Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Diwali

Today is Naraka Chaturdashi, Chhoti Diwali. The house is decorated, but then we had to undo some things because the paint-polish wallahs chose to come today to do some unfinished jobs. Now the whole house is full of spirit-fumes. Should I have sent them away with a flea in their ear?I let them start thinking they'd be done in a couple of hours. They are still here in the evening--got to kick them out before lamp-lighting time. After this half of them will disappear for Bhai-Duj, and the other half for Id. At times like this I feel it is better to buy furniture from the store--you know exactly what you are getting and when you are getting it!Grrrr!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Life in the Fast Lane

Today is Karva-Chauth, the ladies’ day of fasting for the long life of the husband. On this day, married women(and probably, engaged ones too) go the whole day without food, and water , breaking the fast only after seeing the moon, and offering water to it.
This festival has been celebrated in countless hindi movies and tv soaps, with the wife fondly gazing at the husband thru a sieve, and then breaking her fast. In real life, they don’t really do that, as many ladies have blushingly told me---they only look at the moon thru the sieve.
It is the going without water that is truly admirable, since it is still quite warm at this time of the year. Ideally, they are supposed to get up before daybreak, and have something to eat---it is usually a lot of fried and sweet stuff, given by the mother-in-law. Around four in the afternoon, the ladies gather at some common place ( a park, or someone’s house) , sit in a circle and do a pooja, passing their pooja plate around in the circle, sing a certain song, until each lady gets back her plate. A “katha” is also recited, in which all the dire things that happened to a woman who did not observe this fast, are listed. They may then have a little tea ( which does not count as water!). The more determined ones do not have even tea.(I feel that is sensible, since tea would only aggravate the acidity, if any). The ladies give a gift to their mom-in law ( a sort of thanksgiving for giving birth to hubby!).
It is not a holiday, but some working ladies take the day off. Some make it a point to go to work, since they feel it’ll take their minds off the hunger pangs. Kids are happy in school on this day, because the teachers conserve their energy by not speaking much, so pandemonium may well reign.
These days a lot of husbands have taken to fasting along with their wives---so sweet, na? Twenty-first century protocol?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

fair and handsome

Now a cosmetic company in India has come out with a fairness cream for men, called "Fair and Handsome" Well, in a way, it balances the skewed psyche of everybody preferring fair girls. Maybe it is a message to men that if you want a fair girl, you'd better be fair yourself! On the other hand, why fairness in the first place? Because a kind heart is not visible?Why not look for a pleasant face? Or a smiling one? Better still, look for laugh lines!
I want to know if this cream is being marketed in South india too. Traditionally, Northies think that all Southies are black(should I say melanin challenged, to be politically correct?)! How many times have I heard,"Oh, you are a South Indian? You don't look like one!" And that is supposed to be a big compliment.
A new TV serial has started, called Saat Phere, which looks at the problems a "dark" girl faces in the marriage market. Lets see if it breaks new ground,or goes the usual saas bahu way after a few promising episodes.

Monday, October 10, 2005

thank god

Thank God, the girl is back---she was found in a remote place in Punjab, my maid doesn't even know the name of the place. Now the girl and her younger sister are being shipped off to the village where "such things don't happen"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


We read it in the papers every day---now it has happened to someone we know---my maid's 14-year old daughter has been kidnapped. It's been 10 days now. They are searching all over the place--the police as well as the relatives. I can do nothing except pray for the girl to be found, and let my maid take leave whenever they get a lead.(She had to go to Punjab today). God, let her be found soon!