Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Yes On Sunday I turned one year wiser or older as one can say(actually I dont feel differently). I love birthday's and not only mine everyone's. I try and wish a person on his birthday if I can, earlier it was a simple card and now with mails and networking sites its so much easier to do so. As the time of my birthday comes closer I start feeling my adrenaline going higher and me just feeling happy. Back then at home it was not a great deal, good food was cooked and you got money as a gift from parents and aunts and little wrapped up gifts from your friends. One thing I always remember I had always worn new clothes. First my mother used to sew for me and then me loving to sew, starting sewing clothes for me quite early. So for many years a day before my birthday, I will be sitting on  my sewing machine and finish the new outfit for the Birthday. Now if I think it was not so necessary but until now I always wear new clothes. My mom and family can second that.

I think "Birthdays" are special. You are choosen to be sent on this earth and I think its a great deal. For me its like celebrating a new LIFE. I think by celebrating my birthday I am respecting my life and acknowledging how beatiful and special life is. Now by celebrating I don't mean to have a big birthday cake, with ballons and pinaiatas. Not that its bad this way. But just feeling so happy and contented that you were born makes it worthwile. I feel when I am happy and enjoying my birth-day I have experiend that the whole world is with me, not in the literal sense but you know what I mean. Enjoy, Respect and love life by celebrating it, because we know we got this one. I like everything about birthdays cakes, wishes, hugs, tears, flowers, sun shine, wrapped up gifts, phone calls, sms`s, messages on your facebook and so on. The best part is when my girls were big enough and they knew what a birthday is and with their little tiny sticky hands they give you a big bear hug, they couldnt even close their arms around me because they were so small but now they are big and getting wished by my girls is the best feeling ever. They baby you, mother you (and OMG!! now I have tears in my eyes) and I love it. Best feeling ever!

So for people who are like me in "celebrating" its good and for people who are not then guys just start celebrating life and start celebrating your "Birthday".



Saturday, 13 August 2011

Raksha Bandhan/Rakhee

For all my Brother`s and Sister`s...................

Raksha Bandhan (रक्षा बंधन ) or Rakhee as its also called is a festival which the brothers and sisters celebrate throughout India, in fact Indians all over the world. We all know about Mother`s Day, Fathers`s Day, Friendship Day and so on but Raksha bhandan is the only festival which I have seen is celebrated to celebrate the bond between a brother and a sister. Raksha meaning protection and bhandan meaning Bond.The sister ties a silk thread (Rakhee) on her brothers wrist and prays for her brothers success and good health. The brother vows to protect the sister from evil and promises to look after her and be there for her. This festival comes mostly in August or according to the Hindu calender in the month of Shravan and falls on the full moon also called as Shravan Poornima.  Its a full family celebration and sweets and good food are served the whole day. The house is decorated, colorful lehariys and beautiful clothes are worn. For the people like me who are not close to home, Rakhees are sent by post and in a little tiny pack the auspicious roli is also sent. I remember as a child I used to go Rakhee shopping with my mother as her brother`s were also not in the same town as us. The post also knows the significane of this festival and I still remember on top of the envolope (Rakhee) was written in BOLD letters. One or two days before the Rakhee a phone call would be exchanged wether the brother recieved the Rakhee or not. My mother also always reminds me to send the Rakhees on time. I make the Rakhees with the girls and they are always happy to recieve non conventional Rakhees from Europe but made with utmost love and care for all my brothers. Today you can find beautiful Rakhees in the shops. Some are made with Silver, stones and even gold. i remember my father always opted for the most simple and the most elegant "Ram Rakhi".

Oh!!this surely makes me home-sick :( but reminising the memories is also giving me utmost pleasure. The main festival is for Brothers and sisters but that does not mean the sister-in-laws, the nephews, the nieces, the cousins and the aunts are left behind. For women there are special Hangy Rakhees which are tied on their beautiful bangles with little gungroos on.

With a little movement of their hand little music comes out of the gunghroos and the jingling of glass bangles. Back there at home a cousin brother or a sister is of equally importance to you as your own brother and sister. So you can imagine how King size the whole day turns out to be. By us it sure did!! A family with 25 people and then when my bua (aunt, father`s sister) will tie a Rakhee to my father and then will come my mother`s turn and then us, and then you can multiply this with 8 buas and so many other ones. I remember we used to have Rakhee`s until our elbows and for the little ones the biggest ones were chosen !!! What fun that was !! 
As a token of love we used to get some money and little gifts or new clothes and then at the end of the day after keeping the Rakhees properly we all kids would go for a nice hindi movie or I may also call a Bollywood one and to end the nice evening an Ice creme at Guddus !!!  
My brother is one of a kind and I am very honoured to have him as my brother. For me he is a Gem of a person, so giving, caring and the uncontitional love he showers upon me, my family and even other people in his life. He is my vorbild and I really look up to him. I wish him all the very best in his life, good luck, good health and great success.

Here are the Rakhees we made at home.

Off to be sent home

I wish all my brothers, sisters and whole family a very happy रक्षा बंधन !!!!

Lots of love and regards

PS: a technical glitche coudn`t let me put rakhee pics here, am working on mana`s mac, still not used to it. will soon go to my little old microsoft and do it. 

Friday, 12 August 2011

Between Cultures!

I have guests at the moment from Home. I feel torn between the "Guest Culture" of  the East and the West (now i dont know if such a thing exist but i certainly observed and experienced this cultural difference) Now back home in the East where I grew up or some place it still is followed or else it is somewhere in the mind of every person "Athiti Devo Bhav:" meaning guest is God so treat them with utmost respect, cook the best for them and give them your best behaviour and so on, but now here in the West when you are trying to do all things on your own without any outside help it becomes a bit difficult to follow this saying or atleast it is for me. But here in the West its more causual, for what I have observed. But when you are sort of running a one man or rather a woman show trying to juggle things between home, a bit of your work and other household chores etc. I feel I am trying to do my best to follow the "Athithi Devo Bhav" principle but feel like failing on certain accounts. The problem for me is that now I know too much and sometimes I think "Ignorance is a real bliss". If you dont know so many things or ways or cultures then you just do what you know and here you know options from so many Cultures but on the other hand your guests dont know (if someone recall I also wrote an articel on emotional behaviour) and so you cannot simply imply certain things on them. But some things become so much ingrained into you over a period of time that unconsiously you just follow them. I am not saying that I would not like to know other cultures. But its just unclear to me sometimes How do you do your best? What is the right thing to do? Where do you find the balance? and then just feel helpless when I dont get these answers. 
I guess I am not making much sense here, but anyways now the guests are gone (this mail have been pending for long, I had a small holiday in Italy followed by a small sickness) and they went very satisfied and contented from here "got this news from my MIL" says something isint'd. So well I guess I could finally figure out the balance between the two Guest culutres. To be very honest let me tell you what I did, what I always do follow my Heart and it always works!!!!!!!!!!
It was fun to cook for them and fish for some compliments :) and we also exchanged some recipes. Two of them I will soon write on the food páge, really simple ones for a warm breakfast or a light lunch. Its called as Upma, made with semolina and served with peanut chutney. I also make upma but theirs was a bit different version. Another Dish was the famours "Gatti ki Subzi". Will post them soon.