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A Tribute to All Brothers

Today I am going to tell you about another Indian tradition/festival.

“Rakshabandhan”

(translates to A Bond of Protection). On this day, Sisters tie Rakhi (think of this as a Friendship Band) to their brothers. They get dressed, cook for their brothers, feed them their favorite sweets/candy and in return the brothers promise to protect and nurture their sisters. The tradition has been going on for thousands of years. In 16th century India, wars have been abandoned because the Queen sent “Rakhi” to the opponent thus making him her “Brother”. Today young girls enjoy “gifts” from their brothers as a token of their love.

I am calling it “Brother’s Day”.

In my opinion the bond between a brother and sister is the purest form of a relationship between a man and a woman. So why am I telling you this today? Because it IS that day today! On this day I am reminded of my childhood, looking forward to rakshabandhan as the day where it’ll all be about me and when I’ll receive lots of gifts from my brothers. And it’s not just my own brother. It’s cousins too! So you can see why sisters would look forward to this. The young boys would hate it! Because its the day when they get “nothing” and all the gifts are for the sisters. So we started buying some small gifts for them too! But nothing compared to what the girls would get 🙂

Gift giving aside, for me, it’s a reminder of the fact how blessed I am to have not one but three very loving brothers who would be there for me at the drop of a hat should I need them. Three brothers who although are much younger than me, would do anything for me. A reminder of how much fun we had growing up. The pranks we played, the innumerable fights we had and the secrets we kept. Not to mention the shoulders we cried on…

And being thousands of miles away from them is as hard as it gets, as you can imagine. So, as I was sending my Rakhi in mail the other day, the vibrant colors of the rakhi inpsired me to share this with you and I snapped a picture. The red colored powder is called “Roli”. Its mixed with water to create a thick paste and is used to mark a “Tilak” more like an elongated “Bindi” on the brother’s forehead. The rice is then stuck to the tilak. It’s all very divine and beautiful!

Here are some photos from 2007 when I was in India for Rakshabandhan.

The lovely woman in the background is my grandma!

Happy Rakshabandhan to everyone who celebrates it and to all those who don’t, pick up that phone and call your brother or sister and tell them how much they mean to you. Life’s too short not to!

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Happy Diwali!


Festival of Lights – That’s what Diwali is. It stands for victory of good over evil, return of hope, forgiveness, health and prosperity and a new beginning. Each year on Diwali we cook up a traditional Indian meal, light the Diyas (little earthern lamps with wick and oil), do the Pooja (prayer) and write our yearly diary. That’s the fun part of having your own family. You set your own traditions. Writing a family diary is not a traditional thing but my father always did so I started doing it after I got married. It’s the most fun part (other than eating of course!, did I say that we are confirmed foodies!) of the day. In the dairy we write names of family and friends who attended the pooja this year, any major events which happened in the past year, any new addition to the family (Sadly we haven’t been able to write about a baby for a while 😦 ). We then read the pages from all the past years and reflect upon them.

We have a small family consisting of Gagan and I, his brother and his wife and his youngest brother. For me it means the world to be able to celebrate it with them! Everyone is trying to get off work a little early so we can be together.

I miss my parents a lot on this day but I am a firm believer in making the best of every situation and enjoy my time with my family here!

Karva Chauth – My Day of Fasting for LOVE!

So today is the North Indian festival of Karva Chauth. On this day all married women fast the whole day and pray for their husband’s good health. This may sound cruel to you but it’s actually fun because fasting is only just a part of it. It’s also a day when women get together, put henna on their palms, get dressed in finest of their saris, wear jewelry and basically the works! It’s a girls night out or in.. just without food or water 🙂

When did this custom start? I don’t know thousands of years ago… Here’s how the legend goes. My grandmother tells this story on each karva chauth day and I thought I’d share it with you all.


The story of Karva Chauth

There was this young bride who had 7 brothers who loved her very much. Traditionally the first Karva Chauth after marriage is celebrated at the mother’s house so she was with her brothers and her folks at their house on the day of Karva Chauth. Now the fast is broken at Moon rise. Towards the end of the day when the brothers saw their sister was thirsty and hungry they tried to coax her into eating something. But the girl was determined. She wouldn’t break the fast. So the brothers thought of something. They created a “fake moon” by burning some fire behind a white sheet and called her sister and said “Look look the moon is out!” . Poor sister, was easy fooled and she did her prayers and broke the fast but the minute she had her first bite she gets a message from her in-laws house. Her husband just had an accident! She burst into tears and the brothers realized what they had done. They apologized to the sister but she was a mess! She went to everyone to help her and tell her what she could do. Prayed for days and one day a woman comes to her house and says to her. “I am the goddess of Karva Chauth and I am very pleased with your devotion. Your husband will recover in no time and from this day onwards all married women who keep this fast with devotion will have a long and happy married life”. So there you have it.. Karva Chauth…

Now lets get to the fun stuff. So yes, here in the US, my sister in law and I get dressed in our saris when we are back from work, wear makeup, bangles and everything. Keeps us distracted from the growling stomachs. We ask our husbands to pick up lots of good Indian food from our favorite restaurant so that when we see the moon, we can just jump right in. And when the moon comes up we look at the moon first through a sieve and then look at our husbands through the sieve. It’s very romantic! The husbands then give us water with their own hands and together we eat. It’s kinda cool.

What is not so cool is cloudy nights when we can’t see the moon! Today however seems like a really nice day so we’re hoping it’ll be early dinner for us 🙂 It’s 4:50 PM and I am doing really good. The trick is in keeping yourself busy.. really busy.

Fun stuff!

Diwali is only 10 days away!!!!

I will post some photos tomorrow.

UPDATE

Here are some photos. This one’s with my Sister in law (in pink) and her Mother.

The MOON! Finally!!!

Moon Viewing and Worship

Hubby Viewing!

SIL and I

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