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Colorful streets of India....

Friday, June 11, 2010

India has always been exalted and remembered fondly as the country of colors. Color is the most important element of India. From bright colorful clothes to beautiful and creative paintings, pottery and handicrafts. From mouth watering Indian cuisines to the seasons and festivals, it all reflects the distinctive and rich culture and colorful spirit of the people of India. In India, the color red represents something quite different: Purity. That’s contrary to Western cultures where the color white is used to symbolize purity.

Red also stands for purity and is the preferred color for a bride's garment. Indian brides traditionally wear red gowns and once married their foreheads are adorned with a red dot or tikka, the symbol of commitment. Because the wedding represents the beginning of a union of two individuals, the color red also symbolizes fertility and prosperity. Red is dynamic and constantly breathing fire in the eyes of the beholder. It incites fear and is the color associated with one of the most revered goddesses in Hindu mythology - Durga. Her fiery image is enhanced by her red tongue and almost red eyes.

The color green represents the harvest or a new beginning and, as in America, green is symbolic of nature. In India green is also the color used to honor Islam.

White is the absence of color, and is the only color widows are allowed to wear. It is the acceptable color at funerals and ceremonies that mark death in the family. It reflects the basic quality of the color itself, in principle; white, as a color, repels all light and colors and therefore, when a widow wears white, she disconnects herself from the pleasures and luxuries of active and normal participation in society and life around her.

Turmeric, for instance, while being used for cooking in both the north and the south, is also used in ceremonies offering prayers and marriages. Yellow symbolizes sanctity and is an essential herbal ingredient applied on the body and face by women in the sub continent

Black in India has connotations with lack of desirability, evil, negativity, and inertia. It represents anger and darkness and is associated with the absence of energy, barrenness, and death. Black is used as a representation of evil and is often used to ward off evil.

The colors of India have mesmerized rulers, outsiders, and visitors - perhaps more so because of the stories and legends that bind its people, its culture, and its beliefs. The "rani" pink of mystical Rajasthan, the pastel hues of southern India, the joyous, bright hues of the northern frontier, and the balmy bright colors of the east offer a kaleidoscopic insight into an almost perfect blend of history and modernism.

The color blue, for instance, is associated with Lord Krishna, perhaps one of the most favored gods in India. And, as is obvious for any agricultural economy.

In India, a festivals of colors if celebrated named as Holi( Also Rangloi ( a collage of colors is made on festivals to decorate the houses.

Some tips for becoming a ' Smart Household Manager'

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Women have multiple roles to play in life, specially when a woman gets married and she also has a career. As and when you move ahead in life your roles and responsibility in career as well as family keeps on increasing. This is the time when a woman needs to become a 'Smart household Manager '.Also mums who are at home are busy in managing the lives of everyone at home; that no easy task. From my personal experience I would like to share few tips to become a Smart household manager. Some of my suggestion would hold true in Indian context only.

• The biggest mistake that stay-at-home moms make is not creating a schedule for the home. This means a schedule of activities for the kids that are home with you as well as a schedule for when you're going to get things done. Having no structure makes you put everything off until the last minute which creates stress. So sit down and make an actual schedule of what activities are going to happen when in your home on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. (Daily means knowing when everyone eats lunch, has nap time, play outside. Weekly is the days that you do laundry, run errands, attend play groups. Monthly is paying bills, planning holidays, etc.)

• Give responsibility to everyone else in the house. Just because you're the stay at home mom doesn't mean that you need to do it all yourself. Your kids should have chores because it helps build a sense of responsibility and the skills that they'll need to be adults. Do give some responsibilities to your spouse also.

• Try and save time from some of the activities in the house and take help from maids. Mainly on those work which are monotonous i.e. cleaning the house, dishes etc. You can use this saved time with your kids or in your personal grooming.

• If you are working then don't not hesitate to invest some amount of your salary in employing maids. Always remember that you by investing a small amount of money in getting HELP you can ensure a smooth and a stress free working of your house.

• In kitchen try and avoid investing time in chopping vegetables or making dough, cleaning kitchen table take HELP in this work and invest this time in making delicious and variety food for your family.

• Plan the menu of the week on weekends so that you can arrange , buy all groceries accordingly. That will save your time in last minute rush and give you a peace when your are at your work place

• Ironing clothes, daily cleaning, laundry are such activities that can be outsourced to a maid. But remember to be a Smart Manger and keep your eyes and ears open.

• If you have a bigger family, then you should take help in making chapattis or roti. This work once explained to the maid can be taken care. Only it requires your timely supervision.

Do not try to be a perfectionist in your daily household work.

• Last but not the least, remember every woman has a right to look beautiful so don't not forget to devote some time in your personal care.

To effectively manage your home, you just need some basic organizational skills and the willingness to give yourself the credit you deserve. Take your role as home manager seriously and it'll run more smoothly, letting you enjoy it more. And everything will still get done!

Groundnut Chutney

Sunday, February 7, 2010

An easy to prepare dish which will add taste to your meals, snacks.I have posted some more chutney recipes like mint mango chutney,tomato chutney in my older posts.

Category Side dish
Region All of India
Also Called Several names (depending upon the region)
Descriptive English Name Groundnut chutney
Served Hot parthas, snacks & a side dish with main course
Cooking Time 5-6 Min


• ½ Cup Roasted groundnuts
• 2-3 Garlic pieces
• 4-5 green chili
• 175 -200 gms Coriander with tender stems
• Salt to taste
• ½ Tbsp Red chili powder


Wash Coriander in fresh water. Blend all ingredients together and make sure you do not blend very fine. Coarse groundnuts will give a very good taste.

Smart tips

You can make chutney once in three days & store it air tight container in your refrigerator.

Bagh Print –Originates from Heart Of India Madhya Pradesh.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bagh, which lends its name to the Bagh prints is a small tribal town in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. The khatri community, who comprise the 'chhipas' or printers came here about 400 years ago from Larkana is Sind which is famous for its Ajrak prints. These are created by a community of printers called 'Chheepa' derived from the Hindi word "chhapna" meaning printing. A wide range of products are now available made from Bagh printed fabric - be it ladies suits, saris, dress material, dupatta, bed-covers, pillow covers etc. one can find all. Bagh prints have unique hand block printing, printed using vegetable dyes.

Traditionally, fabric used was cotton, but now saw tassar, crepe, and silk are being used with excellent results. Bagh layouts are dramatic with use of black and red alternately on a white background. Production process is painstaking and manual.
dyers of Bagh have perfected the ancient technique of hand block printing with vegetable dyes unique to this place. Bagh prints are today exported in large quantities. The designs are exclusive to Bagh & so are the vegetable dyes. These dyes are superior to chemical dyes in every respect. They leave no harmful effects. They are biodegradable & eco-friendly. And, they improve with each wash in shine & color.

Bagh Print in cotton fabric is one my all time favorite.

Top 5 Cheating husbands of Bollywood

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aamir Khan –One of the finest actor of Bollywood, who believes in the philosophy of ‘One film at a time ‘ proposed Reena when he just turned 21 years of age and she accepted. The fact that Reena hailed from a Hindu family while Aamir was a devout Islamic caused enough concern for the family who objected to their marriage. So, they eloped, got married and returned to their homes. The secret remained for five months until one fine day Reena had to disclose the news to her family. It was in the year 1986 that the duo got married in public and began living together. After sixteen year of married life and after having two kids Aamir divorced Reena in 2002.Aamir fell in love with Assistant director of film ‘Lagan’ and and re-married in 2005.Between 2002 and 2005, the shocking claim that British writer Jessica Hines had produced a love child called Jaan Harry Hines with Aamir in 2003.

Boney Kapoor –Boney Kapoor first wife Mona extended shelter to Sridvei in the time of need ,
she never knew that her hospitality will be thanked by sridevi by taking her husband away. Boney kapoor and Sridevi’s affair bloomed right under the nose of Mona and later Sridevi became pregnant when the affair of Boney Kapoor and Sridevi was revealed. Later the couple tied knot

Dharmendra –Dream girl Hemalini fell in love with the He-Man of Bollywood. When Hemalini and Dharmendra ‘s affair started,
that time Dharmendra was the father of four children.Dharemdra converted to Islam to marry the dream girl,as under Hindu law it’s not permissible to have two wives.He wanted to keep his first wife Prakash Kaur so he took this step of conversion to Islam.

Kamal Hassan-If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you'll be married to a man who cheats on his wife. That's the lesson Sarika must have learnt from her life. Kamal cheated on Vani Ganpathy, his first wife, with Sarika and after a painful divorce Sarika got married to Kamal thinking hers would be a happily-ever-after story. Little did she know years later Kamal would cheat on her with someone else. His extra-marital affair with actress Simran Bagga resulted in Sarika filing for a divorce.

Saif Ali Khan- Saif married Amrita Singh , separated from her after thirteen years of married life and two kids. His Italian girlfriend Rosa, who was the main cause for his walking out on wife Amrita in the first place. Later, Saif and Rosa had a breakof and now a days Saif Ali Khan is dating a Bollywood actress Kareen Kapoor.Kareen Kapoor is the granddaughter of Late Raj Kapoor.

SabuDana Kichdi

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A delicious breakfast and good dish for Upvas (Fast)

Category Snack
Region All of India, more popular in western India
Also Called Sabu Dana Kichdi (depending upon the region)
Descriptive English Name
Served with Curd
Serves 4
Cooking Time 20min


• 1 Cup Sabudana (Preferably big ones)
• 1 Boiled and peeled potato
• 1Tbsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
• ½ cup roasted crushed groundnuts (coarse)
• 3-4 green chili
• 1/2 tsp Red chili
• Finely chopped Coriander
• 1 tbsp Lime Juice
• 1 Tbsp Oil
• Salt to taste or Sendhava salt if preparing for fast


Wash sabudana in water, drain the water and let it soak for 3-4 hours. Chop the boiled potatoes in cubes. Heat the oil in a pan and add cumin seeds along with green chili. Let them splutter. Now add chopped potatoes and let it turn golden brown. Now add crushed groundnuts along with salt and red chili powder and stir well. Next, add Sabudana and make sure there should be NO water in it. Cook for 5-7 min Once cooked add lime juice and coriander leaves. Serve hot with curd.

Smart tips:

After adding Sabudana DO NOT cover the lid of the pan otherwise it might turn sticky.

Naga Sadhus –The Holy Men Of India

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Maha Kumbh Mela of Haridwar 2010 would again witness the Naga Sadhus coming for a holy dip in Ganges, And, Naga Sadhus have always drawn attention of Western media, so through this post I would like to throw some light on these holy men of India.

Naga sadhus are a large and a prominent Shaiva sect, who have existed since the prehistoric past. The Naga sect is subdivided into Akharas, i.e. 'regiments', like an army. Their displays of weaponry -- sticks, spears, swords and especially the trident -- have a mostly symbolic function. Among the Nagas are many sadhus who walk about naked. High up in the icy Himalayas, but naked all the same, Bhola Giri Nagababa blows the serpentine horn, called nagphani, or 'cobra-hood’, producing one piercing note. This instrument is related to the cobra (naga), the intimate companion of Lord Shiva, always coiled around his neck.

In their nakedness they do not emanate sexuality. On the contrary, they control, inhibit the sexual 'vibrations', retaining its energy so it can be mystically transformed into psychic and spiritual power. The identification feature of Naga Sadhus include being naked with long hairs knotted with different metals and body smeared with ashes. Not only this, one can see Naga Sadhus could be seen wearing beads of Rudraksha, believe to posses positive healing power according to Hindu mythology. Not just a few but you can witness Naga sadhus wearing thousand of Rudraksha beads and is believed that wearing Eleven thousand Rudrakhsa beads will help them attain the form of Lord Shankara or Lord Shiva.

While you visit the akharas of Naga Sadhus, one can have a glance of these sadhus smoking “CHILUM” (Marijuana). The consumption of bhang is also considered to be a part of the rituals performed by Naga Sadhus. The sadhus hold the view that doing so will lead them to eternity or nirvana. Naga Sadhus belongs to different Akharas (which means camps) and each akharash have their own set of Naga Babas who are living this world in most unconventional way and follow their own set of religion and spiritual activities without caring about this world.

Kumbh Mela marks the gathering of hundreds of Naga Sadhus, who live in relative isolation in mountains, caves and communes in the Himalayas and other regions of India. Western media covering Kumbh mela has always misunderstood the Nagas Sadhu and have often called them Naked Hindu saints or naked holy men, but Nagas Sadhus don’t care what they are called. They are just representatives of Lord Shiva.

Kumbh Mela – Largest Religious gathering in the world

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kumbh mela the world’s most massive act of faith. Kumbha (Kumbha means pot) Mela (means fair) is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage. The significance of the Kumbha Mela and the important role that it plays in the spirituality of India, it is helpful to know something about the background of the sacred Ganges River. The devout believe that simply by bathing in the Ganges one is freed from their past sins (karma), and thus one becomes eligible for liberation from the cycle of birth and death. According to astrological calculations, the Kumbha Mela is held every twelve years and begins on Makar Sankranti, the day when the sun and moon enter Capricorn and Jupiter enters Aries. The astrological configuration on Makar Sankranti is called " Kumbha snana-yoga" and is considered to be especially auspicious, as it is said that the passage from Earth to the higher planets is open at that time, thus allowing the soul to easily attain the celestial world. For such reasons it is understandable why the Kumbha Mela has become so popular among all classes of transcendentalists in India.

Maha Kumbh helds after every twelve years, which is once in life time event, if some how your have missed maha kumbh than other option of similar significance is Ardh Kumbh which held after every 6 years. Each twelve-year cycle includes the Maha (great) Kumbha Mela at Prayag, attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world. Kumbh Mela is held at the below locations.
• Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
• Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas
• Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river, and
• Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.

The observance of Kumbha Mela is based upon the following story: thousands of years ago, perhaps in the Vedic period, gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together in obtaining amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Milky Ocean, and to share this equally. However, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell on to four places : Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Thus, Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.

Besides the Ganges, there are also two other sacred rivers located at Allahabad, the Yamuna and the Saraswati . The Yamuna, like the Ganges has its earthly origin in the Himalayas. The Saraswati, however, is a mystical river which has no physical form. It is believed that the Saraswati exists only on the ethereal or spiritual plane and is not visible to the human eye. This holy river is mentioned many times in India's sacred texts such as the Mahabharata and is said to be present at Allahabad where it joins the Yamuna and the Ganges.

2010 is the year for Mahakumbh Mela at Haridwar in 2010 from 14th January – 28th April. Haridwar is one of the four holy sites for Kumbh Mela and among the seven sacred cities of India. It is a city with enormous religious significance and a key pilgrimage town for the Hindus. So, this time let your heart soak in all the spirituality to the holy land of Haridwar in Kumbh Mela of 2010.As per media , Thousands of naked and semi-clad Naga Sadhusor Indian Holy Men are using the Kumbh mela festival, the world's largest spiritual gathering, to campaign against global warming.

Rudraksha Beads – A Gift of God To Mankind

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The rudraksha evergreen tree mainly found in Nepal, area of Gangetic plains in foothills of Himalayas to the south east Asia ,Indonesia,Guniea to Australia,Gaum and Hawaii. The seed of the Rudraksha tree (Elaeocarpus granitrus) holds a very special place in Hinduism, and is credited to possess mystical and divine properties. The Tears of Lord Siva that are Rudraksha, are the original Vedic Beads of Power worn by the Yogis of India and the Himalayas for thousands of years to maintain health and to gain self empowerment and fearless life on their path to Enlightenment and Liberation. The term Rudraksh basically refers to the tears of Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva meditated for several years for the wellbeing of all creatures. But, when he opened his eyes to see around, he saw people in pain. Lord Shiva could not see the sufferings and miseries of people and started shedding hot drops of tears. Mother Nature transformed the tears and gave birth to the Rudraksh trees. The other names for Lord Shiva are Rudra and the Lord of tears. Rudra is a term used to refer one who relieves others from sufferings and pain. For thousands of years, they have adorned the bodies of sages and saints leading a fearless life in far-flung frontiers seeking enlightenment and liberation.

As per Hindu scriptures the devotees of Lord Shiva are usually given Rudraksha for peace. A person tends to become pure after wearing the Rudraksha beads. People are of the belief that, a person who offers food to the wearer of Rudraksha reaches Rudraloka i.e. the Loka or kingdom of Lord Rudra.It is believed that the wearer of Rudraksha invites the Goddess of wealth. By wearing Rudraska one can overcome untimely death and paves a way to harmony in life and controls stress level. It helps in awakening the Kundilini or vital energies & propels the cosmic forces in one's favor. Rudrakshas stimulate the mind, increase the intellect, improve the power of speech & oration. They also helps in acquiring the power of Intuition. People of high blood have been found benefitted from Rudraksha seeds. Rudraskha is also worn to please the nine planets and it has great astrological importance.
Rudraksha beads are classified on the basis of the number of “mukhis” – the clefts and furrows – they have on the surface. Each bead has a different effect on you, depending on the number of mukhis it has. These are vital from the astrological viewpoint, since it is believed that Rudrakshas of different mukhis please different planets.
The scriptures speak of 1 to 38 mukhis, but Rudrakshas of 1 to 14 mukhis are commonly found.
Acquiring an authentic Rudraksha is a challenge in itself. A real Rudraksha bead will never float on water. Even if you boil a real Rudraksha in water for 6 hours, there would no effect on the bead. A fake will easily disintegrate. A good Rudraksha bead will not be broken at any end. A ‘healthy’ bead should have well defined and natural corns and contours.

Mehndi – An Indian Bride is incomplete without Mehndi !

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mehndi is an ancient traditional form of hand and feet decoration. It creates a deep crimson color that shines on the skin. Mehndi is closely connected to the tradition and culture of India. Mehndi is the application of Heena for the decoration of hand and feet mainly in south east Asia. It's safe and painless since it does not require the skin to be pierced. It's completely natural and non-toxic. Mehndi is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. It was believed that applying Mehndi to the hands and feet would keep off evil. Mehndi is particularly important during ceremonial occasions like weddings. A special day is allotted in a traditional Indian marriage for the application of henna on the bride, as well as family members and friends. Mehndi is one of the sixteen adornments bestowed on a bride during Solah Shringar.

The henna plant is common in India and is used in rural areas as a hedge. Rural women may pick fresh mehndi leaves and prepare them for the application. However it is also sold in powder form. The plant is prepared and made into a paste. Lemon juice is added to the paste to intensify its red color. Various shades of Henna are procured by mixing its paste with the leaves and fruit of other plants, such as indigo, tea, coffee, cloves and lemon. The finished paste is placed into a cone. During the process of laying out the design, the cone does not touch the skin, but rather, the henna is laid out onto the skin like a thread. The flow of the henna must be controlled in order to produce an even line. The thickness of this line determines the amount of die from the henna that penetrates the skin. After the henna design is laid out on the skin, a mixture of lemon and sugar is dabbed over the design to set it. The longer the design is left undisturbed, the deeper the color will be. Later the henna is removed by rubbing the hands together, revealing a reddish color where the henna touched the skin.

Now Mehndi is becoming popular in west also. Many Hollywood celebrities have been seen with decoration of Mehndi on their hands and feet.