, recognize and welcome into my world.


On the flip side there are a few times when my laptop, finds it hard to make a recognition. It asks me to face the camera. In other words I'm not in the ideal position. This makes me shift and turn, move forward and backward, in an effort to position myself just right. It applies to life too! We find a familiar face but fail to recognize it because the person has shifted or changed positions; grown, evolved. It becomes difficult for us to accept and welcome. At times like these I think the laptop provides the answer again!


Like your face is the stamp of recognition you carry all your life, in legal documents too, there are some values that define who you are at the core. If these change you become unrecognizable to some. It is the point where one can look within and decide if the changes and evolution are in the right direction. The laptop is like a parent or very special person in your life, no matter how much you might change, it still welcomes you if the most identifiable part of you remains the same.


The next obstacle my laptop faces in making a recognition is 'insufficient light.'
Someone is in darkeness here. It's either the laptop or it's me. So I begin to move into areas of light. When this doesn't work I realize it's not me but the laptop that's in insufficient light. So I reposition my little friend and voila...like a long-lost lover, friend, relative, baby...it finally recognizes and welcomes me.


So every time I'm 'welcomed' I realize I'm a face that has been sought and recognized in some capacity, in the other's life.


For now I'm glad my Della Baby, that's my laptop, has welcomed me!


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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mine Are Bigger.......

There was a time, so many years ago { it's so many years that starting with, "Once upon a time," would be appropriate} when having the best and being the best was extremely important to me. It didn’t matter who had what, I never compared myself to anyone. I believed I had the best of everything, and so it was. This expressed itself in many hilarious announcements of greatness...or more correctly, perceived and misplaced exaggeration. This phase lasted till I was ten. With the oncoming years, it took the form of quiet confidence and acceptance that I had a bundle of good, better, best and not so good, not better nor best. Life was so much better when I was six! I suppose age and related maturity, that at most times follows, played a major role, which is good but I miss the humor it used to produce. I mean I appreciate it now, in hindsight!


One day, when as usual, I couldn’t find something that actually sat right below my nose, my brother commented that I had potatoes instead of eyes. This would have gone down quietly if it hadn’t been for a conversation with Daddy about the Irish people and the spuds that formed a staple diet in their country. He also told me that the spuds they had were bigger than the potatoes we were used to. So how could I have simple potatoes for eyes? {I thought, indignantly}

Drawing myself up to the maximum my tiny stature would permit, I declared loud and clear:

I don’t have potatoes I have spuds!

This grand announcement sent everyone into a fit of laughter. It needs no saying that I thought they were dimwits and it would be useless to make them see, that I had bigger potatoes for eyes than they imagined.

There were quite a few similar instances, but I will skip that for now. Many, many years later my younger son out-did me with a whopper. He was a little genius at three, who couldn’t understand why he had to study Hindi when he was planning to marry an American who wouldn’t understand a word of the language. What made this rationale interesting was that he could barely speak English beyond a few words. As he moved up from pre-nursery and grade 1, 2, 3, he had many more questions about other subjects which he felt he was wasting time on. He loved sports, story-telling, drawing, sketching and such things, what I’m getting at is, grades meant nothing at all to him. As long as he passed each exam, percentages and rank were immaterial.

Alarmed by his nonchalance, my husband spoke to him about the importance of academics and why in our system rank and percentage played an important role in the examination results. He listened with rapt attention quite unusual for him. His report card lay open on the table, his rank 25/48.

He looked at his father seriously, another unusual thing and said seriously (very unusual indeed),

Papa, I promise I will do better next time. I promise I will come 30th next time.

You could tell where he got that from! Well, we laughed our guts out and this was the last serious conversation father and son had. However, in his defence, I must add that a couple of years later, when his papa promised him a bike if he came in the top ten ranks, he earned himself a swanky new bicycle by ranking in the top five.


Yeah, kids say the darnedest things. I’m glad I had my time of quipping!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Notes of a santoor....

It's Sunday...one of those days I really have nothing much to do on the home front or the professional one, and that's not something I always want. It's better to have something on my list...so I find things to do.

This morning lost myself in the early hours of the day in lilting Pahari music, played on the santoor. Here on the fifteenth level, the breeze is cool and fresh in the mornings...closed my eyes and allowed myself to float.

Back to earth, I am looking forward to a chocolate and dessert session with a chef of a five star hotel. I was lucky to get an invitation!! It's going to be a long drive but it's worth it.

My new commitment has kept me from blogging for a while. I realise it wasn't the lack of time but the choice to devote whatever time I had to dwelling on that one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

I'll be back.

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Glossary:

Pahari music (raga, dhun).......classical music and folk that originated from the Northern hills...from Nepal, J&K, Himachal, Uttaranchal etc.

Santoor.....The santoor is an Indian stringed musical instrument. It is related to the Indian shata-tantri veena of earlier times and has strong resemblances with the Persian santur. It is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer often made of walnut, with seventy strings. The special-shaped mallets (mezrab) are lightweight and are held between the index and middle fingers. A typical santoor has two sets of bridges, providing a range of three octaves.

The santoor as used in Kashmiri classical music is played with a pair of curved mallets made of walnut wood and the resultant melodies are similar to the music of the harp, harpsichord, or piano. The sound chamber is also made of walnut wood and the bridges are made of local wood and painted dark like ebony. The strings are made of steel.(Wikipedia)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Kora kagaz......

It's been some time since I've been down memory lane. That's a walk I miss. By the time I have done with the business worries, strategies, mails and "no mails" situation and decide to write, it's futile and "kora kagaz, kora hi reh jata hai."...my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak, and I succumb to bed and slumber...or soccer!

It's a fledgling flight...never been in the business area before...just a bit more and I'll be able to take some breaks on auto-pilot.


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Glossary:

kora kagaz kora hi reh jata hai.......the blank page remains blank.



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