Tag Archives: language

The Bashful Bride – Innocence Unveiled in ‘Inconvenient Relations’

the shy bride

The Bashful Bride

`

She sits on the rose strewn bed

A bashful bride

In all her jeweled splendor

Hennaed hands resting on drawn up knees

Innocent and uninitiated

Awaiting the approach of her beloved

`

The bombshell had dropped on their wedding night. He had walked into the room late as she sat there, a shy bride in all her wedding finery waiting, nervous yet excited at the same time, to meet the man she had hardly spoken to or looked at. What would he say, talk about, or do?

She had heard a lot of stories about what to expect, some factual and some fabricated (her friends had prepared her well), but she wanted her own to be special, unique, and it was…

Sitting down on the bed in front of her, he had taken her hand in his and said very gently, as if to tone down the trauma, “I bet you are one of the most beautiful brides in the world, but I’m sorry I cannot make love to you. There is someone else.”- An Incurable Insanity

Solah Shringar

The 16 basic steps of bridal adornment which correspond to the 16 phases of the moon. Shringar is derived from the word Shri or Lakshmi; the Goddess of wealth, beauty and prosperity. The wedding day is considered the most significant in a woman’s life- one which marks her transition into womanhood.

1. Gajra (string of Jasmine flowers): Hair is styled and adorned with the fragrant Gajra and jewelry.

2. Maang-teeka: generally made of gold, silver and precious stones, Maang teeka is worn in the central parting of hair.

3. Sindoor: is the vermilion powder that is worn in the center parting of hair. A symbol of marriage, it is placed for the first time by the groom during the marriage ritual.

4. Bindi or tilak: A red vermilion dot worn in the center of the forehead.

5. Kajal or Kohl: Black eyeliner to enhance the bride’s beautiful eyes traditionally made from the soot of an earthen lamp with the wick placed in clarified butter.

6. Nath or Nose ring: By far the most ethnic and traditional of Indian looks.

7. Elaborate jeweled earrings: whose weight is supported by a chain affixed to the hair.

8. Necklace: Of different lengths and styles adorn the neck. The most sacred is the mangalsootra, given by the groom during the wedding ceremony made of black beads.

9. Armlets: Worn on both upper arms.

10. Bangles and bracelets: Made of glass, gold, silver and precious gems are the most visible sign of marriage.

11. Mehndi or Henna: Applied to the hands and feet in intricate design is meant to strengthen the bond of love.

12. Rings and Hathphool (Flower of the hand): A bride wears 4 rings on each hand which are connected together by a central medallion called the Hathphool, which in turn is connected to a bracelet.

13. Aarsi or mirrored thumb ring: The bride wears this so to be able to glance at herself and take a peek at her husband as well through the cover of her veil. 😉

14. Waistband or Kamarband: A beautifully designed silver or gold belt encrusted with precious and semi precious gems which serves a dual purpose- enhancing the waist besides holding up the weight of the heavy sari or skirt.

15. Anklets or Payal: A chain of silver edged with clusters of tiny bells worn around both ankles that make a pleasant tinkling sound when the bride moves.

16. Toe ring: Usually worn on the second toe of either or both feet are  symbols of marriage.

The Bridal dress: This can be a sari or a ghagra choli (traditional skirt and blouse) and is usually red in color because red is considered auspicious. It is richly embroidered in gold which ensures ceremonial purity.

traditional-toe-rings

BUY LINKS

India Unveiled: Unity in Diversity

India is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world.

It is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which are known as the Dharmic religions. Hinduism and Buddhism are the 3rd and 4th largest religions in the world with over 2 billion followers.

All these religions share some common rituals, traits and beliefs such as the concepts of karma (action or deed), dharma (duty), samsara (continuous flow of the cycle of birth, life, death and reincarnation), moksha (release of the soul from the cycle of samsara and end of all suffering) and yoga, though the interpretations may vary.

They also share the concept of cremation of the dead known as antim samskara or ‘last rites’; wearing of vermilion on the forehead by married women, as well as several marriage rituals.

Buddhism was originally founded by Siddhartha Gautama (Gautama Buddha) a Kshatriya prince turned ascetic somewhere between the 6th and 4th century BCE. Buddha meaning ‘the enlightened one’  taught ‘the Middle Way’ as the path that when followed leads to liberation.

—o—

Karla Caves

Ancient Buddhist rock cut cave shrines located in Karli near Lonavala, in the state of Maharashtra, India about 150km from Mumbai. The oldest cave dates back to around 160 BC.

karla 1Caves cut deep into the rock.

karla 2Intricately hewn wall sculptures and scriptures

karla 3The Main Cave: Chaitya or Prayer Hall is the largest among all the Buddhist caves in India.

karla 4The Ashoka Pillar

karla 5

Gautama Buddha

koli danceAn unexpected treat! A group of tribal dancers caught in action outside the caves.

The Indian Way- Everyday Etiquette: Bhai Sahib and Behenji

sneha3 111

A street side stall where a vendor sells Soan papdi or Soanpapri which is a popular South Asian sweet with a crisp and flaky texture.

—o—

“Kaise diye bhai sahib?” What is the asking price, brother?

“Bees rupiah kilo behenji.” 20 rupees/kilo sister.

A conversation very similar to the above, modified to fit the situation and scripted in various regional languages, can be overheard if one happens to wander inside any store, or pass by a street shop  on any given day in India.

I am not talking about the skyrocketing prices of fresh fruit and vegetables (that’s another topic altogether,) but of the way two strangers address each other.

The housewife who is trying to find the best deal she can as she goes around the market, addresses the vendor as ‘Bhai sahib’ [Bhaee-saab]. Hindi: भाई साहिब  Bhai – Brother, Sahib- term of respect.

She uses this term even though he bears no relationship to her.

Similarly the tradesman or vendor responds with the term ‘Behen ji’ [Bahen-jee] Hindi: बहन जी Behen – Sister, Ji – gender neutral term of respect.

Indians use these terms often during the course of a typical day while doing business with strangers; such as while buying groceries, haggling over the price of fruits and vegetables, dealing with the milkman, or hailing a taxi or an auto rickshaw.

It is a means of establishing a temporary bond or kinship which places the conversation on a congenial and non-confrontational platform.

So on your next trip to India, these two terms should come in very handy.

India Unveiled – Cultures and traditions

sneha3 311Buland Darwaza or ‘Victory Arch’: An imposing piece of architecture set in the south wall of Jama Masjid in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. The city served as Emperor Akbar’s capital from 1571-1585.

Indians in general are deeply rooted in tradition. Our culture gives us our identity. Most of us (especially those living away from the homeland,) cling to it, even though several aspects especially in these modern times, make no sense at all.

Why do we do so?

Perhaps because it brings us together as a community and provides us comfort in a foreign environment. The same I think applies to immigrants from all across the globe.

Here I will try to expand a little (very little,) on the various aspects of Indian culture, traditions, customs, beliefs, religion, art, architecture, music, dance, cuisine and so on.. Essentially all the things that defines my country to me and others in my community and which I hope would help people of non Indian origin understand India and Indianness a little better.

I encourage everybody to pitch in, and take the opportunity to discuss possible similarities or dissimilarities which exist between our various cultures.

`

`

Let me start with a subject which continues to baffle a lot of people in the west: Arranged Marriages. 

I have been asked by some of my friends to elaborate on the tradition of arranged marriages and explain why they continue to be so popular, as well as describe the various rituals which take place during a typical wedding.

As a part of Hindu culture, arranged nuptials remain resilient even today despite the invasion of modern thought into every aspect of  Indian society. Times are definitely changing but many young Indians still prefer it.

Why?

Continue reading

Namaste!

Lets begin with a greeting!

Namaste [nuhm-uh-stey] namaste pronunciation

नमस्ते   <– In Hindi

Origin: Sanskrit: Hail, literally I bow to thee.

A conventional Hindi expression of greeting on meeting or parting. The speaker also usually joins hands together vertically in front of the bosom.

namaste

Source: Dictionary.com