Monthly Archives: October 2013

Karva Chauth: Another First

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This year has been of many firsts. My first full year of living in India, my first Rakhi, Holi, Ganesh Chaturti, etc.  It’s definitely been extremely special. Two days ago, was my first Kaurva Chauth. For those who are unfamiliar with Kaurva Chauth, it’s a day when the wives keep a day’s fast (no food and no water) for the husbands long life. It’s a tradition that is quite popular in the North (particularly Punjab) of India. I, being a Gujarati married to a Punjabi, have the benefit of following rituals and ways of both cultures and this is extremely exciting!!!

So let me be honest, I had been thinking about Karva Chauth for a while now, like since September. As a kid, I always saw Bollywood movies with the actresses keeping a fast for their lover, and eating only once they saw the moon. I mean, who can forget the DDLJ scene which basically immortalised Kauva Chauth? I was all excited and nervous. Why nervous? Well, it’s quite silly, I have never ever fasted for anything. Growing up, my friends always kept fasts for something or the other, I, on the other hand, was never able to keep one. So the thought of not eating anything for a day….or more importantly, not having water for a day was slightly scary. Excited, for the obvious reasons, I mean, in a way, Karva Chauth is a very sweet and romantic way to celebrate the love between a married couple.  It’s a such a simple, yet unique way of cherishing the strong bond. Usually, I am not for all these lovey-dovey things, but something about Karva Chauth holds a lot of meaning for me.  I think getting to dress up, learn a new ritual, etc. also makes the day more fun.

So my day started at 5:00 AM with my awesome husband cooking the Sargi (food, typically prepared by the mother-in-law, that is had before the sun rises). In addition to the traditional Feni, Sabji, Paratha and dry fruits, my Sargi included a salad and pasta! If was going to be starving the whole day, might as well eat something I LOVE! After stuffing my face, I got ready for the day ahead. Teaching (and hoping not to have to scream at kids) because part of the fast mean no water. Luckily, the kids had term exams going on, so the talking and speaking was minimal, but still I found myself thirsting for water every few minutes. Usually, I go through school without water or food, but the fact that I knew I couldn’t eat or drink, made the process harder.

After school, I got all dressed up in one the saris from my wedding trousseau and headed to a friend’s place to take part in the Karva Chauth puja (prayer). It was one the quickest and most fun prayers I have witnessed. All the ladies sit in a circle and pass a thali (plate that is decorated with dry fruits, sweets, a bit of food, diya, and water that you husband will give you to break the fast) around in a circle seven times to a traditional Karva Chauth song. The ceremony took 20 minutes at the max.

All dressed up!!

All dressed up!!

The paper said the moon would rise at 8:46 PM and I was literally counting hours till I could eat. All my friends were whatsapping me their food carvings through the day. We waited and waited, and waited a bit more. The bright orange moon finally decided to show its face at 9:30ish! It was like the moon was playing a game of hide and seek, peaking through the clouds and finally unrevealing itself. I broke my fast with water and then started the STUFF YOUR FACE part. Rice, Dal, Pasta, Vegetables, Sweet and of course, Coke Zero!

Karva Chauth was even more special than I expected it to be. Yes, it was slightly tough, but was completely worth it.

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The Art of Parenting

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First of all I would like to apologize for the long break-we got busy with work and the baby and festival season has started here in India, so that always means a lot of guests.

Last week we concluded our nine session parenting class, which is one of the few courses offered b the Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY). The official name of the course is the Infant SSY Program, and all of our friends who have babies had completed it and it came highly recommended. I have to say we were definitely happy with the course, and we met some wonderful people.

The course is structured around the basic fact that babies are born with intelligence, and the human brain has the capacity to absorb knowledge from conception. Therefore we as parents need to help our children gain the most knowledge that they possibly can and with methods that are suitable for their age groups.

It is difficult to sum up nine, 3 hour sessions into a blog post, but here are some of the things that I have already found beneficial.

Sleep Talk: since our brain never shuts down, the point of sleep talk is to let our child’s subconscious hear and retain. This could be as simple as playing the Gayatri Mantra or Hanuman Chalisa or preparing your baby for a difficult situation that might be coming. This could be anything from taking a long distance flight, to their birthday. Constant repetition helps store the information in your childs memory, and when the situation arises, it is as if they were prepared for it already.

Say and Do: In addition to describing objects, people, relationships to your baby, you should always talk while doing any activity with your baby. This not only keeps your baby engaged but also helps to avoid startling the baby. This is something I always do, while giving my son a massage I keep telling him what part of the body I am massaging, if we are climbing the stairs I tell him we are taking the stairs to go up, and that we can also take them to come down etc. The more your talk with your baby, it will increase not only your bonding with your child but also their vocabulary for when they start speaking.

Cater to your child’ physical and mental development from the day they are born. I have not tried this myself, but previous participants have made their babies crawl on the first day. Later on there is trekking, rope ladder and balance beam for physical development. There are flash cards for language and dot cards for math skills that we can use from birth. Read to your babies, sing to them, or play nursery rhymes for them, trust me babies love it.

In addition to this we were taught to let our babies experience through their five senses, and even when they are too small to eat, let them smell the food and explain to them what it is. Other important concepts are to never lie to your child, to not say ‘no’ for all their requests, to not let anger be the first response. Encourage your child to ask questions, and help them find answers, and most importantly keep a positive attitude.

At the end of the day we need to remember that we might be adults and much older to our children, but as a parent we are only as old as our child.

While doing the course I came to realize that my parents followed a lot of what was being taught in class, when we were growing up. And even though I have mentioned this to them, you guys are great parents, and I am sorry that I annoy your some times. But it is fun and I know that you know that as well.

And finally, if you are living in a city where this course is offered, I would definitely recommend attending at least one session, and I am sure you will want to sign up for the full course.

Happy Parenting!

Lavasa: Birthday Weekend

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I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful weekend. Set aside from the fact that it was my birthday on Saturday, it was after a long time that both families, my parents and in laws met and spent some quality time together. The families met in Lavasa, a private city within Mose  approximately 1.5 hrs away from Pune. I first visited Lavasa approximately 2 years ago, during one of my quick trips from the US.   I had really liked the place during my first visit, as the place had several nice restaurants, a beautiful promenade alongside the lake, and amazing views of Lavasa Mountains. To be honest, I was a bit weary of whether Lavasa was a place worth spending the night at, but this trip made took away any such concern.

Lavasa has a few hotels, the most renowned ones being the Fortune. But, as that was fully booked due to a conference, we stayed at the Waterfront Shaw, which is a service apartment that overlooks the main promenade. The best part about Waterfront Shaw is that it is a pet friendly hotel and therefore Bobby was able to join in on the fun.   Actually, within the day, he was the star of Lavasa. Everybody wanted a picture with him and were asking about his whereabouts. Honestly, I think he enjoyed  the centre of attention 🙂

Now, what did we due in Lavasa? What families do best….we bonded over a game of cards, Teen Patti, to be exact. To make it a bit more exciting we even set some monetary parameters(which, by the way, came from our global collection of coins). We ate a delicious meal Eight Octopus, an oriental restaurant chain from New Delhi, and went for long walks along the promenade.

So even though the rains kept us indoors, and the construction in Lavasa isn’t complete, it is still a well worth trip for a day/overnight trip with family. Some might say there isn’t a lot to do, but carry a game with you and see what fun you can have. Otherwise, try something from what the city offers: jet ski rides, repelling, biking, hiking and spa .

Sorry I wasn’t able to share pictures of this wonderful weekend getaway. I was always encountering an error; I promise to upload them asap:)