Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
While we were taking pictures of each other, their mother returned and prepared for us a cup of the salt tea. I watched as they ripped a fresh chapati and placed the pieces into the tea and then did the same. I can’t say that I cared for the salt tea, but it was quite filling. As a token of appreciation for sharing the afternoon with them, they decorated my hand with mehendi. Politely declining their invitation to spend the night at their place, I thanked them for their hospitality and made my way in the rain back to the hotel. Such warm people, these Kashmiris.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Although I didn't see any particularly fancy kolams this morning on my walk, homes are traditionally decorated with beautiful kolams, along with mango leaves. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with money would be placed in the puja closet or altar in a Hindu's home. Their homes may be cleaned and even repainted in anticipation of this festivity. A Hindu colleague of mine described how she was anxious to return home after school, so she could make the special sweet food and take it to the temple for distribution to the poor and needy. Food prepared on this day would include equal portions of sweet and bitter flavors - a reminder that we need to take the good and bad in life. Her family (most Hindu festivities involve gathering with one's family members, particularly one's elders) would gather in the evening at the temple and partake of a special chant that would last for nearly an hour. Along with reminding devotees that bad must be taken with the good, they also look at the year now before them. Puthaandu ushers in the summer season (although it's been hot & humid like summer for many weeks now). Perhaps because it's too hot to do much celebration after this point, the Tamil Hindu festivity calendar is in a lull until July/August.
resource: THE HINDU newspaper, April 13, 2012.
Friday, April 06, 2012
While living in Serbia, I visited Bosnia twice. The first time was with my housekeeper, who took me to her beloved city of Mostar. Tanja, a Bosnian Serb, showed me where her home once stood, from which she fled before it was burned by Bosnian Muslims. Other places also showed violence, drawn on ethnic/religious lines. (Read more about this on my 2006 blog post on Mostar and Nevesijne). In 2008, I visited Sarajevo (read more in my June 2008 posts) and couldn't help but be moved by the many reminders of the brutal war that took place there. The white gravestones (Muslim and Christian) dotting nearly every green plot of this hilly town was particularly poignant.
An article I read this evening wrote from a very biased view, painting the Bosnian Serbs as the sole perpetrators. Realize that all sides were guilty of terrible things during the Bosnian War, as well as the general fighting that took place in former Yugoslavia. Nor did the Bosnian War occur in isolation.
Standing on a hill high above the old town section of Sarajevo or by the former Olympics grounds, I can't help but be moved.
Srinagar, Kashmir, a set on Flickr.
In late March 2012 I visited the summer capital of Kashmir, staying in a house boat for one night and in the home of a Kashmiri family on the others. Although the shikaras and houseboats on Dal Lake are undoubtedly important symbols of Srinagar, there is so much more to this old, but beautiful city.