Tag Archives: word of the week

Under the Shade of the Banyan

banyan-tree.jpgOriginal art by Sneha (oil pastel)

Under the Shade of the Banyan

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Banias conduct business

Gods meditate and recline

My leaves dispense knowledge

My structure reflects the world

Material and Spiritual

Study me

 I am the eternal tree

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The Banyan tree is the national tree of India and Bangladesh. The word Banyan comes from the Gujarati word Bania or trader. The word was picked up by the Portugese to refer to the Hindu traders who used to sit under the shade of these trees to conduct their business and passed it on to the English who began to refer to the ‘Banyan’ trees. 🙂

Interesting? Learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banyan

‘Sindoor’ (the Vermilion powder on the forehead) & ‘Inconvenient Relations.’

sindoor1

“By placing this Sindoor on your forehead, I make you mine. I take you as my wife.”

Sindoor सिन्दूर : Hindi pronounced Sin-Dur is the red vermilion powder worn by married Hindu women along the Maang (parting) of their hair. Being in use since the Vedic era, it is also called ‘Kumkum’ when mixed with turmeric.

Why Sindoor or Kumkum?

Considered scientifically and spiritually beneficial, it absorbs the ‘bad’ influences and enhances the power of concentration through the 3rd chakra which is centered on the forehead in between the eyebrows. It also enhances feminine grace and beauty. RED is the color of love and passion and hence is worn by women to win the hearts of their husbands.

It signifies that the woman who wears it is married and under the protection of her husband, therefore no one dare make the mistake of casting the evil eye on her.

Red is also the color of fire and strength. By wearing it, even the slight unassuming Indian woman can assume the role of Shakti (the divine feminine power) not only to protect herself but also for the security of her children.

InconvenientRelations-web

Excerpt from ‘Inconvenient Relations’

You’re Mine

Ruhi saw Debo examining her curiously and realized that the sari had slipped off her shoulder while tending to Anu.

“What is up, dear? Where is your mangalsutra and sindoor? I noticed earlier but didn’t bring it up.”

 “Umm…the chain broke. I have given it for fixing.”

 “Then what about the sindoor?”

 “I…The whole thing fell on the carpet yesterday and made a mess. I have to go get some more.”

 “Ruhi look at me.” Debo gently propped her face up by the chin. “You consider me like your elder sister, right?”

 She answered with an apprehensive nod.

 “Then there are certain things, which are essential for a married Indian woman. It doesn’t matter what your husband may say, but you should not take them lightly. You should never go without your sindoor because it is an auspicious symbol of your marriage and also a sign that indicates your love will prosper. Therefore, even if you don’t have your wedding necklace, you should at least wear your sindoor.”

 “Yes, di, I will try to get some as soon as possible.”

 “Soon? Why not now?”

 Ruhi felt trapped as Debo dragged her to a tiny shrine and picked up a small silver receptacle full of the vermilion powder.

 “I can put it on, di, give it to me.”

 “No, I have a better idea. Shaan!” Debo called out.

 Ruhi felt upset; her body began to tremble.

 “What is it, bhabhi? Time for food?” Shaan appeared, smiling along with Sujoy.

 “Shaan, I didn’t expect this from you. I know you love your wife dearly, but letting her go about bareheaded. It is not right.”

 “Let them be, Debo, they are a modern couple. It’s their life. You don’t have to interfere.” Sujoy chimed in acutely embarrassed; his wife was quite the traditionalist.

“You keep out of it, Sujoy, I know my sister. She will listen to me.”

 She handed Shaan the receptacle and urged him, “Take this and put it back where it belongs with God as your witness and don’t ever let her go unadorned again.”

 Then as he hesitated, she asked, frowning, ”Is there something wrong between you two?”

 “No, of course not.” He looked at Ruhi who had grown completely silent.

 “Go ahead, Shaan,” Bee said softly, giving him permission.

 He pinched a small amount of the red powder and placed it firmly in the parting on her forehead. Not entirely certain why, but this makeshift ceremony appeared more meaningful to him than the one on his wedding day.

 “Perfect! Now my mishti bon looks like a bride, a very beautiful bride.”

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BUY LINKS

Indian Cuisine: Favorite Bread – Paratha

Paratha

Wholesome breakfast: Fresh pan fried whole wheat bread (Paratha), seasonal fruit, fresh homemade yogurt.

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Paratha [par-AA- THA] Hindi पराठा is one of the most popular types of unleavened flat breads in Punjabi North Indian Cuisine and Pakistan.

Prepared from pan frying whole wheat dough which usually has ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil in it, parathas are often stuffed with vegetables such as mashed boiled potatoes or aloo, cauliflower (gobhi), radish (mooli), other vegetables and or paneer (fresh Indian cheese).

Parathas, particularly the stuffed ones, are simply eaten with pickles, chutneys and or yogurt on the side and make for a wholesome meal at any time of the day.

Simple Pleasures

TongaThe Tonga (Horse drawn carriage) as seen on the streets of Agra, India

Simple Pleasures

—o—

I reminisce with immense fondness

 Memories of homeland shores

When life was unadulterated

And goals within reach

Such as…

Walking barefoot on the sand

Gorging cotton candy at the fair

Screaming hoarse along with the radio

And yes, the occasional pleasure ride around town

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Tonga or Tangaतांगा Hindi meaning Hansom or Horse carriage

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