Monthly Archives: September 2013

Lessons via India

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I came across the below illustration on my Facebook newsfeed (original here), and it in turn was inspired by this Buzzfeed article. You know you have lived in India long enough when these no longer bother you.

Life Lessons

Life Lessons

This is my interpretation of it:

  1. Dodging your way through objects at high speed: Try crossing a road in India, and there will always an auntie on an Activa barely missing your feet. You would imagine that they are out to save the world from major disaster but in all likelihood are probably just late for a kitty party. Or there are the motorcycles whizzing past just an inch from your car.
  2. Crowds don’t phase you at all: Crowds is one thing. No sense of personal space is another. And you do get used to it. Very soon you might just be pushing someone aside while pretending to have no idea how it was happening.
  3. You can handle the spice: One word: Misal
  4. For your digestive system is made of steel: If you can handle that and the street style paani puri, you were born to live in India.
  5. 5.       You know your bargaining: From the corner vegetable ‘bhaiya’ to the kitchy stalls of Colaba we are never willing to pay the original price. Ever. Be shameless and start at at least 50% less.
  6. 6.       You are an expert driver: If you can drive here where there are no lane partitions drawn and in some places there are more potholes than road, trust me you can drive anywhere. Oh and lets not forget the cows.
  7. 7.       Traffic tolerance gave you patience: you have your laptop charged and with a few episodes of Big Bang or Grey’s Anatomy to pass the time. Or you catch up on your reading.
  8. 8.       Bollywood movies gave you a lot more patience: A 3 hour movie is no joke. We mock, but we love them, and it is a little bit strange to watch one where there are no songs. Takes away the whole point of the movie. I have never liked a movie that did not at least have one song that I loved.
  9. 9.       Test matches five long days. Patience galore: And sometimes there is never more than a couple of hundred runs scored, and after five long days the game is a draw!! Enough said.
  10. 10.   Adjust madi is a way of life: You can always squeeze a couple of inches more, and one seat was actually really meant to seat three.
  11. 11.   You’re good with animals: Cows, goats, pigs. In the farmers markets, on the roads, outside shops, at an intersection. They no longer faze you.
  12. 12.   Urban jungle takes on an entire new meaning: Horses trotting off for a wedding, a herd of goats crossing the road, traffic on a standstill because there are a couple of cows in the middle of the road.
  13. 13.   Not only can you hold your alcohol. You can hold questionable varieties too: Old Monk anyone?
  14. 14.   Stocking up for dry days: You know one is coming up when you see more than the usual number of people at the corner liquor store.
  15. 15.   After a Mumbai monsoon, rainy day elsewhere is child’s play:  You have to see it to believe it.  Children waddling through chest high water, paddle boats on where once there was a street, and public transport at a standstill.
  16. 16.   Religious diversity means you know your public holidays and the appropriate greetings: You definitely know one is coming up where sellers appear overnight selling all sorts of festival paraphernalia. And here there is always a festival coming up.
  17. 17.   You bleed blue: Hell yes! We might not know the names of all the players but we are always rooting for them. INDIA! INDIA!
  18. 18.   Keeping up with Indian politics question the logic sectors of your brain: Mayawati erects her statues all over the state while in power, while abusing the central government of not allocating enough funds for the progress of the state. Akhilesh Yadav comes in power, asks for the statues to be removed. Mayawati is scam central yet accuses everyone else of stashing away government funds. Kalmadi is back sitting on stages, garnering support for a comeback after causing national embarrassment with the Commonwealth fiasco.
  19. 19.   You are resourceful with the constant threat of losing water and electricity: You have at least a bucket filled with a fully charged inverter along with some flash lights.
  20. 20.   Moody internet connection has made you an IT expert: This also applies to 3G services on your phone. You know exactly what corner or what window to stand next to in order to get the best possible signal.
  21. 21.   Nothing can surprise you when it comes to loos: And you consider yourself lucky when they are clean and odor free. And you always carry travel size hand wash and sanitizer.
  22. 22.   And you can hold your own in any shouting match: I mean you have to if you want to be heard over not only your opponent but the general public that has gathered around.
  23. 23.   You have a massive network of friends and relatives looking out for you. Constantly: And you really notice it when you are single and of “marriageable” age. Your aunt’s, cousin’s, neighbor’s friend will even recommend matches for you.
  24. 24.   Your world is Technicolor: It makes you a little bit disappointed that there is no background score when you walk down the steps in your saree, and no petals dropping as you make your grand entrance.
  25. 25.   Your country is alive: There is always music, and dhol, and noise and horns. Even at 4 in the morning. You are never truly alone and its awesome!

Dagdusheth: Ganpati Fever

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Dagduseth

Dagdusheth

I know this is probably our third post on Ganpti and the entire Ganesh Chaturti festival (we did one last year as well), but it is probably because the festival holds so much importance. For me it was even more special because it is my first time actually witnessing it all! The craze from selecting which Ganpati to bring home, to daily aartis/pujas (prayers), street traffic (especially during the first and last day of the festival), to eating the yummy Modaks (traditional coconut stuffed sweets).

I actually didn’t bring Ganpati to keep in my house mostly because I had no clue what revolves around bringing him home. As my husband told me, you can’t just bring Ganpati home, you need to be prepared to hold daily pujas (which occur twice in a day), host lunches/dinners and take care of Ganpati. So I thought, why not just observe the festival this year and may be next year we can bring Ganpati Bappa to our house.

The most famous Ganpati, LalBaughcha Raja, sits in Mumbai, however Pune has its own infamous Ganpati and he is Dagdusheth. My sister-in-law and I decided that this would be the year we would wake up at 4 AM to go pay our respect to this infamous Ganpati and today we did just that! My husband thought we were insane to wake up (and take a shower-you can’t go to a holy place without being clean and fresh) at 4 AM. Now you may ask, why 4 AM? One needs to beat the crowds that line up to get a even brief sighting of the God.

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Lines leading up to where Dagduseth sits

Lines leading up to where Dagdusheth sits

We got to the central area where Dagdusheth sits around 5 AM and there were at least a 100 people there and more were on their way.  We quickly got our puja thalis (puja plates that hold sweet, coconuts, and auspicious flowers) and stood in the line. Tight security ensured a swift moving line and within no time we were in front of the mighty Dagdusheth himself. His golden trunk, ears, and crown sparkled and made even him even more majestic. Myth says that if you rub the belly of Lord Ganpati, any wish of yours will become true. Now, we weren’t allowed anywhere close to Dagdusheth, but still made our wishes with blind hope of them getting fulfilled. What did I wish for? Well, I am bit superstitious when it comes to actually sharing my wish 😛

Alive, Awake, Alert at 5 AM :)

Alive, Awake, Alert at 5 AM 🙂

Modaks are synonymous with the Ganpati festival and I too wanted to try one. Unfortunately, the coconut stuffed Modaks weren’t ready by the time we finished our prayer, so we settled on eating mini Modaks.  Visarjan (when people take their Ganpati idols and set him in the water) takes place next week and now I am even more excited to witness it.

Till then…Ganpati Bappa Moraya!

Ganpati Bappa Morya

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The 10 day Ganesh Chaturti begins on Monday and is celebrated widely in Maharashtra. And it is not just the locals who bring Ganpati home, but even those from outside the state who now call this place home.

A variety of idols on display

A variety of idols on display

I was just reading my post from last year, and I mentioned that we planned to visit Lalbaghcha Raja this year. But navigating the crowds with a newborn is something that neither of us are brave enough to go through.

We were originally planning on picking a baby Ganpati, since my baby reminds everyone of Ganpati but due to limited choices we picked a beautiful the Balaji Ganpati instead.

The idols are created in a variety of sizes, from just around six inches to massive 20 plus feet ones which are placed at neighborhoods and by social organizations.

We are in Nasik for the festival, and picked from a stall that specializes is eco-friendly Ganpatis from near the Civil Hospital. A friend of ours puts up a shop there every year and carries a huge selection, and everyone is the city should definitely check it out: Mahanth Ganesh.

I am going to leave you with a few pictures from our selection trip. Check out our Facebook page on Monday for how we decorated for Ganpati at home.

The Shiva Ganpati

The Shiva Ganpati

The Balaji Ganpati-this is what we picked

The Balaji Ganpati-this is what we picked

Dagruseth Ganpati

Dagruseth Ganpati

The super eco-friendly variety that is decorated only with turmeric

The super eco-friendly variety that is decorated only with turmeric